As Pandemic Changes Job Market, How Do You Prepare?

As public follows quarantine orders, a Philadelphia recruiter urges workers and job seekers to get ready during downtime

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In recent weeks, "the new normal" has been repeatedly referenced as health experts and politicians discuss the ways Americans are adapting to the coronavirus pandemic. However, a Philadelphia job recruiter says the phrase will also extend to the job market.  

“Once this is over and people return to work, we’ll see more need for medical health care providers, insurance claims specialists, specialized cleaning companies, medical equipment makers, morticians, psychologists, teachers, and wireless and cable workers,” said Myra Brown, CEO of the National Workforce Opportunity Network.

Through her work with NWON, Brown is already seeing an increased demand for those positions. NWON is a full-service job placement agency that matches employers with job seekers in the Philadelphia region. However, unlike traditional employment agencies, Brown and her employees at NWON continue to work with both parties after the hiring takes place.

“We don’t just get people in the door; we keep them in. Our company focuses on retention,” Brown said.

In recent weeks, she said, companies have asked for help finding workers, but, they’ve changed their hiring practices.  

“First, there’s the interview. Now, they’re taking place virtually. Companies are talking to potential employees via Skype, Zoom, and FaceTime.”

Brown said the changes she’s seeing indicate the start of something – not just a temporary alternative.

“Everyone should be looking at new opportunities. This is an uncertain time for everyone, including companies. Update your résumé and set up a LinkedIn account … even if you return to your job, your employer should know which other skills you offer.”

For those who have recently lost their jobs, there are still opportunities available. Brown said some companies need people to start now.

“At NWON, we listed jobs for a chef’s assistants, engineers, a social worker who would work with homeless people.”

Brown also advises people to take advantage of free online courses to expand their skill set. Coursera, for example, offers thousands of courses from major universities. Many last hours, while others require longer commitments.

Brown said workers and job seekers must get ready for a new reality.

"They need to adapt. Companies are using new tools and methods because they're free, easy and safe. I don't think they'll stop once this is over," she said.

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