How do you get back into the labor market?

The transition and adoption of remote work has enabled employers to cast a wider network when looking for talent – ​​and so should you when looking for jobs.

“Many employers are open to hiring remote workers, but often in the same time zone,” said Ms. Weitzman. “That means if you live on the East Coast, you have multiple options in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Connecticut.” Sure, this means you’re competing with a larger pool of candidates, but it also gives you more chances to find the right match.

This can also be a good time to make a career switch. “You may want to be more flexible and think about changing fields,” said Mr. Wahlquist. “Take those skills you’ve developed and try to find something that’s even better, or more sustainable in the long run.”

In the meantime, consider getting a relevant education, especially if you’ve been unemployed. “If you’re not working, I would 100 percent recommend enrolling in training as it shows initiative and a vested interest in updating and expanding your skills,” said Ms. Weitzman.

If you haven’t had a job for a while, either due to lack of opportunities or because you were busy taking kids through Zoom school, that’s okay. “Everyone knows what has happened in the past year,” said Mr. Wahlquist. “Most people have a big free pass for a gap in their employment history during the pandemic.”

Still, you must be willing to explain – succinctly – what happened and what you’ve been doing since. “Even if your past job loss was not entirely due to Covid, most employers want to establish a transparent relationship,” he said.

And potential employers will want to check your references. Expect them to want to talk to your former supervisors from the past five years, or the past few jobs. “Take this time to get back to those people and be direct,” Mr. Wahlquist. “You can ask, ‘Are you willing to provide a reference, and are you able to give me a good reference?’” One question your former supervisor might ask is whether he or she would hire you again. “And if the answer is no, then why?”

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