Working in recruitment, this week has been a shock. Whilst we like to think that we were prepared for the disruption caused by COVID-19, the pandemic has also shone a light on the cracks in our employment armour. Working from home is all well and good, but what about those people in industries that cannot? Or the people about to start roles in offices that are now closed for the foreseeable future?
My partner and I have found ourselves in one such situation. Whilst here at Adam we were already well-prepared and set up for remote working, meaning that I could just hit the ground running and continue work as usual (for the most part), however my partner was due to start a brand new role at a new company in a couple of weeks. We are now unsure if this is going to go ahead, but he has already left his previous position.
Beginning on Tuesday, our LinkedIn Newsfeeds took a dark turn – filled with stories of redundancies, job offers being retracted, businesses who do not know how they are going to survive the next few weeks.
It is easy to see all of this and begin to give up hope. It can feel like the world is out to get us, and the future looks bleak. But one of the things that has lifted my spirits has been seeing the entire business community begin to band together. It has been so heartwarming to see people working together to connect people, to signpost to other opportunities, and to offer meaningful advice to complete strangers.
So, what should you do if you are one of the many that has found themselves in a similar situation? Of course, every person is different, as is every industry, but here is some advice and how to keep pushing forwards.
Take a step back and assess
Take some time to reflect on what has just happened, as pushing it down and not dealing with those emotions could cause you more hurt in the long-run. But once you have given yourself some time, move onto the task of picking yourself back up.
Have a think about your career – is now the time to look at something new? Look at roles in different sectors where you believe your skills would be transferable, approach recruiters and make use of their years of experience, and use the time to make some new connections on LinkedIn.
With the country self-isolating and preparing for a possible lockdown, it can be so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that there is nothing that you can do right now. This is completely untrue – there is plenty that you can be doing to begin to help yourself.
Enjoy the downtime
How often, when you are working, do you say that you wish you had a few days to yourself? Make use of the free time that you have right now to recharge your batteries. Read those books that you’ve had on your shelf for years! Take that online course that you’ve had your eye on for the past few months!
By taking this time to better yourself, you’ll be doing yourself a favour during your job search. You’ll be refreshed, rested, and you have the time to properly prepare yourself for any interviews. You could also use this time to refresh your CV – when was the last time you dedicated an afternoon to tweaking it?
Reach out to experts
On LinkedIn, it has warmed my heart to see so many people who work in HR or recruitment are currently offering to help those who have been made redundant with their CVs for free. Use this resource! Having a few fresh eyes look at your CV will never hurt, and could give you some insight that you would never have gotten otherwise.
Focus your job search
It can be tempting to just throw your CV at as many jobs and recruiters as you can find, but this can confuse your job search and make you unfocused. Pick the jobs that you apply to carefully – make sure that you not only have the skills required, but also that it is a position that you would be happy in. Set yourself targets, where you’ll apply for a certain number of positions a day. No more, no less. By focusing your job search, you’re making sure that your mental energy is going towards the right things.
Practice with technology
A lot of companies are still recruiting throughout the pandemic, making use of the available technology like Microsoft Teams. Use some of your downtime to get to grips with this technology, if you’re not already familiar with it. Think of how you could adapt your way of working in the current climate. If you can demonstrate your ability to adapt in a crisis, it could be a huge draw for a potential employer.
Don’t rule out contract work
If you’re looking for a permanent position, it can be tempting to just scroll past anything that states it is ‘temporary’. However, in the current situation, temporary or contract work could be the perfect answer. You’re not committing to one employer for a long time, but you could also pick up skills during these jobs that you may not have had the opportunity to learn otherwise. Every extra bit of experience is another string in your bow!
Like our CEO, Richard, recently said; “A recession is like a sinking ship, you wouldn’t say to someone in the water, “Ooh don’t worry, the boat will re-float soon!”, you would make a plan, find a lifeboat, save other people, and save yourself.”
It’s time to start building your lifeboat.