Liz Sinclair, director of ESP Recruitment, gives insight on how to find employment during the current pandemic.
Is now the right time?
It is a very competitive market in the events industry at the moment due to a wave of Covid-19-related redundancies, so take time to really consider whether now is the right time to look for a new job if you are already in a job. Talk to your Manager about whether there are internal moves or added responsibilities you could take to develop your experience. Companies may expect more from their employees now, so take on extra responsibilities happily and think long term how it can develop your CV and experience. If you are in-between jobs, you will most likely need to be a bit more flexible about the job you are looking for and the salary.
Be proactive online
When looking for a role, it is always good to network, but with events currently cancelled, you’ll need to take your efforts online. We would suggest becoming proactive online – join relevant industry groups on LinkedIn and look out for like-minded professionals online and sign up to virtual events and webinars. Post regularly on your LinkedIn profile and comment and like other people’s posts – make yourself visible online. Make sure that you keep the conversation relevant to your experience by commenting on articles that show your level of expertise and of course – keep it professional on all of your social media – more employers than ever are checking up on potential candidates!
Currently, HR departments are dealing with a lot of applications, staff on furlough and possibly making some staff redundant. They may also be bringing staff back into the office and creating a whole new work environment for the company, so the interview process that you are in may take longer than normal or the process or role may change in the middle. Be patient. This is an ever-changing market and industry, so do not put all your eggs in one basket, however positive it might sound.
You still need to check in regularly with the Hiring Manager and acknowledge the situation in your follow up with “I know you must be extremely busy at the moment …” or ending with “I am looking forward to learning more about the role, when the company is ready to move forward”.
Also, while you are job hunting, you can reach out and connect with your LinkedIn contacts or the Hiring Manager, offering your services. If you have a specific skill a Hiring Manager might be able to tap into, mention it. You could say: “Given that I’ve led virtual teams, I might have some ideas to share on how to keep your employees feeling connected when they’re not in the office.” This is a great way to show what type of employee you might be if they employed you.
You could also connect with the Hiring Manager/HR Manager on LinkedIn and comment on any reports or press releases that they may post, ensuring that your comments show you have thoroughly read the post and offer some insight. Don’t necessarily expect a response, but rest assured they are seeing your comments and appreciate them even if they don’t acknowledge them. As always, keep it professional.
Set up Google alerts for the companies that you want to work for, follow them on twitter and look out for any online interviews that the CEO may give. You could always use some of the information gained about the company in an interview with them.
It is also good to look at how a company has reacted to this crisis to give you a good idea about the company culture and how their management works. Are they proactive or reactive? Have they pivoted their business to online offerings while events are not taking place? Have they looked after their staff during this period? Have they furloughed, made redundancies or kept people on full salary? Do not be too judgemental, as this is an unprecedented situation.
It would also be a good idea to follow the main recruitment agencies in the sector on Twitter or LinkedIn so that you are alerted to new jobs as they come in. As they will be receiving an influx of CV’s at the moment, it is always good to tweak your CV for the job you are applying for, so that it is very obvious to the recruiter, that you have the specific skills required.
Use your time in-between jobs or on furlough productively
There has been a lot of people in our industry that have unfortunately been furloughed or made redundant. Of course, your time at home is your own and you may have been busy home schooling or looking after loved ones, but do bear in mind that it is a going to be a competitive market over the next year. Some employers may look at future promotions or who to employ, by a person’s proactivity during their time at home or unemployed. Who has kept up with their industry by attending webinars and online events, who has tried to upskill by taking advantage of free courses and who has been proactive on LinkedIn? Some people find this controversial as they feel that if you are furloughed, you can spend your time how you want to and shouldn’t be penalised, which is a fair point, but if an employer has two CV’s with the same kind of experience and one has gained some new skills over the last few months that may be useful to the business, then it is realistic to assume they may pick that CV over the other.
Time to reflect and prepare
Use this time to really think about what you want to do, where your skills lie and where you would like to take your career. In the current market, it may be worth thinking about your skill set and where it is transferable and how you can pivot into other areas of the business that use your skills. Build a list of companies that you would like to work for and make sure that your CV is as focused and insightful as it can be. Do not be afraid to sell yourself on your CV by listing your achievements.
Check your CV for spelling mistakes, random capitalisation, bad grammar and check that the tense and format is the same throughout – it is always very obvious when someone has rushed their CV and just added their most recent job on quickly and they haven’t focused on it. Your most recent jobs are most likely to lead to your next job, so make sure that the focus on your CV is on those jobs, rather than short term jobs or jobs much earlier in your career.
During this crisis, it is important to focus on what you can control—improving your skills and building and liaising with your network. If you lay the foundations now, when the crisis is over you will have already opened doors and rekindled relationships.
For CV tips, click here.
For interview techniques, click here.
For further information or a confidential chat about your career, please contact me here.