The number of people claiming unemployment benefits in the UK surged to 2.7 million between March and July 2020, according to official figures. This is very disheartening if your role has recently ended or if you are entering the labour market.
Although there will be increased competition, all is not lost. Even in the midst of a global pandemic you can find the right role for you. Here are my 7 top tips:
1. Think Skills and Strengths not Roles
Rather than thinking about the job role or title you’re looking for, try instead to think about the skills you have gained from previous roles. You can then match these to opportunities.
For example if you been working in the Retail sector you will have acquired skills in Cultural awareness, handling queries and teamwork.
Think about your strengths and unique selling points. If you are young, you’ll bring with you a fresh pair of eyes. If you’re a little older, you’ll bring with you invaluable experience and knowledge.
Diversity has never been more important, so use your ethnicity, gender and different perspective as a selling point.
Creativity and innovation are needed in COVID times, so think about examples of times when you have shown these skills and be ready to talk about them. Try using the STAR method.
A career coach can really help you to consider your skills, qualities and values and set you on the right track.
2. Be Flexible
Keep an open mind to different kinds of opportunity. As well as considering traditional full-time roles, be open to different ways of working such as part time and freelance. Websites that promote and sell your skills, like proof reading, creating logos and photo editing – are also worth a look. Some examples are People per hour and Fiverr.
3. Think Sectors
Do your research and look for the sectors that are still thriving such as Pharmaceuticals, Healthcare, E-Commerce. Notice up and coming trends, in the UK the government is really pushing for health and wellbeing, to remove the lockdown weight, companies in the this field are due a boost.
Your network of connections is invaluable, so spend some time each day getting in touch with your contacts like your old boss, previous colleagues, friends and family. Mention that you’re looking for a new role as they may just know someone or have a contact who could help you get some relevant experience or introduce to someone in a relevant role who can offer useful advice.
Look for opportunities to grow your network. Whilst face to face networking events aren’t happening in the same way as pre-covid, online alternatives are taking place, so keep an eye out for online opportunities. There may be local networking events on your area. Time spent networking is never wasted, you never know when a new contact will come in handy, it could be in a few weeks or a few years’ time.
5. Get Equipped
To give yourself the best chance of securing the role you want, you need to give the best first impression. To help you achieve this, seek feedback on your CV and cover letter/email. Ask someone you trust like a previous colleague or a friend.
You need to stand out from the crowd so take time to customise your CV and application for each role, making sure to highlight your strengths and experience and how they would help you be a success in the role. We work closely with a CV writing, LinkedIn profile and interview support company, get in touch and we can refer you.
6. Practise, practise, practise
The saying ‘practise makes perfect’ definitely rings true when it comes to interview practise, so do as much practising as you can. The more you practise, the more confident you’ll become, which will help you to feel more comfortable when you have your interview and will help you to come across well.
Ask a friend or family member to ask you some questions you may be asked at an interview. You can search the internet for typical interview questions.
Video yourself answering these questions and watch it back to see how you come across. Try to look directly at the screen so that you are looking your interviewer in the eye. If you notice anything you do or phrases you tend to repeat that may be off-putting for an interviewer, you can then work on this.
You can record yourself on your phone, or use software like Zoom which records you for up to 45 mins on their free option.
7. Benefits of Online
Make the most of interviews being online rather than face to face – if you are worried you may forget some of your key talking points, jot them down a post-it and stick it to your screen. But be careful not to overdo it, the odd word to serve as a prompt will be fine, but it will be obvious if you are reading long phrases.
I was delighted to share my job search tips on ITV News recently: