By Joanna Samuels
The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been devastating. Many people have lost their jobs and face financial challenges while companies are cutting back and some are closing down.
The good news is that supermarkets, as well as many other companies and organizations like delivery services and online shopping considered “essential services” have been hiring, as they are a key part of the economy.
Below are some suggestions of how you can look for work, and follow the Public Health guidelines in order to keep safe and healthy during this pandemic:
Make a list of all the grocery stores you want to work at and try to pick those closest to your home so you can walk there. Where possible, pick the early morning, evening, or even overnight shifts that have the least amount of people so you can keep social distancing (and all the other requirements like hand washing). Use Google to search out all the grocery stores that are hiring by entering a “key word” search. For example, if you want to work at Walmart, type in “jobs at Walmart Canada”. There should be a link to apply for jobs online. For a bigger picture of the job openings from this sector and beyond, check out online job boards such as Indeed Canada, Glassdoor.ca, and LinkedIn as well as from the company’s website. Even on the radio this morning, there is a call for candidates by Walmart!
Prior to the virus, you might have applied online and then dropped in to follow up with the store manager. However, during this virus, it’s a bit trickier. I would arrange to drop in to the grocery store where you applied when you or your family need to go shopping for food and supplies. Pick times when the store is less busy to avoid line-ups and crowds. Then, I’d ask to speak to the store manager or the assistant manager. Mention that you are following up as you have applied online to see what the next steps are.
You can also try to call the customer service department and see when the manager is in the store before you show up. During these times of crisis and shortages of staff, showing initiative while keeping a two-metre distance (physical distancing) from others at all times. Remember, employers are overwhelmed with handling this crisis, and applying new ways of doing business while complying with the Public Health requirements to keep a safe environment for staff and customers and prevent outbreaks.
So even though they need staff, we are all in this together to learn how to deal with this pandemic crisis. Be patient.
I’ve listed a select few of employers who are currently hiring in the GTA. Once a week, I would check out all the websites of the stores where you want to work to see the job postings.
- Walmart Canada, is looking to hire 10,000 employees to work in its stores and distribution centres.
- Amazon Canada, is hiring 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers to handle the increase of online shopping and orders.
- Call Centres are hiring customer service representatives who can work from home. For example, https://24-7intouch.com/ careers, a customer service and tech company, is hiring 400 work-from- home customer service representatives as well, with both full- and part- time opportunities available.
- Pepsico Beverages Canada, is looking to fill 500 positions across the country, including delivery drivers, warehouse workers and employees in its manufacturing, merchandising, operations and product departments.
Many employers are having online job interviews using apps such as Skype and Zoom; others are using the good old fashioned phone. One of the questions in your interview is to find out how the employer is protecting
their staff and practicing the safe and healthy workplace environment that complies with the guidelines mandated by the Ministry of Health. You can also visit the store as a customer prior to applying for work to see what they are actually implementing to keep their employees safe. For example, grocery stores have installed plexiglass protectors around the cashiers as well as six feet markers on the floor, and employees wear gloves. You can check this site out to see what is required: https://www.canada.ca/en/public- health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease- covid-19.html. Needless to say, if the employer is not protecting its their staff, you probably do not want to work there.
Keep skills up-to-date
Many of the employment centres (for example http:// accesemployment.ca/online-event-series) offer online job search skills training workshops including using LinkedIn, career exploration, resume writing, interview skills and related. They are also offering employer information sessions online. Plus, there are a lot of online resources to learn new skills and keep engaged in learning. The public libraries may be closed but they offer plenty of online job search training and career cruising. Online learning, blogs and podcasts https:// www.torontopubliclibrary.ca. Another helpful resource is https://connectability.ca/what-to-do-while-in-isolation-covid-19-resources.
In the meantime, please keep safe, healthy and well during this pandemic.
Joanna Samuels, MEd, is an adult educator with an expertise in career/ job coaching and community/business partnership building. She is also is an employment resource supervisor at reena.org.