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A recruiter’s tips for job hunting during the coronavirus crisis

Looking for a new job will be uniquely difficult during the coronavirus outbreak. Many companies are being forced to make redundancies and traditional ways of hiring people have been disrupted.

Lives have been turned upside down as the uncertainty of unemployment has been thrust upon us. We are all worried. The grim reality is that a lot of people have lost their job or are going to lose their job. But we can’t panic. Let’s try and be proactive to fight what is going on.

Whilst hiring is certainly slowing down or freezing – there are still companies hiring. There are opportunities out there (albeit the market now stands as much more competitive).

Therefore, I wanted to share some suggestions on how you can approach job hunting during this unprecedented and stressful time. I hope you find them useful.

Make a plan

Tick it off as you go along. Each day you will be able to see what you have achieved. Structure the day with hour long tasks and regular breaks.

Update and revamp your CV

It is now an extremely competitive market. You need to come across the best you possibly can on a couple sheets of paper (long CVs do not mean good CVs – 10 pages is not a good length!). Check the grammar and typos. Have a clear format (for both word and PDF).

Fill your CV with keywords that are used on the job specification. Don’t just list them. Explain how these keywords in the requirements of the job are applicable to you. Now, I know this makes the process longer – but I cannot emphasise enough on how important it is to tailor your CV to each individual role and company you apply to.

Research the company’s values, current projects and aims on their website. Provide a summary at the beginning of your CV to show how your relevant experience makes you the best candidate for the job. Don’t include pictures. Make sure ALL your contact details are at the top of the first page (mobile and home number, email, LinkedIn, location).

Write a cover letter. It goes a long way. Make it personable and be confident in selling yourself.

Remember – it is not about the quantity of applications you send; it is about the quality of them. Sending 5 excellent applications that are catered to each role will be much more successful than sending a generic CV out to 50.

Find a recruiter that specializes in your industry and contact them.

They can help. Email them. Ring them. Most of us recruiters love our jobs dearly and genuinely care about finding people jobs that are right for them.

Did you know almost 80% of jobs are not even advertised? Recruiters can connect you to those that aren't. They can link you up with the companies and people that you perhaps wouldn’t know how to. Find a good one and they will do anything they can to help you. We literally look for jobs for you (and at no cost to you)! This can really lighten the burden you may be feeling of sole responsibility. They may be able to bag you a job quicker than you would have expected! Have ready to share with them: where you can work, list of job titles you could do, your rates/ salary, companies you would like to work for (or wouldn’t like to work for), and your availability to start.

If you do apply for a role online, follow up with a call and email to the company

Better yet, try to find out who will be influential in the hiring process (whether that is HR or the managers themselves). Introduce yourself. Don’t be afraid to sell yourself. They will appreciate the extra effort and you will be more memorable. After a couple days, follow up the process of your application. Email them so you are top of their inbox.

Expand your search too – do your research on which vertical markets you could cross in to or similar job titles that could also be relevant to your experience.

Update your LinkedIn profile

There are so many tutorials out there. Use them. Nowadays your LinkedIn is practically your online CV. If anyone is going to consider hiring you, you can guarantee they will look you up online. Make sure it is the best representation of your professional self and career history.

Ask for recommendations. Give recommendations to others (they really mean a lot to people).

Keep adding relevant connections in your industry. Do not be afraid to reach out to people. Don’t underestimate the power of networking. Join discussion groups. Engage with other’s content by commenting and sharing your opinions.

Look through LinkedIn pages of employees of the company you are applying to. You can see what kind of skills and experiences they look for. If you message any of them be polite and respectful.

Write articles, post regularly, and upload all qualifications and certifications on there.

Have a clear picture of your passport ready to be sent on emails

This is your evidence of Right to Work in the UK and is legally required to start any new job. Having it ready to whizz across straight away will speed up the process.

Get prepared to be working remotely

It is no secret we are all going to have to get used to this one. Have a good quiet space to sit and work from. For Facetime/ Skype or Zoom – make sure all the technology is set up and working well before. Check ahead for any connectivity issues.

Be flexible and adapt

These are unprecedented times. We are all attempting to navigate through this the best way we can. We must all be flexible and adapt. You may not be able to continue in your previous (or current) job/industry for some time. But what is a different role you could do? What new industries are requiring a lot of people at the moment? Research what the economy and market are demanding now and think creatively about how you can infiltrate that.

Your health 

In this stressful time, do not forget to take care of your body and mind. Job hunting is hard. Interviewing is hard. You need to be healthy and fit. Don’t sit up all night worrying in your search. Do some meditation. Do some exercise. Research and do anything that can act as a major stress and anxiety buster.

Most importantly, remember you are not alone among all this fear, chaos and uncertainty.

Remember to be compassionate. This is the time we can all do our bit; be optimistic and spread positivity. Offer to support anyone else in any way you can.