2022-05-10T23:09:56-04:00Apr 6, 2020|

How to find a job during COVID-19 and beyond

From an interview with Laurel Falconi, Manager of Corporate Engagement, ACCES Employment


Laurel Falconi has some good news for newcomers looking for a job in a COVID-19 market. As manager of corporate engagement at ACCES Employment in Toronto, she knows the Canadian job market and has tips to help newcomers, who make up 80% of ACCES clients, with short-term and long-term career goals. Laurel walks us through what newcomers can do to make the most of these uncertain times and maybe even land a job in the process.


The main goal of ACCES Employment is in our name – it’s employment. At the end of the day, we want to help our clients figure out how to navigate the Canadian job market and eventually find a job. ACCES typically assists 35,000 people a year by offering more than 30 ACCES programs at our six (soon to be seven) locations around Toronto.

Many newcomers are immensely skilled; they bring so much experience, but most face the same basic challenges: networks, Canadian experience, and language barriers. Our job is really about connecting the dots and helping to translate all that experience so that it’s seen by Canadian recruiters and online filters to help them find employment in their field.

COVID-19 brings many new challenges: Number One – Is anyone hiring?

The good news is that companies are still operating and still hiring. While many have slowed hiring practices as they recalibrate the way they’re doing business, employers across various industries are still looking for people. 

Like everyone, most companies are now operating in a different way. You won’t get to meet these employers in person, but you’ll get to chat with them online. Presume businesses are running unless they tell you otherwise. Employers from various industries have come to us looking for people to fill a wide range of roles. Some positions are from before the crisis, while other opportunities are a result of it.

People ask, “Should I apply to jobs now?” I say, “Absolutely – 100%!”
There are new jobs in retail grocery, warehousing, distribution, logistics, manufacturing. Companies are seeking clerks, managers, product technicians, engineers, and IT techs, to name just a few.

In the age of COVID-19, networking is more important than ever before

Everyone’s trying to navigate this new way of connecting and networking – especially when looking for work. Arrive is a great resource for newcomers, connecting you with relevant people to help you build a more meaningful network. The Arrive community offers support in these uncertain times.

It’s also important to support one another and be mindful of other people’s circumstances. Understand that everyone has their own challenges; they might be dealing with kids at home, health concerns, loneliness, job insecurity or financial concerns of their own. Remember to be kind and patient.

You can use the following Arrive resources to prepare for your job search, even before you arrive in Canada

Arrive is with you every step of the way.

It only takes one or two strong connections to make a real difference.

People will ask, “Well, how many connections do I need to have for it to make a difference?” The answer honestly is one, maybe two, really strong connections, because it’s through those meaningful connections that they may meet somebody else or they might say, “I have a friend in this business, I can’t help you, but maybe they can.”

If you have thousands of LinkedIn connections, chances are you only know a few of those connections really well. You can make many connections and build your network, but a few key people will remember who you are.

You can reach out to those people and say, “Hey, it’s a really strange time right now. Do you have any advice for me? Is anybody hiring? Are you hiring?” And then, through that, they’ll introduce you to other people, and you build a more meaningful connection than just a connection to try to help you get work. I think initially, when people arrive, everyone’s like, “You have to network, you have to network, you have to network!” You have to build a strong network, not necessarily a large network: A strategic network.  

What is strategic networking?

Think of it in terms of in-person versus online. Say you attend a networking event and you are put in front of thousands of people, that’s great. But, if you go in with a strategy of why you are there and who you want to meet, you will be more effective. When you’re online, think about making those meaningful, strong connections versus just going around the room introducing yourself. Be strategic. Do some research first, and focus your intention.

There may be a tendency to take a step back because everybody else seems to be taking a step back. Don’t. If you have those connections follow up with them, talk to them, make new connections. Maybe you’re going to get somewhere now where you wouldn’t have gotten before. Maybe you’re the only one following up – you might have an advantage right there.

10 tips to finding a job during COVID-19 and beyond

  1. Research companies and the market: Understand the changing career landscape.
  2. Find and tap into employers that are hiring: They’re out there.
  3. No need to start fresh: Follow up with employers, consultants, employment services and friends you have already contacted.
  4. Get comfortable with operating online: It’s different – and we’re all learning as we go.
  5. Build your network: Whether you’re here or are planning to come 
  6. Attend virtual events: Get out there – even if it is virtually.
  7. Tighten up your resume and LinkedIn pages: Improve your brand.
  8. Practice virtual interviews: This is a new situation for many of us, so practice will help.
  9. Stay strategic: Don’t overwhelm yourself because things are up in the air.
  10. Don’t slow down: Keep doing what you’re doing.

Be prepared for when things get back to normal

As soon as things return to business as usual, hiring will be full speed ahead!

Markets and resources always bounce back. We don’t know exactly when that will be, of course, but that may happen fairly quickly. I have had several phone calls recently on the topic, and it appears that people will be hiring. The companies that laid people off will be hiring again, and roles that were put on hold will become active again. People need to be ready for that. Being ready means having everything up to date, everything ready to go, continue to develop your skills and just be ready for when things get back to normal.

So while things are at a kind of halt, it’s a really good time to tighten up your resume and update your LinkedIn. Take control of the things you can instead of worrying about the things you can’t.

Visit ACCES online for webinars, speed mentoring, networking tips, guest speaker series, online training and more online resources. Short-term employment may be out of your control, but you can have control over the long-term. Ask yourself, “What courses can I take? How can I make myself better? How can I make myself more marketable?” It’s good for potential employers to see that during this time, you were busy improving yourself, getting certifications, and getting ready to get back to work.

We’re in this together

We’re all navigating this new world together. We need to help each other, and we need to build off each other. And I think that’s the message we’re trying to send by moving all of our programs online. We’re learning as we go, too. But we’re here to help you, and navigate this with you. You can help us by continuing to do what you’ve been doing. 

Looking for more information on how coronavirus may be impacting newcomers? Read more about employment for newcomers in the time of coronavirus.