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How to find a job when unemployment is high

Just a few months ago, candidates had their pick of who to work for, sometimes even “ghosting” after accepting a job offer. There were more open roles than candidates available for work, and the unemployment rate sat at record lows for months.

Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic turning our economy and social lives upside down, it can be tough to sort out what will help, what won’t and what you can actually control. It’s unsettling to see and hear about friends, family, and neighbors losing jobs.

But real-time data is showing positive signs, with week-over-week job losses starting to decrease and stabilize, and industries like construction, retail, and customer service are increasing job posts. There is still high demand for front-line response industries like transportation and warehousing – supporting huge retailers like CVS, Amazon and Home Depot – and non-critical care healthcare positions are also on the rise.

As you look for a job in this more competitive hiring landscape, here are a few tips to set yourself apart and find your next role, fast.

Upskill and highlight transferable skills

If your desired industry isn’t in high-demand, identify and leverage skills that can translate into a new profession. In some cases, economic downturns provide opportunity for continued education and development. Spend time taking online classes and trainings to upskill and strengthen your resume. 

Look for part-time and contract positions

While positions and long-term opportunities may be limited, look for work in high-demand industries in that may be more short-term. This will allow you to add to or build on your skills while bringing home a paycheck.

Make sure your resume is competitive and up to date

Crafting a resume that best highlights skills and other achievements is important for any job seeker. Utilize tools like our AI to build a personalized, job-specific resume. You’ll want to showcase your achievements in a concise, ATS-approved way.

Utilize a job board

When uploading and applying for positions on a job board, your resume can then be accessed by thousands of companies looking to source candidates and build their talent pipeline. This will also allow you to learn about roles that match your skill set and interests as they become available.

Clean up your social media

It’s important you don’t have anything that could turn off a hiring manager, like tasteless content or complaints about a former job or boss. In a CareerBuilder study, we found 70% of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates, and of those that do, 57% have found content that caused them not to hire candidates. If used wisely, social media can help you stand out and show skills or interests that don’t fit on a resume, especially when 43% of employers said candidates’ social media content influenced their decision to hire them. Make sure your online presence puts your best foot forward.

Nurture your network

Build and leverage your connections to make sure you are getting in front of the right people for roles that are open right now. Companies will often find new candidates through referrals, so job seekers should ask their networks in case anyone they know can introduce them to relevant hiring managers.