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Tips for job seekers in these challenging times

​It’s an understatement to say that this year hasn’t been what any of us expected.

From an employment perspective, whether you lost your job, were furloughed like me, or have worked through the whole mess either from home or in a changed office environment, it’s been a huge, exhausting challenge for everyone, particularly as there is still no immediate end in sight.

Returning from furlough has been a baptism of fire and seeing our market in its current state was devastating, both professionally and personally, because the most rewarding part of my work is placing people and providing opportunities. I know many people in my network will remember the 2008 crisis, but I have never experienced anything like this. With no commuting time to reflect or recharge, and no personal space due to the blurred lines created by working from home, my job feels relentless, especially with the market saturated with so many talented change and transformation experts looking for work. On a positive note, we are all in this together, and there is significant change taking place in every business across every sector at the moment. And where there is change, there is opportunity.

Despite social distancing or even another lockdown, finding those opportunities is all about communication at the moment, from leveraging your networks to reaching out to people online. I’ve been doing it to generate some momentum and it’s working, so here are my top three tips for candidates that I hope will help you create an opportunity and secure the position you’re looking for.

1. Connect

Connect with everyone you can. Call, text, email, message on every platform available to you. Don’t be put off if you don’t hear back immediately, just keep on connecting, especially if it’s with recruiters who are snowed under with applications. I’ve been actively sending candidate profiles to my clients purely to connect them; encouraging people to have conversations, whether there’s a position open or not. Sharing skills and experiences is valuable for both sides, and you never know when either party might need the other in the future.

  • I emailed a client about an excellent candidate: they weren’t hiring, but they passed the candidate on to someone who was – and they got the job!

  • Leverage your network: I made a recent placement by reaching out to an old contact, who then introduced me to a Managing Director who had a need for contractors.

2. Use every resource

Don’t overlook the online angle and revamp your LinkedIn profile to sell yourself as best you can. Engagement is a two-way street, so tag people you know or think might be relevant in posts of interest; send jobs to them; and keep in touch with people in the comments. Think of your profile as your brand and make sure you stay visible to keep your name out there.

  • I recently tagged two people I knew on another recruiter’s LinkedIn post for hire. There was nothing in it for me and in a normal, competitive world, I wouldn’t have done it, but at the moment it’s all about people connecting and getting back to work.

  • As a recruiter, I’m currently receiving 10 times the volume of applications for roles. Candidates who have followed up with a call or a LinkedIn message can often find their way to the top of the pile.

3. Make recommendations

Recommend people directly for jobs that are relevant to them (and that you’re not applying for yourself!). If there’s no obvious way for you to make a referral or an introduction, suggest that they apply for it themselves. If you do have any links to the employer or the recruiter handling the role that mean you can make a personal recommendation, do it, as it will only enhance your brand further. Building those kinds of relationships and forging common ground with people enables you to stand out.

  • A PM emailed me recently emphasizing his availability. When the email came in, I was on the phone to a VP of Operations, so I mentioned the candidate. The VP recommended another hiring manager who might be interested. It hasn’t come to fruition yet, but it just goes to show you never know when recommending people will pay off!

My view is that we are very much fighting this pandemic together and we need to help each other stay positive about our future careers as much as we can. Reaching out and engaging, even though it can’t be in person at the moment, is a vital tool in our armoury, not just for our jobs, but for our mental wellbeing. If you would like to get in touch about business transformation opportunities, hiring, or to put your personal brand out there as I’ve suggested, I’d love to hear from you.

Posted about 2 months ago
About the author:
Emily Coombs

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