What are my options as a job seeker in light of the coronavirus crisis?
With the coronavirus pandemic making waves throughout communities all over the world, companies feeling its effects are taking action: transitioning employees to remote work, making employees redundant, and withdrawing plans for hiring.
In an effort to mitigate job losses, the UK government has committed to paying up to 80% of an employee's wages if the employer commits to granting the employee a leave of absence, rather than making them redundant. Still, despite the relief from the government, UK residents are increasingly pessimistic about their job security and the overall economic outlook. Worries abound as the full impact of the coronavirus remains unknown.
It is tempting to throw up your hands and give up on a job hunt in this challenging environment, but don't quit.
Don't lose momentum ‒ keep your job hunt going
As a job seeker, you feel uncertain right now; that feeling of uncertainty extends to companies, too. Many companies have had to put their hiring on pause as they deal with their own challenges that have arisen due to the coronavirus. HR staffers are only just figuring out what it might look like to hire someone completely through video interviews and written materials, without meeting them face to face. Yearly budgets have been thrown into arrears as companies cope with fallout from lost sales and foot traffic.
That said, you can still keep working on your job search whilst we wait for the worst to pass. Below are a few ideas to make sure you're still making progress on your career goals, even in this difficult time.
Virtual networking opportunities, such as joining professional groups on LinkedIn and Facebook, will allow you to expand your address book and gain insight into what the hiring environment is like for your industry. Practise video interviewing and conferencing and make new connections at the same time by inviting your contacts out for virtual coffees or teas.
Our piece on using LinkedIn to boost your professional reputation is a great primer on how to get started virtually networking, as well as how to use the platform as more than a home for your career accomplishments.
Keep an eye on companies you'd love to work at
Keep regular watch on job-search websites and set up alerts for the companies that interest you the most. This way, you'll be one of the first applicants to apply in the event they open up hiring for a position that's a good fit. Even amidst a global crisis, you can't assume anything about what a company might do or not do, so always keep your eyes open.
As you review open positions, scan job descriptions carefully for the key phrases used, and make sure your CV speaks to those keywords. With higher demand for each and every open position, making sure your CV can be read accurately by an applicant tracking system is more important than ever.
Consider learning a new skill
Holly Eyre, who worked in her "dream job" as a manager at a restaurant in Newcastle, told the BBC she plans to switch jobs entirely: "I don't think the hospitality sector will survive the next few months."
You need to be ready to consider what you have to offer the job market broadly and open your mind to a range of possibilities for your job hunt. That includes brainstorming how your skills could translate to adjacent roles. For better or for worse, the coronavirus will change the world, and ‒ by extension ‒ the jobs market. Like Holly, you may decide that you're ready for a career change.
Alternatively, you may feel that you need to upskill to keep an edge in an increasingly competitive environment. Look carefully at job descriptions for the positions you're considering. Do you have any skill gaps that could be easily filled by taking advantage of one of the many online learning opportunities available? There are a plethora of ways to upskill without having to spend a lot of money on expensive classes. Through learning a new skill or getting a refresher on an important topic, you can make yourself a more attractive candidate when the jobs market does pick up again.
If you have an urgent need, look to industries that are hiring en masse
We understand that not everyone may have the ability to be patient whilst on the job hunt and that you may have an urgent need for employment right away. Due to the lifestyle changes and new needs spurred by the coronavirus, some companies are hiring temporary workers and the need is immediate.
Amazon, Tesco, Asda, Aldi and Lidl are among the companies hiring thousands of workers to help fulfil demand brought on by COVID-19. These and more are options to tide you over until after the pandemic has peaked.
Remember: this too shall pass
It is, without doubt, a stressful and unnerving time to be a job seeker, but this too shall pass. None of us can control what happens, only how we react to it. As a job seeker, you can use this time of uncertainty to acquire new skills, perfect your CV, and build a solid foundation so that when HR Managers come ringing again, you'll be ready with the perfect answer.
Focus on finding the perfect opportunity ‒ we'll take care of your CV. Learn more about working with a professional CV writer.