10 Job Search Strategies to Use During the COVID-19 Pandemic

There are a lot of unknowns and uncertainty as the novel coronavirus affects people and industries worldwide.  There have been closures and movement restrictions to slow the spread, that have already impacted certain industries, both positively and negatively. If you find yourself part of a layoff or looking for a job during this time, it helps to get grounded first with a solid job strategy.  So let’s take a look at a few options because as  Sun Tzu, the military strategist and author of “The Art of War” once quoted, “In the midst of chaos, there is always opportunity.” 

1. Develop a job search strategy based on adaptability.

Darwin did not say “survival of the fittest” as many of us think. Herbert Spencer coined this phrase, but Darwin argued against it.  Instead, he said it is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.

The key to surviving this pandemic professionally is to be adaptable.  This means to align what you need with what the market has to offer. It means to go where the need is (see more below) and bring value. If you get into a service mentality and show up professionally in a way that can be of benefit to businesses and others, then you will find opportunities.

Job searching is ALWAYS first based on supply and demand. If you are in a field that is not hiring currently, this can and most likely will mean that you need to take a job that is just a job for now if you have currently lost one. Consider looking at an interim job scenario and that leads to the right job for your growth when the market opens up.  Take on a leadership mindset of forging through difficult times, making the best strategic move to survive, while maintaining the long term vision of your ideal position and setting up what is needed to get you there.

2. Look for remote work or “work from home” options for what you currently do.

If you lost your job, see if a similar one is available working remotely. They may be a safer choice than a traditional workplace, both from a health perspective and a stability standpoint. Here are some places to search for quality remote work:

3. Consider these industries and jobs that may grow during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you are looking for a new job, choose industries that can provide stability and growth. There are certain industries now that have already seen increased use of services or need of products in this pandemic. Who thought working for a company that produces toilet paper would bring such great job security?  Analyzing emerging trends in an industry’s need or demand is a smart strategy when deciding where you might want to pursue new opportunities.  In the new reality of pandemic possibilities, consider jobs that either have diversified verticals or ones that are sustainable in turbulent economic times.

Head for the industries that are still needed despite any type of shut down. See Glassdoor’s job market data. The list below can expand far beyond this but here are some areas to get you thinking:

  1. Data Science or Analytics (especially with healthcare and pandemic)
  2. Online Medical Platforms
  3. Project Management
  4. IT, Cloud, Networking, Database, Web
  5. Telecom
  6. Academics/Online Teaching
  7. Online Education/E-Learning, and EdTech (Universities and Businesses)
  8. Science-Related Jobs
  9. Cannabis & Liquor
  10. Training & Web Conferencing
  11. Marketing / Social Media Marketing
  12. Sales (remote)
  13. Social Media / Blog Writer
  14. Communications Writer (big need with pandemic)
  15. Medical Devices
  16. Food Delivery (contactless delivery option)
  17. Grocery Stores (stocking delivery)
  18. Pharmacies (CVC, Walgreens)
  19. Household goods and groceries (Amazon, Target, Walmart, Costco, etc.)
  20. Cleaning, Maintenance, and Lawn Care Services
  21. Outdoor Jobs (Construction, Utilities, Building Maintenance, etc.)
  22. Electrician, Plumbers, HVAC
  23. Enterprise Software (remote work)
  24. Biopharmaceutical
  25. E-commerce Retailers (Amazon)
  26. Healthcare
  27. Supply Chain
  28. Streaming Services (Netflix, Hulu, etc.)
  29. Online Gambling
  30. Online Gaming 
  31. Home Exercise Programs
  32. Indoor Fitness Equipment
  33. Fitness Apps
  34. Live Broadcast Fitness Classes

4. Be aware of industries that are being negatively affected by COVID-19.

Keep in mind that these industries may suffer:

  1. Movie theaters
  2. Gyms
  3. Casinos
  4. Restaurants
  5. Financial
  6. Luxury Services & Goods
  7. Travel, Leisure & Hospitality
  8. Airline
  9. Brick and Mortar Retail Stores

5. Consider consulting if you can’t find full-time work.

This is a key strategy right now for the unemployed. Before you take a job that is beneath your abilities, try offering your services as a consultant to companies that need your skillsets but can not hire a full-time employee at the current moment.  At the least, this will help you build your network for when the job market starts to recover. Offer to work as a contractor or consultant until the economy normalizes. This might mean that you work two consulting positions to equal one full-time position.

6. Take time to evaluate your needs and career path, and skill up with courses, boot camps, or degrees.

Using this moment to pause and calmly listen to your inner career desires can also help as you decide how to move forward. It is easy to continue “going with the flow” or “maintaining status quo” when no outside factors are pushing you to make a change. Now that many industries and careers are beginning to be disrupted, this time can be used to make the most of your strengths and talents and drive your career with intention and meaning. 

Great backup plans for recessions and uncertain economic downturns include scaling up your skillset with boot camps or degrees. This could mean transferring finally to that field that has been of interest to you. Look into new tech roles by “skilling up” in fast-paced educational organizations like private universities or places like Galvanize.com.

Finish your bachelor’s, MBA, masters or doctorate degree if needed. Go full time and take out student extra loans to get by on a scaled-down budget. The economy will come back. It always does, so use this time to reboot your career in the best way possible.

Finish your degree if you don’t have a bachelor’s. Try places like Capella University’s FlexPath program where you can earn your B.S. in 12 months.

7. If you are worried about making ends meet, take a job in a place of need right now.

Working to pay the bills is admirable and often necessary and tough economic times. Go where the need is while you look for work back in your field. You don’t have to put this on your resume if it does not fit your career path and you are concerned it will detract from your career track record. Consider sites like Airtasker to pay the bills in the interim of finding a job.

8. Use Intention (not fear) to reach your goals.

Choose how you think and respond during this difficult situation. You have the power to think optimistically (or not) as you move forward. Yes, disruptions are scary, but panic and worry do not equal preparation.   

Sift out what meaning, intention, and goals you want to focus on so you can get the most out of your work and life. Choose to look for the opportunities that may now be presenting themselves and move your career forward with a combination of strategy and confidence in the future. 

9. Consider all options.

If your fear around finding work stems from the need to meet your rent or pay your mortgage, you might want to tackle that fear simultaneously Looking for jobs in a fearful place can really hinder your ability to confidently look for work. There are options you can consider. If you are a house owner, you can forgo the mortgage payments for 3 months with many lenders. They will just tack the payments on the end of your mortgage payments. If you are in fear of losing your house due to lack of payments, consider renting it out and renting somewhere less expensive to get by until the pandemic has subsided.

If you are renting and can’t pay it, talk to your landlord to see if he/she can forgo your rent for a few months while they forgo their mortgage payments and work out a payment plan to pay the rent back.

10. Don’t be afraid to get career coaching help. We went from an employees’ to an employers’ market overnight.

If there was ever a time to refresh your resume or get career coaching help to strategize your job search efforts or career transition, now is the time.  We are navigating through unusual circumstances and you need to stay competitive and valuable. This is not the time to “wing” the job search. A good career coach can help you strategize your job search efforts, make sure you are aligned to the job market, and have a solid networking strategy to keep you ahead of the competition.  Then you need to know how to stand out as the #1 contender in a sea of candidates.  The cost of not getting help typically adds up to $2K-$10K+ of wasted time.

 For more ideas, go here: Can’t find a job? Try these different options.


Career5 is a Job Search & Career Strategy company that not only cuts your job search in 1/2 by optimizing the job marketing process but gets you authentically clear on your brand value so you can market yourself well for new opportunities to turbocharge your career. 

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