After over a year of COVID-19's presence and its disastrous effects on global health and the economy worldwide, the job market has seen some steadying. Unemployment levels are much below the astonishing 14.8% we saw in April 2020, and the companies that survived are starting to see some relief. We hesitate to say "normal," but it feels like things are getting back on track.

Such a long time spent in this phase of uncertainty has surely affected the workforce. Remote working became much more commonplace, and this shift has lasting effects on job seekers. The market looks a little different these days, and hiring has changed along with it. 

Your local talent pool is pickier

If you aren't open to remote working, you may find your candidate pool smaller than it once was. With the receipt of stimulus checks, many unemployed job seekers can be particular about finding their next position. At the same time, anyone considering a move to a new company may be hesitant to jump ship in an uncertain economy. Besides preferences about their careers, many candidates are still under obligations for home child care or schooling. Taking a new position adds stress and uncertainty, and many workers just won't consider it right now. 

What you can do:

In the immediate future, you may need to allow for some working from home to satisfy the needs of the market, or be willing to choose from a smaller selection of candidates. The other solution, a much less appealing one, is to just wait it out. The stimulus checks will stop, unemployment will go back to normal levels, and job seekers will come out of the woodwork once again, willing to come back into an office full time. With the Delta variant, however, this may also be a challenging solution. 

Your remote talent pool is larger

Are you allowing employees to work remotely? Great! Your talent market just got a whole lot larger. Even a hybrid model, requiring some in-person presence in the office, allows candidates staring down a long commute to more readily consider the job. But, while expanding your geographic considerations might feel like a relief to a tight candidate pool, you'll need to adjust a few things if this is a new policy. 

What you can do: 

Ensure you have systems set up to support a remote team. Improve communication, setting up regular check-ins and utilizing programs and technology to keep communication channels open and your team engaged. New-to-remote-working employees report feeling less connected to their coworkers now, so try to incorporate some solutions for the loss of social interaction. Be sure to emphasize your plans to all job candidates. 

Understanding how hiring will change is critical to finding solutions to continue to attract the best talent. The pandemic has tested the flexibility and nimbleness of companies, and only the ones able to embrace change will come out on top. 

Posted: 8/23/2021 4:24:49 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments

For most people, the resume is the gate-opener to a new position. Hiring managers filter through piles of applicants, selecting resumes with key terms and applicants with certain credentials. Most often, a gap on a resume is an obvious indicator of job loss, but if the time period is longer than a couple months, it can raise more of a red flag to a potential employer. 

In a normal year, a gap on a resume demands some sort of explanation that suggests an investment in personal or professional growth, or a dedication to a job search (a full time job in itself, right?). But what about the year of Absolute Unpredictability and Unforeseen Circumstances? 
Our answer: employers will be more forgiving, but you'll still need some reasonable explanations. We have some ideas on how best to deal with it.

1) Address it in a cover letter.

Don't focus too much on the minutia of the situation, but a quick acknowledgement of a gap can leave an impression of transparency and honesty, qualities both highly valued in an employee. Layed off due to COVID-19? The timing alone will likely indicate the reason your employment ended, but you can provide a simple mention so a hiring manager clearly understands. "Company downsized," or "position was eliminated" are great phrases to explain that your job loss was unrelated to your performance.

2) Put an end date on your employment.

You might think leaving a "-to present" as an end date for the latest position on your resume is the easiest way to avoid addressing a resume gap, but as they say, "(dis)honesty is (not) the best policy" (They say that, right?). References, googling, etc might reveal your untruth and leave you in a less than favorable light with an employer. 

3) Be honest.

If your children now require homeschooling, say so. If you were caring for a sick relative, say so. If you were navigating an overloaded job search market, while balancing child care, home schooling, COVID testing, grocery shopping, all while being masked and without hardly leaving your home ever? ... Still say so, but maybe in a somewhat condensed version. 

Employers understand the merging of personal and professional selves in today's climate and are much more interested in hearing that you've been volunteering to sew masks or drop off food for front line workers, or mastering 4th grade math with your daughter than trying to believe you've only been applying for jobs 8 hours a day for the last two months.

You can be playful with how you mention this on a resume, giving yourself an important title and indicating actual professional skills that apply. Say something like "Homeschool Teacher. Managed educational projects and food intake for small internal team of two. Collaborated with educators, analyzed results and strategized on future endeavors." Find a way to see the applications for professional growth in this phase, even if seems very distant from your career.

4) Say SOMEthing about professional development.

Even if you're balancing the world on your shoulders during this pandemic, attend a handful of free webinars so you can claim to be working on your career in some capacity. Taking an online course even one hour a week allows you to say you haven't been neglecting your professional self (and also, allows you to actually not neglect your professional self). 

Spending some time reframing your time away from a job can be a challenge, but investing some thought into its relevance in your professional life can be beneficial for your future. Including an explanation of a gap on your resume is a valuable action to take when applying for a new job. Trust us, employers are understanding during this time. 

Posted: 1/4/2021 9:18:41 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments

Pandemic. Social distancing. Quarantine.

In the last couple weeks, we're finding ourselves in unprecedented territory. New terminology and nationwide directives have steered our everyday lives towards isolation and physical distancing.


These upcoming weeks will bring an excessive amount of time spent at home. Whether working or watching / schooling children from home, the extended period without social interactions can seem daunting. Take advantage of the break in your routine and use the extra free time to get steps ahead in your career. We'll help!

Network, digitally.

Check in with your network - now you have a good excuse to reach out digitally. Ask how their work-from-home experience is going, and see what they've been up to at home. At a time like this, society is craving human interactions. Your contact will likely be well-received.

Were you due to attend any upcoming conferences that were cancelled? Take advantage of any services offered as substitute – many conferences have made their programming available virtually, some even offering virtual "cocktail parties," letting attendees meet each other through video chats.

Work on your portfolio.

Have you wanted to rephotograph or make new mockups of your work? Been meaning to reorganize your website? You've come upon some extra hours every week to do so.

Do something new.

Order yarn and give knitting a shot. Have a go at making bread. Spend 20 minutes everyday doodling. Investing in your creativity might seem like a waste of time, but your brain will benefit from a change in course.

Learn something new.

There are a billion and five documentaries available on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, PBS, or online. Expand your interest in a topic or two and spend an afternoon learning something new. Your creative brain is an investment in your career, and providing it with fresh information can generate sparks that lead to innovation.

Rejuvenate your cover letter.

Away from the pressure of time constraints, your likelihood of crafting a killer cover letter improve greatly. New wording or different organization might better your first impression to an employer, so give your cover letter a second look.

Work on your resume with friends.

Start a video chat session, or even just a set time for you and a group of buds to clean up your resume and get feedback from each other. It will fulfill your need for social time while also moving along on personal goals.

Don't skimp on your job search.

Companies haven't slowed down their hiring, they've just gone digital. So, don't be afraid to keep rolling on your search! Mentally prepare for the likelihood of a video interview rather than an in-person.

If none of these sound good to you, you can always clean up your computer! Delete old files, improve file naming systems, or clean out your inbox. There's always something to be done, and your future career moves will thank you.

Posted: 3/24/2020 2:36:04 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments