Are you one of the 1.4 million Australians who has found yourself suddenly unemployed thanks to COVID-19? You are not alone. The unemployment rate is predicted to reach 10 per cent as a result of the COVID pandemic. That’s one out of every ten Australians facing unemployment. And some of us have not been here for many many years. Economists predict the economic fallout to be greater than the Global Financial Crisis. Enough to push us into a recession.
The COVID-19 effect on jobs does not discriminate. From retail workers to real estate agents to pilots – the effects are being felt in many industries across the country.
So if you are in isolation at home after being laid off or stood down, where do you start?
5 Steps to Tackle When You Find Yourself Unemployed
Find out what you are eligible for
It has to be said that our Government is doing a great job in keeping our economy afloat. We are seeing stimulus packages that we have never seen before. In this respect, we are indeed the very lucky country. From the first round $17.6 billion stimulus package consisting of tax-free payments to businesses of $25,ooo, apprentice and trainee wage subsidies, and $750 tax-free cash payments to eligible welfare recipients. Then quickly followed round 2 with a further $66 billion stimulus with the initial $25,000 cash bonus increased to $100,00 for small businesses that deploy staff with a turnover of less than $50 million and the $550 per week JobSeeker income support payment. Individuals affected by the pandemic also have early access of up to $20,000 of their Superannuation to assist with financial hardship.
Finally, the cherry on the cake with the $130 billion JobKeeper payment, aimed at keeping Australians in the jobs throughout the pandemic. This JobKeeper payment is what will truly keep working Australians’ heads above water. 6 million eligible Australians will receive $1,500 per fortnight, before tax, paid by their employer. Eligible Australians include full-time, part-time and long-term casuals who have been with their employer for over 12 months. This payment will keep employees in touch with their employer until the crisis has passed.
So first things first, check what you are eligible for. Applications for the JobSeeker payment are made through Services Australia. Employers will apply for the JobKeeper payments. Your employer will inform you if they have applied for the JobKeeper scheme and if you are an approved, eligible employee.
Let the dust settle and the initial shock sink in. Now you have moved into a morphed into a warped sense of acceptance, it is a good time to take stock of your career. Were you happy in your line of work? Were you thinking of making a change? Was something holding you back from making a career change? As bleak as the situation may seem to be, there can be a silver lining. This could be the time to think about a change of scenery. Could it be time to retrain? As we outline in our next point, now could very well be the time to reskill or think about how your skills could translate to another industry.
One of the latest additions to the Federal Government stimulus is a discount on online higher education courses. The Government has called upon higher education institutions to create 100% online, 6-month diploma and graduate certificate courses in areas of high demand, in an attempt to upskill or retrain Australians who have lost their job. The aim is to switch us from binge-watching Netflix to binge-learning – and it is the perfect opportunity to do so.
Studying whilst working full-time is a hard ask. Studying whilst in isolation with kids at home, won’t necessarily be a walk in the park either – but it’s worth a shot. Areas of high demand including nursing, teaching, psychology, allied health, IT and the sciences will have discounted fees provided they are completed by December 1, 2020. These qualifications won’t land you a job that requires a four year plus degree, but they are a stepping stone into a new industry, a new qualification or a new side job once the pandemic is over.
For those who are happy in their chosen field yet have found themselves unemployed, now is the time to reach out and make connections. Connect with those in your industry you have worked with prior, or have collaborated with in the past. Reach out to see if there are any opportunities going that they are aware of. Use LinkedIn to communicate with others and take a proactive approach in your job hunting efforts. Businesses may not be looking to hire right now, but as soon as we see a shift and businesses start to reopen, employers will be on the lookout for new hires to rebuild their businesses.
Update your resume
For many of us, updating our resume can be met with groans and ‘where do I find my resume?’ or ‘Do I even have a resume?’. Now is the ideal time to update and refine your resume, ready for when we boot the virus well and truly out of the country. So you don’t get overwhelmed at the prospect, we suggest working through your resume piece by piece. Start with your work history and detailing all your achievements, career milestones and responsibilities at each workplace. List your education and qualifications (note the potential upskilling courses above you can add to this). Once you have the basics downpat, think about your career summary – this is a great way to show what you are looking for in your next position, and what you can bring to the table.
Your resume is all about selling yourself as the best candidate for the job. My eResume can help you do that with personalised, online resumes designed to help you stand out to potential employers. To help JobSeekers throughout COVID-19, we are including a free downloadable PDF with the digital CV of your choice. With affordable weekly payment plans, we aim to get JobSeekeers prepared and get your resume up and running to find your next job.
So there we have it. Our top 5 tips to tackle throughout the COVID-9 crisis. Aimed to put you in the best position once the pandemic eases and the job market picks up.
Vanessa is the Director of My eResume, a 100% Australian-owned and operated business dedicated to assisting people to create their online resume to stand out to future employers. My eResume is bringing the jobseeking industry into the digital age with the creation of personalised digital CVs that truly capture the heart of each individual jobseeker and promotes their strengths and achievements in a more visually appealing and comprehensive manner.