Unemployed during COVID-19? What to do?

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp
Share on print
Share on linkedin

We are in strange times – COVID-19 has changed our world.  The landscape of job searching has shifted.  Companies that were thriving just a few weeks ago are now laying off large numbers of employees.  Although these cutbacks are temporary, they dramatically impact those of us who are looking for work in these surreal times.  

How can we navigate this unstable landscape?  Should we just give up?  Is there any sense in looking for a job right now?  

Well… actually, yes! Both Air Canada and WestJet, companies that had previously laid-off thousands of workers due to COVID-19, have announced that they are now able to re-hire many of those workers because of government funding.  It is an ever-changing climate, but it is one filled with hope.  

Here are some tips to help you find your way in this brave new world:

Consider a Different Industry

If you have only been looking for work in a certain sector (and, let’s face it, most of us have narrowed down our job search to specific industries), start to consider a different one.  Think outside the box:  you may find that you have skills that can easily be transferred to a job in an alternate industry. 

Need ideas? Read our last blog post or talk to your EC for more current leads.

Search for “Urgently Hiring” Positions on Job Search Engines

It is true that some businesses are downsizing or freezing their hiring process because of the uncertain future COVID-19 is creating.  But, believe it or not, there are companies that are expanding, even during these precarious times.

Here are a couple of tips to help you find them:

  • Type in “urgently hiring” or “immediate hiring” into Indeed, Monster, Google or whichever search engine you like to use.
  • Look for “temporary” jobs.  A business still needs employees even if they may not be able to commit to long-term. At a time when having a stable income is more important than ever, see this as an opportunity rather than a disadvantage.
  • Some Job Search Engines, like Jooble, even have dedicated sections with a list of current openings across Canada.

Help Out in Your Community – Volunteer!

While you continue to look for paid jobs, think about where you can help in your community. Not only does it boost your resume, grow your network and expand your references, it also provides much needed relief to organizations that may be feeling overwhelmed by this pandemic. At the same, you may learn a new skill set or build on an old one.  It is a win-win situation!

Wondering how to get started? Go to Volunteermanitoba.ca for the many opportunities listed there. Worried about social distancing and staying safe? There are still lots of ways you can help, like asking your high risk neighbours if they need help grocery shopping or donating food to your local food bank. Check out this article for even more ideas.

Network, Network, Network!

Although companies in your chosen field may have stopped hiring while they wait to see the effects of COVID-19 on their businesses,  you can still continue to build relationships. How? Reach out to employers you dream of working for and connect with organizations you anticipate will hire again in the coming months.

LinkedIn is the perfect place to start! It helps create a professional showcase that can open doors because it is a platform that helps you network with other professionals, both within your field and outside of it. It is a great place to highlight your strengths and expertise and get noticed by hiring managers.

So, for sure, the world of job searching has changed – suddenly and unexpectedly.  We are all trying to find direction as this situation unfolds, but even in these uncertain times, keep striving for your employment goals.  Continue to apply, volunteer, build relationships, and network!

Author: Stacie Gottfried, Employment Services Advisor


Benefits of temporary employment (‘temping’). (2018, November 19). Retrieved from www.totaljobs.com: https://www.totaljobs.com/advice/benefits-of-temporary-employment

BOYNTON, S. (2020, March 19). Air Canada to lay off over 5K flight attendants as coronavirus halts travel: union. Retrieved from www.globalnews.ca: https://globalnews.ca/news/6706293/coronavirus-air-canada-layoffs-union/

Ceniza-Levine, C. (2020, March 15). How To Market Yourself To A New Industry. Retrieved from www.forbes.com: https://www.forbes.com/sites/carolinecenizalevine/2020/03/15/how-to-market-yourself-to-a-new-industry/?utm_source=CERIC+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=2313ca743a-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_05_25_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1d052da7c8-2313ca743a-457907685#1bd

COMPANY, A. C. (2020, March). Out of Work During Coronavirus? These Industries Are Still Hiring. Retrieved from www.themuse.com.

Evans, P. (2020, April 8). Air Canada to rehire 16,500 laid-off workers with help of federal government’s wage subsidy. Retrieved from www.cbc.ca: https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/air-canada-hiring-wage-subsidy-1.5525926

Flanagan, R. (2020, April 9). WestJet to hire back 6,400 laid-off workers. Retrieved from www.ctvnews.ca: https://www.ctvnews.ca/business/westjet-to-hire-back-6-400-laid-off-workers-1.4889593

Reed, S. (2020, March 16). 34 simple ways to help others during the COVID-19 pandemic. Retrieved from www.care.com: https://www.care.com/c/stories/16698/ways-to-help-others-coronavirus/

Reese, M. (2020, March 16). Ways to Help in the Community During COVID-19 (while staying safe). Retrieved from bucks.happeningmag.com: http://bucks.happeningmag.com/ways-to-help-in-the-community-during-covid-19-while-staying-safe/#

Roepe, L. R. (n.d.). What Does the Coronavirus Pandemic Mean for Your Job Search? Retrieved from themuse.com: https://www.themuse.com/advice/job-search-coronavirus

Author: Stacie Gottfried, Employment Services Advisor

More to explore

Current Job Opportunities

Only current OFE participants will be considered for the positions highlighted in this post. If you are interested, register by talking to

Passport Series: Appearance

By this time in your journey, you hopefully have a clearer picture of why developing your soft skills is essential for being

[pt_view id=”6abd6099yt”]


Stay up-to-date on topics that can boost your career, give you a fresh perspective on job searching, and help you meet your goals faster.


Stay up-to-date on topics that can boost your career, give you a fresh perspective on job searching, and help you meet your goals faster.