There’s no hiding the fact that the coronavirus pandemic has changed many aspects of our lives – and job hunting is no different. With advertised vacancies at their lowest since records began and redundancies on the rise, competition for each position is fiercely fought.
Building on our recent experiences, this blog post offers tips on how to refine your approach and stand out from the crowd. Beginning with the application process, we’ll also explore interviews during the “new normal” and how to stay positive while looking for a job.
Having already helped hopeful applicants find work in the coronavirus pandemic, we’re well placed to advise you on how to refine your approach to the application process. Some of the tips below are useful for job hunting regardless of coronavirus, but they’re particularly important when competition picks up to the levels we’re seeing at the moment.
When faced with redundancy, it’s easy to get lured into the ‘one-click-apply’ approach (submitting huge numbers of online applications in the hope that you’ll land at least one position). Many of these jobs will be less relevant to you, so your success rate will be low, and even if you do get a role this way, you’re unlikely to enjoy it and stick it out.
Instead, reframe the way you think about applying for jobs. Take things more slowly, giving careful consideration to each role and how well you would be suited to it in reality – you may be able to make 10 one-click applications in an hour, but this time would be better spent lining up your skills and experience with one particular role that you’re sure is right for you.
If you’re using platforms like LinkedIn to connect with future employers during your job hunt, make sure to show them that you’re putting in the effort. We often see candidates letting opportunities slip through their fingers just by failing to keep up communication. If you recognise from your initial conversation with someone that there might be an opportunity there, don’t let things go quiet all of a sudden: sending a meaningful follow-up message will never hurt your chances of getting the job.
We’re always keen to make our clients aware of the importance of online profiles and the various roles these can play in job hunting. Not all roles are filled via the standard application process or through agencies. More and more, we’re seeing employers seek out candidates for a wide variety of jobs online; it’s no longer the case that only CEOs get headhunted! Optimising your profiles to focus on relevant, industry-specific keywords is important to help you get noticed (check out our blog on how to network effectively on LinkedIn for more information).
The job-hunting process has taken a little longer for many applicants this time around due to the coronavirus pandemic. There’s no shame in taking a break to clear your head and make time for other things. Whilst you’re not researching and applying for roles, you could take advantage of the downtime to find free online courses and qualifications to bolster your CV. For example, Google offers a range of short qualifications in areas like digital marketing and machine learning through its Digital Garage, and these are highly respected by many of the employers we work alongside.
Some of the guidance we could offer here has been thrown up in the air by the coronavirus pandemic, with the job interview process now happening online in the vast majority of cases. Taking part in a job interview over the phone or via Zoom is never ideal, but this aspect of the ‘new normal’ isn’t going away any time soon, so you’ll need to adapt if you want to succeed.
Particularly with the unfamiliar territory of a video interview, practice makes perfect. Do your usual research about the company and the position, preparing rough answers for common questions that could come up, but try recording these using your webcam to see how it would look from the other side. In a sense, this is a significant advantage of Zoom interviews, in that you can see how you’ll be perceived in advance using a recording, then refine and make adjustments until you’re happy.
Video calls also enable you to pick the room in which the interview is held, so take advantage of this and choose a quiet, well-lit space with a strong WiFi signal. Whichever software you’re going to be using, familiarise yourself with its functions through a practice call with a friend (this will give you the chance to work out how to mute yourself and share your screen if necessary). Finally, make sure to look into the camera when you’re speaking in the interview and leave your phone on silent!
If you’ve received a few rejections already, then you’ll know that it can be difficult to maintain an optimistic outlook and keep submitting applications. The tips below may guide you on how to stay positive while looking for a job:
1. It can feel like your job search is taking up your whole life if you’re not careful, so plan out a strict routine that includes two to three hours of applications each day and make time for other activities.
2. Although your connections may be celebrating new jobs and promotions on social media, take their posts with a pinch of salt and try not to focus on them too much (limiting your screen time or temporarily unfollowing users can help with this).
3. Make sure you’re spending at least some time working towards your professional goals each day but take regular breaks – and above all be kind to yourself!
Over the course of this post, we’ve looked at several aspects of job hunting during the coronavirus pandemic, from applications through the interviews. Most importantly, try to stay positive while looking for a job and remember we are here to help. If you would like any further advise, please feel free to get in touch.
Looking for inspiration? Check out our job search board.