Broaden your horizons.
The transition to and adoption of remote work has allowed employers to build a broader network when looking for talent – and so have you when looking for jobs.
“Many employers are open to hiring remote workers, but often in the same time zone,” said Ms. Weitzman. “That said, if you live on the east coast, you have multiple options in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Connecticut.” Sure, this means you’re competing with a larger pool of candidates, but it also gives you more chances of finding the right fit.
This could also be a good time to transition into a career. “Maybe you want to be more flexible and think about a change of field,” said Wahlquist. “Take the skills you have developed and try to find something that is even better or more sustainable in the long run.”
In the meantime, consider taking an appropriate training course, especially if you’ve been unemployed. “If you’re not working, I would 100 percent recommend signing up for a training course as it shows initiative and a vested interest in updating and expanding your skills,” said Ms. Weitzman.
Be honest about why you are unemployed.
If you’ve been unemployed for a while, either due to a lack of opportunities or because you’ve been busy leading kids through Zoom School, that’s fine. “Everyone knows what happened last year,” said Wahlquist. “Most people have a large free pass to fill a void in their work history during the pandemic.”
Still, be prepared to explain briefly and succinctly what happened and what you’ve done since then. “Even if your previous job loss wasn’t entirely due to Covid, most employers want to build a relationship with transparency,” he said.
Potential employers should check your references. Expect to be able to speak to your ex-boss in the past five years or the last couple of jobs. “Take the time to come back to these people and be direct,” Wahlquist said. “You can ask, ‘Are you ready to give a reference, and can you give me a good reference?’” One question your ex-manager might be asked is whether he or she would hire you again. “And if the answer is no, then why?”