How To | Find a Job During COVID
Over 750,000 staff across numerous industries have lost their job since the beginning of lockdown; a figure likely to increase now that the government’s furlough scheme has ended.
Finding a job during a recession amidst increased competition may not be as quick and easy as it was before the pandemic, but it’s not impossible.
Here are 11 actions that will increase your chances of securing a new role if you’ve been made redundant during the pandemic.
#1. EVALUATE YOUR INDUSTRY
Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen some sectors struggle while others have thrived. Hotels, pubs, restaurants, travel agents, airlines, events organisers and entertainment venues have faced enormous challenges that will likely have a lasting impact.
On the other hand, IT and technology, cleaning companies, internet retailers, grocery brands, supermarket chains, renewables, warehousing and delivery companies have seen an increase in sales. It may be that you have to switch sectors while you wait for your industry to recover. You may even find you enjoy your new sector more than your previous career.
#2. HAVE A STRATEGY
The need to find a job just to take the financial pressure off may mean taking a role that isn’t exactly your dream career move. Many people are in exactly the same boat at the moment, and there’s no shame in accepting a role that you wouldn’t normally consider.
Recessions don’t last forever, and this doesn’t need to be a long-term career – although it might, if you find you enjoy it. Having a short, medium and long-term strategy for what you want out of a job will help to keep you focussed and on track.
#3. UPSKILL IF YOU NEED TO
With many people needing to quickly develop new skills, there are lots of free tools and resources out there to help. The National Careers Service has free career tools like a skills assessment, while colleges, universities and organisations like Active Learning, Reed and Free2Learn have some fantastic fully-funded opportunities.
Learning new skills will also reflect well on you by showing employers that you’ve been productive during furlough or lockdown.
#4. REVAMP YOUR CV
A poorly written, cluttered or error-ridden CV could land you in the ‘no’ pile before you’ve even started. With so much competition, it’s more essential than ever to nail your CV – here’s how to write a great CV.
Now is the perfect time to take a long look at your CV and make sure it’s working as hard as it can for you. Focus on your transferrable skills that could work in another industry. Use different versions with different intros for each industry you apply for, and check it’s well laid out and spell checked.
#5. CREATE A SUCCINCT COVER LETTER
Cover letters are so important, yet they’re often neglected. A cover letter is your chance to convince the person reading it that you’re the ideal person for the role.
It should succinctly address each point in the job advert and illustrate (if possible, with facts and figures from previous jobs) why you’re capable of doing that.
There are lots of useful templates you can use but make sure it sounds personalised to each role every time you apply. It’s better to send out 10 highly personalised applications a day than 20 generic ones.
#6. CAST YOUR NET WIDE
If there’s one thing that’s forced companies to adapt to home-working, it’s the pandemic. For job hunters, this means that roles in locations you wouldn’t previously consider are now possible.
Before COVID, if you lived in South Shropshire and saw a great role based in Coventry, you’d likely discount it because of the commute. Now, most office-based roles involve working from home at least part of the week, making them much more viable.
#7. SET A SCHEDULE
Looking for a job – especially right now – is a full-time job in itself. Treat it as though it is; set a schedule and plan your day around it, starting at 9am and ending whenever you’d normally finish.
Take care of yourself during this process. Losing a job or working in an industry that’s suffering can give your confidence a tremendous knock, so be kind to yourself while you transition to your next role. Take lots of breaks and get outside in the fresh air whenever you can.
#8. SUBSCRIBE TO ALERTS
There are countless job sites out there, and not all of them carry the same jobs. Sign up to as many as you can and be prepared to wade through daily job alerts as they arrive.
Make sure the most recent version of your CV is on each site too. Check that your profile is set to ‘visible’ so potential employers can see you’re looking. Have a look at sites like Reed, Indeed, Monster, CV Library, Jobsite and Total Jobs.
There are also specialist job sites and recruiters for different sectors (like CWJobs for IT roles, and A&D Recruitment for jobs in renewable energy and building services) and the main government portal has a handy Find a Job function.
It’s also worth checking your local newspaper websites as they all carry a mix of local and national roles.
#9. GET NETWORKING
Sometimes, the best opportunities come from speaking to people you already know, or approaching companies directly. Let friends and former colleagues know you’re looking, and ask them to keep an eye out. Attend virtual job fairs (there are lots!) or networking sessions in your area.
LinkedIn is probably the most important tool for networking, so if you don’t yet have a profile, look up how to create one and get started. There are some fantastic jobs advertised exclusively on LinkedIn, and it’s a great way to connect with employers you’re interested in.
#10. APPLY EARLY
With so much competition, some employers have been overwhelmed with applications within a week of posting a new job. In these instances, they may even close the job early since they already have so many candidates to choose from.
That’s why you should apply for a job as soon as you see it, the moment it appears in your alerts. It will give you a better chance of being noticed than those who apply just before the closing date.
#11. BE PREPARED
If you’re offered an interview, be fully prepared and ready to accept the first slot you’re offered – if commitments allow. Have an interview outfit ready to go, practice your pitch and rehearse answers to some of the common interview questions employers ask.
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