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Over the past two weeks alone, 10 million Americans have filed for unemployment – a number that will rise over the coming weeks.
So what does that mean for job seekers?
Credit Karma’s Chief People Officer Colleen McCreary told FOX Business that the labor market is going to be similar to what people experienced in 2001 through 2003, or 2008 and 2009.
“There will be some jobs available, but it’s just going to get more competitive,” McCreary said. “[People will have to] get back into the mindset of having to interview and starting to search for a job.”
Not only are these Americans re-entering the job market, but many young adults will be graduating college in the spring and will begin the job hunt for the first time.
Since employers around the country are working remotely, the dynamics of interviewing has also changed. Most – if not all – interviews over the near term will be conducted virtually, which comes with its own specific set of challenges.
Here are some tips for navigating the current job search environment.
Use your network
Since the job market will be getting more competitive – and you may have been off the market for a while – it is a good time to call up some contacts.
“Do not be afraid to use your network,” McCreary said. “This is the time that you have to have the confidence to reach out to everybody you know.
"Your network can usually act directly as a connection point or can connect you with a connection point," McCreary added.
Prepare for a virtual interview
Prior to your interview, you should check to make sure that all the equipment you need is working – including a camera, microphone, etc. McCreary advises conducting a test run with a friend or family member.
Another challenge is that you won’t be able to sense the social and visual cues from the interviewer that you would normally be sensitive to during an in-person interview. As such, it is important to keep your answers crisp, McCreary advised.
And don’t forget to re-familiarize yourself with some of the recent projects you have worked on and do your homework on the company you are interviewing with.
Use the current employment situation to your advantage
Many people were laid off, through no fault of their own, as a result of measures that have been taken in the U.S. economy to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
McCreary said these people should proactively mention that during interviews – and what they did during their final weeks with their previous company to try to keep it running despite ongoing obstacles.
On the flip side, if your current employment situation is not directly coronavirus-related, McCreary said you can avoid the topic if possible – and let the interviewer draw their own inferences.
On the bright side
Whether you are restarting your job search or beginning it for the first time, McCreary pointed out that the current environment is pushing applicants to acquire new skills that will be relevant for their future roles.