Today we have an update from Guest Author, Alistair Stirling, of Stirling Careers Consultancy. Alistair works with a wide range of clients at different stages of their careers and is an expert in helping people find sustainable employment.
How To Find A Job In A Challenging Job Market?
This article focuses on helping people who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This could be particularly relevant to you if:
- You have been furloughed and are worried about the scheme ending in April 2021,
- You are starting out on your career,
- You have recently been made redundant,
- You are considering a career change.
Where do I start?
If you have lost your job, it is important to step back and assess all your options before moving forward. It is important to assess:
- Your core skills – what skills do you already have from past experience inside and outside of work?
- Your interests – what do you enjoy doing and why? For long-term job success it is important you are motivated by your work!
- Your values and achievements – write a list of your achievements so far and things you value. Finding an organisation that is a good match of these two things will ensure a better chance of success.
Looking at the labour market
- Some sectors are facing really difficulty e.g. hospitality, retail and travel.
- Some sectors are taking on new staff such as health, care, construction and tech.
- You may want to be more strategic and consider moving into an area that has staff shortages. There is the Shortage Occupation List which shows you where workers are needed. These include roles such as teaching, engineering, nursing.
- This approach may require you to retrain but this shouldn’t put you off. If you are considering retraining it is worth having a look at the National Retraining Scheme.
Looking at your transferable skills
If you work in a customer service role in retail you could consider other customer-facing roles such as sales or customer service roles working from home. It is important to look at your finances and start to consider making saving where you can.
- Structure your day
- Give yourself goals/targets
- Frequently review your job search plan, think about what else you could be doing
It is critical to take a targeted approach. As part of your plan, it is vital to give yourself breaks and look after your health and wellbeing. Build in time to exercise, socialise (safely!), and relax.
How do I find a job in this market place?
You can start to look on company websites, set up email alerts, and search for roles using key words. You can start to register with agencies and be clear about the roles for which you want to be considered. If there is a particular organisation you want to work for then you need to find out how they recruit: Do they recruit themselves or through a recruiter such as an employment agency?
How Do I Stand Out From The Crowd?
- A good starting point is your network You should talk to your family, friends and acquaintances as they will know hundreds of people and some of whom will know which organisations are recruiting. We all like personal recommendations and if you are recommended before the job is advertised you will stand a good chance of being hired.
- You can also research organisations you want to work for and research people who you want to work for. if you want to work in finance, for example, you may want to find out the name of the finance manager/director and write to them directly. You can then follow up a week later with a telephone call.
- A useful tool to research organisations and people within those organisations is through LinkedIn. If you have not done so already you may want to set up a profile on LinkedIn. This is a professional networking site that also advertises jobs.
- Tailor your cover letter and CV to the role for which you are applying. Include past achievements, such as completing your projects on time and within budget. If you can quantify things, for example, give some figures. Before sending off your CV ask a friend or a member of the family to read it through to ensure there are no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. This will really enhance your chance of being invited for interview.
It is really important that your CV and covering letter are tailored to the role for which you are applying. When applying for a job you need to ensure that your CV and covering letter are tailored to this particular job. If you do not hear back contact them and get some feedback. This will help you with subsequent applications.
Structuring My Time
Many employers will want to know how you have been spending your time, whether you have been furloughed or lost your job.
Whilst you are looking for work it is important you are doing other things like volunteering (www.do.it.org) or doing some work in the local community. You can look for volunteering opportunities in your community through researching local groups. A good starting point could be Facebook. Decide how much time you would like to commit to volunteering such as one day, morning or afternoon a week. Volunteering should enhance your skills and you should think about what you will learn when considering your volunteering options. You may also want to take this opportunity to learn a new skill such as learning coding or a language or develop a new interest such as cooking.
Many universities and other organisations are currently offering free training. You may want to visit the website of your lead body in your industry / professional body as they may be offering training, webinars and online networking events which will enable you to keep up-to-date within your sector.
Finally, you need a plan that you frequently review to ensure it is working for you.
Do not despair! People are getting and starting new jobs even in these difficult times.
Should you need careers advice, please contact me via email on firstname.lastname@example.org – I look forward to hearing from you!