Ensure you are up to date with your skills

In this current pandemic, you may find that you have time and the opportunity to up your skillset and possibly retrain. This can be achieved by researching what courses you feel could impact your current role or next job search. You will find that some of these courses will be free, but not all. Be careful in your selection; ensure it is the right one for you and your requirements. Even if you think you are an expert in your field, you might find that you could learn additional insights that could be beneficial in your current career or for you in the future – perhaps the key learning you need when applying for your ideal job. It could make you stand out from the busy job-seeking market and identify you as the right person for the role.

These training courses can be anything from broadening your IT skills to an online health and safety course. Many of the free online courses will offer you a completion certificate, too. Schools, Colleges and Open Universities are offering free upskilling. So, whether you are a marketing professional that needs more knowledge on the digital side or a personal trainer that wants to understand nutrition in today’s world, now is the perfect time to retrain or upskill.

If you’ve found yourself in a redundancy situation or even on furlough during the pandemic, keeping busy will have a positive effect on your mental wellbeing. You might find that you can do this with home decorating tasks or other DIY jobs or hobbies of your own, but now might be a good time to consider gaining some different experience. Have you considered volunteering or offering your services for free to gain experience in a different line of work? Employers would love to see on a CV that you have filled your unemployment or furlough gap with work experience of some description, upskill or volunteering.

In my last blog, I spoke about getting yourself prepared for the job hunting process by ensuring your CV, personal profile, and online presence are up to date and ready to send out to potential employers. If you have spent your valuable time working on these and have started to make an impact with getting interviews, you now need to ensure that you spend time preparing for each interview in advance, whether this is a telephone interview, online video interview or face to face, the basics of your preparation should be the same, whichever version.

Ensure you are committed to your job search

As a recruiter working directly for a company or in a recruitment agency, it can be frustrating when people looking for work are not taking it as seriously as they perhaps need to.

If you have applied for a job, then ensure you have your phone switched on, ready to take a call. Ensure you monitor your emails regularly. We recommend setting up an alternative email address just for job hunting, so that you do not miss out on important emails and relevant opportunities. Keeping personal emails separate ensures nothing essential is missed. It is also good to ensure you set up job alerts with job boards. That way, you immediately know when new prospects are posted and you can be one of the first to apply by acting straight away.

If you agree to take the process to the next stage, ensure you do. It’s okay to change your mind too. If you do and you don’t feel confident to call the recruiter to let them know, email them instead. Never just not show for an interview without informing someone; you may need the services of the agency or company in the future.

Leaving people in the dark is not professional and can harm your reputation going forward as not being reliable.

Keep up to date and be open to change

During your search, it is vital to keep up to date with what is happening in the job market and new trends in job searching. Do your research during this time, not just for a job, but find out the best places to work and the industries that are performing well. Glassdoor is a great website to find out about companies and what their employees are saying about them.

Adapting your CV and covering letter/profile is essential while applying for jobs. A strong profile or a match on bullet points at the forefront of your CV to the job description will make a potential recruiter want to read on.

Interview preparation

It is imperative to allow plenty of time to prepare, so prepare in advance. Before the interviews, research is vital. Ensure that you understand the job description and make notes to ask any questions on the areas that you do not understand or that are unclear.
Understand the company, their products and the people that work there. Take a good look at their website. Search online for articles about the company, including any accolades they have. Use LinkedIn to look at the people that are employed to see if you have any synergy with them.

If your interview is face-to-face, think about where they are, how are you going to get there and how long it will take. Ensure you know of any delays that might crop up. At the moment, not all trains and buses are running and some trains are even being cancelled, so ensure you get on the earlier one. Check on the local council website to see if there are any roadworks that could cause a delay. Do they have parking? If not where is the nearest car park?

For telephone and video interviews, make sure you have the right technology downloaded and tested. Make sure also that you have sufficient internet speeds and signal for a clear and un-interrupted interview.

Think about what to wear the night before, what you need for the interview, note pad, working pens and keep to hand any notes that you have made.

Think about how to make a good impression – write down the key skills you believe you have that the company and interviewers will be impressed by. Many interviewers use competency questions using the STAR technique. Make yourself familiar with this, so you are prepared. STAR is based on Situation, Task, Action and Result. If a question requires you to give an example, think about the answer in STAR format. This enables the interviewer to see how you handle situations; try to be precise but make sure you answer the question fully. While researching the job, think about questions that you may be asked. Write down your STAR answers to these questions so that you have them prepared.

Be your best at the interview

Having completed all of your research, it’s now time to stand out in your interview and be the best candidate for the job. Ensure you keep a smile on your face throughout and introduce yourself well. Be confident but not overconfident. Show your personality but keep it professional.

Allow yourself some thinking time for the answers to the questions you are being asked, and don’t be afraid to ask if you haven’t fully understood a question – it’s better to ask than answer incorrectly.

If you have done your research well, you should not come across anything that you were not expecting, however it may happen, so just be honest. If you’ve shown throughout the interview a strong knowledge of the company, their work ethics and working practices this would not have gone unnoticed up to this point.

At the end of the interview, ask the interviewers if there was anything that you did not answer well or concisely enough during the interview that they would like you to cover again. Or, if you felt that you did not answer a question well enough during the interview, go back to it and ask if you can elaborate on it. These questions at the end should give you a second chance of being successful.

Be yourself, be prepared, be professional and be honest. If the role is the right fit, and you are the right fit for the company, it will come naturally.

Read our interview preparation guide.

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