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Unemployed? Here’s some tips for improving your resume during the pandemic

Fingers type on a laptop keyboard Monday, June 19, 2017, in North Andover, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Fingers type on a laptop keyboard Monday, June 19, 2017, in North Andover, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Published: Aug. 18, 2020 at 12:57 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Did you lose your job because of the outbreak of COVID-19? Well, you’re far from alone.

However, hiring experts say you should not let it hurt your confidence in applying for new jobs.

“Being laid off is a big difference from being fired,” explains Rebeca Herbst, the owner of Express Employment Professionals, a staffing agency in Baton Rouge.

Herbst says layoffs have nothing to do with an employee but, rather, is a reflection of the employer.

CONDITIONS WILL IMPROVE

While things may appear to be gloomy now, Herbst and other officials with the Better Business Bureau of South Central Louisiana (BBB) and Louisiana Economic Development (LED) all say better days are ahead, but when exactly, remains unclear.

LED Secretary Don Pierson says the State of Louisiana is working with its economic development partners to help residents get back to work safely.

We also are working to make our economy more resilient. The recently established Resilient Louisiana Commission held its first meeting April 22 to begin examining our economy and identifying methods to make it more resilient in the face of current and future threats. We commend the many Louisiana businesses that are “pivoting” and adjusting their products and services to not only stay in business, but provide crucial products in this time of need. The oil and gas sector has been particularly hard-hit by global supply and demand issues, aggravated by COVID-19. While it’s difficult to predict the exact pace of job recovery, we can recommend the following resources for workers,” Pierson said in a statement to WAFB.

Both Herbst and Carmen Million, with the BBB, agree that it is likely there will be a hiring boom in south Louisiana once the economy has safely reopened, although both said its unclear which industries or companies will need to rapidly hire a large number of workers.

IS YOUR RESUME READY?

Herbst recommends you start preparing your resume now, so you’re ahead of the pack when businesses start hiring again.

She says being laid off will not stigmatize your resume, but does recommend you do the following to prepare your resume before applying for a new job:

  • Update your resume (put your most recent work experience at the top)
  • Organize your resume (make sure it’s easy to read)
  • Keep it concise (your resume should be 1-2 pages)
  • Proofread your resume (check for spelling, grammatical errors)
  • Have someone else proofread it (ask them to find any mistakes or discrepancies)
  • Study your resume (be ready to confidently speak about your resume if asked about it by a potential employer)

If you need additional help, Herbst says Indeed.com offers many free articles and videos for writing and formatting your resume.

Herbst and her team at Express Employment Professionals also recommend using a resume template, like the ones available on Microsoft Word.

For college graduates, she says you should reach out to your university’s alumni relations office for resume advice.

Herbst and her team also say you’ll want to take a look at your social media pages and make sure they’re the best representation of yourself to prospective employers.

They also suggest researching companies you would like to work for on social media.

“You know if you’re really interested in working for a particular company, go follow that page on Facebook,” explains Nicole Haydel, an employment specialist with Express Employment Professionals.

EMPLOYERS CURRENTLY HIRING

If you’re looking to stay busy and earn extra income, Herbst says her staffing agency has been in contact with businesses that are actually hiring, right now.

“All of the grocery stores are hiring,” Herbst says. She also adds companies that offer pizza delivery, fast food restaurants, and home improvement stores like the Home Depot are also hiring.

While working as a pizza delivery driver or as a grocery store cashier might pay less than the job you just lost, Herbst says it will not devalue your resume. If you do get hired for a lesser paying position after you were laid off, she recommends you add that to your resume.

If you’re looking for a new job that would allow you to work from home, Herbst suggests searching “work from home” on career websites. You can find those resources by clicking here.

Million recommends with any new job offer you receive, make sure you have researched the company first.

“We warn consumers to do their homework before agreeing to any positions,” Millon said.

PREPARING FOR AN INTERVIEW

Once your resume is up to date, Herbst recommends you start preparing for a potential interview.

She says it’s easy to practice for a job interview at home.

“Videotape your self, get someone else to ask you questions [about your resume], and analyze your body language and tone,” Herbst said.

She says it’s important you work to be able to confidently answer questions about your work experience.

“Practice makes perfect,” Herbst adds.

DRUG TESTING

She also says when you do land a new job it’s very likely you’ll be asked to take a pre-employment drug and alcohol test.

Herbst explains every company her staffing agency works with requires drug testing for potential hires.

She says many companies have drug testing policies and some even test for alcohol.

“If you’re looking for employment you need to be prepared to take and pass a drug test,” Herbst says.

One last thing she says you shouldn’t forget about is your old employer. If you have been laid off, Herbst says it is a good idea to stay in contact with your former supervisor or human resources manager.

Herbst says many of her clients who’ve had to reduce their workforce due to COVID-19 have told her the plan to rehire the same employees they had lay off.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES TO FIND JOBS

If you’re looking for additional ways for your resume to reach potential employers, Herbst recommends you apply for jobs through a staffing agency. You can visit her agency’s website for jobs and resources by clicking here.

Pierson says LED manages the Louisiana Job Connection site, which allows job seekers to submit their qualifications and match them with available Louisiana jobs by clicking here.

He also recommends job seekers visit the following resources:

Million also suggests job seekers visit the BBB’s website to verify companies they’re applying to are accredited businesses.

Copyright 2020 WAFB. All rights reserved.

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