Bay Area organizations help job seekers gain new skills, find employment resources

The pandemic has forced some job seekers to add new skills or education to their resumes in order to get noticed, but finding out which companies are hiring is a challenge.

Due to layoffs, furloughs or hiring freezes since March, some job recruiters agree it’s not a simple task.

“It’s a really big challenge right now because regardless of the industry that you’re in, regardless of the size that you are, it’s a giant curveball,” said Matthew Vaughn, the director of talent services at Full Stack Talent, a staffing agency in Tampa.

Employment experts said there are two industries looking for help: medical and technology.

"Analytics is an up-and-coming and very strong field to be in, no matter which part of the workforce you are in,” said Triparna de Vreede of the University of South Florida’s Muma College of Business.

Vaughn said a lot of roles are being absorbed into one.

“How many hats can you wear is going to be very important right now because managers and companies are trying to get responsibilities that need done and tasks that need done with as little amount of hiring as they can possibly do,” said Vaughn.

Some local career development agencies like CareerSource Tampa Bay offer free or scholarship-based training to help job seekers develop new skills. De Vreede said project management skills are in demand.

“With the advent of technology, advent of remote working, things are being more modular and more team-focused, people who understand how project management works and what are the new things that are happening in project management will also have a good grasp of the market,” she said.

But no matter what type of job you’re looking for, employment experts said companies are -- above all -- looking to hire good people.

“People that are dependable, people that take on other tasks and curveballs really easily and learn where they might not have been able to do something before,” said Vaughn.

Employment experts said it’s really important to reach out to your network of friends or former coworkers to help in your job search, as well. Co-working spaces, such as Tampa Bay Wave or Station House may also be helpful for networking and finding employment opportunities.