If you have been laid off or given reduced hours as a result of Covid-19, don't panic — there are still lots of ways to job hunt at a time like this
The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating effect on many workers and business owners around the country, with our national unemployment rate predicted to rise to 15% by the end of the year. If you have been laid off or had your hours at work reduced as a result of the pandemic, it's natural to feel panicked and anxious about your next steps.
While the job market may not be flooded with new positions right now, there are still new opportunities to be found and ways to get ahead during the crisis. If you've been trying to job hunt during the lockdown measures but haven't had much luck yet, here are some points to work on.
This may be the most valuable step you take while trying to secure a new job during lockdown. When looking for new positions, try and spot gaps in your C.V that come up in the jobs you're interested in. Maybe you don't have project management experience, or maybe you're a bit rusty on the fundamentals of marketing, or need to brush up on Excel. Whatever it is, you can be sure that there is a free, or low cost, course online to learn all about it.
Spend an hour a day making your way through a tutorial on the skills you're lacking, and keep track of them all on your C.V. When the time comes for an interview, the fact that you took the time during quarantine to invest in yourself and in the skills your new employer needs will make you stand out.
Remember that every company is going through major upheaval right now. Their hiring procedure may be changing daily, and they may have many other pressing concerns to deal with instead of keeping track of applications.
Try to stay positive and flexible during this time. If you apply for a job and don't hear back right away, remember that the company may take longer to get around to your application. If you do qualify for an interview, be open to phone or video call interviews — don't let the lack of face-to-face contact affect your nerves. Time zones, work loads and technical issues will all play a part in the hiring process right now, but the more easygoing you appear to recruiters, the more it will work in your favour.
Steady your expectations
If you have been laid off or are experiencing financial troubles right now, it may be time to manage your expectations when it comes to your next job. Your next position may not be the dream job you hoped for even a few weeks ago, and opportunities that seemed promising before may have to be put on hold.
Don't view taking a job at a lower salary or level than you expected as a failure. We are in extreme times right now, and looking for an opportunity that makes sense for you now is the smartest move. There will be plenty of time and opportunites to move up and grow your skillset as time goes on.
Yes, I know, it seems like an oxymoron to recommend networking while you're stuck indoors, but it is possible, and could make the difference between job hunting and a new position. Use your extra time on Linkedin to make yourself known to others who could link you with a new job. Update your profile, connect with other people, and comment and like their posts where relevant. Don't be afraid to reach out to a recruiter or someone who works at a company you're applying to, and ask good questions. Networking, like everything else, doesn't look the same right now, but it still has all the same benefits.
Do your research
Now is the time to really inform yourself about the type of company, and the type of job, you really want. Take the time to reflect on your strengths, what you like and dislike about your current or most recent position, and what you want long-term from your career. Research companies that fit that vision, and even if they're not hiring, familiarise yourself with their teams and their recruiters, so you'll be ready when they are. Even if you have to take a short-term position as a step on the ladder, mapping out where you want to go is a worthwhile use of your time inside.
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