As any student would agree, our current environment is quite different from the past, and that doesn't just describe the college admissions landscape. Job hunting has also been dramatically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and anyone looking for some extra cash has seen the world of hourly jobs change.
Perhaps you went on a job hunt last fall with little success, so you're gun shy about applying to positions again now. The reality is that you are likely to see a very different job-hunting situation, and you should start fresh without thinking about how you fared in the past, says Blake Pinard, Head of Talent Pools by Snagajob.
"Previously it was a tougher job market for hourly workers," he said. "Businesses had reached a steady state of employment, but there are a lot people relocating right now, so many businesses are rehiring. That makes it a good time to go ahead and reapply to positions that may not have needed you in the past," he adds.
During a normal September, college towns are bustling with activity while suburban areas may be more quiet, but the opposite could be true now, Pinard says. "As campuses close, the students who would normally be there could be back home in the suburbs, so college towns may not be hiring as much as they would have last year. However, there are positions in surrounding towns in many cases," he says.
Although some campuses are closed, those that remain open may be working hard to hire. "One university that's a client of ours is adding more team members to keep their cafeteria operating," Pinard says. "By adding people, the staff members don't have to move around as often and touch as many things. So don't assume that there are no jobs on campus."
If you aren't able to find a "Now Hiring" sign in your town, you might want to consider checking the websites of businesses in industries that are known to be looking for employees right now. For instance, Pinard says, anything related to digital supply chains is booming, like eCommerce. "Facilities that pack the packages are really busy. Groceries are really busy, as are remote customer service companies," he notes.
Some hourly positions may help you develop skills that will be essential to your college major and future career. For instance, computer science majors might benefit from performing remote tech support roles, while data science or public health majors could consider working as a contract tracer, Snagajob notes in its resource list, "Top 10 Hourly Jobs According to Your College Major."
For education majors, one hot job right now involves online tutoring, where "there's been a surge," Pinard says. "This goes beyond tutoring students in math and science. There are platforms that support tutoring on a wide variety of skills, from knitting to chess. There are people interested in learning new things, and if you can help them, then you can tutor online."
Before deciding which jobs to consider, you should check a company's safety protocols to ensure that they are in line with your requirements. You can usually find this information on a company's website or their social media accounts, where they'll share what their safety precautions are for customers. "That is usually a good sign of how they'll be with employees," Pinard says.
In addition, you should ask questions about their safety protocols so you will get a strong feel for the work environment before you accept any job. Find out if the company supplies protective equipment (and if so, what kind) or whether you'll be expected to bring your own.
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