Given the magnitude of the COVID pandemic, members of the workforce need market intelligence on how their industries and, consequently, jobs will be impacted, as well as guidance on actions they need to take to ensure a promising and successful professional future in a post-COVID 19 world.

As cofounders of Wayfind Careers, Adele Dubin and Natasha Srulowitz have guided hundreds of clients to a broader self-awareness and understanding of job paths that are best suited for them individually. In this interview, Natasha and Adele graciously share their professional expertise with our readers.

Rochelle Maruch Miller: Welcome back, Wayfind team. Our previous article about Wayfind elicited quite a bit of interest from our readers, who’ve sent in questions for you, some of which are below.

What are some fundamental changes that are taking place in the job market?

Wayfind: Remote work will continue to grow, opening up more opportunities for jobs in distant locations. Supply of workers will outstrip demand for some time, making the job market more competitive. Workers will need to build certain hard skills to adapt in the marketplace and focus on soft skills to differentiate themselves from other candidates and to be successful in working remotely. Job seekers will need to get comfortable with remote interviewing style, networking through digital routes, and invest in their digital assets. It’s important to understand how and where to position yourself.

RMM: What are some examples of industries that continue to fare well and have strong hiring?

Wayfind:

  1. Technology: online commerce, content, transactions, cyber security solutions, cloud technologies, video conferencing, data science/business intelligence (according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 11.5 million new jobs in data science and analytics will be created by the year 2026), and information systems helping with connectivity, security, and maintenance of computer systems.
  2. E-commerce: Front-end (website development, UX/UI design, programming, digital marketing, searching optimization, social media, digital content/copy, photography) and back-end (logistics, distribution, transportation, inventory management).
  3. Manufacturing: More manufacturing is staying local than ever.
  4. Business operations, sales, human resources, financial management, insurance, legal
  5. Healthcare: As per a recent report by CNN, the U.S. will need to hire 2.3 million new healthcare workers by 2025 to be able to take care of the aging population qualitatively.
  6. Home improvement and vocational
  7. Mental-health careers
  8. Grocery stores and pharmacies, healthcare manufacturers (PPE), delivery services, alternative restaurant models

RMM: Which jobs are suited for remote work?

Wayfind: Marketing, sales, creative content (writing, photography, video), programming, design (websites, UX, graphic, some interior), bookkeeping, customer support, online commerce, telehealth

RMM: What are some in-demand jobs for the coronavirus economy?

Wayfind: Technology. Software quality-assurance testers, designers, cloud engineers, data scientists/analysts, computer and information systems managers, information security analysts

Healthcare. Licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians, and medical and health services managers (adult facilities, homecare)

Operations. Operations research analyst, supply chain managers, truck drivers

Engineering. Industrial, electrical, mechanical, biomedical

Finance. Personal financial advisors, financial analysts

Marketing. Market research analysts, digital marketing specialists

Education. Post-secondary health specialties teachers, elementary school teachers

Professional. Accountants, lawyers

Therapy. Physical therapists, physical therapy aides, speech, OT

Counseling. Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental-health counselors

Business. Sales representatives, human research specialists, general operations manager

Vocational. Electricians, plumbers, construction managers, industrial machinery mechanics

RMM: If someone is job hunting during the COVID-19 pandemic, what practical strategies should they follow?

Wayfind: Here are some tips for putting your best foot forward, nailing the virtual interview, touting your soft skills, dealing with résumé gaps, and more.

Networking. Networking during COVID-19 is easier than you think with 85% of conversations taking place online. Build digital assets such as a digital résumé and LinkedIn profile. Communicate with people through LinkedIn and Facebook in your network. Join job sites such as Shulnetworkjobs.org, 5TFR Jobs Task Force, JewishJobs.com for nonprofits and schools, Frumbiz.org, JobsGemach.com, and PCS Career Services. WhatsApp groups such as Frum Jewish Job Listing are also helpful.

Get comfortable with the remote interview. For the foreseeable future, many job interviews will be online. That means that you need to look professional and engaging on the video call. You also need to strive to create an emotional connection with the interviewer.

Look directly into the webcam to make your contact. Dress professionally head to toe in case you have to stand up. Pick a clean, uncluttered background and avoid virtual backgrounds like baseball parks. Nod and smile more often than you think you need to. Using your hands can also establish a connection.

Polish your résumé for the bots. Most recruitment platforms like Monster, Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and most other leading job boards use AI-powered applicant tracking systems to shortlist potential candidates. Understanding how these systems work is just as important as understanding what employers are looking for. There are websites out there that can help you match your résumé to the keywords in job listings (e.g., jobscan.co.). In addition, customize the résumé to the particular job. Focus on the last ten years of your career. Use two pages. Invest in professional résumé experience. Finally, no pictures, please.

Don’t read too much into job titles. Job titles can be cryptic and vary from organization to organization. Look past the title and think about the organization and desired skills. You don’t need 100 percent of what’s listed on the job description to qualify. You need to start by getting past the first screen and having a conversation with a human being to find out what the job really entails.

Pump up your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn provides a recruiter’s or hiring manager’s first impression of you. Consider these steps to make your profile stand out and avoid issues.

Craft a compelling summary. Be sure to include recent, relevant, measurable achievements in your summary to stand out from the crowd.

Add projects and metrics to your experience section. Include a short summary of your job responsibilities, but also include major accomplishments, metrics, or relevant projects you are proud of.

Populate your skills section. Include technologies, software, and systems you have experience with.

Include links to personal projects. Have a portfolio? A GitHub account? A link to a project or case study PDF? Publish those.

Establish yourself as a thought leader. Share articles you’ve been quoted in or links to a conference you’ve spoken at to showcase you’re a thought leader in your industry.

Go with your recommendations. Include a recommendation not only from your boss, but also from a former colleague, vendor, or business partner.

Amplify your soft skills and remote work experience. There’s nothing soft about soft skills. There is a great deal of essential value in leadership, communication, adaptability, resourcefulness, and other non-technical competencies. They should be called core skills. Amid the stress and remote reality of the pandemic, soft skills such as flexibility, listening, and empathy have never been more important. Showing demonstrable soft skills, which you can bring up in the course of discussing challenging projects and/or working relationships, can put you at the top of the candidate list. Some examples to consider for your next interview: communications, empathy, critical thinking/problem solving, adaptability, and social/interpersonal skills. What stories can you tell to show these skills?

Mind the Gap. While job seekers have traditionally dreaded explaining a gap on their résumés, the reality is many people will have gaps in 2020 — whether due to a layoff, needing to care for family, or other challenges. When asked about the gap time, be ready to discuss how you filled it. Some examples that show you continued earning and learning include contributing to open source projects, pursuing a personal passion project, online courses, new certifications, publishing articles or speaking at virtual conferences, and community volunteer work or pro bono work.

Founded by Adele Dubin and Natasha Srulowitz, WayFind offers individual and group career planning services, helping people in the Jewish community make wise, informed career decisions. For additional information, contact info@wayfindcareers.com or visit WayFindCareers.com

Rochelle Maruch Miller is a contributing editor for the Five Towns Jewish Times. She is a journalist, creative media consultant, lecturer, and educator, and writes for magazines, newspapers, websites, and private clients. She welcomes your comments at Rochellemiller04@aol.com

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