Judene Pretti, Director of the Waterloo Centre for the Advancement of Co-operative Education and Jennifer Woodside, Director of the Centre for Career Action answer our questions about the new world of work.

Should people be trying to find jobs right now?

Yes they should. While it’s obviously a very unusual time to be looking for a job, we are seeing examples of continued and increased hiring in a number of sectors. This has occurred in professional, scientific, and technical services, in information culture and recreation, in manufacturing, and in finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing. This is not to say that these areas haven’t been hit hard by the pandemic, but simply to say that there are still opportunities across a number of sectors of the economy. In some cases, there are new opportunities that have arisen.

What skills should job seekers be highlighting right now, given that most work is now being done remotely?

The increase in working remotely shifts the sought-after skills by employers. Resiliency and flexibility have always been important, but are now needed more than ever. Communication skills, too, fall into this category – they need to be ultra-clear to help others understand us.

Highlighting experiences that demonstrate time management and working independently, as well as being curious, agile and quick to learn can help an application stand out. Job seekers are also encouraged to emphasize any transferable experience they have working remotely with connectivity tools, even for school projects or other assignments.

How can employers onboard new employees at a time when most offices are closed?

The fundamentals of onboarding when offices are closed haven’t changed. Employees still need to learn about the organization and their new role. When people work together in an office, a new employee learns a lot about the organization by watching and listening, in the lunch room, in the halls, noticing when people arrive for work and how they interact with one another. Here are three ways onboarding can happen now:

  1. Provide a variety of informational resources – what webinars, documents, websites can you offer to the new employee to help them learn about your organization and the work of their team?
  2. Create opportunities for connection – include them in online team meetings, but also schedule 1:1s for the new employee to meet with their supervisor and colleagues who can help them ‘learn the ropes’
  3. Set clear expectations: are there core working hours and how will you contact them (e.g. email, text, messaging app)?

The University of Waterloo has a number of experts available for comment on various aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic, click here to see the up-to-date list.

Read more

Waterloo News


Contact media relations to learn more about this or other stories.