At the end of February, the U.S. unemployment rate, at 3.5 percent, was at a 50-year low and businesses were booming. Many people were poised to begin new jobs, whether to begin their career or advance in their field.

Then came COVID-19, and everything changed.

Schools closed. Businesses and offices closed. Everyone was ordered to remain home.

At first, everyone assumed things would be back to normal in a few weeks. New positions, briefly delayed, would begin and the schools would get back on track.

Well, we could not have been more wrong!

For many, the days have turned into weeks of trying to balance working from home and homeschooling their children. Those who were scheduled to begin new positions were left in limbo with adjusted start dates or no timetable at all.

Many are anxious and remain uncertain if their new career opportunity will ever become a reality. When will businesses fully be allowed to reopen? How can new employees plan for their next steps?

Here are some tips to help you through this process:

Stay Positive. It is normal to feel disheartened at times, but it’s important not to give up and to stay focused on your new career journey.

Be Flexible and Patient. This is a new and scary situation for everyone. It is likely that employers have updated their onboarding policies and start dates for new employees, and many timetables are fluid.

Communicate. If you are still in an existing position, be sure to communicate with your current management. If you have already put in your notice but the start date for your new position has been delayed, ask your current employer if there is an option to remain in your current position longer.

Get Virtual. Offer to on-board remotely. Set up Zoom or telephone meetings to meet and introduce yourself to your new team. Become familiar with the new employer’s policies and procedures as best you can.

Most of us will likely look back on this extraordinary time period with varied emotions. If nothing else, it has taught us that we may need to get comfortable being uncomfortable, at least for the foreseeable future.

Whether you are new to the job market or a seasoned professional, the JCS Career Center helps you sharpen the tools you need to succeed. Our professional staff provide job seekers of all abilities and skill levels with customized services including career coaching, resume and cover letter services, interview preparation, job readiness training, vocational rehabilitation and job placement assistance.

For information, call 410-466-9200 or visit jcsbalt.org.

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