Successful job searching in lockdown

Successful job searching in lockdown

 30 Jun 2020

As we continue to experience the effects of the coronavirus and with a significant proportion of the world’s workforce still on lock down, job seekers may well think they are wasting their time. But whether you are having to find a new role because of redundancy or have been considering a move for some time and are looking for a fresh start, there are plenty of things you can do to improve your chances of success.

 

Don’t forget the basics

Take a careful look at your CV. When there are fewer vacancies, firms will be choosier so will be even less forgiving of sloppy CVs with typos and mistakes. It is worth taking some time to perfect your CV and customize it for each role by focusing on the relevant skills for each position. Take a look at our blog on CV Essentials for some more tips.

 

Improve your profile

Your LinkedIn profile is there as a showcase to every potential employer so cast a critical eye over it and invest some time to make it fit for purpose.

Your photo should be carefully selected. A head and shoulders shot works best, business appropriate, formal but not too formal, a smile has been shown in several studies to be more engaging but only if it’s something you’re comfortable with. Above all, you need to be you, but avoid selfies from weddings or photos with friends at all costs.

Craft the ‘About’ section carefully. This is your ‘elevator pitch’, a summary of what strengths and skills you will bring to a new company.

Endorsements or recommendations are like mini references. It’s worth getting used to asking your line manager to write a recommendation when you’ve completed a particularly difficult assignment well, for example.

 

Choosing the right recruitment agent

Working with a recruitment agent is a partnership that should add value to your career search. In a difficult market, having a skilled recruiter talking to the right contacts in the right way at the right time can be the difference between securing an interview or not.

Do talk to two or three recruiters but choose one who seems most knowledgeable about the market, who is able to give you sensible and constructive advice about your career and who you feel you have a rapport with. Remember this person will be representing you in the market, giving you advice on how to perform at your best at interview, and carefully guiding you through the process including negotiating offers on your behalf, so it should be someone who feel you can trust and will work well with.

Although it’s tempting to do so, there’s little to gain by instructing multiple agencies who all cover the same organisations. This does little but weaken your position. A good agency should tell you if there is a role that they have heard about but aren’t covering, or if there are circumstances where it would be better to put in a direct application or to stay with your current employer -  we do.

 

Paying the bills!

If you are finding it difficult to secure a role in your usual field of expertise, as many are, it is far better to step away for a while and secure a different sort of role. Not only will this help financially but it is also a great boost psychologically. Social media has been full of stories of airline pilots working as delivery drivers and business people working as cashiers at supermarkets.

Any future employer in your usual specialism will understand that whilst the market has been a bit flat, you might have had to take a different role for a few months and will think positively of you for it. During the last couple of recessions, we came across many examples of people who did exactly this, and then came back into their chosen field once the market had improved.

 

Interviewing

The recruitment process has had to change during lockdown and, with the much more regular use of video meetings e.g. viaTeams or Zoom, you are very likely to be asked to attend a video interview.

This will involve thinking about the interview process in a different way. Prepare beforehand by making sure that you have a quiet place with good reception.

Even though you are likely to be working from home, make a good impression by dressing for the office and wear your usual business attire. This will also put you in the right frame of mind for an interview.

If you haven’t had a video meeting before, practice beforehand with a friend or family member to make sure you are comfortable with how it works, where you need to look, what the camera will see of your space etc.

Don’t forget that although it can feel slightly awkward, the same rules apply i.e. set the tone by saying something like “Good to meet you, thank you for inviting me for the interview”. Check out our blog on Top Interview Tips to refresh your memory on the basics.

 

Why are you looking….?

This will be the first question you are asked at any interview. If you have been made redundant or had a job offer withdrawn because of Covid-19 then say so. Don’t dwell on the negative. Present the view that any unintended down time has given you the chance to complete some extra training or technical reading and spend rare time with the family to help with home schooling etc., but that you are now raring to go with a new role. You get the idea……

 

Have confidence in your skills

As the market changes to a job driven one with fewer vacancies and greater pressure to succeed at interview, it is all too easy to lose confidence. Just remember that the company wouldn’t have asked you for interview if they weren’t genuinely interested in the skills you have.

 

Things always improve

Although it doesn’t necessarily feel like it when you are in the moment, difficult situations always improve and usually something better is just around the corner.

It is very important to keep on track and stay positive. Negative thoughts and a lack of confidence are difficult to hide during interview and make it harder for the interviewer to see the real you, so push negative thoughts aside, keep talking to your recruiter regularly and follow their advice to put you in the best position to take advantage of the opportunities that are available.

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