As of July 16, 2020, 1.3 million workers in the USA filed for unemployment according to the Labor Department.
The UN’s labor agency says that nearly half of the global workforce is at risk as job losses increase due to the ongoing pandemic.
While things seem pretty bleak for new graduates, people in the informal economy, and those that have lost their jobs, there are several companies and organizations that are working to help such individuals.
I reached out to experts across the globe to get their advice on the current job market and what someone could do to find the right opportunities in the pandemic
Everyone unanimously agreed that freelancing was the best way forward.
10 Things You Can Do to Find the Right Opportunities in the Pandemic
1. Try Freelancing
This is possibly the best time to dip your toes into the gig economy.
Jane Flanagan, Lead Project Engineer at Tacuna Systems, commented on how freelancing has witnessed a steady growth over the years even before the pandemic-induced unemployment.
In 2019, freelancing contributed $1 trillion USD to the United States economy. So if you’re recently laid off or a young graduate, you might want to consider freelancing.
The easiest way to get started is to sign up on websites like Fiverr, Upwork, or Guru. However, these websites are geared towards experienced freelancers and it can be difficult to leave your mark as a novice.
30hours, a brand new freelance marketplace, is set to change all that. “Whether someone is new or experienced, the marketplace is committed to creating an environment that ensures everyone thrives,” Lawrence at 30hours.
So, which are the most highly sought after freelance skills?
Content writers, coders, social media marketers, sales, and graphic design lead the way.
Even if you don’t have any of these skills right now, you can build towards them by completing courses on Udemy, Coursera, SEMRush Academy, or EdX.
If you’re less inclined towards learning a new skill, you can still work with what you have.
Anna Barker, personal finance expert founder of LogicalDollar says, “Things like online tutoring can be a great way to earn some money – and it doesn’t even have to be exclusively targeted at school or college students. In fact, you’ll often find that people are willing to pay to learn how to do almost anything, so if you have a particular skill or area of expertise, consider offering your services through one of the online platforms that provide for this.”
Matt Erhard, the Managing Partner at Summit Search Group, warns that it is not a great choice for everyone. “The hours and workload can be erratic, and building a freelance career takes a lot of work—more than you probably want to do for a short-term solution.”
The easiest and most sought after freelancing gig is content writing. If you have a knack for it and can guest post on websites, clients that care about SEO are willing to pay handsomely. Link-able is a marketplace that connects authors and clients that you can sign up on for free.
Syed Usman, Digital Marketing Executive at PureVPN shares, “Content writing continues to grow and is worth more than $300 billion. This job doesn’t desire too much.
All you need is good language skills, an original tone, and a target audience whose problems you can solve with your knowledge and research. In addition to that, you also need SEO knowledge that is now accessible to everyone. You can access free courses online using HubSpot Academy to learn the basics as I have found that to be very user friendly.”
2. Focus on Specific Industries
If you’re in need of immediate work, the general recommendation is that you focus your search on specific industries.
Delivery executives, truck drivers for shipping, the staff at local stores, and subs at schools are some of the growing segments.
Anna Popova, Head of HR Development at DDI Development, says, “If you have a car or a scooter, a bicycle, it is reasonable to consider a courier job. I have faced many examples when former waiters, cruise liners staff, or office managers maximize their earnings by delivering food from restaurants to the customer’s door.”
Lauren Gast, Chief Marketing Officer at Truck Driver Institute, a truck driving school with eleven campuses across the United States, explains, “Despite the unemployment crisis caused by Covid-19, major trucking companies such as KLLM, Schneider, and Werner Enterprises are currently hiring new drivers to fill the driver shortage in the industry.”
Similarly, the pandemic has caused staff shortages at local stores and taken regular teachers out of the rotation.
If you are in a position to hold out for a new job, you could look at industries with high demand or jobs that require rare skills.
Kenny at NetBookNews adds, “Programming and web design skills are also in demand since a lot of businesses are looking to create online shopping websites for their businesses. So if you have these skills, then go pitch your services to local businesses who lack a proper online ordering system.”
Rare skills that could land you a job include AI, blockchain, and cloud computing.
Reuben Yonatan, Founder & CEO of GetVoIP, urges job seekers to analyze the market and retrain in soon to be in-demand skills.
“Cloud practitioners and cloud architects, for instance, are about to become hot commodities. Many businesses shifted to the cloud hastily to adjust to the shelter-in-place requirements. Once they resume, they will want to do it right with the help of professionals.”
Alternatively, you can learn skills that never go out of demand like sales.
Austin Wolff, Director of Research at Novus Anti-Aging Center, shares, “If someone is looking for a job, one thing all businesses need more of are “rainmakers,” like salespeople or damn good marketers. I started off as a salesman and became in control of my income after that. I recommend everybody out of a job to learn sales. Get good (you don’t even have to be great) and you’ll have a job for life.”
3. Leverage Your Network
Your network is probably the biggest weapon in your arsenal. Before you share your resume, with your network on LinkedIn, WhatsApp or Facebook, it’s best to update it.
Professional resume writing services like Zip Job can really help to set you apart in this regard. They have various templates that you can use to create your own resume as well. The difference between getting a job and getting rejected given the high unemployment rates right now comes down to how you present on paper.
3 ways your network can help:
- Recommend you to jobs that are a good fit.
- Write recommendations for you.
- Connect you to folks that are hiring.
4. Get on Online Job Portals
The easiest way to set filters and scour for jobs is by landing up on job portals. If you’ve exhausted LinkedIn, Indeed or Monster.com, don’t fret.
Cindy Makita, Career Strategist & Coach at Hired Institute recommended:
– Candor Hiring List and JobScan Ultimate Hiring List
If you’re looking for something a little more advanced, try WorkThisWay – a product of a partnership between HR tech startup ThisWay and fellow category-defining AI startup Maslo.
Angela Hood, CEO of ThisWay, describes the platform as “an empathetic, AI-enhanced emotional support in the form of everyday check-ins, resume building, job search reminders and more to ensure millions feel supported during these unprecedented economic times.”
5. Become a Reseller or an Affiliate
Jack Wang, CEO of Amazing Beauty Hair, stressed how important it is to pursue something practical that will give you quick results.
Becoming a reseller or an affiliate is one way to go about that without having to invest a ton of time or capital.
6. Become an Online Content Creator
You don’t need millions of followers to become an influencer. Even 1000 followers can allow you to leverage your online platform as a niche influencer. Since the pandemic has everyone locked in, you can try your hand at creating content on TikTok, Reels, or YouTube.
TikTok and Reels are the easiest way to get started with little to no investment required. YouTube is still amenable for creators that have invested in the right and often expensive equipment.
7. Join Facebook, Slack, and Whatsapp Groups for Professionals
If online job portals don’t do the trick, Facebook, Slack, and WhatsApp still have plenty of opportunities for you.
Each of these platforms has niche groups for various professions that can help you either find a full-time job or a freelance gig.
Jennifer, Editor at Etia.com also recommended that you use these groups to build out a presence to attract the right attention so that when the hiring freeze is over, you are considered first for open positions.
“It is especially useful for those in the technology sector or people looking for entry-level jobs.”
8. Find an Internship
This is especially geared towards those that are graduating into the coronavirus economy. An internship – paid or not – can be a great stepping stone in the industry that you want to work in.
Matt Erhard says, “Internships give you real-world experience working in a field or career that you have an interest in. It is often unpaid, but it’s better to have an unpaid internship than to be unemployed. You could offer to help out a local small business as many organizations are using this downtime to get some administrative work done.”
9. Invest in Yourself
If you’re able to take up paid online courses or spend time pursuing free courses, this is the time to do it. Try LinkedIn’s Lynda or Udemy or MasterClass for a thorough course that you can leverage later in your job search.
Vanessa Gordon, Publisher at East End Taste Magazine says, “This may also be a great time to hone in your skills, refresh and learn new skills and improve ones you already have. Take an online course, take some time to join webinars, and YouTube can be a great resource for self-learning.”
10. Get Creative
If you have no qualms over doing something completely 180, get creative with your job hunt.
Laura Handrick, a contributing HR Professional at Choosing Therapy, shares her advice, “Now is the time for all of us with job skills to get creative. Restaurant owners need delivery drivers, homeowners need people to help them with yard work, working moms need in-home childcare.
These may not be high paying jobs but they can put food on the table while we are waiting for the economy to recover. As an HR professional, I have been able to eat out a few hours assisting small businesses with their human resources needs during the pandemic.
Those with finance and accounting experience may be able to assist small businesses to get PPP or EIDL loans. Hairdressers can offer in-home services for those who fear going to a salon.”
Think about microservices that you can offer either online or at home while adhering to social distancing norms.
If you’re unsure where to start, Anthony at Interim CFOs has some great advice.
“Use the skills and experience you already have to create new opportunities.
Here are five steps to help you create your own recovery:
- Assess your skills. Find out what you’re good at.
- See what skills are transferable. Look at how you can shift.
- Pick ONE strength. When you answer the question, “What is your strength?,” you’re also answering the question, “Where do I start?” 4) Ask yourself, “How far are you willing to go back?” Some transitions require additional schooling and/or training. However, if you have transferable skills you don’t have to start at Square 1.
- Ask yourself, “How far are you willing to go back?” Some transitions require additional schooling and/or training. However, if you have transferable skills you don’t have to start at Square 1.
- Ask yourself, “Are you ready to be an entrepreneur?” Events like the coronavirus make entrepreneurship almost imperative. Entrepreneurship can be risky but for those looking for independence and more income, this is a viable option.”
To quickly recap all the things you can do right now to navigate the job market are:
- Try freelancing.
- Focus on specific industries.
- Leverage your network.
- Get on online job portals.
- Become a reseller or an affiliate.
- Become an online content creator.
- Join Facebook, Slack, and WhatsApp groups.
- Find an internship.
- Invest in yourself.
- Get creative.
It is also a wise idea to always have additional revenue streams either through freelancing, part-time jobs, or returns on investments. This ensures financial stability until you tide over.