Against the backdrop of the Coronavirus pandemic and the huge impact that it has had on jobs and the economy, this is a hugely challenging time for job seekers. The number of people who lost their jobs in April and May was 612,000 and vacancies plunged by the largest figure on record (since the ONS began measuring them in 2001), down 342,000 to 476,000.
The number of people claiming Universal Credit increased by 528,900 in May to 2.8 million, more than double the number in March. The figure includes people who are in work but are entitled to support due to a low income.
Given these extremely worrying figures and huge uncertainty we face, we have put together some key job search tips to move your career forward while social distancing.
1. Stay the Course
With all of the grim news, it’s natural to want to put the brakes on your search. While many companies have frozen their recruitment; furloughed or made employees redundant, others still need to recruit to fill gaps and meet demand. Companies are recruiting and looking for new workers. Maintaining momentum in your search will help you position yourself to compete for the roles available now. It also puts you ahead of the curve when the job market starts to picks up.
2. Do your Industry Research
Identify which industries and companies are most viable right now and likely to rebound quickly following the crisis. Focusing on companies that are recruiting can help you discover opportunities faster, such as delivery companies; supermarkets; online learning; essential retail; health and social care; and communications.
3. Ensure your CV is Fit-for-Purpose
Ensuring your CV is fit-for-purpose puts you in the running for new opportunities. Not only will it go a long way towards getting you through the door, but it should also be helpful during an interview. Time spent reflecting on and articulating your key skills and experience provides a solid foundation upon which to talk about the value you will bring to a new employer.
Make sure the basics are in place when reviewing your CV. Are your contact details correct? If you are making a reference to your LinkedIn profile, make sure that it is up-to-date and matches the information on your CV.
There are great resources on the National Careers Service website that take you through all of the main points to consider when developing your CV and these can be found here: https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/get-a-job/cv-sections
If you need help to review; update or write a new CV, call us on 020 8795 3999 to make an appointment to meet with one of our Careers Advisers for a one-to-one career guidance session. Alternatively, you can email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
One of our Advisers will walk you through all the steps necessary to develop a winning CV.
4. Network and use the Hidden Job Market
Use this time to draw up a list of your contacts and reconnect with them. Many people nowadays are on LinkedIn or you can go through your email address book to look up former colleagues or business acquaintances.
It is reported that up to 70 per cent of vacancies are not advertised via job sites or recruitment agencies. This is what is termed the hidden job market. The reason is that the costs of recruiting can be high, so if companies can bypass the middleman and still attract good workers that makes better sense for them.
So, what can you do to tap into the hidden job market?
Network – Put your contacts to work to get introductions to employers. Your contacts could be former colleagues, friends, family or acquaintances from school, college or university
Be proactive and make the first move – If you would really like to work at a particular company but they aren’t advertising any opportunities, contact them anyway. Make sure your letter and CV are heavily personalised for the company and make sure your enthusiasm shines through
Read and keep informed – Many websites, trade journals, magazines and newspapers give details about companies that are expanding, relocating or developing new products. These are the companies you should approach because they’re likely to be open to recruiting new workers
Social Media – use your social media contacts to find opportunities. You should also follow companies and professional trade/sector bodies of interest on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram to keep updated on developments and possible job opportunities
Take a temporary job – While you’re looking for the perfect role, take on temporary work as these jobs can become permanent if you make a great impression
5. Ready, Set, Ask
Be prepared with open-ended questions not only about the company’s hiring plans and needs when conditions do improve, but also their short-term needs during the crisis. Also, ask for referrals to others in their network who might be very busy right now and in need of help within their industry. At the very least, you will have made a potential valuable contact that you can re-visit after the pandemic crisis subsides. Don’t forget that networking is a two-way street. Make sure to ask how you can help them too during these challenging times!
6. Get on Camera: Zoom, Skype, MS Teams
These are becoming the norm in the short-term and might include one-on-one, group and series interviews. If you have not spoken in front of the computer before, practice and get used to eye contact with the camera and lag time between your voice and video. If you’re not already a frequent user, dive in. Set up a video chat and practice with family or friends.
7. Improve Your Skills
Now is a great time to take advantage of the growth of online learning opportunities. Many colleges and training organisations are offering free resources or even free courses, depending on your circumstances.
https://www.futurelearn.com/ – this platform offers many free courses developed by world-class universities and industry experts
https://www.vision2learn.net/courses – Vision2Learn offer a broad range of accredited courses and depending on your eligibility may be fully funded
https://www.theskillsnetwork.com/ – If you meet the eligibility for a fully funded course, the Skills Network offers a wide range of free accredited courses
Contact New Challenge for further career information, advice and guidance support and get expert professional help from a qualified Careers Adviser:
Telephone: 020 8795 3999