The current pandemic has caused great stress on the Australian job market as businesses reduce their operating hours, furlough redundant employees, or even shut down businesses, to protect the safety and wellbeing of employees and customers. Despite this, it is vital that you do not give up hope on job searching. Instead, use this time to upskill yourself, update your resume or practice for interviews. With some industries closing, restructuring or cutting back, many are searching to acquire new employees. Below is critical advice on how to make the most of employment opportunities you may come across during this economic downturn.
Consider the Urgency of Your Job Search
Every occupation will have different implications. Industries such as tourism, hospitality and event planning are the most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Conversely, healthcare, supermarkets and cleaning services are fields which are hiring. Despite being temporary or contractual, many roles such as stockers or cashiers have potential to convert to being permanent afterwards. Their application cycle has also collapsed to occur within a week to adapt to the changing work climate.
For those who are currently employed, it may be difficult to adjust and find short term work that fits within your schedule. Instead, it is suggested you make your current occupation more palatable to get on a hiring manager’s radar. Ensure you take out time to review your resume and LinkedIn profile, and keep it consistently updated. Don’t overlook the importance of a cover letter when searching for new jobs as it sets apart your CV.
Beginning Your Job Search
You have access to job opportunities on many job sites and employee acquisition company agencies, as well as social media or directly on careers pages of company websites. Spare time throughout your day to browse these online platforms from your home and frequently take the initiative to contact businesses to check for job availability.
Explore Alternative Work Arrangements
Due to the general uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic, many are faced with a situation whereby leaving your home is anxiety inducing or a risk factor for people you live with. If you have young children, highly susceptible adults or immuno-compromised people in your household, it is for everyone’s safety that you remain at home in quarantine. With prolonged time at home, reconsider your work arrangements; research work from home options and jobs to supplement your income for the short term, and alleviate any financial stress. Depending on your experience and professional skill set, you may be lucky enough to find a job opportunity as lucrative as your previous job. Simply look up “work at home”, “freelance”, “remote gig” or “contractual jobs from home” among other alternatives into job sites for a potential hit.
Set Yourself Apart: Resumes/Cover Letters
The job market is extremely competitive due to the challenges faced by both employers and workers. If you can flaunt your unique skills, capability and professional experience to your hiring manager, you’ll increase your chances of employment. Take into consideration the problems faced by the company and what you can do to solve them. For example, if a cleaning service requires efficient workers, you could elaborate on your skills as a window cleaner or other relevant skills they employers need for valuable candidates. Research the company well, decode their job listing and directly address these needs in your cover letter with links to your qualifications to make your resume and profile more attractive. If you can justify how you could do the job from home, you will have a better chance of appealing to the hiring manager because of the pressure to stay home during the pandemic. Experience in telecommunications is good to mention for this component.
Set Yourself Apart: Interviews
Video calling has become a popular method of interviewing. Familiarise yourself in the navigation and operation of Skype or Zoom, as these are applications most commonly used by hiring managers to connect with candidates. Plan ahead of time by testing all your equipment and setting up the camera to produce a good impression of yourself to the employer. Treat the interview as a real face to face interview by dressing professionally, be aware of your body language, and minimise distractions in your environment. Take advantage of the situation by having a paper and pen beside you to take notes during the interview to track your speech and questions for the employer.
Spend Time Networking Online
In the era of social media, you can network and make good impressions without meeting face to face, or shaking their hand in person. Use this time to practice an important tenet of networking; if you want people to help you later, help them now. Leave digital traces of recommendations on former colleagues’ LinkedIn profiles or frequently liking and commenting on other’s job updates.Refer friends to job opportunities you come across or one open at your company. You can help proofread friends’ resumes or cover letters to give other reassurance, and this will in turn, strengthen your networks. Other networking strategies you can use would be to seek out virtual events on LinkedIn Facebook groups with other like minded professionals.
With the extra time, use the opportunity to boost your skills. There is an abundance of applications and websites which offer training courses such as LinkedIn Learning or Coursera, to develop your skill set online. This is one component you can control during the pandemic. Once the crisis is over, you will have many open doors and an expanded network to bounce back.
Be Patient and Kind
The coronavirus has affected everyone in many facets of their everyday life, including their work life. Everyone is like you and is trying to adapt to the sudden change in this uncertain time. Be sympathetic to people who have experienced loss and help them by contributing to boosting their job profiles, be understanding when employers take longer to respond to you or your job applications and don't neglect to thank everyone for their time and consideration when helping you build up your own work experience or job search.
To surmise, it is essential you don’t forget there are still job vacancies in the job market and you still have a chance to find short term work. Consistently check job sites and frequent their online training courses to upskill youself and set yourself apart from the crowd. Networking during this difficult time can also take the pressure off for yourself and others who hope to build their experience while the economy slows. Above all, don't forget to remain sympathetic to everyone who is trying to cope and get by during the uncertainty of this crisis.