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How to find a job during the coronavirus pandemic

Whether you're a soon-to-be graduate, recently laid off or hoping to enter a new field, here are a few job hunting tips.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Looking for a new job is a big task, even without a pandemic causing layoffs and millions of unemployment claims.

Whether you're a soon-to-be graduate, recently laid off or hoping to enter a new field, here are a few job hunting tips from Denise Hamilton, career counselor at California State University, Sacramento.

"Even though some industries are letting people go, there are others that are still recruiting new talent," Hamilton said.

K-12 teachers, health care workers, and essential services like grocery stores and government agencies are hiring, Hamilton said.

"The virtual area is booming. The companies running those types of software and programs are booming," she said.

Students graduating in May may have to shift their mindset during their job search, Hamilton said.

"Some folks may have to do what they have to do to make a living while pursuing their career or dream," she said. "Be open-minded. You may have one idea of what you want to do when you first graduate but be open to trying something different."

Hamilton said there is no magic website for job openings. Instead, she suggests connecting with people through LinkedIn.

"Build relationships," Hamilton said. "Although we’re disconnected, we can still connect with people online. Connect with and learn from people who are doing what you hope to do in your career. If they hear of something down the line, they’re going to think about you. Coronavirus or not, I’ve seen that work time and time again."

She said searching for a job is also about a quality application. She recommends taking a mindful approach.

"Really get to know the job description. Pull out words they’re looking for, grab the strength and skills and put them into your resume and cover letter. You want the recruiter to feel like this is the only job you applied for," Hamilton said.

Since in-person interviews aren't possible, job searchers should make sure they're comfortable with virtual interviews, Hamilton said. She said interviews should be done in a distraction-free space, and video and audio equipment should be tested ahead of time.

"Bring a little bit more energy than you would in person. You really have to be expressive with your face and your voice because that’s all they have. Dress like you’re meeting in person too. Practice with friends or family online, especially if this is your first time doing a virtual interview," Hamilton said. 

Hamilton said a job search can be long and discouraging, but taking a break and keeping a positive attitude can help.

"The more creative and flexible you are, the more successful you'll be in your job search," Hamilton said.

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