Life is filled with so much uncertainty this year and we are all finding our ways to push through it. But it has been in the jobs market where many have been affected, with a knock on effect to finances and mental health and well-being.
This year may have paused your career, kept you hanging on furlough, made you rethink your career path or maybe you have had to take a backward step into a completely different role to make ends meet. Whatever your situation, it’s important to remember that the pandemic is to blame, not your ability to do a job and be good at it. The pandemic has affected the global employment market but you can stay in control of your situation by thinking SMART and by creating your own personal brand.
There are fewer job opportunities to cope with the rising number of job seekers; this is the reality and acting SMART to make yourself stand out from the crowd is your plan of action. We all need to be adaptive and change with a fluctuating job market, because life is going to require a new way of thinking to stay actively employed. Adapt and survive becomes the norm, and our survival instinct is our way of thinking out of the box and getting out of our comfort zones to try a different role – because we might even enjoy it.
Being open to new job opportunities puts you in a better position of being back in work. Maybe you are used to job hopping between industries or you are a stickler for going for roles which don’t challenge you. Keeping an open mind and and having an element of flexibility can open up a wider choice of roles to you and for those who embrace change, this adaptability to step outside your comfort zone can create surprising opportunities.
Work is part of our daily life, we spend the best part of our life at work, and without a job, can instantly feel isolated from the workplace. But that perfect job is just waiting for you, so it’s time to get proactive and think SMART.
How to get SMART in your job search
Suss out the job market, what kind of jobs are out there currently, what skills are they asking for and if you fall short, think about how you can up skill to be more employable. If you are still on furlough, which is coming to an end next month, be proactive and start to job search; no job is guaranteed in these uncertain times, firms are suffering and you want to hedge your bets. If you are aged 16-24, consider an apprenticeship (12 months guaranteed) in a job sector you are interested in, to build up your skills and experience and to ride you through this year into next. Your CV will be in much better shape, and you will have gained a valuable skill set.
Make a list of your key strengths, look at your current skill set, and think about what other industries you would like to work in, but have never considered. This year is the time to reset the button on your career; maybe you weren’t happy in your previous job and want to retrain or take on a completely new job out of your usual comfort zone. This year, we are seeing many job seekers with a new job direction and with some starting their own small business. Pressing reset gives you the chance to think about your perfect job and how you can get there. We are our own worst critics when it comes to talking about ourselves and as asked in job interviews “How would your friends describe you?” or “What are your weaknesses?” Now is the time to work on your own personal brand, and make employers see why they need you on their team.
Alter your thinking – a job will not come to you, so you have to be actively job searching whether that is using job sites, registering with a recruitment agency or asking around in the jobs market, via your LinkedIn networks, word of mouth amongst ex work colleagues or just putting feelers out in your preferred industry. Job seeking is going back to the traditional way of leaving your details with the shop manager, and applying speculatively for jobs to companies who can keep you on their records if a relevant job comes in. You are the only one who can change your situation, and by networking, or becoming visible on job sites, you are making people aware of your availability.
Redo your CV – you may not have had to change your CV if you have been in a long established role, but now is the time to review and improve how you come across in your CV. The Job Centre can direct you to a free CV review service or a recruitment agency would be happy to take a look at your CV and make some suggestions. Your CV can soon become out of date and needs to be constantly updated to match the current jobs market and skills that are urgently needed for roles so that you are selected for interview. Your CV is your way of getting noticed and is your own personal brand. When your CV is completed, upload it to a few job sites such as Reed, and Indeed because there is more chance of you getting noticed or head hunted by prospective employers and recruitment agencies who need your skills.
Take a chance on applying for a diverse mix of roles, even if they aren’t your usual preference and be brave in taking jobs which may be out of your comfort zone. This year is the time to be a bit more adventurous in your job searches; your skills are not always confined to one particular job, and with jobs being at an all time low, because of the pandemic, taking on a role even if it’s for a short period of time, keeps you in the job market whilst you stay actively looking for your ideal job.