Job-hunting during the coronavirus crisis
The Covid-19 pandemic is affecting the lives of many people and in a number of ways, including their careers. If you’re in the process of looking for a new job, a first step or changing roles, the crisis will have likely made it more challenging.
So we’re putting together advice to provide you with support, encouragement and ideas during these challenging times and to help your career remain on track.
It can understandably feel overwhelming looking for a job under such chaotic circumstances, but there are a few steps we recommend.
Maintain mental wellbeing and physical health
This should be your first priority. It’s very easy for both to slip in times of uncertainty and elevated stress. Job-hunting can be challenging, even at the best of times, so finding ways to stay healthy and happy is important.
This can be as simple as sticking to a daily routine that mirrors your pre-lockdown one, as if you’re getting up every morning and going to work or school. Keep regular contact with friends and family, colleagues and tutors. Exercise regularly, even if it’s 10 minutes fresh air on a balcony or a home HIIT work out. Incentivise yourself with treats when you reach achievable goals, eg a chocolate bar when you’ve applied to two jobs. Try new techniques, such as meditation or yoga – there’s always an ‘app for that’.
There’s a wealth of wellbeing advice in our Covid-19 support section
Employers will be going through a time of unexpected change too, but don’t assume they’ll all stop hiring new employees, especially those with the skillsets capable of helping them out of the crisis and to thrive during the recovery and beyond. Remember, finance professionals are key to business survival, transformation and performance.
Think strategically about which sectors might be hiring, such as essential services in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, retail and e-commerce, and the public sector. And then non-essential sectors enjoying an unexpected boom, such as video streaming, digital entertainment, online communication technology and cloud-based platforms.
Be open to new ideas and possibilities
Your job-hunting strategy may change along with your near-term goals. Be open-minded to new and alternative opportunities in sectors, organisations and geographies not in your original career plan. You never know where they may lead. It’s also easier to change direction once you’re in employment.
Also take this time to upskill to future proof your career. Explore volunteering and other work experience opportunities. These are great ways to gain a wealth of general and specific skills. You can also fill holes in your skillset by doing online courses. It all looks great on a CV too.
Keep your CV and cover letters fresh
This means keeping them up to date and relevant to each role you apply for. It’s not good practice to send out the same CV for each application – hiring managers and recruiters will know. Research the skills a role requires, think about how you can prove you have them (and if you don’t, think about how you can gain them – see volunteering and online courses above). Research a company and align your experience and skillset with the keywords in the job advert, as well as the business’s strategy, goals and current situation.
Call on and develop your network
Keep your social media profiles, especially on LinkedIn, up to date and use these platforms to engage with employers, peers and influencers. Take this time to grow your network – ACCA members often cite their network as vital to their careers. Use the platforms as tools to apply for jobs and to stay abreast of latest trends and news. They’re also great for starting conversations and asking questions to help you in your job hunt. Take up blogging. Seriously!
Home tech set up and video job interviews
As you’ll be doing all this online, it’s important you have a good remote set up – think computer and mobile devices and their camera and sound capabilities, good internet connection, comfortability, distraction free.
This will be very important if you get a job interview, which will likely happen via video call (Zoom, Skype etc) or over the phone. You’ll have to go through all the usual job interview preparations, but with an added layer of ensuring good internet connection and working hardware.
The first days on your new ‘remote’ job
If you receive and accept a job offer, it’s likely that in the coming months you’ll be expected to work remotely. So a nice home office space will be important. Treat your new ‘online’ job in the same you would if you were turning up in your first week to a company’s headquarters: login early each morning, familiarise yourself with your organisation’s remote-working protocols and systems, get to know your colleagues through video chats, and so on.
Back to the first point – stay healthy and positive – and visit ACCA Careers to search and apply for your next job from among thousands of global finance opportunities.