Broaden your horizons.
The transition to, and acceptance of, remote work has enabled employers to cast a wider net when they search for talent — and so should you, in looking for jobs.
“Many employers are open to hiring remote workers, but often in the same time zone,” Ms. Weitzman said. “That means if you live on the East Coast, you’ll have multiple options in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Connecticut.” Sure, this means you’re competing with a bigger pool of candidates, but it also gives you more chances to find the right fit.
This could also be a good time to make a career transition. “You might want to be more flexible and think about switching fields,” Mr. Wahlquist said. “Take those skills that you’ve developed and try to find something that is even better, or more sustainable long term.”
Meanwhile, consider taking a relevant training course, especially if you’ve been unemployed. “If you’re not working, I would 100-percent recommend to sign up for some training, because it shows initiative and a vested interest in updating and expanding your skill set,” Ms. Weitzman said.
Be honest about why you’re unemployed.
If you’ve been out of a job for a while, either for lack of opportunities or because you were busy shepherding children through Zoom school, that’s OK. “Everybody knows what happened this past year,” Mr. Wahlquist said. “Most people have a big free pass for a gap in their work history during the pandemic.”
Still, you should be prepared to explain — succinctly — what happened and what you’ve been doing since. “Even if your past job loss wasn’t entirely due to Covid, most employers want to start a relationship with transparency,” he said.
And, potential employers will want to check up on your references. Expect that they’ll want to talk to your former supervisors for the past five years, or past couple of jobs. “Take this time to go back to those people and be direct,” Mr. Wahlquist. “You can ask, ‘Will you be willing to give a reference, and able to give me a good reference?’” A question that your former supervisor might be asked is if he or she would rehire you. “And if the answer is no, then why?”