COMMENT:

The Herald's Cooking the Books personal finance podcast has gone daily in lockdown, to help you get the tips you need to weather the financial storm. Hosted by Frances Cook, with a new money expert featured on each episode.

There's no sugar coating it; the job market is about to get tougher.

We were doing pretty well before Covid-19 spread around the world, with New Zealand's unemployment rate sitting around four per cent.

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Listen to the Cooking the Books podcast here

Now Treasury is forecasting a best case scenario that we "could" keep unemployment under ten per cent, as long as our lockdown measures are successful, and the Government keeps pumping cash out in the form of wage subsidies and business relief packages.

The number of people getting Jobseeker support is now at almost 170,000 people, compared to 130,000 in 2019.

The good news is that by acting quickly on lockdown measures, we may be able to recover business activity faster than other countries.

The other is that because we can see this crisis coming, we have time to prepare ourselves for the job hunt some of us will inevitably need to start.

The first step is to stop thinking by industry, and start thinking by skills.

Write down all the skills you have in your current job, as well as any things you enjoy doing, or hobbies that you have.

Once that's done, think about the different ways you could monetise those skills.

People change jobs and industries more often than ever before now, so employers are already used to accepting people with transferable skills.

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Your chosen industry may be taking a beating, but others are more needed than ever, and crying out for new workers. So how could you make your skills work for them?

Once you see it written down, it's immediately easier to draw new links.

On the latest Cooking the Books podcast, Herald job market reporter Kirsty Wynn said recruiters were still active, and many industries still hiring.

But while nobody knows the true number, everyone agrees a huge number of jobs are never advertised in the first place.

So if you've lost your current role, it's important to get the word out that you're ready for new opportunities.

"Get in touch with former colleagues, or former employers. If you want to stay in the industry you're already in, then it's getting in contact so they know when a position comes up that you're looking," Wynn said.

"Also getting in touch with recruiters and having a regular catch up with them. They're all working from home, and actively looking for opportunities for people."

Some employers and union groups have put up websites advertising jobs within the wider industry. This means people can find new opportunities in different roles, but still a field they're used to working in.

Wynn said many recruiters were advising people to be flexible about what types of jobs they were open to, and to consider short term jobs between finding a new long term role.

A small positive is that in trying new industries and roles, there's the possibility of discovering a job you would never have thought you enjoyed.

"What better time to uncover a skill you never knew that you had?" Wynn said.

"It's hard to say be positive, you don't have to be positive every day, it is a tough time.

"But it's true, your transfer of skills might actually uncover a new exciting job future for you."

Listen to the full interview on the Cooking the Books podcast. You can find new episodes on Herald Premium, or subscribe on iHeartRadio, Apple podcasts app, or Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

If you have a question about this podcast, or question you'd like answered in the next one, come and talk to me about it. I'm on Facebook here, Instagram here and Twitter here.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website