The University of Windsor is preparing for a safe return to campus. Learn More.

Job Searching During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Make Things Happen!

Nicole Vignone-Kiborn

There is no question that the job market has changed considerably. The plans you had for a summer job may have disappeared and you may be wondering what your next steps will be. If you are graduating and have been looking forward to embarking on your career, you may have even more questions about how to navigate job searching during the pandemic. The fact is that the world has changed, and so your short-term plans may have to change as well. While it is a challenging time to be looking for work, opportunities do still exist. In addition to helping to pay your bills, these jobs will allow you to build your network, develop transferable skills, and ultimately position yourself to be ready and competitive when we inevitably come out of this downturn, just like we did after the 2008 financial crisis.  Take some time to think about those employers who may be hiring, and how you could be of help. Here are some ideas to consider:

Essential WorkplacesSome businesses are still operating and many of these are busier than ever. With the extra care being taken to sanitize and the increase in labour-intensive services such as curbside pickup, there are currently many openings and a variety of roles available in retail stores across the province. Workforce WindsorEssex has created an online Essential Worker Registry as some local employers are struggling to find employees. There are currently approximately 400 positions available, so upload your resume today! The Government of Ontario has put out a special call for those interested in working in the agriculture and food sector. See their website for more information on how you can contribute to keeping our grocery shelves full and food on our tables.

Delivery Services – Customers are turning to delivery services in great numbers which has sparked a need for workers in this area. They are ordering products online and having food delivered from their favourite restaurant. This means there is a need for people to sort and handle packages as well as deliver them to people’s homes. If you own a vehicle, you can also work for yourself as a driver with one of the many popular food delivery services such as Skip the Dishes or DoorDash.

Remote Work – There are many jobs which can be done from home, including some customer service roles. If you have skills in IT, you may be in high demand as you may be able to provide support to all those who are now using technology in ways they never have before. Online tutoring is another area where university students could contribute in a meaningful way. Elementary and high school students may need additional support as they adapt to virtual learning, and there are always opportunities to teach English online. What’s great about remote work is that you have access to so many more opportunities than you would if you were limited to the local area. Search using specialized job boards such as FlexJobs, but also use keywords such as “remote” or “work from home” in your favourite job search website.

Health and Social Services – If you have the necessary background, hospitals and nursing homes are in dire need of qualified employees. However, they are also in need of people to assist with other tasks such as housekeeping and food preparation. With the high level of stress many of us are experiencing, there is also a great need for people with the skills to provide care and support to others. Opportunities exist for volunteers but there are also paid positions available for qualified individuals.

Government Initiatives – The Canada Summer Jobs program has made changes which will help create 70,000 jobs for youth between 15 and 30 years of age. One change is that the end date has been extended to February 28, 2021 and so this gives you more time to find that “summer” job. Some may be available as early as May 11th though. These postings will be on Canada’s Job Bank. While you’re there, check out the Work during COVID-19 page for more resources for job searching at this time. More support for students, including details about the federal government’s proposed Canada Emergency Student Benefit, will likely be announced in the coming days, so stay positive and keep looking!

Here are some additional points to consider:

  • Some of the hiring being done now is on an urgent basis and may consist of different roles than the employer has hired in the past and they may not have the time to prepare a job posting and advertise it in a typical way. This means that reaching out to those in your network may be a good strategy to discover what is needed at their workplaces. This is always a great idea, but it may be especially beneficial at this time. This also means that job postings may look different than you are used to seeing for a specific company and their usual hiring practices may have also been modified. Even so, you need to stay alert to warning signs of a job scam. Unfortunately, there will be those who take advantage of the current situation and so you need to keep this in mind throughout your job search.
  • Realize that these are very unusual times. This may lead you down a path you hadn’t planned, but you have what it takes to be flexible and rise to the challenge. It is important to keep an open mind because you never know where these opportunities may lead. There is a real chance you may truly enjoy the job you took "for now" and discover a new path you wouldn't have considered otherwise. Many people experience rewarding careers this way. In fact, there is a whole theory – planned happenstance – based on this idea. In time, opportunities will increase and there will be a return to normal, or at least “more normal” times. You will then have the chance to take what you have learned and demonstrate your resilience to your future employers as you continue along your career journey.
  •  As always, when you apply for a job, be sure to tailor your resume to the position. If you are currently applying for jobs you hadn’t envisioned, this is even more important. Look to the skills you have that are most relevant to the position. Keep in mind that even if you have never done a job before, you may have transferable skills that you can highlight.
  • If you do find work during this health crisis, please stay safe!  Practice physical distancing, wash your hands frequently, and use any personal protective equipment available to you. Only accept work from employers who follow all protocols and who demonstrate concern for your safety.
  • If you do not find work immediately, use this time to do some Career Planning for the future. We’ll discuss this more next week.

One more thing to remember - You’re not in this alone! CDEL is here to help.

Visit mySuccess where you can access more of our services. There, you can:

  • Book a Job Search Techniques appointment. We can meet with you by phone or video chat.
  • View a pre-recorded webinar on Introduction to Job Search or Advanced Job Search. Visit the Events Calendar to access the links.
  • View Job Postings for part-time and full-time positions.

 

 

 

 

Nicole Vignone-Kiborn is a Career Advisor with Career Development & Experiential Learning.