As if job hunting wasn’t hard enough, now COVID-19 comes along. Use this time to upskill, choose your applications wisely, take breaks and get flexible…
Has there ever been a harder time to be a jobseeker? COVID-19 has turned our lives upside down in so many ways, and that includes the world of work. Unfortunately, things aren’t likely to change any time soon. The pandemic continues and the resulting recession is in full swing.
But don’t panic! If you’re job searching right now, you just need to follow a few simple strategies to optimise your chances of success while remaining healthy. We’ve collected a few of our favourite tips to help you job search with resilience in the age of COVID-19.
Let’s get started.
Take the time to think about what you want
What are your career goals? Where would you ideally like to be professionally? Take the time to ask yourself these questions as you decide which jobs to apply for.
Yes, it’s true that – depending on industry – your dream job might simply not be available right now. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps towards it. What skills will you need to land that dream position when your industry is in better shape in a few months or a couple of years? Prioritise applying for roles that will help you cultivate those skills and get the experience that you can leverage to propel you into your ideal job later.
Focus on quality, not quantity
With record numbers of people out of work, the jobs market has never been tougher. Some positions receive dozens, if not hundreds, of applicants. That means that you need to stand out in the right way.
Fortunately, there are no big mysteries to standing out among a throng of applicants. Just follow these golden rules:
- Tailor your CV for each position to emphasise the most relevant skills and experience.
- Write a fantastic cover letter that tells the hiring manager something about you that isn’t covered in your CV.
- Follow the instructions given on how to apply. For example, if the company says to use their online application system, don’t try to circumvent it.
- Check your spelling and grammar before you send your application. A stray typo is one thing, but an application littered with errors looks sloppy.
Quality matters more than quantity. In other words, send three great applications this week rather than ten lacklustre ones.
Adaptability is perhaps the most important skill in times of crisis. While you should be aware of what you want and keep one eye on your goals at all times, this is not the time to be overly rigid about the type of work you’ll do.
It’s easier to get a job when you’ve already got a job. It’s also easier to stay resilient and mentally healthy when you know how you’re going to pay the rent this month. So while we don’t advocate applying for absolutely anything, keep an open mind and consider applying for a job that would be “fine for now” rather than limiting yourself only to “dream jobs”.
Take a break
Even if you’re currently furloughed or unemployed, no-one can job hunt seven days a week without a break. If you want to stay resilient and healthy, it’s vital that you give yourself a break.
So get away from the computer each day and do something that brings you joy. Whether you watch TV, play a video game, read, practice yoga, or go for a walk around the park, just do something that replenishes and revitalises you.
Self care isn’t taking time away from your job search. It’s keeping you well so that you can keep going with your search until you land your next job.
Take the immediate financial stress off
Is there a way you can eliminate or reduce immediate financial worry? This will allow you to approach your job search with a clearer head and more deliberate intentions.
It won’t be possible for everyone, unfortunately. But if you can ask your family or partner for support, apply for any benefits you’re entitled to, apply for a payment holiday from any debts, dip into your savings, or pick up a few hours of casual or freelance work, then do that first. If you know that the mortgage is paid and you can put food on the table, you’ll be less stressed and more able to write those amazing job applications.
Take the time to upskill
If you’re furloughed, unemployed, or only working minimal hours right now, why not take advantage of some of that time to improve your skills? Here are a few ways you can do that without it costing you anything:
- Learn a language using a free app like Duolingo.
- Take a free online course or attend a webinar.
- Read relevant books. Borrow from a friend, join your local library, or look for ebooks online – many authors make their ebooks available for free or for a nominal price.
- Do a skills exchange with a friend or colleague. Set aside two one-hour blocks and take turns to teach each other a particular skill via video conferencing.