The latest official labor data showed that the jobless rate shot up to double-digits, as millions of Filipinos became unemployed. The Philippine Statistics Agency reported that as of April 2020, there were around 7.3 million jobless Filipinos. 

Jobstreet, an online platform that has around 42,000 listings, saw two million visitors checking out their website from April to June.

If you’re looking for a job, forget those numbers. Career coach Caroline Ceniza-Levine says that the only numbers you should be concerned about are your own, whether in a pandemic or not. 

In this episode, Ms. Ceniza-Levine tells multimedia reporter Patricia B. Mirasol that the coronavirus is not the end of your career. She gives practical advice, from tips on how to handle online interviews to the two main skills that you have to be thinking about if you’re looking for a job.

Ms. Ceniza-Levine is a career coach, co-founder of career coaching and consulting company SixFigureStart, and senior contributor at Forbes Magazine. She is no stranger to the rigors of job-seeking and the vagaries of job markets, having worked more than two decades as a recruiter and career coach with professionals from Amazon, Google, McKinsey, and other leading firms.


There is always hiring—even in a down market.

As a job seeker, the only employment numbers that should matter to you are zero or a hundred percent. It’s either you’re employed or you’re not. Job market numbers tend to scare people. Focus instead on numbers that reflect your effectiveness: how much time are you spending on job research? How many callbacks are you receiving? Employers are still hiring, albeit more cautiously.

Negotiate and position yourself for the right roles at the right level. If you’re a good negotiator, employers will be excited to have you on their team because they will want you to negotiate as hard for them as you do for yourself.

Negotiation is a hyperlocal situation. While each case is different, a job seeker would, of course, prefer to negotiate in a hot market where employers are fighting over job applicants. 

Regardless of circumstances, there is always room to negotiate. The reality is that when you get a job offer you already have leverage. Your prospective employer’s already invested in you. Start negotiating and putting your best foot forward early in the process, but don’t talk numbers at the get-go; that’s presumptuous. Ask for more in a way that’s confident and polite. If you’re a good negotiator, employers will be excited to have you on their team because they will want you to negotiate as hard for them as you do for yourself.

Resilience and the ability to learn: these are the two skills a job seeker should have.

The ability to bounce back, coupled with an openness to change and a willingness to learn and relearn, are must-have skills, said Ms. Ceniza-Levine. It’s not just about the pandemic. We’re also dealing with pressing issues such as social justice and climate change, as well as rapid advancements in technology that are changing the way economies work. 

Recorded remotely on July 29. Produced by Nina M. Diaz, Paolo L. Lopez, and Sam L. Marcelo.