At the beginning of 2020, UK employment was at a record high and in 2019 it was reported that 90% of the UK job market was candidate-driven. This means only a few months ago, the pressure when recruiting was more on businesses to attract the best talent, with applicants experiencing a wider choice of potential employers. The COVID-19 pandemic has threatened this in no uncertain terms, with a mass increase in job loss and temporary business closure.
Nevertheless, while you may be feeling deflated by the challenges of job hunting during a virus pandemic and lockdown, you are not defeated! There is actually a lot you can be doing right now to improve your job prospects.
Use this extra time wisely. And if you’re looking for a new job during lockdown, now is the time to perfect your CV(s). Don’t just update it, tailor it. Create more than one CV, specific to each individual job you apply for.
CVs should take a long time to prepare, it is your opportunity to make the best first impression and it’s your first step in convincing a potential employer that you’re suitable for the role and a cultural fit. And yet, so many applicants rush them and fail to give their CVs the proper attention they need.
Take the chance to upskill yourself and participate in some distanced learning. The internet is full of hundreds of online courses, webinars, tutorials, learning material and forums. A lot of it is free too! You could gain a new qualification in lockdown!
If the pandemic has caused a gap in your employment history, you still have the opportunity to demonstrate in an interview how you made the best use of this time.
This is also an opportunity to build on your portfolio, as well as your skills and qualifications!
With regards to the current challenges that candidates are facing right now, telling them “you’re all in the same boat”, may not be that reassuring. Candidates will understandably fear that fewer vacancies and more applicants will impose tougher competition.
And while this may temporarily impact some specific sectors, the prospect of competition or the fact other people want the same job as you should never shake your confidence. Competition should fuel your ambition and encourage you to prove that you are the best candidate for the job.
Knowing your value is one of the most desirable skills there is to an employer.
While you think your ideal job is currently classed as non-essential, it may well be needed for an essential business. Just like your CV, tailor your job searching. Don’t just keep using the same title in the same search engine.
Explore company websites where their services may still be critical. Ensure that you are using your hard and soft skills as your keywords when job searching. You may well be overlooking a job vacancy you really well suit because the title is unfamiliar to you.
Motivation really is key to job hunting. Seeking new employment is a stressful and daunting time, even without a global pandemic! The Coronavirus crisis has drastically exacerbated all the challenges of being an applicant in the job market.
We don’t know how long lockdown will last, and if “normal” life will ever resume. But what we do know is that people are resilient, adaptable and innovative. Every day, we are learning to navigate in a new world and we have the blessing of being in the Digital Age where technology is both enabling and generating jobs.
It’s a disheartening yet heart-warming time. But don’t mistake deflation for defeatism, you’re stronger than you think and better days are coming.