How to Find Part-Time or Gig Work During the Pandemic

Erin Salada
2 Apr 2020

As the spread of COVID-19 impacts the economy in unprecedented ways, there are many reasons you may be seeking work. Perhaps you are a service industry worker who has lost tips, a white-collar worker who has been laid off or simply someone who was already looking for new work when the outbreak shifted the hiring atmosphere. Beyond the benefits you may receive through the stimulus package, part-time or gig work—for which individuals are hired to complete a task or project within a particular time frame—can provide a source of income if you know how to find it.

Apply for Jobs Created in Response to COVID-19

Many essential goods stores are hiring to accommodate new buying behaviors during the pandemic. Walmart, CVS, Dollar General and Albertsons have all announced mass hiring initiatives, mainly for temporary or part-time positions that have the potential to become long-term and full-time. Amazon has become one of the largest job creators by announcing 100,000 full-time and part-time positions in fulfillment and delivery. Finally, between all four of America’s largest pizza chains, more than 60,000 new hires are desired. While delivery drivers are needed, these companies are also looking to hire for every stage of production.

To locate these opportunities, try one of the following strategies:

  • Use a job board like SimplyHired to search locally for the terms “Sales Associate,” “Delivery Driver” or “Distribution Center”—these are common openings.
  • Search for the name of a specific company (like Amazon) on a job board to see available job descriptions in your area.
  • Go directly to the company website to submit applications: Find Pizza Hut openings here and Papa John’s here.

Join an Online Platform for Gigs

While gigs that require in-person contact are in decline—including rideshares through Uber and Lyft—others that meet the demand for online shopping and delivery have increased hiring. Perhaps no platform has done this more dramatically than Instacart, which seeks to find 300,000 new full-service shoppers, independent contractors who buy and deliver groceries for customers.

If you have creative or consulting skills that businesses are still seeking, create an account on a freelancer platform, drawing on your experience in fields like writing or graphic design to gain clients. As a bonus, the relationships you build with clients could be lasting, and any projects you complete can be added to your resume.

Match Transferable Skills to Education Needs

On Friday, Governor Cuomo of New York extended school closures by two weeks to April 15, and many schools and universities across the nation have already chosen to continue remote learning for the remainder of the semester. In the absence of the traditional school day and limitations on teachers’ one-on-one remote availability, many parents are opting to hire Tutors through online platforms. 

Varsity Tutors, for example, has launched Virtual Day School for K-12 students, and the platform also allows hiring for one-on-one academic coaching for hourly pay based on subject and expertise. Similarly, writing centers may hire more remote Tutors to provide support for college students in required first-year writing courses. To connect with new tutoring clients, search job boards for keywords or create profiles on platforms like Varsity Tutors or The Princeton Review’s tutoring service for learners of all ages.

Keep Up Communication

Use the familiar social media platforms to continue building your network from a distance. Reach out to others in your industry as well as your wider social network through Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn to gather opportunities. If you already have clients who are satisfied with your service, ask them for connections within their networks.

Even if you don’t yet have personal connections, research and build relationships with local non-profit organizations whose openings may not appear on job boards. In Austin, where I am sheltering in place, the Public Library Foundation launched a program of online creative writing workshops in response to school shut-downs. I discovered this opportunity simply by e-mailing the contact listed on the Library Foundation’s website and advertising my availability for tutoring.

Revamp Your Business

This strategy is best if you want to pursue freelancing as a career or if you already consider yourself self-employed. Take account of your online presence and ask yourself how you can communicate your available services more effectively. Some focus areas may include:

  • Marketing materials (newsletters, blogs, advertisements, etc.)
  • Logo design
  • Website design
  • Social media content

Decide how you will use your online presence to advertise that your services are still available. To increase accessibility to a wider audience, take a tip from educators and fitness instructors who have modified their practices for online communication platforms like Zoom. Without space limitations, one upside of virtual classes is that you may not have to cap enrollment. (Last week I participated in a dance class with 25 attendees even though the studio capacity is 10.) Finally, use this time to experiment with modifying or expanding services to meet the new demands you observe. If you are a Freelance Writer, you may want to dip your toes in the waters of remote writing tutoring. You may even insert some joy into your life by exploring a niche skill you possess—for instance, I have a friend who is exploring video game coaching. While this is no time to rest for gig workers, it may be a time to play a little.

Erin Salada

Erin Salada is a writer and educator based in Austin, TX. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Texas State University, where she was a Rose Fellow. Visit her at or on Twitter @saladacious.