Job searching during a global pandemic

Charlotte Mecklenburg Library’s Job Help Center offers perspective on seeking employment during the COVID-19 crisis.

Finding work in the United States right now is, in short, overwhelming. Before COVID-19 made its way stateside, looking for a job still wasn’t easy. However, the uncertainty of the coming months (and years) is adding new and unprecedented challenges to anyone’s job search.

Beneficially, some career-related obstacles that may have been a concerning before have now become non-issues. Let’s talk about some of the old “problems” that you can now safely navigate without the worry of harming your career development.

A gap in your resume
Whether you are unemployed for two months or two years, any career gap that started in 2020 is non-issue. The COVID-19 pandemic, and the societal turmoil experienced in its wake, has become one of the most widely shared human experiences in the history of our species.

By the end of April 2020, it was estimated that around 30 million Americans filed for unemployment. For the rest of our lives, every hiring manager in the world is going to remember this disruption – and any gap(s) in your work history will be extremely common and understood.

A major shift in career trajectory
Before 2020, the strongest resumes demonstrated work history in progressively responsible roles. Advancement in one’s chosen field was a major factor towards a candidate’s suitability for mid-to-high-level positions.

Now, the importance of progressive advancement within the next few years is plummeting. Much like the resume gap, a shift in career trajectory will be exceedingly common. Before the pandemic, many jobseekers were reluctant to take a job that didn’t directly contribute to their career advancement. Jobseekers now have fewer choices available as many industries struggle to survive the post-pandemic economy.

Whether your professional field will return to its pre-pandemic operations is difficult to predict. But there are still jobs available if you’re searching for work - essential services are in desperate need of employees right now. If you are willing and able to take a job in an essential industry, even if it’s an entry-level position, it will not hurt your future job prospects. In fact, working in an essential field during this time is arguably an impressive accomplishment in your work history, and is something to take pride in.  

A long hiring process
If you need to get to work as soon as possible, a long hiring process is going to be challenging to endure. However, it’s important to remember that this is NORMAL right now. People are not getting hired within days (or even weeks) while you are being left behind. The speed of hiring decisions is not something you can control (and never was). If you can accept that hiring is going to take a while, without worrying that it’s because there is something you are doing wrong, you can focus your efforts into the aspects of your job search that you can control.

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Job Help Center offers many services that can aid you in your job search. Be sure to check the calendar for our virtual programs. If you want a resume professional to review your resume, you can email it to jobhelpcenter@cmlibrary.org.

Don’t forget to check out the Library’s free digital resources to make the most of your time at home. Stay safe, stay home and let’s look out for one another while we navigate these difficult times.