top of page

Benched. Hope for Today's Job Seeker

Written by Amy McLellan, a Corporate Relations Manager at Smith School of Business

Everyone has sat on the bench as a job seeker at some point. When it comes to scoring your next job opportunity, even during this unprecedented time, there are some smart plays worth sharing.

Assessing the Field

It’s fair to say, all companies are deeply considering their roster of existing talent and the future of hiring. In the immediate, many are cancelling job offers, starting layoffs, cutting compensation, implementing hiring freezes, postponing start dates and extending conditional offers. In just 1-week last month, nearly 1 million Canadians had applied to EI. It’s a sad state. The most optimistic view is that brick & mortar businesses can re-open and workers can return to their jobs by this summer. Economists forecast we will have a forceful recovery in the second half of the year but there will still be a significant lag. The game has changed so job seekers gotta look for ‘the hole’ and position ourselves for that home run (yes, I’m still using sports analogies).

The Crowd Roars

Which businesses / industries are emerging from the coronavirus crisis stronger than ever? Our new world has pushed so many digital products and services into the forefront. With such a shift in behavior, many of these products and services are not only thriving but will remain relevant long after this pandemic.

The most obvious starting points for your job search can be found where there are surging demands, like:

  • Any business or industry deemed as an ‘essential workplace’. Hello Healthcare and HealthTech!

  • Web services like Amazon, Grocery Gateway and Instacart.

  • Edtech like D2L and Top Hat. 

  • Business / productivity software and apps like Zoom, Trello, Slack and Serene.

  • Cloud computing and data solutions with Google, Microsoft and Amazon, (for all the corporate technology infrastructures that can’t support WFH).

  • Easy to launch eCommerce platforms like Shopify, Squarespace and Wix, (for any retailers who aren't already selling online).

  • Cybersecurity!

  • Subscription and streaming services like our adored, Netflix and Disney+…. The list goes on.


Working remotely is not a new concept. Many of those laid off were in positions that don’t allow a WFH option. Instead of joining a company who is currently transitioning their business, (and likely making conservative decisions re: future hires) it is worth considering those companies who have operated virtually all along. Remote on-boarding and team collaboration will likely be a much smoother process. Plus focusing on remote employment will broaden your job prospects, (globally) allowing you to consider employment beyond a designated location and commute time. There are literally thousands of (non-technical) remote jobs before the pandemic and many are still hiring today. 

Where can you find remote jobs?


Although the majority of remote jobs advertised are technical (development) roles, according to data collected by AngelList, both Sales and Digital Marketing opportunities are the most in-demand non-technical roles available; leading Operations, Design and Management functions.  

All-Star Candidate

Unless you are seeking employment as a frontline worker, any company hiring in the near future will be assessing both credentials AND whether you are cut out to work productively on your own. So what are some of those characteristics employers are looking for?

What do you need to assert?

  • You’re tech-savvy and a problem-solver. Gain knowledge and experience with lots of business / productivity software, as a user and facilitator.

  • You’re an efficient and effective communicator. Communications may be across cities, countries, continents and cultures. You’ll primarily communicate via messaging apps, email, and texts so it is essential to be able to get your point across clearly and concisely.

  • You’re independent and truth worthy. Working remotely means limited supervision. You’ll have to take ownership of your tasks, be proactive and self-motivated in getting them completed on time. If you have previous experience freelancing or running your own business, you've got a leg up on the competition.


bottom of page