JVS Human Services career counselor Sherrie James gives advice for those looking for a job during these unprecedented times.
In spring, when COVID-19 was starting to affect the working lives of so many, JVS Human Services was inundated with clients looking for employment advice and ways they could change their careers. Many people found their jobs to be non-viable during the pandemic.
At JVS, we help workers reinvent themselves through the program Recharge!, a four-week career development program for mature Metro Detroiters that recently opened up to workers 45 and over. The next session, presented over Zoom, will be held in October.
Here are some of my top tips you can do now if you’re looking for a job during these unprecedented times:
• The hiring process is taking much longer than expected. Don’t get disheartened but do expect to apply to far more positions than you would have normally expected.
• Keep your online profiles up to date with a recent professional photograph.
• Ensure your social media accounts reflect you in a positive light.
• Be open and flexible — you may need to take a temporary job as an interim measure or even start at an entry-level job.
• Believe in yourself and stay confident: COVID-19 has changed the employment status of so many in our community and you cannot blame yourself in any way.
• Update your computer skills if necessary. Online training is available through JVS Human Services and its partners.
• If you do get an interview, the chances are that it will be virtual. There are practical considerations to doing virtual interviews so prepare for these beforehand. Make sure the lighting is good, the position of the camera is appropriate and you are wearing a professional outfit.
• Interview preparation is key. Practice your elevator pitch — a few sentences about yourself and why you would be successful in the position.
• If you are offered an in-person interview, decide if you are comfortable with that and, if not, explain why not to the potential employer.
• Re-identify your passions. If your work options have suddenly dried up, or you are simply eager for a fresh start, it might be a great time to reassess your skills and interests and translate them into a new career.
Sherrie James has been a career counselor at JVS Human Services for 17 years.