Although America continues to make progress toward a post-pandemic world, not everyone is seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. In Central Florida especially, unemployment is still elevated, and thousands of job seekers are still trying to get back in the workforce.
When you’re out of work, things can get scary fast. Many Central Florida families live paycheck to paycheck, without any emergency savings. If you’re already caught up in worries about healthcare coverage or mortgage payments, it can make looking for your next job feel like an uphill battle.
But what has really changed in the last year? And is it possible to adapt? Here are some of the most common questions we receive from jobseekers:
- What’s the outlook for the job market these days? It depends on where you’re standing. In some industries, business is picking up and companies – like Goodwill – are hiring (or re-hiring) people who lost work last spring. Employers feel more confident about the future. But not everyone has recovered at the same pace – and some sectors, like hospitality, will need a while to bounce back.At the same time, the pandemic made it harder for employers to find qualified talent – which means that many companies still have roles to fill. Meanwhile, businesses that had to reduce their staff in 2020 may begin recruiting again.
- What are employers looking for? In a word: flexibility. The future is still unpredictable – and whether you’re working in a warehouse or working from home, employers need people who can get the job done in unconventional circumstances. There are more “temporary” and part-time positions, as companies try to fill important roles without knowing for certain what tomorrow might bring.Being fluent with technology is another big plus. Whether or not you’re in an “office job,” chances are good that you’ll need to be able to use Zoom on a mobile device, tune in to virtual meetings, and communicate easily via email and text.
- What’s the best way to stand out from the crowd? Research, research, research. Make sure you’re ready for the interview … that you ask the right questions … and that you know what the company is looking for. Always relate your answers to the job description. Remember, you’re not just talking about yourself; you’re advertising why you’re the ideal candidate for this position.If you’re trying to enter a new field, focus on transferrable skills and experiences. Practice out loud giving clear, concise examples of real situations you handled – a time you managed a team, dealt with a difficult customer, or overcame a weakness.
- Where can you get help – when you feel like you’ve tried everything? Finding help is easier than you might think. At Goodwill, our virtual job connection team provides free career counseling to anyone who needs it. Whether you’re looking for a resume review, interview practice, access to certification and training, or other support, our specialists are ready to assist.Thanks to our partnerships with local employers and staffing agencies, Goodwill also can help connect job seekers to permanent roles or temporary ones. It’s a win-win: Employers can hire new team members, families gain a source of income, and employees can acquire experience and showcase their skills on the job.
No matter your situation, please reach out – we’re here to help. For more information, visit www.GoodwillCFL.org.
Odalys Simmons is a job connection services virtual team member with Goodwill Industries of Central Florida. She can be reached at JobConnection@GoodwillCFL.org or by calling (407) 235-1541.