Despite COVID-19, the search goes on…

This is a stressful time, there’s no denying that among transitioning to online learning and adjusting your new everyday normal, your goals and plans have been impacted. As many industries experience severe disruption, you may be experiencing loss of income. Opportunities are still available and while you have to shift your strategy, the UVM Career Center is here to support you. If you were relying on that income or were hoping to build up your experience, there is still hope!

Below, you can find some tips and resources to help you secure income ASAP and make meaning of the opportunities ahead.

Who is Hiring & Where to Look

Although it may seem like many businesses are temporarily closing, there are still many companies that are accepting applications, some more so than ever. Some of the top places that are looking for part-time employment during the pandemic are grocers, department stores (Walmart, Target, etc.), convenience stores (7-11, Dollar Stores, etc.) and pharmacies (CVS, Wal-Green’s, etc.).  Each of these establishments sell essential goods such as food or cleaning supplies (and, yes, toilet paper) and are experiencing a surge in customers. Many are hiring employees in response to the increased demand.   

If you need work but would prefer less human interaction, consider looking for delivery driving.  Shipping & logistics companies and many restaurants are receiving more delivery orders due to shelter in place guidelines, and they need drivers to meet the demand.  If you had a flexible arrangement with a previous position and are looking for something similar, try exploring delivery apps such as Uber Eats, Doordash, or Postmates.

Part-Time Work = 100% Experience and Skills

The good news is that there are places hiring part-time employees. The challenging news is that it might not be exactly the experience that you were hoping for this summer, especially if you are trying to replace a position or internship that was related to your field of study. Losing that experience can be a devasting challenge, but there are creative ways to continue building your experience for your resume — even while taking on a part-time job unrelated to your field. 

When reflecting on your part-time work, think about how you are developing your Career Competencies. If you pick up part-time work at a grocery store, you may be tempted to write “stocked shelves” on your resume or leave it off completely. Instead of sharing an underwhelming story, consider incorporating the Career Competencies to transform that experience statement.  For example, “Collaborated with a team of peers to creatively solve supply problems in light of the COVID-19 pandemic” sounds like a stronger experience than “stocking shelves”.  Your experience is ultimately your story. The changes brought on by this pandemic is a part of all of our stories. It’s time to be creative (and honest) around how you tell your story.

Remote Search and Project-Based Work

Many companies that employ “gig” workers are still hiring, and although some specific industries have reduced their opportunities, you can still find opportunities for project-based and/or freelance work. Take stock of your skills and log into websites such as Upwork, Fiverr, Outsourcely and Handshake to find remote-based job postings, part-time gigs, and general opportunities to earn money. You can also find more opportunities to work from home if you use switch your location preferences to “everywhere”, “online”, and “remote”, depending on the search engine you are utilizing. Candor also offers a crowd-sourced database that lists thousands of companies and whether they are actively hiring or have frozen their recruitment efforts.

One word of caution: Some people may try to take advantage of the uncertain economy as an opportunity to post fraudulent positions. We have a resource about spotting fraudulent jobs and internships, but remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Volunteer: Put your Skills to Use and Develop New Ones

Many local organizations and non-profits are also heavily impacted by this global pandemic and its effects on the economy. You have skills that need development, and they have projects that need your input! It is always a good time to reach out to that organization or non-profit that encompasses interest areas that you are passionate about and offer your expertise and skills for their projects. While these projects may be unpaid work, you can complement your resume with this experience to make you a more competitive candidate in the future. You can find many organizations online – try this list compiled by Feel Good, or a website like idealist.org to get started.

Closing Thoughts

While everyday business relies primarily on in-person engagement, now is the time to shift your strategy to match the current situation. Despite this global pandemic, we encourage you to remain hopeful in your search, and please remember that you don’t have to do it alone. The UVM Career Center is here to support you! Schedule an appointment today via Handshake and visit us at uvm.edu/career for resources.

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