The news today is terrifying. And it’s not just the virus that haunts your dreams and plagues (literally) your waking thoughts.
It’s also the terror over what this is doing, and has done, to our economy — and what that might mean for your family’s financial future. In a matter of a few short weeks, we’ve gone from a record low unemployment and a surging stock market to an economy on the cusp of collapse.
According to current estimates, as many as 47 million American jobs could be lost to the pandemic, and unemployment rates could reach 32%. That far exceeds anything seen even in the bleakest depths of the Great Depression.
But as impossible as it may seem in this new reality, you can find well-paying and meaningful work in the midst of the pandemic. This article provides strategies you can use today to protect your family financially in the challenging weeks and months to come.
A New Normal?
In fact, the White House’s COVID-19 task force has recently warned that we may face a second wave of the disease as soon as this fall. In other words, unless and until we find an effective vaccine, regular COVID outbreaks may well become our new normal.
And that makes it all the more important, and urgent, to start looking now for a job that is, so to speak, COVID-proof. As you plan your job search, then, it’s imperative to look for work that allows you to work from home when needed, or that is considered “essential,” and won’t be affected in the event of future lockdowns.
Go for the GOATS
Small businesses are, of course, the backbone of our economy, but if you’re looking for a job in the middle of a global pandemic, you’re going to need to go big (while you go home). Fortunately, some of our country’s largest and most established companies, from Walmart and Walgreens to Kroger and CVS, are hiring right now.
These “essential service” providers are also proving to be a saving grace for furloughed employees whose jobs can’t be taken online. For some, however, this transition to work in pharmacies, groceries, and takeout may constitute a significant drop in income.
In addition to revising your household budget to accommodate your new pay rate, you should explore the many programs that are emerging to help American workers affected by the pandemic. In addition to the stimulus money available to individuals and small businesses due to the CARES Act, you can also apply for help with essential expenses, from heating and housing to food and medical care.
This can make all the difference for you and your family as you manage the reduction in income in your new essential services job.
And if you’re looking not just to land a job, but to launch a career, then you might check out Amazon and, in particular, its emerging e-health sector. Amazon’s been developing its commercial health business line for a while now, but it’s a pretty safe bet that this pandemic is going to galvanize those initiatives, speeding that start of new projects and creating the demand for now ones in the sector.
But you don’t have to search only for the new in this new reality. Now might be the time to go old school, and look for those services and organizations that have been around for a while, those meeting needs that even the pandemic can’t erase. The US Postal Service is a perfect example.
It’s seen more than one global pandemic. It has even endured the advent of email and instant messaging. So if you are looking for a stable, and relatively pandemic-proof job, you might start by signing up for the US postal exam.
Now is also the perfect time to look into that tech job you might have been dreaming of. As the world goes online to work, to learn, and to connect with friends and family, tech companies are screaming for support personnel across a range of job functions. Best of all, you don’t necessarily need tech experience to land a great job in the field. What you need most is the time and the willingness to learn.
On the Hunt
Chances are, most, if not all, of your job search is going to take place online right now. That means that there are some best practices you need to follow if you’re going to make the job hunt both successful and safe.
First, and perhaps most important, you need to be careful about the job sites you visit and, especially, the electronic signatures you provide. Make sure that you are clear about what you are actually signing, including verifying what you are agreeing to in terms of the use of your personal information. Electronic signatures are binding in most states and in many countries, and you don’t want to inadvertently sign your privacy rights away just because you failed to read the fine print on an electronic job application.
As you search for work in the face of COVID-19, you might feel desperate to jump at any opportunity you happen to find. Unless your family is hungry or on the verge of being homeless, though, it’s important that you not let your anxieties push you into making rash decisions.
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that life is precious and it is fragile. It’s too short to spend trapped in a job you hate. So focus on your particular skills and unique talents, those things about you that will transform a job into a career. And when you’ve identified that dream job, make sure you have a resume that is truly worthy of it. Your resume should be the best snapshot of yourself and your professional accomplishments. So be specific. Use action verbs and make sure to tailor your resume and cover letter to the particular jobs you are targeting.