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Tips to keep professional development active during quarantine

Gary Lachow, job developer at JEVS Career Strategies, shares advice on how to stay productive and develop professionally during shutdown.

Like countless others, Torresdale resident Heather Staller lost her job as a result of COVID-19. She spent three years working in human resources before the pandemic hit. Being unemployed was a position she had been in before, but this time, she knew where to turn.

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Just like she had three years ago, Staller, 47, turned to JEVS Career Strategies, based out of Orleans Technical College at 2770 Red Lion Road. Back then, she used the program to update her resume, take classes and prepare for interviews. Now, she and others are using the program to learn how to productively use their time during quarantine.

“Now is not the time to put the brakes on the job search,” said Gary Lachow, job developer at JEVS Career Strategies.

The pandemic has people who haven’t searched for a job in 20 years searching for a job alongside people who have searched for jobs within the last 20 weeks – and the landscape is different than it ever has been, Lachow said.

“I’m working with people to set short- and long-term goals to help identify what they can do now if they have money and time, and what is the long-term goal they always wanted to do,” Lachow said.

Lachow has some tips for professional development during quarantine. Networking has never been more vital, especially with online platforms like LinkedIn keeping people connected. Reaching out to personal and professional contacts is a good way to get your name out there while socializing, Lachow said. There are also many organizations in need of volunteers that could boost your resume while helping the community.

“People measure their productivity by how many jobs they applied to, and that creates a false sense of security,” Lachlow said. “The primary way to get a job is networking.”

Job counseling isn’t only about creating a standout resume – it’s also about emotional support, especially now. Lachlow emphasizes it’s important to establish a daily routine to remain productive, while continuing to take care of yourself and maintaining healthy habits. It’s also a good time to assess your next move – are you in the right industry or do you want to make a career change?

Staller has been using her time to brand herself and build connections to help apply for jobs, while participating in online webinars.

“Make the call, reach out and become part of the program,” she said. “Just knowing I have the support is a huge relief.”

To learn more about JEVS Career Strategies, visit jevshumanservices.org/program/career-strategies/. ••

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