Things to do right now for your post-pandemic job search

Woman Sitting on the Floor Working on a Laptop

If you have been let go, laid-off, right-sized, downsized, furloughed or your income has been significantly reduced as a result of state-issued “stay-at-home” orders and various economic forces at play during the coronavirus pandemic, you’re not alone. This time has been especially stressful for household employees who don’t have the ability to save up for emergencies, take paid time off, or have affordable or reliable healthcare.

While the reality is this pandemic triggered job losses, it won’t last as a permanent excuse to advance your career in this post-pandemic world. Utilize this time to prepare to attract the type of employer you hope to find, and, if you haven’t already, take crucial steps to protect yourself down the road. Here are all the smart moves experts advise domestic workers to make now.

Make sure you’re being paid legally

Given the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many benefits caregivers paid legally are qualifying for when they need it most, such as stimulus checks, paid leave, and expanded unemployment benefits. Household employees are now experiencing additional difficulty during this pandemic because being paid under the table has left them ineligible to receive sick pay or unemployment.

Moving forward, make sure to advocate for yourself with employers to get paid legally and refuse any long-term cash or “off the books” jobs. Provide your employer with a signed W-4, which they need to withhold taxes from your pay. If they need more information, you can point them to Fair and Legal Pay, a new resource for household employees and their employers.

Get a contract

The contract can be as simple or exhaustive as you and your employer feel comfortable with. But at the bare minimum, it should cover your job duties, responsibilities, schedule, compensation, benefits, and any paid time off offered. It’s also important to spell out the terms of separation, a non-disclosure agreement, and/or social media policy. In short, the document should lay out the groundwork for your employment, which you and your employer can refer back to on an ongoing basis. Note that if you are working with a reputable agency, they will help provide the family with a templated agreement.

Gather your references

Now, while we’re all practicing physical distancing to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, could be the ideal time to reconnect with references to touch base. See how the families you have worked with are faring during this pandemic, let them know you will be starting a search for a new position in the next couple of months, and get their permission to be contacted by potential employers or agencies. It’s a great time to remind them that a positive reference from them will help you and that you enjoyed the time you spent working with their family. Double-check that the positions on your resume correspond with your references, as most families and reputable agencies will be collecting a reference for each position you have listed.

Boost your skills

Now is the perfect time to work on bolstering your qualifications. Analyze job descriptions by listing each required skill and experience. Then consider whether you have that exact skill, if you have the skill but haven’t used it in a few years, or if you’re lacking the skill entirely. Use that information to determine what you need to brush up on to make yourself an even better candidate when the job market picks up again.

Many companies are offering free or reduced-cost resources and classes, or have instituted payment plan options. We have listed some of the free courses off the internet on one of our previous blogs – How to make the most of your time during this pandemic? Check them out here.

Polish your online presence

With many household employees out of work, this increases the options for employers who are looking for employees. If your online presence is negative or unprofessional, a potential employer may move on without ever even considering your qualifications. Brush up your resume — use a design platform like Canva to make yours eye-catching. Make sure that your Instagram and Facebook accounts are either privatized or professional and pay special attention to LinkedIn.

Many nannies get turned down for interviewing with families because a parent checked out their LinkedIn profile and saw that they had a ‘marketing associate’ or a non-nanny job listed as their title.

Ask friends and peers for recommendations on LinkedIn and join like-minded and educational groups. Look for professional groups to join on Facebook and LinkedIn. Both platforms offer a wide range of options with groups for every profession. Offer to proofread your friend’s resume and cover letter. It will give you a sense of satisfaction, and it will help strengthen your network for the future.

Refresh your rates

Take this time to ensure you’re being paid appropriately by checking the current going rates for your local area and taking your skill set and workload into consideration. Rate information in your area may change in light of the ongoing situation. The reality is that market rates have always been based on supply and demand. Check multiple sources, compare rates against your personal experience and education, and adjust accordingly if you need to. And if you are on the higher end of the range for your area, be prepared to justify that rate through solid references and up-to-date education.

Join an Association

Becoming a member of a professional group, such as the INA or the U.S. Nanny Association, can provide you with a wealth of resources and support. For instance, the INA has ongoing webinars for free right now and offers members networking opportunities through their member-only Facebook group while the U.S. Nanny Association boasts expert webinars and a digital library with work agreements, interview questions, and child care education.

Keep track of job openings and use the time to reflect

Job seekers often jump at the first available opportunity or go into their search without fully considering what they want to do next. Take advantage of the slowing job market by getting clarity about where you want to work and the type of role and title you’re seeking. Be prepared to think about your role more broadly and possibly pivot to an adjacent position that would also make use of your experience and skills. Find and keep track of new job postings quickly and simply by:

  • Organizing your job search. It will make the process smoother.
  • Setting up job alerts, so you are notified about new postings as soon as they are listed.
  • Using hashtags to expedite your job search.
  • Follow us on Instagram @rcglifestyle for regular job opening updates.

Prepare for Zoom interviews

Prepare for video interviews and practice interviewing via camera. If you’ve never interviewed via Skype or Zoom, there’s a bit of a learning curve. Get acquainted with the technology and do a practice interview before you speak with the hiring manager. Pay close attention to the lighting and background as well as how your interview outfit shows up on camera.

Seek answers to these questions

When asked why you were laid off, terminated, or furloughed in this pandemic, how will you explain? You must be specific when answering why you no longer have a job. Asking yourself these questions now will help you sail interviews as employers will be listening/watching for your responses in the post-pandemic competitive job market.

  • During this pandemic, what evidence can you show that you have researched new career tracks, read specific books, articles, webinars, meetings, etc. that are directly related to improving your skills to compete?
  • What goals, ideas, timelines, and possible career tracks have you documented and researched to determine if you are a viable candidate for the role you’ve targeted?
  • Do you know what you are worth in the marketplace right now? What determines your value? How will you demonstrate your value proposition in 15 seconds or less?

The bottom line

Whether you’re preparing to work for an old employer or to find a new client in the future, you can use this time to get yourself organized and bolster your career. That way, when the jobs start coming, you are ready to launch. If you’re not hearing back on jobs as quickly as you’d like, be patient and kind to hiring managers and your networking connections. Everyone has issues to deal with and is doing the best they can during a difficult time. The hiring process may be longer and different from what you’re used to, but you’ll get there. When you do, take the time to thank everyone who helped with your job search.

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