How to Prepare Yourself for the Post-Covid Job Market

The impact of the pandemic has been felt globally in the recent and upcoming job market.  When the lockdown hit the UK in March one of the main challenges that arose was employers either cancelling or not offering placements and summer internships. These internships are crucial for students who want to gain work experience and learn the application of theoretical knowledge in the workforce, and the cancellation had a major impact on them. 

Even though not all sectors have witnessed a sudden downfall, yet it has been upsetting for those affected. Even recruitments and internships have been pushed back to December 2020. Many universities like The University of Manchester, offered summer internships projects to several students by match-funding online projects or offering internships within their university to combat this issue.

A few employers were able to adapt quickly and embraced the idea of remote working. Global employers are aware of the digital agility of students nowadays and are trying to make the best use of the situation. Such organisations and students are getting access to the best resources, regardless of the geographical location.

What can students do to better their chances of securing a job?

I would advise students at this time to be responsive. Few sectors have been affected more than others and the presence of more than one labour market alters this effect from region to region.  Abruptly, the skills desired by employers have changed. Working remotely, building a rapport and being part of a team have never been more important!

Students need to ensure that the interviewer understands how you spent your time during the pandemic. Some good points to cover would be working on a project, volunteering, learning a skill, helping in the family business or working part-time. Mention all or any of these that are important and relevant to your interview to illustrate your capabilities. It will show self-motivation to a potential employer and showcase your flexible skillset.

Three things to keep in mind when job hunting during the pandemic

  1. Network as much as you can. Just because fewer jobs are being advertised on jobs boards does not mean there aren’t any available. The most efficient form of job hunting during times like these happen through networking. It is important to raise your visibility through writing articles on platforms like LinkedIn and group memberships. Getting noticed on professional platforms is going to be important as they help to build professional connections that can lead to new opportunities.
  2. Communicate your reasons clearly to an employer. The job market has become even more competitive, so you need to make your application stand out. Research thoroughly about the company you’re applying to. Understand how they have adapted during the COVID and who their competition is. Your research will reflect in your application, and it will demonstrate to an employer the motivation you have. Standard applications and answers may lead to disappointing results.
  3. Understand your unique skills and knowledge. Right now, all your experiences such as society and club membership, part-time jobs, internships and volunteering work,  are considered relevant and important.  Identify the skills you gained from your experience and use them as examples in your interviews. Read the job description carefully and understand the skills and experience an employer has asked for and demonstrate your skills on your CV. 
  4. Take time to tailor your CV. Most people think that it will be a complicated and time-consuming process. However, it is not so. In fact, it is smart. A recruiter can spot a generic CV very easily. Some companies even use AI software to scan applications for keywords. Your CV is your first impression, which is why it is crucial to tailor your CV in a way that best highlights the parts that are most relevant to the employer.
  5. Always highlight your achievements. Never assume that an employer knows the skills you used in your previous job. Be specific and highlight all your key achievements instead of listing tasks. Finally, if you are unsure and need some insight and support, always check with your career service.