We might all be socially isolating and socially distancing, but that doesn’t mean that your job hunting has to go onto lockdown. Whilst there may be uncertainties in the labour market at the moment, it is an excellent time to get yourself ‘work ready’ for when the restrictions are lifted.
These are our top tips for getting ‘work ready’ during this challenging time:
1. Now is a great time to research potential opportunities
Whilst the news might be dominated by stories of companies ‘furloughing staff’ (i.e. temporarily laying off staff so they can claim 80% of their wages from the Government) – there are still job vacancies out there – many of which have actually been created as a result of the situation we are in.
Supermarkets and delivery organisations (amongst others) are taking on extra staff and locally, many businesses and organisations have adapted their way of working to offer increased online deliveries. This, coupled with organisations having to cope with staff absences due to people self-isolating means that new temporary vacancies exist for keen, flexible potential employees.
Even if your preferred sector isn’t recruiting at the moment, now is still an excellent time to use the internet to research potential companies and create a shortlist of companies that you might want to apply to. You could also vary your daily exercise route and make a note of local companies that you could be recruiting in the future. This is especially useful if you live near an industrial estate. It’s amazing what you notice when you are consciously looking for things – and your next employer might be one of them. Just make sure that you follow current Government guidelines!
If this is difficult, why not take a virtual walk via ‘Street View’ in Google Maps. Make a note of the name signs on the buildings and then view their company website to find out more information. You might even be able to find the name of the Human Resources (HR) manager on LinkedIn!
The more research you do, the luckier you will be in finding a job!
Don’t forget that Facebook and Twitter (as well as job sites like Indeed) can also be useful in finding opportunities. Many local online COVID-19 support groups are also being used to share details of companies with vacancies.
Our team are still working with employers locally amidst all of this. So keep in touch with your keyworker for jobs that come available on the programme.
2. Communicating via video is going to become a key part of business
Most of us had never heard of ‘Zoom’ a month ago, but now we are relying on them to keep in touch with friends and family. In a short space of time, even the most ‘IT-challenged’ amongst us have embraced (and mastered) a brand new technology. This won’t have escaped businesses and it is possible that employers will increase their use of it – particularly in how they recruit staff.
We have already helped a lot of our clients to prepare for Skype interviews but this could lead to even more in the future.
Now is the time to start thinking about how you might perfect a video interview. This is all about creating the best possible impression of yourself.
Think about how you prepare for a call with family and friends. Do you think about how they will see you?
We all have standards – and so do employers. Video conferencing is just like having an interview. Just by making a few small tweaks, you can give a totally different impression to the person you are speaking to.
You can always contact our team for some personal tips as well, register your details on our site and we will call you.
3. Getting ready for a new way of working
As well as an uptake in video conferencing, the impact of COVID-19 is anticipated to be felt for a while after the restrictions are lifted.
One of the main areas that could change will be flexibility and home working. Lots of organisations and sectors have had to change how they work to continue operating during the lockdown and many will see benefits to this way of working that they didn’t think possible.
We are all having to be flexible during these difficult times and the more you can continue to be flexible in the future, the more employers are going to view you as the type of employee they want to employ.
4. Volunteer – to support your local community
There is nothing that employers like more than recent employment history. Whilst not everyone is fortunate in having ‘paid’ employment on their CV, but everyone can help themselves by volunteering in their local community and gaining some essential recent employment activity on their CV.
The current COVID-19 crisis is generating lots of volunteering opportunities ranging from requests on local Facebook support pages through to the NHS campaign to create an ‘NHS Volunteer Army’. Click Here for details or you can also volunteer locally at Kirklees Council - Here is some info from Volunteering Kirklees
Volunteering demonstrates that you want to work and are keen to do so. Not only does it enhance your CV, but it expands your job-hunting network. If you are part of a volunteering team, you may find out about other opportunities or about paid vacancies from the people you are working with.
5. Learning New Skills
Once things start to return to normal, one of the questions that employers are surely going to ask will be “what did you do during the lockdown?”
How you answer it will tell them a great deal about you. Did you use the time usefully or did you spend it watching boxsets? Whilst there is nothing wrong with watching all the episodes of Friends (again), it isn’t going to overly impress a potential employer.
Why not use the time to learn a new skill such as ‘baking your own bread’, ‘speaking a foreign language’ or ‘learning to knit’. Whilst the skill itself might not get you a job directly, it will tell an employer that you are open and able to learn new things – and this is something employers really value.
There are lots of free online tutorials available at the moment so why not use this time to do something you’ve always wanted to do.
Our Skills Work team have organised digital sessions for residents to access as well.