How to find work in a Pandemic.

How to find work in a Pandemic.

We all know we are living in uncertain times. Every media outlet is telling us that every minute of every day. Unemployment rates are up.  Business are struggling so recruitment is at an all-time low.

Things certainly look different to what they did this time last year.

What does this mean though if you are currently looking for work?

In the area I live there are currently just as many jobs advertised now then there ever is.  But if unemployment rates are high then there will likely be more people applying for them and therefore competition is high.  So what can you do different to stand out?  Here are my top 5 tips for Finding work in a Pandemic.

1 Use Linked in

These days most of us use social media but did you know that 70% of employers are screening you on your own social media platforms before they consider hiring?  This is according to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey (https://www.careerbuilder.com/advice/social-media-survey-2017).  So if you’re going to be screened then why not make sure you are utilising the networking tool Linkedin which is free to sign up to.

Apart from creating an online presence that you control and can make sure is aligned with your career goals and personal branding, Linkedin is also a brilliant tool for networking.  Using it in this current market could mean the difference between an interview or not.  Jobs get advertised on there, recruiters regularly search for suitable candidates and many hiring managers have an account.  Search, make contacts, build relationships.  By using it effectively you will widen your job search, hear about jobs that become available before they hit the usual job boards and build contacts in the industries you are interested in. You can join groups that are connected to your career interests and network within them.

2 Network

Using LinkedIn as a networking tool is great online, but don’t forget the good old fashioned conversation. While face to face might not be the current preferred medium, pick up the phone, drop an email if you must, but make contact.  Find people in the industry you would like to be in, ask for their expertise in how you could break into their organisation/industry. Ask for help. People love to help others. If they refuse or won’t speak to you, don’t take it personally. They may be trying to keep their own head above water in the Pandemic or they just may not be your kind of people and either way that’s ok.  Keep going with it though. Advertised jobs account for only 30% of all job vacancies, and networking and relationship building is a way to access that other 70% of jobs.

3 Resume and Cover Letter

Now is not the time to have a mediocre resume.  It needs to be fresh, modern and directly aimed towards the role you are applying for.  In this competitive market you have to give yourself the edge over others.  Using the same resume you’ve used for the last 10 years is not going to get you onto that interview list.  Resumes have changed many times since then and you need to stand out in this market and have an eye catching and relevant resume and an interview grabbing cover letter. There is plenty of material available online to help you improve your resume and cover letter or enlist the help of a Professional Resume Writer if you are time poor or don’t know where to start!

4 Training

Now is the perfect time to upskill.  If you have found yourself out of work or you’re wanting to make some changes or just increase your skills while your entertainment options at the weekend are still limited, then consider doing a course. There are many free courses available at the moment that you can take advantage of, plus the unlimited information you can find on the internet.  Being able to say you used this time constructively to future employers will stand you in much better stead then saying you Netflixed your way through the Pandemic. Be creative, go for something you have always fancied doing but never had the time to do it, think strategically and have career goals in mind – whichever way you go, using your time well, staying productive and keeping the grey matter moving is only even going to be of value.

5 Get used to Zoom

Zoom, Google, Skype. When once these were reserved only for those working in international teams, they have now become the main means of communication not only for teams but for first stage interviewing.  Everyone has seen the memes flying around about people being ‘work up the top, play down the bottom’, screens going blank, no volume, family being in the background.  And those of us who have used video conferencing over the past few months have experienced at least one of these mishaps to varying embarrassing degrees.  Don’t get caught out!  I know from experience that every single client I have worked with since the Pandemic started, have had a video or phone based interview.  Its worth making sure you are across the different platforms, have accounts set up and have practised using them. You certainly don’t want to be the one not able to get volume!  You want to make the process as easy and smooth as possible with the future employer.

6 Mindset

Yes it’s a tough market, but you know what it’s always been a tough market for job seekers, for as long as I can remember anyway.  Don’t let the unemployment figures put you off. In my local market there are just as many jobs being advertised at the moment than there ever are.  Not in every industry of course but there are jobs out there.  If your industry is one that is struggling, think about what your transferable skills are, what actions can you take to change direction, even if its only a temporary measure for you. Set out a schedule for your job seeking, don’t let it consume each day, but allocate time in your routine to actively get onto job boards, network, chase up job applications. Having a good routine with your job seeking will help you, so that it doesn’t consume you and absolutely at all costs avoid the middle of the night panic job searching! Nothing good ever comes from the midnight scroll!

Finding a job during a Pandemic might come with additional challenges, but with a little bit of focus and attention they are not impossible to overcome.  Follow these tips and see how they change your job searching.  If you need a little extra help reach out to someone who can support you.

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Kirsty McConville

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