Morgan Puckett is a senior at Gordon College, preparing to launch herself into her career in a few short months. Puckett had summer plans to intern with the Department of Defense in Washington DC, which would have resulted in a job offer. Due to COVID-19, this internship was canceled, making her chances of getting a job with them more difficult.
Puckett said, “I’m graduating soon and need to find a job, so I’ve had to start searching for other positions. I’m frustrated that COVID may have taken away my dream job.”
2020 has been a year that has flipped everyone's plans upside down. COVID has greatly impacted the US economy, leaving many struggling financially. Most people’s work hours have been reduced, and many have lost their jobs both temporarily or indefinitely.
The big question is…
Are there any companies that are willing to hire in 2020?
The answer is yes, but it in no way compares to the amount of employees companies have had to let go.
After the slow shut down of businesses in the US in March, it was recorded that 7.1 million people filed for unemployment due to COVID-19. By April almost all non-essential businesses shut down, surging the unemployment rate. After months of staying home, businesses are slowly opening. August reported 13.55 million were completely unemployed, with no signs of their pre-COVID establishments reopening.
US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, “In August, 24.2 million persons reported that they had been unable to work because their employer closed or lost business due to the pandemic — that is, they did not work at all or worked fewer hours at some point in the last 4 weeks due to the pandemic.”
Danielle Bryant, a restaurant server, has felt the impacts of COVID layoffs since March. Slick Willies’ Family Pool Hall in Austin, Texas had to shut down in mid-March along with other restaurants. They were never told when they would be opening back up.
“It was really hard for me during quaratine, because I wasn’t able to get unemployment. I was without a job and money for those 4 months. I kept holding off finding a new job because I love the place I work at and the people.
Bryant waited all summer for the green light from her boss that the restaurant was opening back up. Just as she was starting to look for a new job in August, she was told they would be opening up the following week.
“After we re-opened our business was totally effected. It was definitely a lot slower after we reopened this last time. I usually work five days a week, and now I work anywhere from three to four days. ”
With businesses slowly opening up again at the end of the summer, we have seen the unemployment rate drop. People are finally finding more work.
While many have struggled to keep their jobs, certain businesses found themselves having to mass hire due to COVID. Hospitals, grocery stores, and factories found a huge need for employees, because of how much demand they suddenly received. Business Insider has provided a list of the top companies that are hiring during this time. A great example is pharmacies and grocery stores such as CVS and Walmart.
Early during the pandemic, people panicked and started stockpiling products, specifically toilet paper and cleaning products. Grocery stores needed more employers to control inventory and the number of people entering the stores at once. There was also a greater need for factories to produce more of these products, and then someone to deliver them.
The whole process became backed up because none of them were prepared for a surge of people during this season.
Carissa Church, who has worked in HR explained, “Companies are being very cautious about who they are hiring during this time. On the other end, some [like factories and grocery stores] are saying we need 20 bodies now. They are hiring whoever shows up.”
Many companies have also shifted to working remotely, in order to keep the country running and to provide enough work for their employees.
Even though people can continue working this way, working online has its own struggles. Work-life is different when it’s from home. It can be difficult for employees to stay on top of their work when there are distractions all around. It has been especially difficult for parents to continue their work schedules while their kids are at home as well. The community also isn’t the same as when people were coming into work every day.
On the other side of the company, it is difficult for managers to get a good sense of someone’s character on a zoom interview. Harvard Business Review has taken a look at the worries managers are having from hiring new staff online. Businesses have to have good judgment in who they hire, and how many they hire. They must always be thinking ahead about what the economy will look like in the coming months. No one wants to hire someone, just to lay them off the next month.
Carissa Church at Gordon’s Career & Connection Institute gave some advice to those applying to jobs during this time:
“Time management and self-discipline, now more than ever, is super important for someone to have. Companies are looking for someone who is going to sit down at their computer from 8–5 and actually work, not someone who is going to take a break every 5 minutes.”
Job searching and getting interviews can be difficult during this time, but not impossible. Using this extra time we have been given can be used to work on your resume, or update your LinkedIn. Even doing research about a future career path or volunteering is a step towards employment.
“ Know your industry. You need to know what’s going on and how it has been effected [by COVID]. You need to think about how can I be a more attractive and better candidate through Zoom or these types of online video [interviews]. In what ways can I improve my presence online?” -Carissa Church
Puckett’s future is unclear as her time at University ends in December. She may not get the job she planned for, but there is hope that she will find a company that is in need of someone like her. Using this time wisely and reaching out to any company she can will get her one step closer to securing her future job.
Click here to find out how your career path is managing during this time.