Be Ready: Job Searching in a Pandemic
Job searching in a pandemic, a title we never thought we would be writing… Unsurprisingly, the jobs market is slowing during this uncertain time (it hasn’t stopped yet, so do keep pursuing leads if you find opportunities). It may continue to slow and possibly even halt for a while, but this will end, and jobs will re-open!
The best thing you can do with your time now, is GET READY! Anticipate the recovery, what’s your strategy going to be to ensure you can jump on those openings when they do arise. Here are our top tips for job searching from your desk:
Adapting to change
Although some companies may be pausing their recruitment drives, others are very much still hiring. You might have to deal with some differences such as virtual interviews rather than face-to-face, but the fundamentals are still the same. We will be talking about video interviews and how to deal with them, but for the time being, here are our interview tips including sample questions and how to answer them:
Sort your CV
Start by getting the basics right, then look at creating a few versions of your CV, specific to different industries or roles. It is essential that you tailor your CV to every job you apply for, highlighting your most relevant skills and attributes, so you demonstrate why you would be suited to the specific role and company. We have compiled some tips from seeing lots of CV’s and speaking to people who have seen many more, so here they are:
Set up or spruce up your LinkedIn profile
Make sure you can be found! A strong LinkedIn profile can really set you apart. Researchers say upwards of 80% of jobs are found through networking, so get onto LinkedIn and start networking.
For a simple, thorough guide to making your LinkedIn profile work for you, sign up to our newsletter and you can access our LinkedIn Hack Pack – it takes you through setting up an impressive profile, how to use LinkedIn as a jobseeker and how to grow your network effectively.
Scroll to the bottom of any page and click on the button that looks like this:
Sort your social media
Employers routinely use social media to search for and veto prospective candidates. So, they will take a look at Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. – a positive online profile is as important as a strong CV! Now’s the time to do a bit of spring cleaning, follow and unfollow, alter privacy settings so potential employers can’t find anything you don’t want them to find.
Here’s some guidance on how to do sort your social media for a professional and personal profile:
Find out what sort of career suits you
You’ll have the luxury of time as the jobs market slows down for a while, so why not spend more time thinking about what the right thing might be. Personality tests can be really helpful to inspire and encourage you to consider things you may not have previously thought about.
Do some research into companies and industries you like the sound of, really hone-in on what you want, in what industry etc.
Contact companies for advice or tips
Now is THE perfect time to contact people. They don’t have meetings all over the place so will likely have more time to help you or at least chat. Learn a bit about their company, then send them an email or even better, pick up the phone.
You could find these people and companies via LinkedIn through groups, conversations, a google search, ask people in your network, or via industry/trade publications e.g. Campaign magazine.
Here’s some help on networking – how to do it, what to expect, questions to get you started.
Put yourself on the map – contribute to your industry
Talk about how people are being affected and coping, share helpful suggestions and positive stories. Social media is a great place to find interesting conversation about your industry, particularly LinkedIn.
Learning can be done in many different ways, but short courses could be a great way to expand your knowledge and boost employability e.g. negotiating skills, GDPR (data protection regulations), coding, social media marketing. These may have to be digested online for now, but there is an array of places to find opportunities. For more information, we have collated the best places to find short courses here:
Chloe, a freelance writer, also wrote us an article about short courses Short Courses to Boost Employability
Grad Soc – Digital training to prepare you for specific job openings and the world of work and a jobs board
Volunteering can be hugely beneficial for employability, learning new skills but most importantly making a positive difference. First and oremost, if you are able to, find out from neighbours, friends etc. what they might need from you, particularly the most vulnerable (see who these people are here). Alternatively, if you want to volunteer in a different capacity, find out more on this article:
N.B. Please only volunteer in any capacity if you are fit and well, the last thing we want is to be spreading anything further, even if your intentions are good.
One of the best ways to pick up paid work right now is freelancing. Be aware that times are tough and so things could change ut for writers, videographers, designers etc. it’s certainly worth a look. Here we outline some popular freelancing sites where people post if they need help on projects etc.
There’s no doubt that certain things will change after this outbreak – our values and behaviour, ways of working and entertaining ourselves, eating habits etc. Can you think of anything that might help your industry stay productive throughout this time or improve their crisis management in the future? Or, are you feeling entrepreneurial, is there something missing that you wish was here today? There are already apps appearing about working from home, keeping fit at home, there’s a lady doing tea-break talk about London, people organising neighbourhood help groups – this will bring out some creative business ideas. Even if you don’t have the means to create the product, think about it, draw it, get ready to present it when you can show people!
We hope these tips can help some of you make progress with your job search or feel ready for the day when we are through this unpredictable time. If you have any other tips or experiences, please let us know and we will add them to this post for others to use.
Good luck! Go get ‘em!