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CareerBuilder CEO gives key advice for landing a job amid COVID-19

Max Zahn with Andy Serwer
·3 min read

The jobs report Friday showed the U.S. added back more jobs than it shed last month, restoring the labor market to modest growth after losses sustained at the end of last year. But tens of millions of Americans remain forced out of work by COVID-19, with many seeking a limited pool of jobs as employers await widespread vaccination and a return to normal.

In a new interview, CareerBuilder CEO Irina Novoselsky — who has led the online recruitment company for over three years — offered key tips to help prospective employees make their applications stand out. She encouraged applicants to send out resumes and attend virtual events as much as they can, even at the risk of rejection.

In fact, a rejection can put an online applicant in a better position to attain a given company’s next available position, she said.

“Make yourself as available as possible,” she says. “So make sure that you are where recruiters are looking, that you are on the top job sites, that you're attending virtual networking events, that you're attending virtual hiring events.”

“Sometimes that means that you might get a few rejections,” she adds. “But you're going into their queue, you're going into their pipeline.”

“One of the things that we do with all of our clients is we re-engage past candidates,” she says. “The majority of our matches are based on our recommendation engine, which re-engages candidates, so make sure that you're out there.”

‘Highlighting the skill set’

Novoselsky urged applicants to look for jobs in fields beyond the usual confines of their career, counseling the importance of “highlighting the skill set,” even if a desired job would require a shift in professional direction. She noted that sectors like financial services, insurance, and gaming have bucked the economic trend and grown amid the downturn.

“The economy is changing. Roles are changing,” she says. “Postage meter readers used to be one of the biggest roles out there, and that doesn't exist anymore.”

“So, how do you pivot if you're in a role that no longer has a lot of demand? How do you make sure that you are considered for your skill set in other industries?”

Novoselsky, who joined CareerBuilder in 2017, spoke to Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer in an episode of “Influencers with Andy Serwer,” a weekly interview series with leaders in business, politics, and entertainment.

To get where she is today, Novoselsky, 35, worked 50-hour weeks at Morgan Stanley to put herself through New York University’s Stern School of Business, and rose quickly up the ranks to become president at the cloud company Novitex.

CareerBuilder, founded in 1995, matches job applicants with potential employers, offering a platform for more than 160 million prospective employees with user profiles and the companies that seek to hire them.

CareerBuilder CEO Irina Novoselsky speaks with Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer on an episode of "Influencers with Andy Serwer."
CareerBuilder CEO Irina Novoselsky speaks with Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer on an episode of "Influencers with Andy Serwer."

The pandemic shows little sign of letting up in its assault on the job market after putting tens of millions of people out of work. In each of two consecutive weeks in mid-January, 900,000 or more Americans filed new unemployment claims — a figure not seen since last August.

President Joe Biden and Democratic Congressional leaders have pushed for a $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan that includes a $400 unemployment insurance supplement, a minimum wage hike, and $1,400 stimulus checks. The potential economic lifeline for struggling Americans aims to support jobless Americans until health officials contain the virus and the economy reopens.

Speaking with Yahoo Finance, Novoselsky said the biggest mistake that applicants make is the failure to double-double check what they’ve written. “There are a lot of mistakes on grammar,” she says.

But employers make a common mistake, too, she says: “The job description — whether it's written biased or it's not as inclusive as it can be.”

“The biggest reason that candidates don't click on a job or don't want to apply for a job is based on the job description,” she adds.

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