A job strategy that works for you

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There are right and wrong ways to embark on a job search. The more focused you can be will directly influence your results. If you devote time to networking and making contacts, rather than aimlessly applying for everything in sight, you’ll be using your time a lot more wisely and feel as though you’ve achieved more in the process.

Having a clear strategy from the outset (and especially a time constraint on the process) can help you find the right role and make the right decisions for your future. The visible job market accounts for 35% of vacancies. This includes advertisers, recruitment consultancies and agencies. While the hidden job market – which includes networking, direct contacts and vacancies that are filled without ever being made widely known – accounts for 65%. Both are possible avenues, so a considered, strategic approach is required to make the best use of your time.

Browsing the job market

If you are carrying out the job search yourself, the traditional method these days is browsing job advertisements online, on such sites as Indeed and Glassdoor. You can tailor your search and only look at jobs that you are interested in. Or you can widen your search to encompass broader sectors. Going through job adverts is time-consuming though, as each post will need to be reviewed and assessed. Being strict on how long you spend on this each day – as in any online activity – will enable you to make the most of your searches and your available time. Set realistic timescales, so it doesn’t take over your life. The narrower you keep your search parameters, the quicker your search will be. However, this may mean you may miss opportunities that otherwise might have been of interest. It’s a balance you’ll have to find.

Getting lost for words

Commencing a job search will mean you have to get back into the mindset of updating your own CV and online profiles, and also getting a feel for the jobs’ market. This may feel like a chore in the beginning, but becoming familiar with the procedure again will pay dividends in the ongoing process. Too often, people get hooked on LinkedIn and find that two hours have passed without having achieved anything. Browsing online can easily eat into your time and prove unproductive if no headway is made.

Unfortunately, we find it simpler to do this easy stuff, rather that actually picking up the phone and talking to contacts ‘in person’. You can be drawn into reading information online and easily lose an afternoon or evening (or both). You can also end up wasting more time on the job boards than networking and speaking to ‘real’ people, even across online media. Networking via LinkedIn offers a sound approach for job search. LinkedIn is good, as you’ll hopefully already have many connections based on your profile and business links. It is also a format that has remained relevant during lockdown, as pretty much all office-based activity has shifted online.

Outplacement is key

This is where outplacement guidance can help. Good outplacement can not only provide the practical elements of helping with CV preparation and creating a LinkedIn profile. It can also help holistically to reveal what you want to do next – in terms of a career – and the strategy to achieve it. Having a clear idea of your next role will make a big difference to the shape of your search.

By talking to an outplacement specialist, you’ll find you will bounce ideas back and forth, and may unveil new avenues to explore in the process. This approach can also help with the emotional toll a job search can take. Even the most resilient, experienced jobseeker can find some trepidation in the uncertainty of taking steps into the unknown. However, the more focused you are, the more successful you’ll be at landing your next job quickly and having a strategy will provide that focus.

Tiring of lockdown

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The lockdown has taken its toll on peoples’ wellbeing in many different ways. Some have dealt with the situation easily, while others have struggled, particularly with mental health. And the half-in, half-out limbo we seem to be inhabiting at the moment isn’t helping.  You knew where you were with lockdown. Now we’re in this hinterland where the rules are blurred, misinterpreted and misunderstood, leaving many people more fraught now than earlier in the year.

Wellbeing under fire

One of the big challenges of the situation is fatigue. Many people have been working flat-out during this lockdown and some companies are busier than ever.  The impact of this however is there aren’t the usual relief options that many people enjoy to wind down. If you don’t have a garden, you haven’t even got an outdoor space to relax in. Only recently social and leisure activities have been allowed, the little things that help wellbeing and that so many people rely on to unwind. This lack of relief can lead to a feeling of burn-out and listlessness, which for any worker is going to impact on their state of mind and their output.

Coping in crisis

A further knock-on from this is people are beginning to get a little fed-up with the situation. Some staff have been furloughed, which has at least guaranteed income, if not their role remaining when the scheme ends. They are also stressed about the uncertainty surrounding their jobs and their incomes. Will their office even exist in October or beyond, as many companies are using this time to restructure and take stock? If you are concerned about the longevity of your role, you may have already started your job search in what has become a highly competitive market. August is traditionally a weak month in terms of job searching, as there are school holidays and other factors that slow productivity.

Collateral damage

Stress itself can cause fatigue. Now more than ever people are craving a mental holiday, whilst being largely stymied from travelling abroad. That battery recharge we’ve all become so accustomed to simply isn’t here. A myriad of worries can be exacerbated if you have further non-work concerns as well, such as personal issues or health matters. With remote working, for many it has been very difficult to separate your work and personal life, and that can prove stressful too. If sleep and rest have been disturbed as a result, stress can begin to cause more collateral damage. Not everyone has a wide family network, or even a partner, to communicate and discuss things with, and an employer has a responsibility towards their staff issues such as wellbeing and fatigue come into the frame.

Reassurance can help

This mental pressure is bound to be at the back of many employees’ minds, which is why it’s so important for management to keep in touch with their staff during these periods of remote working. As a manager, it will help if you can give them reassurances that their jobs will remain as the lockdown is eased. You may even be able to ask them back into the office now, to see them face to face. Find out how they are feeling and ask if there is anything you can do to ease their situation and anxiousness.  Sometimes a reassuring conversation is worth more than the highest praise to an employee’s morale. And good morale is something we all need at the moment, more than anything.

Where is your next job?

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Even in these uncertain times for business, people are planning for the future. If you were already looking for a career change before the lockdown, you may now be staying put or perhaps looking in a completely different sector. As the lockdown situation eases, companies are starting to look at how to enable their employees to return to their offices. It’s often nerve-wracking beginning a job hunt, but if you’re starting to look now, where exactly are you looking?

Transferable skills

Several of the criteria for looking for a new job have changed over the last few months. As we’ve discussed in earlier posts, some sectors have thrived during lockdown, while others will be considerably reshaped following the crisis. If you are working in a sector that you think might be affected, such as a company that is scaling back its operations and consequently its staff, it may be worth seeing which of your transferable skills can take you into an allied sector. Look at how your skills will prepare you for other roles. There are many talents such as leadership, planning and organisational skills that will be applicable across a range of sectors. The medium may change, but the message will be the same. Look beyond the confines of ‘an industry’ and see how you could fit into new roles.

A place of work

In many cases, people have come to appreciate their local area and have not missed the commute to work. Home working was already something many workers were pursuing before lockdown, but the current situation has led to it becoming widespread and the norm. As a result of this, location has sometimes decreased in importance. You could work for a company 10 miles away, 50 miles away or in another country just as easily as you could work for a firm just down the road.  What this has proved is that many roles can be completed from home without losing productivity levels.

Redrawing the map

It’s also interesting now that if one person from a household or relationship has to relocate for their job – or secures a job in a different geographical region – it does mean the person’s partner doesn’t necessarily have to change their jobs too. They can work remotely from a new location, or the person can work from their current location for their new employer. This level of flexibility adds a whole new dimension to the world of work and job seeking. Some managers prefer to have their teams in front of them, and some teams like to be managed in person, but in the future it’s more likely to be a combination of the two.

Island living

An interesting twist on this thinking is illustrated by the Barbados Welcome Stamp scheme. If you can work remotely, the beautiful island of Barbados in the Caribbean has found an interesting way of countering the economic challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is offering some great opportunities for anyone who can answer yes to the question: “Need a change of scenery? Can you work anywhere, as long as you have access to the Internet?” The island is offering a special visa for remote workers who want to work and live in Barbados. The new 12-month Barbados Welcome Stamp allows anyone who qualifies to be based in one of the world’s most beloved tourism destinations. With the tagline ‘Work from Paradise’ this novel initiative has redefined what it means to be ‘working remotely’. You really never know where your next job will take you.