Should you be Job searching during COVID-19?

Job searching can be a stressful exercise at the best of times – now as we learn to adapt to life during COVID-19, searching for a new (or any!) job is a reality facing many of us. Yes, I too have been searching for jobs during Level 3 restrictions.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, around 780,000 Australians have lost their jobs in the last three weeks. According to LinkedIn's new Workforce Confidence Index, active jobseekers feel the least confident about the current situation. 1 in 4 respondents said they plan to increase time spent looking for work over the next two weeks, while a quarter of respondents said they plan to also spend more time working on their resumes and online profiles.

Many of us have panic-applied for many jobs, roles that we most likely would not have considered prior to the pandemic. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that – we need to be prepared to be flexible on our job requirements during this time – but is there also a place for strategic job searching too?

The internet has made it very easy for people to search out and apply to many job opportunities. But sending out more applications doesn’t increase your chances of getting hired. Sending out better applications does.

Explain how you stand out for the role

With hundreds of thousands of candidates entering the market – it is more important than ever that you show immediately why your application It’s important to keep your job search strong during this time, and even if you are applying for a role that is outside of your experience – draw parallels showing how your skillset and experience is transferable and relatable. Work your way through the job criteria and weave into your cover letter or resume stories of how you have developed that experience indirectly.

Don’t apply for every job

While it is tempting and a totally understandable strategy to want to apply for EVERY role on the market – you should avoid doing this. Even I was tempted to embrace this strategy in the panic of uncertainty! But there are multiple reasons why this should be avoided!

Firstly, it is a big drain of your energy applying for hundreds of jobs when there are so many other people applying to – lets be clear your chances of getting a call back are slimmer than ever. Reserve your energy for jobs that you could see yourself doing post COVID-19 (where possible!).

Bear in mind whether the company you are applying for has a Hiring Manager physically screening the applicants or software that ranks applicants according to relevancy – the number of applicants is going to explode during this time. Applying for jobs you are not qualified to do, makes their job take THAT much longer. Keep your applicants relevant as much as possible.

Apply for the job you are actually applying for

Catering your CV and cover letter to include the terminology included in the ad is crucial to ensuring that your application is relevant. By including similar statements and role specific keywords in your application you can increase your relevancy score particularly if a company is using recruitment software.

Create a list of target employers

Identifying brands and companies that you aspire to work for is still a relevant strategy, while some industries and companies have been severely impacted by COVID-19, others are thriving and will increase their workforce in the coming months. Think about what industries you could pivot into and what skills you have that they may be looking for.

Upskill in small ways

Now is an excellent time to identify any skill gaps you may have, and utilise free resources in order to become more employable. The Open University is offering a number of free courses, and the LinkedIn Premium service allows you to access LinkedIn Learning a platform that has thousands of free courses that allow you to upskill in any number of areas.

Network, network, network

An estimated 70% of roles are not advertised on job boards or career pages, indicating that who you know or connect with is more relevant than ever.

Your LinkedIn network is only as powerful as the time you spend in it – connecting with relevant professionals in industries you are interested in is a great way to increase your visibility. Include a message in your connection request outlining why you feel it is relevant.

The Talent Mill offers tailored LinkedIn training for applicants looking to have a stronger digital presence. Contact me now to discuss options available to you on angela@thetalentmill.com.au

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