Keeping hope in the job market in 2020 seems challenging to say the least at the moment. Remember the first weeks of lockdown? With sourdough recipes, online language courses, mastering the “mute” button (or not), school-aged parents became self-styled teachers of the nation curriculum. We rose to the challenge, thinking that it would all be over imminently.

It’s now November 2020: little has changed. We are protecting our elderly and vulnerable and to a degree, our economy but further restrictions loom. My friend’s acerbic observation: “Laura no-one is cooking sourdough this time around. We are realistic and not making any big plans”.

There are jobs out there though…stay hopeful (and nimble)

Not making any big plans, keeping hope and holding your priorities “lightly” is the key to your job searching success in Autumn 2020. I believe there’s an opportunity to get super strategic and win in your job hunt. Here is what you need to do and know.

Go for smaller companies

Job volumes are up since spring: 30% higher than April – June 2020. This is largely due to smaller (less than 50) firms expanding as they innovate and succeed or rehire after letting workers go early in the pandemic. Research resilient small businesses who shapeshift and new innovators, who’ll likely be recruiting.

Fully digitized companies are a safe bet

Linked in has just published its emerging jobs report noting the rise for (of course) digital experts of all types but also account executives, market researchess and customer support. The virtual world needs the “human touch”. Look at retail companies like Amazon, (hiring 7000 in UK by year end) or tech companies working in education or healthcare.

Now could be a good time to join the public sector

Initiatives like the national retraining scheme help people move into areas like social work, teaching and healthcare. All governments departments continue to co-ordinate a response to Covid. It’s a wonderful area if you have a heart for social transformation.

The pandemic job market favours the strategic.

Your approach should be to find out where the work is and then really double down on target sectors. The Shortage Occupation List quickly shows where workers are needed, and is incredibly broad. You could look at Women Returners, Workingwise, 2 to 3 Days: all advertising active roles. Encouragingly, they’re especially suited for career returners and mid-lifers who have a wealth of perspective and resilience to offer in our stressful times.

Speak to your existing power network (your buddies)

I can count on my two hands friends who have changed, rather than just lost jobs in the pandemic. Sure, redundancies have been rife and are discouraging but also an opportunity (Friends, family and acquaintances will collectively know hundreds of people, and some should know of businesses which are hiring.

The pandemic has accelerated the shift to online working The opportunity of online studying trends You can learn just about anything with the wonderful free online courses that have popped up

A recruiter’s behind the scenes One

If you want a specific job, be proactive and contact someone doing that role to discover how they got there. Informational interviews are such a power move believe me; individuals who short circuit our hiring process by contact hiring managers directly, just to have a conversation rather than with the fixed agenda of a job, are front of mind when we go to select.  You could challenge yourself to do ten of these; the results will be exponentially positive (link) to informational interviews)

A recruiter’s behind the scenes tip two

Internal recruiters want to save budget and go directly. Spend time if you go through recruitment companies to build trust and rapport with your recruiter. Spend time on your Linked in profile and add a photo – always. Think about personal recommendations to stand out from the crowd. Also, stay in touch – you won’t look desperate! 

View it as relationship building rather than being demanding of feedback Try and get a few jobs at various stages on the go together. This helps you hold the outcomes lightly as you have more choice. You will perform better as you’ll be less stressed and you will negotiate better at the end. Secondly, you appear more in demand and can leverage this to up the tempo of the interview process. 

Don’t spend a tonne on a coach but maybe one or two sessions will encourage. I offer this but you could also just jump on our Facebook group for support from peers.

Keep smiling, we have hope and there is much to look forward to as we go into the colder northern months and darkness. We’ve got this, we know how to do it, the good stuff is already coming out of it.