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Job hunting during a pandemic

Posted on 11/02/2021 by Tracey George MIRP

Job hunting online

Job hunting during a pandemic                                         

Change is something we have all faced at an alarming speed over the past year, not least change in relation to our jobs, our required skillset, incomes, as well as how and where we work.  Throw a job hunt into the complex mix of living through a worldwide pandemic, and it will undoubtedly have been, at worst, more challenging, and at best, different to previous job searches.  Saying that, there is a lot you can do to ensure you are ‘equipped’ and ready for your job hunt during a pandemic, improving your chances of success.

But before I get started, it is worth remembering that healthy levels of self-esteem and confidence are the starting blocks of anyone’s employability journey and here I share some helpful advice on how you can put your best self forward. 

Okay, lets go…

Stay connected, network and consider volunteering

Engage with your network regularly, our usual go-to face-to-face events are not happening and those impromptu business lunches are a thing of the past…  This is why it is important to seek out online and virtual events and to join professional groups on LI and other social media platforms.  Don’t hesitate to suggest a virtual coffee to someone in your network, the ease of a video meeting makes it more likely someone will be willing to have a quick chat.

Ensure your online/social media profile is up to date and the best reflection of you.  Make use of the ‘open to work’ functionality on LinkedIn – it’s a great way to get noticed.

Stay in touch with your recruitment contacts regularly, they will provide valuable job market updates and you will also have an opportunity to remind them of your wonderful skills and your proactive approach!

Another brilliant way to expand your network, gain new skills and keep your CV ‘active,’ is to consider doing volunteering – if you need more convincing, here are some excellent reasons why you should consider it. 

Be ‘CV ready’ at all times

The first thing to consider is whether you have a thorough understanding of your hard, soft and transferable skills. It is particularly important to reflect on your transferable skills when applying for a role - it is always possible that you don’t possess all the required skills and doing this will potentially help you overcome this hurdle.

Contextualise your experience, after all, the world we now live and work in has changed but there are ways in which you can stand out from the crowd if you consider showcasing your adaptability and the new skills you have acquired, or those you have developed further, due to these changes – this blog will share more examples of this and things to consider.

Go back to the basics, it is essential to ensure you don’t fall victim to one of the most common CV mistakes – reference this blog as a checklist, to ensure you haven’t!

Still on the topic of CV’s, this has been one of our most popular blogs and could just be the difference between getting an interview or not.  Make sure your CV is being noticed and getting the attention it deserves by ensuring it is search engine optimised (SEO)  – this  excellent blog has great practical tips on how you can implement this straight away.

Lastly, if you want to create a completely new CV or you want to reformat your current one, you can access our CV template here.

Applications, cover letters, supporting statements…

We know this takes time and organisations are increasingly assessing the quality of supporting statements to help them shortlist the best applicants, so this is a vitally important step in the process.  In these blogs we share up to date advice and tips on completing application forms, writing compelling supporting statements and capturing everything you need to in a cover letter.

Many TPP job seekers have reported that these resources have really helped them in securing interviews and I hope it will help you too.

Be organised & follow up

During 2020, TPP saw an increase of 44% in the number of applications per job advertised, compared with 2019.  In 2020 we also quickly shifted from a candidate short market to a job short one, with the exception of some sectors of course, health and social care being the most obvious.  This means that the average job seeker will undoubtedly need to apply for a higher volume of roles to be successful.  We know this can be a challenge and understand that looking for a job, is a job in itself…. only you aren’t being paid, so you need to make sure the hours you put in are serving you well. 

Keep track of all applications, note dates and names of relevant contacts, TPP has a ready-made application tracker that can help you do this. 

And don’t forget the importance of following up, don’t make assumptions about your application status and get confirmations of the outcome and feedback where you can.

An interview is a win & practice makes perfect

Where possible, follow up all interviews with a thank you email, it is not only polite to do so but leaves a positive impression of you and your professionalism. 

In a more competitive job market you should celebrate an interview, see it as an opportunity not only for securing a role but to learn about the organisation and enhance your interview skills. 

This brilliant little interview cheat sheet might give you some useful prompts to remember for your next interview.

The pandemic has forced us all to interact much more via video, both socially and professionally.  This is why we have put together some top tips on how to make the best possible impression via video.  You can also watch me in action with some top tips here.

Lastly, it is not uncommon, particularly for senior roles, to be asked to do a presentation as part of the interview process. The better you prepare, the better the experience and outcome – check out our advice here.

Show Some Empathy

This is a crucial ingredient for a successful job hunt in a pandemic.  No one person is in the same situation as another, we all have our own story and we should not be ashamed or feel alone.

As recruiters and job seekers we should have an empathy and respect for each other.  We are all people doing the best we can.  During times of pressure and stress, the required level of empathy can occasionally be challenged.  In this blog - Are we all really in the same boat?  I explain the importance of showing genuine empathy, actively listening to others and why making assumptions is not recommended! 

Take a day off and look after yourself

There will undoubtedly be days when you just can’t face trawling through job boards, calling your recruitment contacts or checking that application tracker for the tenth time that morning.  Give yourself a break, focus on you or your loved ones and remember that your job search will still be there for you to pick up again tomorrow!

Here is some great advice from my colleague Penny Raven, an accredited mental health first aider – it shares some great ways of prioritising self-care during a pandemic.

This also feels like a good opportunity to share a useful directory of support services we have put together – https://www.tpp.co.uk/jobseeker/mental-health-and-wellbeing

​At TPP our aim is to support all job seekers with finding a role that gives them purpose, a livelihood and the chance to use their skills.  We are passionate about what we do and continually look for ways in which we can advise and share our expertise.  We have many other useful resources available on our popular employability support hub and we offer a free call back service too.  You can contact us on 020 7198 6000 or email info@tpp.co.uk