How to Job Search in Uncertain Times

3 minute read

Looking for a change in career? Hoping to take your role to the next level? Seeking work because of a job lost to Covid-19? In all scenarios, you’ll likely find the recruitment market challenging at the moment. But it’s not a reason to give up hope.   

We can’t deny the fact that the pandemic has negatively affected almost all industries. While furlough has saved many jobs up until now, the number of candidates seeking work has risen exponentially. This means that the competition is fiercer than in has been for many years 

With this in mind, how can you adapt your own expectations and approach to the 2021 job search? And what do you need to do to make sure you are as prepared as possible?  

Woman working from home

Show your adaptability and resilience 

If anyone had told us back in March 2020 that the pandemic would still be affecting everyday life 12 months on, we might have laughed. Nobody could have predicted quite how widespread and long lasting the impact would be. Yet as a nation we have shown real resilience in adapting to working conditions. We’ve balanced change with new demands and different goals 

One of the best ways of preparing yourself for the 2021 job search is to celebrate your own personal adaptability and resilience, rather than trying to hide it.  

Forced to work from home? Great, let recruiters know how you did it and how you adjusted! 

Put on furlough? No problem! Use your job applications to showcase the new skills you learnt during the time you weren’t working. 

Lost your job because of COVID-19? That’s why you’re back on the market and ready for something new! 

Prepare for remote interviews 

The way we communicate at work has changed. Thanks to technology there are now more platforms than ever that offer remote video calls 

Searching and interviewing for a new job in 2021 means understanding the process of remote interviews. It may sound straightforward (and, if anything, better than a usual interviewafter all, you can’t wear pyjama bottoms in a normal interview!) but there are a few things you should be aware of: 

Making a first impression in a remote interview is more challenging and requires more preparation. Make sure that you dress formally like you would in a real interview (at least from the waist up). Keep your background as plain and neutral as possible, and make an effort to hold eye contact with the interviewer when you speak. 

Ensure you have the right technology requirements set up (and tested) in advance.  

Take the time to prepare for the harder questions that are likely to come up at interview.  

networking in the charity sector virtually

Prove you can work independently 

The British workforce has proved there is a space for both home working and office working. But for now, home working is very much at the front and centre of employer’s focus. This means that when you’re looking for and interviewing for a position, you need to use your CV to display both professional and personal achievements. You also need to communicate to recruiters about how you manage your own time both in a work and home life setting. A great way of celebrating this is by outlining exactly how you strive and work to achieve successwithout the kind of direct and consistent management you might get in an office.  

That’s not to say that managers won’t still support you. But you need to be aware of the balance and work-home life struggles that everyone across every level of the business is going through. Be realistic about the amount of time that can be spent on helping you manage your time.  

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Be aware that competition will be tough

The simple fact is that now more than ever, the demand for jobs is high while the quantity of available positions is relatively low. This will entirely depend on the industry and field you are looking to work in. But in practice it means applying for more jobs, considering industries you wouldn’t usually consider and searching for ways to demonstrate your transferable skills 

Don’t give up! There is no reason to conclude that 2021 is a bad time to look for a new job, and despite the changes that many industries are seeing, there are still jobs available out there. Yes, it will be tough, and the likelihood is that you will need to work even harder to get recognised and noticed by recruiters.  

But if you follow the steps above, and be open to suggestions from recruiters, you could still achieve that role you dreamed of for 2021.   

Andrew Fennell

Andrew Fennell is an experienced recruiter and founder of CV and careers advice websites StandOut CV and Job description library, as well as being a regular contributor to sites such as CV Library, The Guardian and Business Insider.

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