SVP Andy Challenger February Jobs Expert on ABC 7

Andrew Challenger appeared on ABC7 this morning to discuss Chicago-area employment, opportunities, and job search tips to land the next position.

Cook County unemployment stood at 9.3% and Chicago’s unemployment rate is 8.1% in December 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, much higher than the national rate of 6.5%.

Top Job search tips During a pandemic

  • Networking is still possible during a pandemic. No, you cannot meet your contacts for coffee or lunch, but you can set up 30 minute phone calls and video sessions. Now is also a great time to start building relationships with recruiters or others employed in your field for when job openings appear. Almost everyone is stuck inside right now, so take advantage of that time.
  • Apply, apply, apply. Companies need workers now, so shore up your resume highlighting your key accomplishments and contributions to the organizations with which you have worked, and start applying.
  • Have practice video calls with family and friends. Before an interview, make sure all your tech works, you can be seen and heard, and in a place with a strong enough internet connection.
  • Choose a well-lit, quiet spot with a neutral background to have video conferences. When a potential employer or networking contact calls, make sure you are not in so dark a place that the he or she cannot see you. Make sure to remove any potentially offensive materials in the background or within the shot, like containers of alcohol. Try to choose a tidy spot that does not have too much clutter.
  • Use your interviewer’s or contact’s name to show you are engaged. Eye contact is key during in-person meetings. However, during a video conference, it is best practice to keep your eyes straight ahead on the camera. Since you cannot make direct eye contact, try to use the interviewer’s name throughout the process. This is particularly helpful if the video interview is with a panel of multiple interviewers. Use each individual’s name as you are answering specific questions.
  • Stay positive. Challenger always emphasizes this aspect of the job search, as employers generally connect and want to hire happy workers, but now it is particularly important. Job searching is difficult enough without the added anxiety of a pandemic. Lean on family and friends, even if not physically. Call friends often, take a virtual class, or start up a group text thread. If you are having trouble finding something, know that this situation is temporary and jobs will come back eventually. We are all in this together.