How to realistically completely change jobs during the pandemic

Although the current job market is 'tricky' there are still opportunities out there. Photo: Getty
Although the current job market is ‘tricky’ there are still opportunities out there. Photo: Getty

Changing jobs is never an easy task, but it’s particularly difficult now. The UK is facing a huge economic downturn because of coronavirus pandemic and resulting lockdown, with unemployment predicted to spike at 2.5 million by the end of the year.

With so many people furloughed, made redundant or working in industries hit hard by COVID-19, changing careers or jobs isn’t always a choice. And while finding a new job might be hard right now, but it’s not impossible — if you’re willing to be flexible. 

“Many of the furlough schemes are ending and the UK is entering into what’s set to be the biggest recession of our lifetime, so it is definitely a tricky job market,” says career and business coach Emily Button-Lynham.

“However that doesn’t mean there isn’t opportunity out there. “Some industries are definitely still hiring and are seeing a boom in growth.” While the travel and arts sectors are struggling, health and social care vacancies are on the rise.

READ MORE: How to cope with uncertainty at work

So what can you do to make the job hunting process a little easier at the moment?

Consider an internal move

It is common to outgrow a job or become disillusioned with it, but too often people mistake this for needing to move to a different company. With the job market as uncertain as it is right now, people wanting a change should consider whether an internal move is an option.

“Changing jobs is always a big deal, let alone doing it in the middle of a pandemic. It is no secret that COVID-19 has made the job market more uncertain and led to many businesses having to streamline their workforces,” says Sarah Hernon, principle consultant at Right Management.

“Despite all of this, sometimes people end up in the wrong job and it is best to move on, but one thing to consider is that just because you feel like you’re in the wrong role, it doesn’t mean you are in the wrong organisation.”

This reduces the current challenges presented by COVID-19 and provides you with an opportunity to grow within the organisation you are already part of. “Many employers implement high-tech, high-touch, personalised career development strategies, such as coaching, mentoring and assessments, and now is the perfect time to take advantage of them,” she adds.

Spend time on your CV

If staying at your company isn’t an option, getting your resume up to scratch is always important when it comes to finding a new job. With so many people who have found themselves out of work applying for positions at the moment, making sure you stand out from the crowd is essential.

“Firstly and as a foundation make sure your CV is updated and up to scratch. A clear and concise CV, which sells your skills and experience as well as highlighting your Unique Selling Points will be crucial,” Button-Lynham says. “Spend time getting your CV up to date and finding out about the job and company you are applying for in order to tailor your information.”

Focus on your skills, not job titles

Look for ways to make yourself stand out from your competition by focusing on your top strengths in your CV. Make sure the focus is on your skills and abilities, rather than your past achievements.

READ MORE: Why job descriptions matter more than you think

It’s also important to be flexible and think about your transferable skills and not to be put off if you don’t meet all the criteria in a job description. If you work in retail customer service, you could have the right skills to thrive in a sales role, for example.

Remember the application process may take longer

With many people still working from home and working different hours or shifts, things can take a little longer. Not everyone replies to emails quickly and employers will have large numbers of applications for jobs. There is nothing wrong with a polite follow-up email, but allow a longer time for replies.

“It may take time to find a role but be strategic about what you are looking for and the value it brings to your overall career and where you want to get to,” she adds.

READ MORE: What is ‘job crafting’ and how can it help during 2020?

“Think big picture about where you want to be in five years time and make sure the role you are looking for aligns to that vision. Sometimes circumstances dictate an urgency to find a role and that will obviously take precedent, but if you can, try and have it align to your longer term vision.”

Use your networks

It’s also worth thinking about contacts who may be able to get you a foot in the door. Many employers like a personal recommendation and you may hear about roles before they are advertised.

Online networks such as LinkedIn and Facebook groups may also be useful for finding out about jobs, or you could try going through recruitment agencies.

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