Where to Look for Work During the Pandemic

Erin Salada
2 Apr 2020

Restaurants shuttered, busy streets emptied, six feet between people in public: The environment for job seeking has changed dramatically due to risk of contagion. Job losses are common, as well. The retailer Macy’s announced it will furlough most of its 130,000 employees on Monday. Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas estimates that 7.4 million jobs in leisure and hospitality could be affected, and a survey of business owners conducted by wealth manager UBS found that 24% plan to downsize.

While the steps to protect the health of others are essential, this new norm is destabilizing for those whose income has been impacted by the dampened economy or for those who were seeking work when social distancing orders were put in place. If we look at the job market trajectory in Italy and China, employment can be expected to rise again in the U.S. once the virus is contained. Until then, COVID-19 is driving a hiring spike in some areas.

Health Care

In New York, the need for health care professionals is so great that Governor Cuomo called for retired Nurses and Doctors to participate in the pandemic response. Although technically skilled professionals like Registered Nurses are the most essential to COVID-19 treatment, consider that employees will also be needed in public health to disseminate information and provide community support. Look for openings such as Community Organizer, Patient Service Representative or Call Center Agent—these roles accommodate a wider range of transferable soft skills. 

There may also be an uptick in health care–adjacent positions for other industry professionals. For instance, Web Developers or Programmers may be needed to design websites addressing COVID-19 concerns among users, and Program Managers provide organizational support for large agencies that must develop a systematic internal plan.

Essential Goods Retailers

With more consumers buying groceries and opting for delivery or curbside pickup, essential goods employees are in demand. Walmart, for instance, plans to hire 150,000 workers through the end of May. CVS and Dollar General are both looking to fill 50,000 positions as soon as possible. Albertsons is also trying to keep up with increased demand by hiring 30,000 new employees. Many of these jobs will be temporary and part-time, but representatives from each company have expressed the goal to transition some employees to long-term roles.

Beyond these mass hiring retailers, job seekers can call their local grocery, pharmacy, hardware or farming supply retailers to inquire about openings.

Delivery Services

Shelter-in-place orders create a need for more online shopping options, and Instacart seeks to meet that need by hiring 300,000 full-service shoppers immediately. Shoppers are treated as independent contractors who use an online app platform to take shopping requests. To find these jobs, go directly to Instacart or similar companies like Shipt. Alternatively, use a job board like SimplyHired to search keywords like “Grocery Delivery Service.

Amazon also aims to meet warehouse and delivery needs by announcing 100,000 additional full-time and part-time positions. Third-party food delivery businesses are also operating and seeing increased demand. Create an account on the UberEats, GrubHub or DoorDash apps.

Pizza Chains

America’s appetite for pizza delivery cannot be underestimated, even (or especially) during a pandemic. In a survey conducted by Gordon Haskett, about a fourth of 300 households increased their pizza delivery orders in the third week of March. Pizza Hut is hiring 30,000 new employees across the nation, and Papa John’s has opened 20,000 new positions. In addition to making pizzas, employees will be hired to manage, field calls and deliver. Find Pizza Hut’s applications here, and access Papa John’s here. Domino’s is also hiring.

Postal Service

As an essential service, the Postal Service continues to run despite economic strain due to lower mail volumes and higher levels of absenteeism because of its generous leave policy. In response, the Postal Service and the American Postal Workers Union came to an agreement that allows USPS to hire temporary employees through May 25. While these new Clerk Assistant and Mail Processing Assistant positions will not be permanent, they may provide a source of immediate income for those who need a bridge to their next job during the pandemic.

Remote Roles

The benefit of working from home is the limitation of exposure. Use job-board filters to search for remote, part-time and entry-level jobs like the ones below.

Technology and Communications

Most tech giants (Google, Apple, etc.) will continue to hire and have the capacity to offer remote work. Communications companies that have seen a rise in customer usage will also hire to meet demand—Zoom and Slack are examples.


With university, school and daycare closures, online learning companies need educators. If you have experience teaching or expertise in a desired subject, consider signing on as a Tutor with Varsity Tutors, which has launched the free program Virtual School Day for K-12 students who have seen a drop in school assignments and academic resources. Your local community may also have needs you can meet. Advertise on social media networks like Facebook and Nextdoor to find opportunities.


Transcription services provide jobs that are most suitable if your typing skills are up to speed, and you have the attention to detail required of a Scribe. Consider Rev for general transcription. A medical transcription company like ScribeAmerica is another strong choice, as need for transcription in the medical field may increase.

Creative Gigs

Finally, get creative about which skills you have to offer. If you are an Artist or Writer, this may be the time to begin a freelance portfolio. COVID-19 response commentary can also be pitched directly to magazines looking for content.

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 www.erinsalada.com or on Twitter @saladacious.