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Austin Job Tips for Weathering the COVID19 Storm

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The Austin Chamber recently hosted a webinar featuring tips and advice for local job seekers during these exceptional times. The webinar was moderated by Cynthea Rhodes-Patterson, Senior Human Resource Manager at The Home Depot Technology Center and featured the following talent and human resource professionals:

  • Dr. Adrienne Aldaco and Norma Castillo, Directors of Talent Acquisition, Austin ISD
  • Brian Ferguson, Senior Director of Talent, WP Engine
  • Diane Kerlin, Talent Acquisition and Branding, Austin Energy
  • Natalie Miller, Associate Manager for Talent Supply Chain in Health and Public Sector, Accenture

Each of these organizations is hiring right now. Their top advice:

Be open to new adventures

Believe it or not, Austin ISD is hiring now for the 2020-21 school year. There are some surprising non-teaching roles that might fit your talents perfectly or maybe it’s time to consider becoming a teacher. Emergency certifications, teaching assistant positions and other resources are available to fast-track those who are a good fit.

To open yourself up to new opportunities, Accenture’s Natalie Miller recommends filling your LinkedIn profile and applications with what she calls “industry agnostic” keywords. Think of how an average recruiter or businessperson would search for someone with your talents and use those keywords instead of industry jargon that limits you only a few sectors.

Be open to contract-to-hire positions now more than ever, too, she adds.

Plus, “think about your skills that are transferable,” Austin Energy’s Diane Kerlin recommends, adding that to stay motivated and to find new roles that might fight your talents, take some personality tests like Strength Finders online.

Be Zoomable

The panelists agree: Get familiar with video chat tools like Zoom. They are here to stay.

“Think about where in the house we can hear you,” Miller recommends, joking that for some—including her—the laundry room or a closet (with good lighting and a neutral wall behind you) might be your best option. “The more you can control your environment, the better.”

Kerlin recommends dressing for a virtual interview the way you would dress in person. These exceptional times don’t give you license to interview in your PJs. Plus, she adds, dressing for the occasion can put you in a more focused and professional headspace.

It’s OK to be human

Gap on your resume? It’s OK. Just be honest about it and don’t pretend it’s not there, the panel advises. WP Engine’s Brian Ferguson says that taking care of a family member and other common reasons for gaps aren’t automatic deal breakers.

Wondering what happened to a job opportunity you were being considered for that seems to be stalled? It’s OK to ask the recruiter about the status. No one can expect you to stay in a holding pattern indefinitely.

For more notes from the webinar and to access the recording, visit the Austin Chamber’s website. And to put some of these tips into action to find a temporary, contract, or permanent job right now, contact us

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