Michelle Thomas & Rob Grimsey, with contributions from with Mrrinali Bhatia (San Francisco), Helen Fleming (Leeds), Rhodri Hughes (London), Daniela Eberhardt (Stuttgart)
If you have just lost your job, or feel that your job is at risk, it can be a worrying time.
But organisations are hiring, some more than ever before - you only need to read some of the stories on this site to see that. And whilst the competition for jobs has increased, it might not have increased as much you might think.
Many people who would typically be in the job market right now are staying put, preferring to play it safe with their current employer.
In a nutshell: yes, the market is tougher, but it is absolutely possible to find a new role with the right approach and commitment.
We spoke to a number of consultants from Harvey Nash Group from all over the world, and here are their 7 top tips.
1. Do the basics right. Although the crisis has changed many things, one thing it hasn’t really affected is how you go about getting a job. So all the basics still apply: make sure your CV / resume is good shape, sign up with recruiters, register with job boards, speak directly to companies etc. We won’t cover the basics here, but if you need to brush up on these, a quick Google search for ‘job hunting tips’ is a good starting point, or the classic, very readable, and very practical book ‘What Color Is Your Parachute?’ by Richard N. Bolles (warning: it’s quite long!)
2. …but be super proactive. This is not a market where you can sign up to a few job boards and count on the opportunities coming in. If you really want to find a role you need to be super proactive, and leave no stone unturned (or recruitment agency, job board or potential employer uncontacted). Be very structured in how you do this. Keep a track of what you have done and when. A diary massively helps.
3. Get someone else to give review your resume / online presence. You might think your resume or LinkedIn profile is great, but it is so important to get it right you need to get a second opinion, ideally from someone with relevant experience, like a recruiter. The biggest mistakes we see are: not getting the right keywords on the document, too many generic statements and too few specifics, the document being too long (3+ pages), updating your resume but not updating LinkedIn and having a resume that is pitched at what you used to do rather than what you want to do.
4. Use your network. you will notice as you read the stories on Your Tomorrow that a number of people actually got their new role through a friend or connection. This is one of (if not THE) best way to find a job, so should be absolutely core to your job hunt approach. People using networking often find they are the only applicant for the job, and if they have a shared connection with a potential employer (or even better, a recommendation) they really do have a chance to stand out. Many books have been written about networking, so we won’t repeat them here, but at the end of this article we summarise three key things to think about, to get you started on your networking career 😊.
5. Be flexible. The more open to all opportunities you are, the more likely you will be to succeed. Openness comes in many ways: being open to new sectors, new job titles and even new ways of working (freelance, contracting, etc.) can all improve your chances. Focus on your transferable skills.
6. It is ALL about positivity. The single most important factor in your job hunt is belief in yourself. You will never run out of people to call, opportunities to follow up and jobs to be considered for if your ‘tank’ is filled with self-confidence. You may well receive many ‘No’s, but try thinking like a salesperson – every No is a step closer to a Yes. Make sure you are physically looking after yourself. A gym trip, bike ride or walk around the block can have just as much effect on your job hunting as hunching over a desk for a morning. Consider volunteering – whilst it doesn’t pay the rent, it does give you purpose, and maybe even connection (see 4). There is an old saying ‘if you want something done, ask a busy person’. Be that busy, positive person.
7. Think hard about your timing: One question you will need to ask yourself is – how long can I take to look? Often finances are the driving factor here. Some people, who have good finances, or a generous redundancy package, are choosing to stay out of the job market for the next few months. They predict there will be more opportunities to choose from later. Others are driven by a more urgent financial need to get a new role, or simply the itching need to get the job hunt under way. Either way you need to assess your financial situation, and make a prediction about the market. Our advice: if in doubt, start sooner rather than later.
….and here are our networking tips we mentioned in 4.
• Firstly, recognise the importance of networking – compared to the anonymity of applying for jobs via a job board, proactively approaching people can seem quite scary. But recognize its power, and remember no-one, we repeat no-one, in the right mind would be insulted by someone gracefully and politely asking if they can help. After all it may be saving them an agency recruitment fee!
• Secondly, structure and organize your approach. You will be surprised just how many people you know, and who may be able to help…from friends and family, to current and previous work colleagues, to your financial advisor or next door neighbour
• Thirdly, craft a message to these people that genuinely gets them to want to help and prompts an action. Posting a note on Facebook saying ‘I’ve lost my job are there any jobs out there’ will not get you far. But reaching out very specifically to people, explaining your situation and asking if they know anyone who can help, and in return offering them your own help and support in whatever way you can, is a graceful and very effective way of approaching people.
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