Tips for Securing a Job during a Global Pandemic and Economic Recession

Amir Roohi
Staying positive is critical to keeping your interview skills sharp and bolstering your confidence.

Staying positive is critical to keeping your interview skills sharp and bolstering your confidence.

Prostock-Studio via iStock

Securing a job is daunting. Factor in a global pandemic and a nationwide recession, and that search can seem almost impossible. While it is true that these events will create unique obstacles in the quest for the job, they are not insurmountable. Staying flexible and navigating this new landscape is what will ultimately land you a new job. Think of the job hunt itself as a job and look at the search as an opportunity. These mindset and attitude changes apply equally to those looking to secure a first job out of law school and those who have been negatively affected by current events facing our nation.

Whether it is your first, next, or last, every job hunt must begin with open-mindedness. All jobs have the potential for two things: advancement and connections. In today’s professional society, entitlement abounds, and everyone feels that they deserve their dream job—the one that will offer the most joy, satisfaction, and money. There are people, indeed, who find that dream job. Realistically, most of us have to accept that not every job that we have will be great. It is more productive to put yourself in the mindset of “I need to get a job.”

Pursue Opportunities with Public Service Entities

Government agencies and nonprofits are always looking for intelligent and eager people to volunteer for them (you could get hired if you put in a stellar unpaid performance). Given the nature of public service law, it allows for a hands-on experience that will prove invaluable leverage when looking for a paid position. Public service jobs—both in and outside of the law—provide unique opportunities to learn, grow, and make connections.

Maximize Your Network, Even If Virtually

Although cliché, everyone has a network: former classmates, family friends, and extended family. Maintaining and leveraging these connections is by far one of the most effective tools in securing a job. Unfortunately, the traditional coffee date or lunch meeting is not as easily accessible in the current pandemic. Again, adaptability is critical.

  • Suggesting a socially distanced coffee date in an outdoor space is an easy way to get face-to-face interaction with future connections.
  • Asking for a video or phone call to learn more about a person’s chosen field or catch up can be just as effective.

Regardless of the context, take full advantage of the conversation. By asking questions about the person, actively listening, and staying engaged, you will learn various ways to position yourself to get a similar job. It will also allow for the conversation to be more organic and leave a lasting, positive impression. If this sounds like a script for a poor informational video, it is. Yet, it works. The person you are talking to will not offer you a job on the spot (or maybe ever); however, they will now have someone in mind when they hear of a job opening.

Include Nonlegal Attributes on Your Résumé

In 2019, close to 35,000 people nationwide graduated from law schools. Standing out in a sea of equally qualified people can be difficult.

  • Make the best of your nonlegal attributes. Speak another language? Every employer likes to see “bilingual” on a résumé. Even if you never use this second language on the job, it might provide an edge over unilingual peers. 
  • Furthermore, tailoring your résumé to the specifics of each job will convey to that potential employer your attention to detail, seriousness, dedication.
  • Have a second (and third) set of eyes review your résumé. Although we would all like to think that our résumé is perfect, additional review always helps.

More than any mentioned above, the best way to get a job during these unprecedented times is to keep going. Receiving a rejection letter hurts, but it is essential to continue working hard on applications in the face of discouragement. Confidence and stamina are critical. You must put on metaphorical blinders to focus less on the pandemic and recession and more on the application process and your next step. Staying positive is critical to keeping your interview skills sharp, bolstering confidence, and affording you the stamina to look for the job that is just around the corner. Keep going, and stay positive.

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Amir Roohi is an attorney for a charter school system in Houston, Texas.