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DENVER (KDVR) — With about half a million Coloradans on unemployment benefits, the Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) is encouraging people who lost their jobs from the COVID-19 pandemic to find new work.

“You may have a skillset that can be transferred to another occupation or industry and go back to work where you are getting full wages,” Joe Barela with CDLE said.

CDLE and its partners hold regular, no-cost training that can help unemployed Coloradans get rehired. A complete list of events, workshops and training opportunities is available on their website. The department said there are more than 70,000 jobs available on Connecting Colorado’s website, the state’s jobs database.

While many industries are hiring, the top three are administrative, support, waste management and remediation services with over 26,000 open positions. Professional, scientific and technical services have over 20,000 jobs available. Retail trade position also has over 18,000 open spots.

“It’s easy to feel isolated and alone but there are so many people going through the same thing right now,” Lisa Lewis-Miller, owner of Career Clarity job coaching in Westminster said. “It’s a really difficult time to feel hopeful.”

Lewis-Miller said since the pandemic, many of her clients are hesitant to start new professions. Some feel stuck in a job they don’t like in fear they may not find something else. For those looking to start working again, she breaks down her advice into five tips:

Top 5 Tips for Unemployed Individuals Looking for Work Urgently Right Now:

1 – Evaluate your strengths and skills: understanding how you create value for an organization is key to knowing what work suits you and which roles you’ll be a strong candidate for.
2 – Look at the adjacent or replacement industries: if one industry goes away, other industries typically pop up in its place. 
3 – Upskill or re-skill, if needed: look for free or low-cost ways to gain additional training or certifications right now that can also help you expand your network of contacts in the industry.
4 – Polish your professional materials: get support to make sure they’re showing off your transferable skills and experiences well, and that they are free of errors.
5 – Get support from your relationship network: friends, family, former coworkers, peers from your educational background. 

“Typically, your highest success rate comes from people making connections for you, making introductions for you, or people being willing to create or customize roles to fit you,” Lewis-Miller said. 

“Write down the tasks you’ve done in previous jobs that you’ve enjoyed most and what skills or strengths it took to complete each one of those tasks. By doing that you will end up with a column on your piece of paper that has all these great words in it about who you are and what you bring to the table.”

CDLE encouraged people who need support to hire a job coach to make what could be a scary or uncomfortable transition easier.

However, if hiring a coach feels unaffordable for job seekers right now, there are a number of additional free federal and state resources that job seekers can utilize to help with resume updates or job search tactics: