Well, what a start to the new decade it’s been. If you are currently searching for a job right now, especially if your industry has been badly hit from the repercussions of the Covid-19 outbreak, it’s an incredibly tough position to be in. While it’s easy to focus on the limitations of the situation, it’s important to look at what you can control. Namely, this focuses on your approach towards your job search.
While things might at first seem impossible, let me be the first to assure you it’s not. In today’s post, I want to inspire you by sharing my personal experiences of the hiring process. Specifically, what we are likely to see as companies begin to pick the pieces up again. Here’s everything you need to know about how to find a job in the Covid-19 era.
It’s not true that there’s no jobs due to Covid-19
Things look very different right now - that much is true. There’s a lot of uncertainty plus the visibility of what's available in the usual channels is poor. But the point is if you are doing the same things as you usually do and aren’t having much success, how do you expect that to suddenly change? It’s easy to become pessimistic but don’t be. Let me tell you if I acted the same as I did in my last redundancy, I’d be sitting here telling you that 90% of similar roles just don’t exist. I’d tell you that nearly all hiring is on hold.
Yet what I’ve seen in the past month during the pandemic itself is that there is a lot of evidence that contradicts this. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I’ve seen the tech community adapt to this better than most. That’s just one of the many reasons why networking couldn’t be more important right now. With a growing network due to voluntary work, connections with new peers around the world and a proactive strategy, I have learnt about new roles I never even knew existed. My network has opened my eyes and the help available from the online communities has been immeasurable.
The jobs market post Covid-19
Like anything you do in life, if you give more than you take, you will eventually find no shortage of people willing to help you. I’ll caveat this with saying, you need to be flexible and open-minded - especially during the current climate. This means considering contract work, relocation, remote working or using your transferable skills to move to a different discipline. In the past month, I’ve been in the interview processes for roles I applied for BC (before-Covid) and DC (during-Covid), I’ve had direct approaches from recruiters DC and I have had the offer of two freelance contracts. Yes, it’s a slower and more frustrating pace. Yes, the top of the funnel is not as rich as it was. But, if you are entrepreneurial and you get your hustle on in the right network, you will see progress.
A final note here. When we move to AC (after….) then it’s going to change again. Expect a hiring frenzy as companies unlock their plans and budgets. LinkedIn will be awash with roles and in return be swamped with applications. This is a false positive, just a release of the hiring-brakes. It will feel great, as the top of the funnel just got a massive boost. But buyer beware! You could drown out in all the noise. Each gig will get thousands of applicants and the HR departments will have to leave it to the machines to determine your fate. If you are thinking about waiting the DC era out. Don’t. Do it now.
It’s a numbers game.
There are a certain number of jobs that attract a variable amount of applicants at any given time. Though, understandably with so many now unemployed due to Covid-19 this is set to rapidly increase. In 2018, the Department of Work and Pensions told me that only 5% of job applications result in a first interview. That means 95% of applicants aren’t even considered as someone the company wishes to meet with. When you dwindle on from that 5% who do make it, this funnels down to a very select few who make it to the 2nd, or 3rd interview.
From my own and my peer analysis, I found that you have a 1 in 100 chance of getting the job you applied for. I applied for 125 jobs, 40 of which (around 32%) came from recruiters who approached me. In total, 35% of applications secured a first interview which is around 43 interviews. Of those 43 interviews, 50% of the time I got a second interview. By the time I got down to the 3rd round of various interviews, this left around 5 viable job opportunities in the process, before I was eventually offered a job. This means despite a 35% ‘hit rate’ at the top of the funnel far exceeding the average, the conversion rate at the bottom of the funnel resulted in a less than 1% average. However, this can change completely if you apply the power of your network.
Human resources are not human anymore
The image we have in our heads of a human receiving a physical piece of paper when we send them our CV couldn’t be further from the truth. I learnt just how much the HR world has changed last time I was out of work. Five years previously, I had a CV that worked hard for me with actual real people phoning me up. Further back when I left school in the early 1980s, everything was handwritten and snail-mailed! However, in today’s world, the whole process is automated now, and you have to be able to play the system.
It took me three weeks of not getting a single response and some call downs with contacts of mine who work in HR to realise this. You have to Keyword yourself for the role in hand, to ensure your CV gets through the HR software and flags up in front of an actual human being. If you need help, hire a reputable CV writer. The $100 outlay will pay back significant dividends when you get that job. While you can do this yourself, don’t under any circumstances, put a border around a sentence or paragraph to highlight it. Otherwise, it will show up as a blank space in the HR software!
Your superpower is in the reach and power of your network
Having a side hustle is a good thing especially during the current climate. Volunteer, create a podcast, vlog, blog for yourself or others. Do pro-bono work. Either of these things will all serve to enhance your CV. The beauty of side hustles, in general, is endless. Firstly, they can create some excellent transferable skills to slide you into a different career, which following the aftermath of Covid-19 could make all the difference. Plus, you’re getting paid to do something you enjoy on top of your regular income. It could even be that you’re able to turn that side hustle into full-time work. It also signals to an employer that you're engaged in what you do.
Likewise, if you’re a marketer, create engaging relevant content and market yourself. During these trying times, content online is being consumed at a breakneck pace, so there is a real demand for it. If you are not sure how to go about this, there is plenty of free content to absorb on the likes of LinkedIn Learning or YouTube to sharpen your skills. Remember that the power of your network and your personal impact is your net worth. If your CV is a door opener, this will blow that door right off its hinges. So as tough as it is and no matter how many knock backs you face, keep the productivity levels up and eventually that work will pay off.
While none of us is in control of what’s happening right now, it’s imperative to remember that you are in control of how you respond to it. There’s no doubt that Covid-19 has made things difficult. That being said, a lot of the same rules apply when it comes to hiring and more specifically, how you apply yourself throughout the process. It’s also important to increase your resilience and learn to cope with rejection. You are starting with a no, thus you have nothing to lose. During the process, remember that nothing is certain until everything has been agreed.
Stay safe. Be kind to one another.