Coronavirus and the workplace
As companies move to remote work to fight the coronavirus pandemic and an increasing number of people are being made redundant or furloughed you may be wondering if you are already unemployed if you should continue to look for a job or just assume no-one is recruiting in the foreseeable future. It is true that economists are predicting a recession but we would say keep trying to get a job, keep applying for roles and keep sending out your CV. Be prepared though to change your approach a bit and be a little more flexible in these unsettled times.
Companies may not be recruiting today, jobs may be put on hold or disappear but that doesn’t mean they won’t open up again in a few months. With that said you can still be actively working on your job search. These tips will help you navigate the process during the pandemic and the accompanying economic slowdown.
Consider how urgent your search is
If you can afford to put your job search on hold you may want to wait it out as it is a very, very difficult job market. If you are currently employed unless your role is really, really unbearable stick with it if you can. If you are not employed don’t think as your next job as your perfect job. It might be a compromise. It could be that you need a “stopgap” job short term. It might be a little further than you would like to travel, it could be paying a little less than you have been earning , it could be longer hours than you’d like to work or it could be a more junior position than you have had. If the position pays your rent and puts food on the table then it is worth considering at this awful time .
Get online and network
Seek out like-minded professionals online and look for professional groups to join on Facebook and LinkedIn. Both platforms offer a wide range of options with groups for every profession. For instance, if you’re looking for job in marketing you could join LinkedIns Global Marketing and Communications professional group. Join in a conversation, post and comment, make yourself visible. Also get ready to complete an online interview or a networking chat by practicing with a friend. Have your friend ask questions and give you feedback on your delivery. Make sure you know how to angle the camera so the person you’re meeting with can see your entire face, not just your forehead. Once you have mastered the technology, invite professional contacts to meet for a virtual coffee.
Don’t lose touch with contacts
Maybe you recently had a promising interview and a job offer seemed to be on the horizon, but now lockdown has happened and you haven’t heard from the employer. What should you do? Send an email to the person who interviewed you saying you know it’s a really difficult time and acknowledge that you appreciate that at the moment they may have put employment on the backburner; then offer your services. Ask if there is anything you can do to assist at the moment. Finally stress how much you enjoyed the interview and how much you would love to work for them when things get back to normal. Lastly once lock-down ends make sure you send an email stating you are still on the market looking for a job and when they are ready to recruit you’d love the opportunity of meeting with them again.
Be an intelligence gatherer
Nowadays a job is not going to come knocking at your door, you have to go out and find one. Start researching companies in your local area. Who is open? Who are working from home? Who has made redundancies? And finally who could be recruiting? Check out company websites, most nowadays have job pages. Even if a company isn’t advertising its worth establishing who would deal with their recruitment and sending a speculative letter with your CV attached asking if they have any positions which could suit you. Remember the old adage “if you don’t ask – you don’t get”
Don’t be desperate
Whatever you do don’t panic. Things are hard but don’t jump at the first opportunity that is offered to you without considering it carefully. Take advantage of the slowing market be clear about what you want for the future. Create a list or your requirements. i.e.: What is the minimum salary you could accept , how far are you prepared to travel , what hours can you work. It goes without saying every job you apply for should match most if not all of your criteria. Be prepared to think about key skills and experience. For instance if you have worked in the travel sector how about using those customer service skills you have acquired in a reception position. Marketing is an area that is suffering at the moment but there are sales support positions available. Play the long game, there is a lot of shifting going on right now.
Boost your skills
Now is the perfect time to work on improving your qualifications. Look at your skills and experience, then consider what could be improved. For instance, if you’re applying for social media or marketing specialist positions you are likely to require experience of Google Analytics and Hootsuite. Being certified in either or both will make your CV stand out. If you are an accounts specialist the two most popular softwares used are Sage or Xero, if you haven’t used these this could be a good time to do a quick course. Anything that makes you more employable is always a benefit.
Don’t limit your search
Make sure you are trying all avenues in order to get a job. It’s a very difficult market so you need to be knocking on every door that is available to you. Start with Job Sites , Indeed, Reed.co.uk, Jobsite.co.uk, monster.co.uk or Wikijob.co.uk are all good. Then try Agencies which are local to you. Agencies are a good opinion as they do temporary as well as permanent jobs which could be a good option at the moment. Don’t forget the Job Centre, you will be surprised at the jobs they have. Knocking on doors, sending your CV to local companies, checking employer job boards on their website and networking online are also routes that could be used. It will be hard but there are jobs out there.
During this time and the near future, it is important to focus on what you can control. You can’t magic up a job, recognise that it is going to be hard and will require a great deal of effort. What you can do now is lay the groundwork so that when things start to get back to normal which hopefully wont be long you will be ready, able and capable of achieving great things.