With Level 5 set to last for around five more weeks and uncertainty about what restrictions will be in place in the coming months, those in search of a new job may feel they are facing an uphill battle.
But for those on the job hunt during the pandemic, it is important not to give up. That’s according to Sarah Hayes of Sigmar Recruitment, who says that there are a number of things people can do to improve their likelihood of finding a job.
“Look at what is in your span of control and be proactive,” says Sarah. “The labour market has turned on its head since March and is constantly changing with government restrictions being implemented.
“But it’s important not to give up as there are companies still hiring.”
Top 5 tips to improve your chance of finding a job during COVID-19
Analyse the market
Where are the jobs right now? Well, there are certain sectors that have been decimated by the pandemic, but others are still going strong. For example, DPD have just announced that they are expanding their operations and will create 700 jobs before the end of the year. Sigmar is hiring most across Manufacturing & Engineering, Technology & IT, Construction, E-Commerce, Customer Service, Health & Safety and Supply Chain & Logistics.
The Lifesciences/ Pharmaceutical sector is busier than ever right now, with resumed elective surgeries, vaccine development, diagnostic testing and respiratory device production.
Many companies are looking for multilingual speakers, for whom there is a great demand. So if you speak more than just English, there are opportunities out there.
Familiarise yourself with who is hiring – keep an eye on the news, set up job alerts on the jobs boards, follow companies on LinkedIn, identify a recruitment consultant that recruits in your area and ask them to keep you updated on the market.
Your cover letter, CV and your LinkedIn profile are your primary tools to market yourself. Prepare your CV, spend time on it and ask a recruitment consultant to help you to get it right (they will do this free of charge).
Your CV and cover letter should always be tailored for the role you are applying for. Look at the job spec and mirror it back in your CV.
It is also extremely important to keep your LinkedIn profile up to date. Make sure you have a profile picture, create a compelling summary, add your projects, populate the skills section, and remember when recruiters and even bots are searching for profiles they search for keywords and buzzwords. If you don’t have these, then your profile might be missed.
Change your status to ‘Open to new opportunities’ and get active on LinkedIn – don’t just sit back and wait for someone to contact you! Connect with hiring managers and HR professionals in the companies you want to work for, send them your CV directly and ask them whether they are hiring. You should also follow the company pages so that new job announcements will show up in your news feed, in case you miss your dream job!
Joining groups and forums relevant to the job you are looking for and skills that you have can be a great way to build connections and relationships with people who have similar profiles.
Networking can be a great way of finding a job – some experts say that over 70% of jobs are found by networking.
So as well as keeping an eye on the best recruitment websites, get networking and boost your chances of finding that dream job!
It’s a great time to identify gaps in your skillset and upskill – look at jobs being advertised online and see if you can identify any particular skills/qualifications that you are missing that might help with securing that job in the future.
In lockdown, many people are finding themselves with much more free time than before – so what better time to look for online courses to close those gaps in your knowledge, learn a new skill set or even a new language.
There are countless apps and online courses out there – so find out where you’re lacking and get learning!
Open up your search
Perhaps one of the more positive things to come out of the pandemic is that people are becoming less tied to one location, as companies are learning that working from home is not only possible, but also beneficial for many people.
There are a lot of remote working positions out there now, so don’t just limit yourself to searching for a position in your direct locality.
Open up your search and keep an eye on jobs advertised in different locations but can be worked from home.
Step out of your comfort zone
To stand out from the crowd, you may have to be creative. With Covid-19, there has been a shift towards video interviewing but Sigmar is also seeing an increase in video applications.
Get yourself in front of a camera and talk through your CV and reasons for applying for a particular position (remember, like in your CV, to tailor your answers depending on the job!). You can send this video along with your CV, or directly to a hiring manager through LinkedIn.
When it comes to interviews – most are taking place virtually. Therefore it is important to ensure you are prepared – make sure you have been sent the link in advance!
It is also important to check that you have a good internet connection, that your camera is working and positioned appropriately, your background is professional, you are dressed appropriately. Look directly at the camera to make eye contact, and let them know that you’re the ideal candidate.
If you do all of this, you give yourself every chance of landing a new job, even in the most unusual of times.