I’m a big fan of WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi. Last night he hosted program that brought together several career professionals to talk about the current state of employment nationally and in the DC area. I wanted to share a couple of points made by the panelists.
The program opened with producer Jeremy Bernfeld welcoming the listeners, and then Kojo Nnamdi set the stage talking about the current economic state and massive unemployment that we haven’t seen since the 1930s.
Panelists and their remarks included:
Nancy Augustine of George Washington University mentioned that fully 20% of the DC area workforce is federally employed. As such, the area will probably suffer less during the COVID crisis. There is also a small manufacturing sector in the DC metro area. How much federal spending to allocated to the area is still an unknown factor however. She indicated that nonessential workers have been hardest hit in this area. Nancy strongly recommended that aspirants for jobs seek out remote learning opportunities right now. It’s difficult to predict what specific industries will not come back. Those that are characterized by crowded venues: sports, concerts, etc., will be last. Jobs that require human contact will stay with us and she thought we might in fact be seeking those situations when the crisis is over. She reminded listeners of the quote by Churchill: “Never waste a good crisis.”
Julie Neill is an MBA program career coach of the University of Maryland. She talked about the need in resumes to use key words related to specific fields to comply with the applicant track system or ATS. You recommended Jobscan as a site to check to see if your resume is compliant with a field. She emphasized the need for networking virtually right now. Many professionals are generous with their time. Today, we have moved to a “project based” work world for many. Julie recommended virtual career fairs and the importance of life long learning. Regarding resumes, she advised against writing out duties and focus more on accomplishments in discussing past employment. Regarding salary negotiations, if the offer is not a good one ask: “How did you get to that figure?” She felt this was a good time to apply for jobs. If you don’t apply, you certainly won’t get hired.
Char Brown is a career coach and resume writer. She strongly recommended skill based volunteering. This is the time to consider your strategy. Companies are still hiring for the most part. For freelancers, she recommended Freelancer. Freelance and gig work is the key to starting in a new direction. Interviews are being conducted by Zoom and through other virtual means. In a resume, use active words and make it ATS compliant. Use LinkedIn to seek out informational interviews. You can also customized your URL through LinkedIn.
David J. Smith is a career coach, speaker and consultant based in Rockville, Maryland, USA. He is the author of Peace Jobs: A Student’s Guide to Starting a Career Working for Peace(IAP 2016). He is an official member of Forbes Coaches Council and member of career advisory board PCDN Global. David is also the president of the Forage Center for Peacebuilding and Humanitarian Education, Inc. and teaches at School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University and the School of Education at Drexel University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.