4 Ways to Optimize Your Unemployment Job Search

By DeVry University

The effects of the COVID-19 outbreak have led to a great deal of uncertainty across the country and the world. With uncertainty, however, comes hope, innovation and a new sense of resiliency. Though it is undoubtedly stressful that jobs have been lost, unexpected positives are being found: more time with family, new ways of working and new modes of connection and communication. Additionally, old aspirations may be bubbling to the surface for many, leading to the question: is this the perfect opportunity to do something different?

Whether you’re looking for another role in your current line of work or ready to take on a new adventure, read on for an overview of tools and resources to help you in your unemployment job search.

2020 unemployment: the statistics.

According to May data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the current unemployment rate sits at just around 13.3%. For perspective, the unemployment rate hovered at around 3.5% in February, just before the spread of COVID-19 in the United States. The first wave of job losses, which included more than 20 million people, came from the restaurant and service sectors. However, the impact of coronavirus has become more widespread, affecting households from all walks of life and workers from every type of industry.

Learning new skills and the unemployment job search.

Though employment may be starting to bounce back and parts of the country may be reopening, the reality is that for many, a good portion of the year 2020 will have been spent indoors. According to CNBC, for people who are furloughed or laid off, this offers a unique opportunity for learning new skills, which can:

  • Help you feel stimulated.
  • Help open the door to new opportunities down the road.
  • Help you develop “transferable” skills if you are considering a new career.
  • Help you go back to work with more confidence and motivation.

There are also certain soft skills and abilities, as well as learning areas, that are especially pertinent to the job market right now, also according to CNBC. These include:

There are a number of online venues for everything from learning new skills to earning new degrees or certificates. Wondering how to find a new career? There are also several resources for analyzing and developing a plan for your career.

Below, find a set of resources for levelling up your skillset and planning out your next steps.

Unemployment training programs and career resources for 2020.

Many institutions and organizations are offering free or low-cost courses that focus on skills building, as well as resume writing and other career-oriented tasks. The following are a few options to consider:

1. CareerOneStop.

CareerOneStop is a website that serves job seekers and others with a variety of free online tools, information and resources. Here, you'll find an assortment of training opportunities and job search tools offered by the U.S. Department of Labor. Additionally, the site can help you find information and support around unemployment during COVID-19, including:

  • How to register for unemployment insurance.
  • Which unemployment benefits you might qualify for.
  • What to do if you are (or were) self-employed.

CareerOneStop can also be helpful for finding unemployment training programs that may help you in your job search.

2. Professional development training.

Institutions like DeVry University have adapted to the new world we are living in by offering free training for anyone interested in improving their skills. These training videos span a variety of topics, from business communication to best practices in stressful times and even self-care. Some of the more recent trainings center on:

  • Taking care of yourself when working remotely.
  • How to thrive professionally and personally during times of change.
  • How to develop and maintain a growth mindset (and how doing so can help during challenging times).

Find a full library of free professional develop trainings from DeVry here.

3. LinkedIn.

If you're not on LinkedIn, now is the time to change that. Not only is LinkedIn the place where you can showcase your digital resume to the entire world, but it is also a place where you can network with like-minded professionals, grow your own group of connections and source potential job opportunities. To make the most of LinkedIn:

  • Make your profile clear.
  • Include a picture that's professional or approachable.
  • Put some thought into your summary.
  • Join groups that share your interests and engage with the conversations people are having.
  • Ask for recommendations.
  • Take time to build up your network.
  • Ask for feedback about your resume.
  • Inquire with your connections about possible job leads.

Meeting with a Career Advisor can be a great way to optimize your presence on LinkedIn – and help boost your job search efforts as a whole. From providing feedback on your online profile, to helping you perfect your resume and interview skills, a Career Advisor can help equip you with the confidence and know-how to perform a more effective job search.

4. Skill-building courses and certificates.

During your unemployment job search, you might consider building or refining new marketable skills. Consider spending a portion of time everyday watching skill-building videos or reading articles about new developments in your industry. Flexing your creative muscles can also help you in your career, so don’t hesitate to try something outside your normal wheelhouse.

If you are looking for a more in-depth learning experience, you might consider pursuing an undergraduate or graduate certificate. Certificate programs can typically be completed in about a year (or less, in some instances) and give you the opportunity to add a college-level credential to your resume. In DeVry University’s certificate programs, for example, students may also qualify for financial aid.

Additional information and unemployment support.

There are a number of resources available to help you figure out if you're eligible for unemployment, how to apply and what you need to do to ensure your application is properly completed. Benefits.gov is a great place to start. This site includes information regarding where you can find:

  • Coronavirus benefits.
  • Unemployment resources.
  • Healthcare resources.
  • Loans and other resources for your business.
  • Assistance with applying for unemployment.
  • Information regarding the economic impact payment (stimulus check).

If you're out of work—or if you've been unhappy in your current employment situation—now could be a great opportunity to make a decision about your next steps.

DeVry University and our Keller Graduate School of Management provide Career Services assistance to both our students and alumni. Contact us to learn more or explore our programs.

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