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2020 has impacted our careers in a number of ways, from the large number of people having to switch to working from home to people being furloughed or laid off completely. But despite the uncertainty and need for adaptability, there are still plenty of opportunities to land your dream job, in spite of the pandemic.

Top tips for job hunting during the pandemic: 

  • Don't limit your search
  • Upskill
  • Don't wait until January 
  • Volunteer
  • Network
  • Show employers what value you can add
  • Work on your personal brand
  • Practice online interview skills
  • Stay positive

don’t limit your search 

Some jobseekers have a firm view about what their dream job looks like. But if you’re willing to be flexible, there are loads of opportunities still available. The pandemic has created a situation where some industries have found new avenues for success, which has in turn created new job opportunities

So, think outside the box, whether that’s the type of role you’re looking for, the hours you want or location. "Getting the right staff is vital," says Anthony Murphy of Murphy's Liquidation Furniture "and that's true whether there's a pandemic or not. We are always looking for the right people with the kind of talent to help our business grow and succeed". 

perfect time for training

With many people either working from home or looking for new opportunities, there’s never been a better time to train. If there’s a job you’ve been considering but you don’t have the necessary skills or you want to move up the ladder and need to build on the skills you already have, now is the time to gain those qualifications. 

There are numerous sites and learning platforms that cater to online learning, many of which are free, so it’s easier than ever to learn the skills you need for your dream career. 

apply in December

It is important to consider applying for jobs in December. This gets you ahead of the natural jobs rush in January - as this is the peak time for new applications. Going into 2021, it seems likely that this rush will be larger than ever before, with more people being made redundant and others re-assessing their priorities during lockdown.

In the same vein, many employees leave jobs just before the new year to give themselves a fresh start. This means that positions will be opening up in December, making it an ideal time to apply. 

volunteer your time while you have it

Many of us have found ourselves with more time on our hands than usual as a result of COVID-19, so why not put it to good use and volunteer? Not only does volunteering help others out but it also shows initiative on your part for future employers, and it shows that you’re willing to put in the effort to gain new skills and experience. 

These are all things that potential employers look favourably upon. Volunteering also provides you with more references from people who are familiar with your work ethic and skillset, which can be useful for future applications. 

get networking

In-person events may be cancelled for now but there are still ways you can network and get your name out there. In addition to virtual events where you can speak to like-minded individuals, you can also join social groups on Facebook or LinkedIn where you can learn about new professions and hear about upcoming vacancies. 

It’s important to make yourself visible and maintain conversations with others in your industry so that you’re in line when positions open up. It also shows to potential recruiters that you’re active within your industry. Here are some useful tips to help you stand out from the crowd on LinkedIn:

show employers how you will impact their business

Businesses have struggled greatly through 2020 - so it is important to remember at all the times that if someone is interested in hiring, it is because they are looking to strengthen their company and move forward. Essentially, employers are looking for staff who can give them a return on their investment.

More than ever, it is up to jobseekers to show their prospective employers how they can make a positive impact on the company. Make this the backbone of your cover letter and pitch. This can be easier in roles over others:

“Salespeople either make quotas or don’t,” says Nick Balletta, CEO of TalkPoint “it’s people in the back office whose return may be harder to define: bookkeeping, HR, and so on”.

Sales social selling expert and keynote speaker Daniel Disney shares his tips on how to perfectly execute the sales interview process, including how to answer the infamous “why should we hire you” question:

remember, they need you as much as you need them.

Daniel Disney

consider your personal branding

As part of your online networking strategy, it can be beneficial to think about how you’re branding yourself. You want to always give a positive first impression and promote yourself in the right way, as this can be critical to your success. It’s never been more important to have a strong personal brand, so consider how you’re using social media to showcase yourself. 

From updating your LinkedIn profile to adding new skills you’ve learnt or writing blogs that demonstrate your knowledge, there are various ways to ensure that anyone who comes across your profiles is impressed by what they see. 

practice online interviews

With so many face-to-face meetings cancelled, the likelihood is that if you do land an interview, it will be a virtual one. But that doesn’t need to be a negative thing and it could go in your favour. Use this time to hone your interview skills, whether that’s learning to be more aware of your body language to learning how to use different digital tools like Google Hangout, Skype or Zoom so you’re prepared for the real thing. 

You can also think about the potential questions you might be asked so you can prepare and refine your answers.  Practicing in advance will help you stay confident on the day of your interview and will ensure you’re prepared for the type of questions you might be dealt. 

remember to stay positive

The pandemic has, understandably, been a difficult time for everyone the world over. This is particularly true of people who have struggled financially and with employment. But it’s important to remain optimistic and identify the positives of the situation. 

six ways to improve financial wellbeing during Coronavirus; https://www.randstad.co.uk/career-advice/work-life/covid-19-finance-tips/

Use this time to reflect on what it is you really want from your job and how you can use your time wisely to find something that is suitable for you. Job hunting can be difficult, especially in this climate, but remain patient and continue with your efforts as they will pay off eventually. 

final thoughts

The pandemic has been extremely challenging, but with the right mindset and an ability to think outside of the box, there are still ways to gain valuable experience and get hired. While job seeking and the interview process might look different now compared to what many of us are used to, it’s still possible to get hired during this time and there are plenty of opportunities available.

Gemma Hart
gemma the blogger

Gemma Hart

guest blogger

Gemma Hart is an independent HR professional working remotely from as many coffee shops as she can find. Since graduating in 2013, Gemma has gained experience in a number of HR roles but now turns her focus towards growing her personal brand and connecting with leading experts.