More than 1 million Canadians have lost their jobs in March largely due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, says Statistics Canada. In addition, an estimated 2.1 million Canadians are working fewer than normal hours according to the same website. There is no doubt that finding a new opportunity or temporary employment will be challenging , as businesses across Canada struggle to survive the unprecedented circumstances.
The good news is, it isn’t all bad. Even though there is a substantial slowdown and employment rates are low, there are still many sectors looking for candidates. If you are looking for a temporary or full-time position due to loss of employment or reduced hours, here are some tips to make sure that you stand out.
Utilize your downtime
It is natural to feel down after a loss or reduction of work. However, remember you are not alone, many people are facing a similar reality. The upside is you have more downtime. Use this time to your advantage. Visit your LinkedIn and other social profiles to evaluate the content. Make sure that your LinkedIn has updated and relevant content. Have you added skills from your latest role? Why not get to it now. Several online resources are also offering free courses at this time. You can benefit from those right away. Select an online course and add certifications and skills to improve your resume.
Many communities and businesses are struggling in different ways. Do you have a skill that can help them adapt to the changing times? If yes, communities and many traditional businesses are seeking contingent employees to help them adopt and adapt to new business realities, especially when it comes to implementing the right technology to make their lives easy. Consider offering your skills to these short-term opportunities.
Select the right sector
According to a recent report on LinkedIn, several major businesses in Canada, such as logistics, healthcare, food & essential commodities, are hiring. Look for opportunities in sectors that have not been hit by the pandemic or positions that can be fulfilled remotely. Another great opportunity lies within companies who have shifted their operational model to mobile (think grocery, goods or food delivery) and are actively looking for suitable candidates to meet their changed business demands.
Work with what you have
Although it may feel like a difficult conversation, you can request job referrals from your employer and managers. Thankfully, the world around us is evolving and everyone realizes professional gaps due to the pandemic is a reality. It is likely that your former manager may refer you to a position they know of, or a recruiter can connect you with meaningful opportunities. Look laterally to see where you can use your transferable skills. For instance, you may have been an accountant in manufacturing sector, but can use the same knowledge and skills in other sectors too. Apply for similar positions in thriving sectors.
Look beyond your reach
Now more than ever companies are realizing that they can support a remote workforce and manage work virtually. This is great news for you. Whether it’s opportunities in your preferred sector or repackaging your transferable skills, opportunities in different cities or regions might be viable options for you.
Ace the interview
Companies maybe practicing social distancing, but recruiters and hiring managers are constantly in touch with potential candidates to fill open job postings Telephonic and virtual interviews have become the new normal. Make sure that you are ready for this shift.
Dress up professionally and have adequately charged devices with a stable internet connection. If you foresee an interruption such as from your kids or a pet, make sure to give a heads-up to your interviewer. Everyone is much more forgiving in this new reality but always aim for professionalism.
Open the interview conversation by asking how your interviewer is doing. Remember that these are trying times for everyone and showing empathy goes a long way. Be professional and prepare questions in advance. If you will be working remotely, learn about the reporting mechanism and performance measurement that the company is adopting for remotely working employees. What will their virtual on-boarding process look like? If you will be working on-site ask about their Health and Safety policies. Not only will these questions help you to get a complete picture of what to expect, but also give an impression to your employer, that you are ready to adapt to the changing work environment.
It is a good practice to follow up with the hiring manager after an interview, via an email at first. If you don’t hear anything after a week, you can either email or call to know the status of your application. Remember that these are trying times and the process may be slower or the manager may not have all the answers right away. If the manager cites a delay or pause in hiring, you can ask them about tentative timelines and follow up accordingly. If there is no specified timeline, stay connected and make sure to follow up after 2-3 weeks to get an update.
These are uncertain times, but if you can remain positive, network and identify hidden opportunities, you can be successful in your job search.