by Cathy DeBerry

According to Janet Alvarez, the Deputy Business Editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer, “High unemployment, shifting industry hiring patterns, and fundamental changes to the way we work are some of the harsh realities Americans face when looking for jobs amid the COVID-19 crisis.”

The impact of the lockdown and the resulting downsizing efforts have been felt more by blue collar workers and workers without a college education. Blue collar workers looking for jobs should be prepared with an understanding of how much has changed in the jobs market to increase their chances of finding a job under the current circumstances.

The term “blue-collar” was coined in the early 20th century as a way of describing the class of workers who performed manual labor jobs. In the 21st century, blue-collar jobs often require highly-skilled and trained professionals who are experts in their trade.

Consider the following tips.

  • Network: You may think you can grow your career without relying on networking, because that sort of thing isn’t typically associated with your industry. But being able to make connections, build relationships, and use your contacts are essential components to career success regardless of what your job duties entail. Don’t wait until you’re in the workforce to start networking; if you’re studying at a trade school, instructors can be a great resource. Be proactive and reach out to recruiting companies for skilled trade jobs like the Blue Collar Recruiter or job boards like Blue Collar Crossing. Network through local civic and religious organizations and even at your child’s soccer games. Look for volunteer work. You never know where you will find that next employment opportunity.
  • Consider changing careers: Look for a position that will be in demand when the pandemic is over. indicates that there will be ample opportunities in nearly 40 different industries, including: transportation, electrical, plumping, elevator repair, health care, security, and telecommunications.
  • Refresh your skills: Take free online courses at SCLSNJ. Thousands of online courses are available for free with a Library Card. Learning a new skill can be helpful for your existing position or geared towards a new professional endeavor.
  • Update your resume: If you need help with your resume, we have a wealth of free print and online resources that can help you update your resume or write a cover letter. If you need more in-depth assistance, schedule an appointment with an SCLSNJ expert.
  • Get comfortable with the remote interview: For the near future, many job interviews will be online. Ensure that you look professional and engaging on the video call. You will need access to a computer and internet. If you don’t have internet access at home, borrow one of SCLSNJ’s mobile hotspots.

This is a challenging time for all job-seekers. It’s important to be proactive, patient, and persistent in your job search.  If you have recently experienced a job loss or are looking to explore a new career, we’re here to help.