It’s never easy looking for work. It’s even harder when a global pandemic causes many sectors to shut up shop. You might be wondering where the next paycheck is going to come from, but don’t worry. Our guide below gives you expert advice on how to find a job in Covid-19 times, and how best to get back into work.
Have the right mindset
Obviously, the pandemic has made finding a job tougher. But this doesn’t mean you should lose hope. There are jobs out there, they just might take longer to find. Be patient, as companies could take longer to get back to you with their resources stretched.
Also, be realistic. Your dream job might be off the table right now, but think how skills you’ve acquired in the past might be transferable. For example, if you had a job in retail, your experience of dealing with people face-to-face would come in useful in a customer service role.
Know what’s out there
The pandemic has hit some industries hard, but many companies are still flourishing. Supermarket chains and retail giants like Amazon are still regularly looking for workers. And while restaurants may be closed, there’s still work to be had in packaging or delivering takeaways.
It’s worth looking at the government’s job shortage list to see where workers are needed. Education, social services and health care are among those covered. And with Covid-19 testing and vaccine centres emerging across the country, valuable help will be needed to facilitate the process.
Know where to look
There are lots of employment websites that post job opportunities, such as Indeed, Glassdoor and LinkedIn. You can tailor your search to find jobs you might be suited to. While the range of jobs on these sites might be extensive, bear in mind that they’re popular and will attract a lot of candidates.
Less commonly used are community boards on sites such as Facebook, Gumtree and Friday Ad. Many small businesses will save money posting here. And with fewer people using these outlets, you may have a greater chance of securing a role. The government’s Find a job webpage is another useful avenue.
Know who to ask
When looking for work during the pandemic, think of your contacts who might give you a way into certain industries. Where are your friends—or friends of friends—working? Might they need anyone else? A lot of companies will listen to recommendations from trusted employees, so it could be a good way to get a foot in the door.
Look out for free online courses
If there is a particular field you want to progress or retrain in, there are lots of universities and colleges offering free online courses. The Open University also has free courses on a diverse range of subjects including business administration, the environment and sports psychology.
There are also companies holding virtual job fairs. See what’s taking place in your area and find out what you need to do to attend. Such events will be a good way to make yourself known to employers. Have your CV ready to go so you can quickly upload it to a potential employer. Speaking of which…
Work on your CV
Your CV is a chance to sell yourself to potential employers. Many bosses will only spend a few seconds looking at a CV before moving onto the next, so make it stand out. Put your name in bold at the top (no need to write ‘CV’ anywhere) and some headline information about who you are and what you can offer.
Limit it to two pages and make it easy to read—use bullet points and space out information. Attention to detail is important, so use a spell checker and get a friend or family member to have a read through. It’s also worth sending a short accompanying email highlighting some aspects of your CV that make you ideal for the role.
Go that extra mile
With the job market in its current state, do all you can to put yourself ahead of the competition. Whatever company you’re hoping to work for, try reaching out to a current employee. See if they have the time to tell you about the role and to give you any advice. Maybe you could shadow them for a day, even if it’s remotely.
Once you’ve sent in an application, don’t be disheartened if you hear nothing for a few days. But follow it up with another email or a phone call to show you’re still keen. You may have got lost in the many other applications, and this might just put you to the front of the queue.
If you get called for an interview, congratulations! It might be over video call, but you should still prepare for it in the same way. Make a list of possible questions. Why do you want to work here? What qualities can you bring to this position? What challenges do you anticipate and how might you overcome them? Think carefully about how you’d answer these sorts of questions, making notes as you go.
If possible, have a trial interview with a friend beforehand. If not, practise speaking potential answers in front of a mirror—you might feel silly, but you’ll be more prepared. As you would in a physical interview, be ready 10 minutes before the start time and have a backup plan should your internet connection fail. For example, could you do it on your phone using cellular data?
And remember an interview is a two-way process. They want to impress you as much as you want to impress them. Bearing that in mind might help you relax.