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How to find a job during a pandemic, according to a career expert

Over 20 million Americans have lost their jobs, leaving many to job hunt with uncertainty for the future.

TAMPA, Fla. — Though businesses and states are slowly starting to reopen, a lot of people are still looking for jobs with no idea of what to expect. 

According to the US Labor Department, 20.5 million people abruptly lost their jobs in April and the U.S. unemployment rate jumped to more than 14 percent in April, the highest level since the Great Depression.

In the Sunshine State, Florida's unemployment rate tripled to more than 12 percent from 4.4 percent in March, according to a press release from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

"I am not surprised by the numbers at all, I do think the will climb again, but right now so many industries are impacted by the pandemic and are resulting in lay offs its a domino effect," said Lisa Jacobson, a Tampa based career consultant and coach. "I've been telling a lot of people to go to LinkedIn and look for remote jobs, those jobs are still out there, in fact with the way things are right now that might be the best way to secure a job is to look remote and not just in the Tampa Bay area." 

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For those who've given years to a career or industry, Jacobson says now is a good time to think entrepreneurial or create your own opportunity. 

"I don't think the job market is going to be anything like it used to be. Now I think you can find ways to make money by creating your own gig or starting a project," said Jacobson. 

With a new wave of college grads entering the workforce of the unknown, the class of 2020 has had to take their college experience online, forego a traditional graduation ceremony, and seek employment during a pandemic.

"A graduate getting their degree is like getting a golden ticket, but now it's up to you to decide what you do with that ticket and the skills. There are tons of free and affordable online resources out there that'll give you a certificate in a new skill," said Jacobson.

3 tips for job seekers 

  • Keep your Linkedin profile updated: Make sure your bio is short and to the point, your profile picture is eye-catching, and that you use the resume space to highlight your skills and strengths.  
  • Tap into your network: Research shows the average person knows 150 people and one of them could be a reference point for you if you reach out, share your skills, and see if they know anyone that's hiring in your field or industry of interest. 
  • Don't limit yourself to job search websites: Experts suggest going to the company's website and submitting an application directly through their portal for enhanced chances of visibility.

3 platforms to use for skill enhancement or seeking a job during a pandemic

- LinkedIn: An online networking platform used mainly by employers posting jobs and job seekers posting their CVs.

- Coursera.org: An online learning platform founded in 2012, that offers online courses, specializations, and degrees.  

- Tampa Bay Job Links: A nonprofit that offers career coaching, job search assistance, and connects local employers with qualified talent locally 

During these uneasy times, Jacobson suggests putting your focus on things you can control. Whether it's improving your skills or learning something new, reaching out to your network, or taking this time to create a career or business of your own.

"Job searching is a tedious process and can leave some feeling tired and discouraged. I understand that. But I do think there's some good that can come out of this pandemic and its impact on the workforce. Right now the employers that I'm working with a looking to adopt a hybrid system where people go in on alternating days compared to schedules in the past. Hybrid will help elevate traffic, help people with child care costs, and even elderly care." said Jacobson.

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