Competition is steep, but don't get discouraged.
The COVID-19 crisis has had a significant impact on the job market, with many people experiencing furlough or redundancy for the first time. Whilst jobs in the grocery, health care and warehousing sectors are seeing a surge in hiring, many more employers have either scaled back or temporarily stopped recruitment.
The Independent reports that more than 6.5 million jobs could be lost, equating to a quarter of the UK's total job market, with accommodation, food services, wholesale, retail, vehicle repair, transport, storage, and administrative and support services worst affected. A survey in The Guardian anticipates the gloomiest outlook for UK jobs in almost three decades, and the BBC highlights a record fall in vacancies between March and May. As the furlough scheme, supporting nearly 9 million workers, is phased out, businesses are expected to announce more redundancies.
One thing is certain: When unemployment is high, competition for jobs is fierce as large volumes of applicants apply for fewer jobs. In order to maximise your chances of securing a new role in this challenging market, you'll need to be well prepared. Luckily, we're here with some advice on how to succeed.
Unless you're extremely lucky, you're unlikely to walk straight into a new role when unemployment is high. You're in this for the long haul, so decide on your job-search strategy and give it the time and commitment it deserves. Don't get disheartened if you're not immediately successful, as you'll need those reserves of confidence and energy to shine in interviews.
Additionally, a CV and cover letter tailored to the job advert and company is much more likely to be noticed, so, rather than send out scattergun applications to dozens of jobs, it's worth spending extra time and patience on crafting specified applications for fewer roles.
Focus on presentation
First impressions count! Create the right impression by building a personal brand, with you as the product. You can do this in both your application materials and your online presence: Align the styles of your CV and cover letter, and tell the same story on your CV as on your LinkedIn profile.
Throughout your application process, keep communications to the point, relevant and uncluttered. With a pile of applications in front of them, recruiters will be looking to reduce the stack to a manageable amount. Make it as easy as possible for them to notice ‒ and select ‒ yours.
Manage your reputation
Now is the perfect time to audit your social media profiles. Go through every online account you have to make sure there's nothing that could come back to haunt you, as HR managers will often Google applicants before offering them the job. Whilst it's fine for your profiles to show your personality and sense of fun, a recruiter will certainly be wary of any profiles which show behaviour that would reflect badly on their business, such as bad-mouthing employers or hints at illegal activity.
Estimates reveal that between 70 and 85 per cent of roles are filled through networking. As soon as you're happy that your LinkedIn profile is up to scratch, focus on building your network, gaining recommendations and reaching out for help with your job hunt. Keeping active on the site means that you'll be at the top of people's minds if they hear of any appropriate roles.
Don't restrict yourself to just LinkedIn though. Leverage your other social media feeds ‒ such as Twitter ‒ and contact people in real life to explain your situation and make reciprocal offers of help.
You'll need to accept that in the current job market, you may have to compromise on the roles you apply for. It's worth carrying out an assessment of your skills and identifying which ones would transfer well into new sectors or roles in order to expand your job search beyond the limits of what you'd have previously considered.
Even if the job you eventually secure isn't in your area of speciality, you'll still be earning and minimising any gap on your CV. Your proactive approach and work ethic will surely stand you in good stead with recruiters when the time comes to move on.
Landing a job in turbulent times
Data shows that worker availability is rising at the fastest rate since the recession in 2009, whilst the Office for National Statistics reports the largest quarterly decrease in vacancies since current records began in 2001. It's certainly competitive out there, but it's not impossible. There are still jobs available, so when armed with a competition-busting CV and the advice above, you're in a good position to take strides towards a successful career. Good luck!
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