Job hunting can be a daunting task at the best of times, but with the added challenges of post-lockdown life, it can feel overwhelming. As we navigate the new normal, many of us are faced with the task of finding employment in a world that looks and operates differently than it did just a few months ago.
From navigating virtual interviews to adapting to the changing job market, many challenges exist. But with the right approach and mindset, it is possible to successfully navigate post-lockdown job hunting and find the right opportunities for your skills and experience.
Job hunting in the post-lockdown era requires patience, creativity, and adaptability. It’s important to stay informed about the latest trends in your industry, as well as current job market conditions. Networking and reaching out to contacts in your field can also help you find new opportunities. When it comes to virtual interviews, make sure to dress professionally, test your technology beforehand, and prepare for common interview questions.
Finally, feel free to consider alternative job options, such as freelance work or part-time roles, as they may lead to more opportunities in the long run.
How to handle the challenges of job hunting?
Navigating the challenges of job hunting can be daunting, especially in the current employment climate. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a scarcity of job opportunities, making it increasingly difficult for individuals to secure employment. One example is Jamie Gilliam, a 22-year-old jobseeker who expressed his frustration after applying for approximately 200 jobs without success. Despite holding a first-class politics degree from King’s College London, Jamie, like many others, finds it tough to find suitable employment.
Research conducted by the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) reveals that individuals under the age of 24 have been particularly affected by the economic slump, accounting for almost half of the total decrease in employment. Simultaneously, there has been an influx of job seekers, creating a competitive market where young people struggle to enter the workforce.
The IES emphasises that employers are faced with an overwhelming number of applicants, making it challenging to provide constructive feedback to unsuccessful candidates like Jamie. The difficulties faced by jobseekers extend beyond mere rejection; it is the sense of being excluded from opportunities with no clear path forward. The fear of making a single mistake during an interview can feel insurmountable, adding to the frustration and hopelessness experienced by young individuals seeking employment.
According to a report published by the Youth Futures Foundation, young people, who constitute just one in nine of the workforce, account for 46% of the overall decline in employment during the pandemic. Those from ethnic minority backgrounds are particularly affected. The report highlights that young people are disproportionately employed in sectors heavily impacted by the pandemic, making them more susceptible to job losses.
Additionally, older individuals who were made redundant face their own set of challenges. They possess transferable skills but lack the necessary information and communication technology (ICT) skills to compete for the limited job opportunities. The combination of inexperienced young job seekers and older individuals struggling to reenter the job market creates a complex situation where both groups face significant hurdles.
In light of these circumstances, it is crucial for job seekers to adopt strategies that can help them navigate these challenges. Staying organised by keeping track of job applications and following up with potential employers is essential. Networking and establishing connections within their respective fields can provide valuable job leads. Customising resumes and cover letters to highlight relevant skills and experiences for each application is also crucial.
Despite the difficulties, maintaining a positive mindset and persevering in the face of setbacks is key. Job hunting often takes time, but the right employment opportunity can be found with determination and a proactive attitude. It is crucial for employers to recognise the importance of offering feedback and support to job seekers, particularly the younger generation, in order to assist them in their professional growth and development. By addressing these challenges collectively, society can work towards creating a more inclusive and supportive job market for individuals of all ages and backgrounds.
Redundancy or Unemployed
The biggest misconception about redundancy, and perhaps challenge, is natural, and we all take it personally. Redundancy is a reality where organisations must reorganise and rethink how they do things. Whether you became unemployed through redundancy or new entrants to the job market, the more you can focus on what makes you brilliant and find the next possibility that matches that brilliance, the better.
Start by reflecting on your strengths. Using your strengths makes you distinctive and how you add value at work. And research shows that when we use our strengths, we are six times more engaged and generally more satisfied in our jobs. If you need some help spotting your strengths, try asking friends, family, and people you’ve worked with this question. What three words would you use to describe me at my best? It will give you a quick insight into your positive impact on others. And once you know your strengths, remember to make sure they stand out on your CV and LinkedIn profile. Searching for new opportunities can sometimes be tiring, stressful, and overwhelming.
One helpful technique for staying optimistic is to record and reflect on all your tiny successes. At the end of each day for at least a week, write down one hit you’ve had. It could be finding the time to walk, supporting a friend, or writing your first blog post. Even if you’ve had a tough day, this exercise helps us to reflect on and recognise our positive progress.
Asking for help can feel challenging. So here are a few ideas, prompted by what I’ve learned along the way, about what works and, just as importantly, what doesn’t:
First, don’t apologise and be specific about your needed help. I remember being made redundant and asking someone very senior for a career chat; within the first minute of our meeting, the question was, “So, how can I help you?” And I was so grateful for her time that I hadn’t thought about a specific answer to that question. And always avoid using words like ‘sorry’ and ‘just’ in your messages and conversations; it’s essential to be confident in asking for the help you need.
Second, think about how you feel when you’re helping someone. You’re probably flattered and enjoy the opportunity to be helpful. Remember, that’s how other people think too.
And finally, don’t take it personally if someone can’t help you. There’s no limit on help, so ask as many people as possible.
I have enough guidance on my free website to guide you in making a practical application that will get you the job. You must describe yourself and match it to the role requirement, use the information to communicate effectively and tap into my free 15-minute coaching to explore your application before submission; it is a genuinely free service worth tapping into.
Exploring the Best Opportunity for You.
“Choose the job where you’ll grow the most. Investing in learning is the most important career choice you can make.” Adam Grant, This advice has helped me focus less on what I sometimes describe as shiny objects, like job titles or perks, and prioritise making decisions based on working with people and where I can learn the most.
“Start with the end in mind. You are 90 on a park bench looking back. What matters?” Amanda Mackenzie Obe, I always remember Amanda’s advice when overwhelmed. Fast forwarding to the future helps me be more pragmatic and prioritise here and now.
“Run your Race.” Helen Tupper, It’s easier than ever to compare our careers to our family, friends, and colleagues, but if we fall into this trap, we forget that we’re all motivated by different things. One of the advantages of careers today is that they can be as individual as we all are. So we need to invest more effectively in caring for our jobs.
Our job hunters found hunting for a job a helpful experience; here are how people can stay motivated while looking for a job.
Imagine you’re trying to find work, you’ve applied for a few different jobs, and you may even have had one or two interviews but still need job offers. It’s an all-too-familiar story – so how do you stay positive even when things don’t seem to be going right?
If your job search isn’t going to plan, you may be feeling a bit useless. But keep sight of all the reasons you have to be proud of yourself as a person. Remind yourself what you’re good at in life – you might think you’re just a stay-at-home Mum, but how many different tasks do you have to juggle in a typical day? Multi-tasking is a beneficial skill for a prospective employer!
If you already have some work experience, consider what you did well in that job and why your previous employer may have selected you above other candidates. Keep a list of things you’re proud of and boost your self-esteem by looking at it when you’re feeling down.
There will be times during your job-hunting when you hear that you still need to make the shortlist or get the job. Or, even worse, when you hear nothing after applying or having an interview. It’s easy to convince yourself that you did something wrong or it’s not worth applying for more jobs.
My advice is, don’t take it personally; there could be a million reasons why you haven’t been contacted, shortlisted or selected – and yes, one of them is that there was someone else better than you. Try not to get angry or upset by these setbacks; don’t let them dent your confidence. Focus on moving forward and on making an even better impression next time.
Think of a person whose confidence you admire and try to pinpoint some of their behaviours or actions that convey that confidence. Then, just for fun, have a go at behaving or acting like that yourself! Try something simple like phoning a friend, buying some stamps or booking an appointment at the dentist with the most confidence you can muster! Practising confidence really can help you to achieve the real thing.
Finally, when you get an interview call, find out about the company and what the job entails. Think about the sorts of questions they might ask you, from the “get-to-know-you” questions like “Tell us a bit about yourself” to the “chance-to-sell-yourself” questions like “Why do you think you’re the right person for this job?” These are standard interview questions, so ensure you have an answer prepared.
Spend time getting yourself into the right frame of mind for an interview. You have the tools and the power in you to get there. You want to be confident but not over-confident, as this can come across as arrogance. Each interview you get is a new opportunity, so leave your worries about past interviews at home – this could be the job with YOUR name on it!
So, in summary:
- Stay positive
- Remember what you’re good at
- Believe in yourself
- Put your best self forward at each new opportunity – and good luck!
I will be happy to support you for free. However, you need to adhere to my model of career management skills development by going to the FOCUS framework to discover yourself, understand the opportunities, meet with me to explore the DREAM, plan how you will communicate effectively, use the information to build your confidence, meet with me to explore the MAGIC to bring your dream to reality and the final coaching to FOCUS on getting you in to START. All my services are free once you meet the coaching booking requirements; my joy is seeing another person get into the career they will enjoy and grow in.
The Metaphor of a challenge.
The word challenge has a double “ll” and a single “e” before you have the word change. The double “ll” are the logs (stumbling blocks) that require your “e” effort to remove them. Anytime you have a stumbling block, remember it is a challenge. It is your effort that will remove the logs to get a change. The “e” will remove the double “ll”; all you have left is change. Most times, the solution to a challenge is your effort to achieve the change. – Sam Soyombo, May 2021.
Job hunting can be a challenging experience, but with the right mindset and strategy, you can overcome any obstacles that come your way. Here are some tips to help you navigate the job market and land your dream job by staying organised, networking, customising your CV and cover letter, being persistent, and taking care of yourself. Finding a job takes time and effort, but with the right approach and mindset, you can overcome any challenges and land the job you want. Good luck!