These are difficult times with lots of uncertainty, but there are some silver linings writes Matt Craven, Founder of The CV & Interview Advisors. With all that’s going on in the world, it’s easy to adopt a negative mindset, but there are always opportunities, and if you find yourself in lock-down or affected by the stalling recruitment market, now might be a great time to do some planning and preparation so that you are in a great place once things settle down.
Here are three things that active job seekers can do while the world is on hold.
Do some career planning
With life’s hectic schedule, there’s often little time to sit back and reflect, but over the next few weeks, why not take the time to evaluate your career and plan a route to achieve your career goals.
A great way to do this is to score out of ten how fulfilled you are in your career and write down everything you like and don’t like about your current job. This will give you some clarity on where you are now.
Once you have done this, start thinking about the jobs you would like to do. This might be a simple case of aiming for the next rung on the ladder or you might want to look further afield. Either way, some online research including looking at the jobs listed on the Global Career Hub would be a great place to start. You could also hire a Career Coach to talk through your options.
Once you have a clear idea about the jobs you would like to apply for, you can perform a skills gap analysis. The foundation of this is to create a Career Autobiography that charts all the key events in your career (projects, successes, challenging situations you had to deal etc). Once you have written down all these key events, you can assign skills to them to give you a clear picture of the skills you currently have (or at least the ones that are backed up by real evidence). Then make a list of the skills you need for the jobs you are targeting. The ‘gap’ will be the skills you need to gain before you start applying for jobs.
You can then devise a plan to obtain the skills you don’t have by being proactive. For example, if you feel you need more project management skills, think about how you can approach your boss to get more involved in project-based activities.
Give your CV / resume some attention
This might be an obvious suggestion, but let’s face it, when do any of us have time to write a CV / resume?! It’s quite an undertaking and if you find yourself in lockdown with time on your hands, I suggest putting some serious hours into producing a great CV / resume.
Many job seekers underestimate the importance of a great CV / resume, when it’s the key conduit for selling yourself to a potential employer. A high percentage of shortlisting decisions are made solely on the contents of your CV / resume.
I would go as far as saying that for every person that was offered a job, there were six better candidates who didn’t even get an interview. Why? Because their CV / resume didn’t sell them, and they didn’t get an interview. It’s not always about who is the best candidate, it’s about who can sell themselves the most effectively.
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Improve your LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn is another important tool for finding a new job, not only are jobs listed on the LinkedIn platform but as well as leading job boards such as the Global Career Hub, it’s one of the key ponds that recruiters and companies fish for talent.
This being the case, your LinkedIn profile needs to be as well written as your CV / resume. Here are some key tips.
Make sure you have a professional photo and an image in the blue area at the top of your profile.
Write your About section using the W-H-O-S-E-E-S formula. Who are you? What are your key strengths? Give some examples of your strengths. Communicate your ethos i.e. what you are passionate about?! And finish up by listing your key skills.
The Positions in the Experience section should have less detail than your CV / resume. Start with a description of your employer (if it’s not obvious), write a summary of your role i.e. describe what were you hired / promoted to do, and finish with a few bullet points describing the biggest projects or achievements from that role.
Try to get as many Recommendations as you can. LinkedIn cites a statistic that you are three times more likely to be contacted about an opportunity if you display a selection of good recommendations on your LinkedIn profile.
This would be a great time to grow your network. Search for companies you would like to work for and follow them – this will alert you to any activity that those companies post onto LinkedIn. You can then search for decision-makers in those companies and connect with them. Seeking out, connecting with, and building relationships with recruiters is also a great idea and can be done on LinkedIn.
Keep safe and well.
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