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Job seekers adapt to challenges of getting hired during COVID-19 pandemic

Job seekers adapt to challenges of getting hired during COVID-19 pandemic
Posted at 5:12 PM, Jun 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-29 17:17:33-04

SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- Virtual interviews and job fairs are among some of the biggest changes when searching for a new job during the COVID-19 era. And the millions of newly unemployed Americans are vying for fewer jobs.

Christy Schmidt, a 34-year-old who lives in Bend, Oregon, has been scouring job boards ever since she was let go by her employer.

"The amount of jobs up there or jobs that are very close to a fit for me are just non-existent, and I have come to realize that there are tons of other wonderful qualified people applying for the exact same jobs I am," said Schmidt.

She was working as an executive assistant for three vice presidents at Navis, a company that specializes in technology for the hospitality industry. Some of their biggest clients include hotels and resorts.

"It was literally my dream job. It was the best company culture I had ever been a part of, just some of the most brilliant people that were just so down to earth. I loved going to work every single day," said Schmidt.

Schmidt thought working from home would be temporary, just during COVID-19, until the day managers called an all-team meeting.

"And it was very tough for them to tell us we no longer had jobs, that they were doing everything they could to make the company survive," said Schmidt.

After months of searching, she finally found an opportunity that made her hopeful, only to learn it was a scam. When it came time for the virtual interview, the scammer instead wanted to have a text conversation over Google Hangouts.

"All they want is personal information; they did not want to know anything about my experience or background," said Schmidt.

The FBI says hiring scams have spiked during the pandemic.

Now, Schmidt is considering moving out of the small town of Bend to go back home to California, where there are more jobs available.

"Maybe I need to relocate myself just to be able to survive right now," said Schmidt.

Tim Best, CEO of Bradley-Morris RecruitMilitary, says Schmidt is far from alone.

"This isn't going away, so it's not even about, well this is what I need to do now. No, this is a competency we all need to develop because this is here to stay at some level," said Best.

The Army veteran has spent the last two decades helping military veterans and their spouses find careers through massive job fairs at venues like Yankee Stadium.

Now, they're going virtual.

"Really, no one understands what a virtual career fair is until they experience it," said Best.

Employers market their brand in virtual chat rooms, which can lead to a video interview on the spot.

While some sectors, like hospitality and tourism, will likely be slow to come back, essential jobs like delivery drivers are in demand. As well as IT, tech, customer service, online teaching, and construction jobs.

"I've seen this before in previous recessions, where people do rethink their career paths," said Best.

The San Diego Workforce Partnership is offering on-demand training videos online. They're also connecting job seekers with affordable certificate programs to help people learn new skills.

Workforce development partners in other cities are offering similar resources.

Schmidt is broadening her search, considering jobs she might have overlooked before the pandemic.

"Knock on every single door because I know eventually one is going to open, and it's going to be the right fit for you," said Schmidt. "And I'm confident that is out there for me as well."

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Reopening Ohio
Gov. Mike DeWine and the State of Ohio have established a plan to begin reopening Ohio businesses starting May 1. Below is a timeline of the businesses allowed to reopen.

May 1: Medical care – non-essential surgeries and procedures that do not require an overnight stay will be allowed beginning May 1.
May 4: Manufacturing, distribution and construction businesses that were ordered to cease activities may reopen on May 4, as well as general office environments.
May 12: Retail establishments and facilities will be allowed to reopen on May 12.
May 15: Salons, barbershops, day spas, tanning facilities, massage parlors, tattoo parlors and piercing businesses. Restaurants will be allowed to serve patrons on outdoor patios. More details here.
May 21: Restaurants and bars will be allowed to reopen for dine-in service. Read more here. Campgrounds will be allowed to reopen. Read more here.
May 22: Horse racing will be allowed to resume, with no spectators. Casinos and Racinos are not included in the reopening. Read more here.
May 26: Gyms, fitness centers, regulated pools, recreation centers and studios will be allowed to reopen, with new requirements. Non-contact and limited-contact sports leagues, such as golf, baseball and tennis will be allowed to resume. BMVs across Ohio will reopen, but government officials encourage citizens to utilize the BMVs online services when possible. Read more here.
May 31: Day care centers will be able to reopen in Ohio. Read more about the plan to reopen day cares here. Day camps and summer camps will also be allowed to operate. Details on that here.

While these announced reopenings encompass the majority of the businesses, agencies and events closed and canceled by the state's orders, the governor has not yet made an annoucements on when K-12 schools in the state will reopen, nor when places of public amusement, such as theme parks, gambling businesses, skating rinks, movie theaters, and others will be allowed to reopen. See a full list of indoor and outdoor places that remain closed here.

Click here for more details on the state's "Responsible RestartOhio" plan.