New horizons : Top tips for jobhunting during the pandemic

Thinking of taking on a new opportunity or found yourself looking for a new role? We hosted our New Year, New Horizons recruitment webinar on 21 January to bring members advice for job hunting, CVs and remote interviews. In this blog CIPR East Anglia committee member Hayley Mace shares some of the top tips from the event.

Job hunting is a daunting process and there’s no doubt that searching for a new role during a pandemic can be even more stressful. So it was great to be joined at this virtual session by members from across the region, who heard from Carter Recruitment’s Alex Carter and comms specialist Rebecca Harris. Rebecca shared her experience of furlough, redundancy and finding a new role in recent months.

I’m pleased to be able to share some of the tips and advice from the session, which I hope will help anyone who is looking for work. And don’t forget, if you need someone to talk to, a critical friend to help tidy your CV or even someone to grill you in a practice virtual interview, our CIPR East Anglia committee – and I’m sure many of our members across the region – will be only too happy to help.

Tips for remote interviews

  1. Preparation for remote interviews is key. Practise talking to your screen. Check that your background is clear of clutter, that you are well lit and can be clearly seen. As you’re not meeting in person, it’s great if they can clearly see your facial expressions to pick up on the things you don’t say.
  2. Video yourself so that you can see what the interviewer will see. Adjust your seat, correct your posture and smile – you only get one chance to make a strong first impression.
  3. Check the technology in advance and log in early to test it. Make sure you have a power cable, microphone and speakers which are working.
  4. Timed video calls put additional pressure on timings so keep an eye on the clock and make sure you have time to ask your own questions.

Tips for CVs and applications

  1. Target your CV or application to be as specific to the role as you can. Make it easy for a recruiter to identify your key skills, and to see how those link to the job, by putting them at the top.
  2. Your personal accomplishments make you stand out. How will you solve their problem? Don’t be afraid to be bold and outline what you think you could achieve in the first 12 months.
  3. Don’t worry about design or templates. Keep it simple and tailor it to the recipient. For example, a covering email to a marketing agency might have a different tone to one applying for a more corporate role.

Tips for using LinkedIn to raise your profile

  1. Create and maintain a LinkedIn profile. Companies are using them to shortlist candidates.
  2. Fill out as much of the profile detail as possible.
  3. Add a professional picture where you are clearly visible.
  4. Give a clear summary of your skills and experience.
  5. Use the About Us section to talk about you, not about your current or most recent employer.
  6. Invest time in using it as a content platform. Share blogs or articles which you find interesting, create your own content which reflects your values and experience. It is a great free way to create a microsite about yourself.

Tips for structuring your job hunt

  1. Staying motivated is hard. Accept that you’ll have good days, OK days and bad days. Focus on what’s in your control and do what you can to make progress.
  2. Make the most of free online training. There are lots of great resources (including of course the CIPR CPD database) so refresh your skills and generate some new content for your CV.
  3. Create a routine which works – if you’re more energised in the morning, focus on doing your most important tasks first thing.
  4. Scour LinkedIn and websites for opportunities and don’t be afraid to tell trusted friends and contacts that you’re looking for a role. Two pairs of eyes and ears is better than one.
  5. Post a blog or add content to your Linkedin profile one a week. That will keep it fresh and give you new ideas to share.

I hope those tips are helpful and if you are looking for work, I hope you soon find a new role.

Don’t forget you can also visit the CIPR’s free Employability Hub for resources and advice here

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