How to job hunt in a time of turmoil


If you are one of the growing number of people that have been made redundant due to the ongoing pandemic, you’d be forgiven for wondering whether it’s even possible to find a new job at the current time. However, while certain sectors are undeniably struggling, not all are, and there are opportunities out there. Looking for work in a time of crisis is challenging but not impossible. Here are some helpful tips and advice on how to survive the COVID-19 job hunt.

1. Look after yourself – being made redundant is often compared to a type of bereavement. It’s not unusual to feel great sadness, sense of loss or even anger at the situation you’re in. But you must remember that it isn’t your fault and thousands of people are finding themselves in the same position.

Make sure you take some time to focus on yourself, do some exercise, speak to your friends, do whatever helps you to feel good and positive. Looking for work takes resilience and confidence, this is even more important at the current time when the job market is tougher than normal.

2. Treat looking for work as a job – a new job isn’t going to fall into your lap, it’s going to take time and dedication to find it. Firstly, make sure you’re fully prepared, speed is of the essence. Getting your CV and cover letter over as soon as you see a vacancy puts you in a better chance of securing an interview. Update your CV and LinkedIn profiles and speak to any recruiters or contacts that may be of help. Secondly, create yourself a schedule, set aside time each day to look for vacancies, complete applications, network with your connections, company research and interview preparation.

Philippa was made redundant in March and had to juggle homeschooling her two young children and looking for work.  Not the greatest of combinations, but she found a way to make it work.  “I treated the boys to a Disney film afternoon a couple of days a week.  They thought they were getting a big treat, in reality, it gave me a few uninterrupted hours to concentrate on my job search.  Without this, I’d have really struggled to find the time and motivation to search for work”.

3. Think outside the box – for many sectors, industries or professions it just isn’t possible to find a new role at the moment. Be willing to adapt and consider different sectors and industries. Supermarkets, anything IT and digital, delivery drivers, healthcare etc are all areas that are seeing increased demand due to the pandemic. While it might not be your ideal role or sector, you’re more likely to find work if you are flexible and open to change.

If you prefer the security of a permanent position, think about temporary or contract roles. A year-long contract for maternity cover, for example, could be the perfect way to get you into a new company, to hopefully see you through the rest of the pandemic while adding vital experience to your CV. Don’t rule out anything.

James was made redundant from the leisure sector in July 2020  ‘I was a relatively new recruit into the team and it wasn’t a surprise to find myself being made redundant.  I have now found a temporary, part-time role in a totally different sector.  While not something I would normally consider, I’m enjoying it and it’s great to still be adding experience to my CV’

4. Think national – if the pandemic has had any positive outcomes, it is the increase in the acceptance of remote working. Whereas before recruitment was heavily linked to the area surrounding an office, now you can live in Scotland and work for a company based in Cornwall. Don’t limit your search to those companies you can commute to daily, look further afield.

Steve was made redundant from a training firm in the summer of 2020.  ‘I’ve always worked within a commutable distance of my house and as I have got a young family, I’ve not wanted to work further from home.  But I found a fantastic role an hour and a half away, not something I’d normally consider.  But, as remote working was being offered I couldn’t see a reason not to take it”.

5. Patience – you’re going to need a lot of patience. Job hunting can be a slow process, throw in a pandemic and it can feel like it is going at a snail’s pace. Don’t expect answers or responses to be quick and expect jobs to disappear as quickly as they appeared. Companies are all adapting to the world as it changes, and the skills they thought they needed for the vacancy may now have changed.  You need to have patience.

While it may be tempting to apply for any job that is remotely applicable, this will be counterproductive as you’re likely to receive rejections or hear nothing back. This will just knock your confidence and waste your valuable time. Remember to focus your energy on roles you want and have the skills to do.  Read our advice on how to stay resilient during a job search.

There is no denying that it is a challenging time to look for work, but if the number of new job announcements that pop up on LinkedIn is anything to go by, it’s not impossible.


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