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Should I continue looking for a job during the coronavirus outbreak?

By Jana Angeles | 02 April 2020


If you’ve been stood down from your job recently or simply worried about your job security considering the circumstances, you may be wondering if it’s worthwhile checking out the job market and to see which companies are hiring. While the COVID-19 pandemic has increased social distancing measures within Australia, the government has still allowed citizens to leave the house for essential work, considering that there are job positions that do not have capacity to work remotely, such as people working in the healthcare or retail industry

While the current events have caused uncertainty when it comes to the economy and job market, it’s worth considering what companies are looking to hire right now. You may be in the position where you’re itching for a career change, or simply want to expand your career options and avoid having “tunnel vision” when it comes to your job search. You may have a couple of burning questions that comes to mind when looking for a new job during the COVID-19 pandemic:
 
  • What industries are looking to hire?
  • Are employers following social distancing measures when it comes to interviews?
  • Should I look into studying an online qualification to help increase my job prospects?
  • Is there less competition within the job market?
  • I’m worried about starting a new job during a pandemic. How will training work if my position can be done remotely?
If the following questions resonate with you, it may be time to get stuck into research and see what job opportunities are available right now during this pandemic. While many companies have decided to pause recruitment due to budget constraints or the impact COVID-19 has had in their business, they may still consider you as a potential candidate for roles that they have advertised.

SkillsTalk share some insights on looking for a job during the coronavirus outbreak and how you can take advantage of this period when it comes to seeking a new position. 

Companies are still hiring and changing the way their recruiting candidates.

video conferencing interview

It’s been reported on ABC news that there has been a resurgence of jobs since the coronavirus outbreak, with thousands of jobs being created, particularly in engineering and manufacturing. 

Samantha Campbell previously worked as Operations Manager for a liquor supply logistics company and as the weeks progressed, the demand for her role decreased due to the cancellation of major events and she was eventually let go by the company. However, this didn’t stop her from looking at other work so Campbell made the decision to touch base with one of her old colleagues and they made a recommendation to reach out to logistics company, Linfox for job opportunities. 

As soon as she got in touch, Campbell was hired immediately in less than a week due to the demand of the work. She’s now at a supermarket distribution centre, helping set up and deal with the demand of consumers panic buying products across supermarket chains. 

From Campbell’s story, we can learn that tapping into your professional network can help you find job opportunities you never thought existed. It’s important to not assume companies are no longer hiring during a pandemic, since there are industries that have a growing demand for employees.

In this case, getting a job could be just a phone call away should you decide to reach out. During the COVID-19 outbreak, being more proactive with your job search could land you an opportunity that ties in with your existing knowledge and skills.

Furthermore, recruitment has not stopped according to experts in the field. With access to applications such as Zoom and Skype, employers can still connect with potential candidates online and transition from face-to-face recruitment to a more virtual component to stay within social distancing measures. In fact, some employers are still hiring and following traditional hiring methods. 

“At the moment, we have not changed our hiring practice due to the coronavirus specifically,” said Nathan L., a recruiter. “We are still scheduling in-person interviews. As with any interview, if a candidate is not feeling well and is not 100% come interview time, we want to know that information.”

The recruitment of talent has not stopped, even for those that have recently been overseas and are identified as “high-risk”. Given that they self-isolate themselves for two weeks, employers have become more flexible when it comes to re-scheduling appointments with potentially good hires. 

An opportunity to assess your gaps in knowledge and skills.

You may be considering a career change or have realised you’d like to improve your employment prospects with an online qualification. Depending on the industry you’re part of, it’s worth assessing your gaps in knowledge and skills to help retain your credentials as a professional.

Even if job prospects seem bleak in industries such as hospitality, retail and events, it’s encouraged to consider other career options that you may not have looked into before. With growing competition in niche industries, taking the time to improve your resume and cover letter can boost your employability, especially if you’ve been made redundant or feel that job security is not in the cards for the industry you’re working in.

An online course provider like Upskilled can help you reach your career goals, whatever they may be. With qualifications in business, community services and IT, you’ll have access to a wide range of online courses that offer practical and theoretical learning components that can help you develop the relevant knowledge and skills, should you have the desire to move up the ranks or change careers. 

Working towards a qualification can also highlight your professional experience when looking for new jobs and can help boost your confidence in applying for positions that are related to your online studies.

For example, Upskilled alumni student Naziya Munaf studied a course in business administration. After years of working as a beauty therapist, she longed for a career change. Since recognising her strengths in customer service, it came to Naziya’s attention that studying a relevant qualification could help her secure work in the business industry. 

Naziya said, “Studying the diploma was the best decision I’ve ever made. It has helped me change careers and I’ve gained knowledge on how to operate a business in general. It has made me confident in my abilities of customer service, learning how to use different software applications and being more involved in the business.”

Taking the opportunity now to assess what skills and knowledge you need can come extremely handy when it comes to choosing a course. Upskilled offers a wide range of certificate and diploma-level courses, so depending on your skills and experience, you could complete an online qualification that complements well with your existing qualifications and professional development

If you’re currently employed, encourage your employer to pay for your course fees or if you’ve been made redundant and have significant savings in your account, consider investing in online education if you have the desire to grow your current skillset and explore other industries outside of your expertise. 

Don’t wait: preparation is key to break into the job market.

looking for job on laptop concept

As mentioned before, there are still industries looking for employees despite the current world pandemic. It’s important to have an open mind and continue looking for work even if companies are still holding off recruitment. You could successfully secure a role during the coronavirus outbreak by doing the following:
 
  • Improve your credentials by studying a course: by choosing an online course with Upskilled, you can undertake a qualification that can help you standout from the competition. Majority of courses offered can be done online and you’ll have access to student support services and a dedicated trainer in the faculty of your choice - business, community services or IT. Upskilled qualifications are also nationally-recognised in Australia, meaning that employers have that piece of mind that your online education is quality-assured in line with the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).
  • Stay in touch with former colleagues and ask about available job opportunities: your former colleagues can help you find a job if you’ve been made redundant or if your job is high-risk of being terminated during the COVID-19 outbreak. Tapping into your professional network can help you reconnect with the people you used to work with and they can offer helpful advice on how you can connect with potential employers that are hiring. 
  • Keep positive and continue applying for work across reputable job sites: sites like Seek, LinkedIn and Indeed are still quite active and employers are posting out job ads on a regular basis. Even though you may assume that hiring managers have taken a pause on all recruitment, it doesn’t hurt to apply for a role that can help you develop your career. While these social distancing measures have been implemented, interviews can take place via video conferencing. Keep in mind that potential applicants may be holding off applying for work due to the COVID-19 outbreak so it may be worthwhile applying for jobs to get ahead of your competition.
Finally, don’t be shy in sending recruiters your resume and cover letter, and put your best foot forward when it comes to preparing for a job interview, whether that be through video conferencing or face-to-face.

Preparation is key in helping you stand out from your competition and you could potentially gain the interest of employers once you’ve highlighted your excellent qualities as an employee. No pandemic should get in the way of your career dreams so keeping positive during your job search can help you build a rewarding career trajectory in the meantime. 
 
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