It’s currently a difficult time for many people who are looking for work. Unemployment rate has significantly risen, in some cases dramatically. Since the UK coronavirus (covid-19) lockdown began on the 16th of March, nearly £1m people have applied for the government’s universal credit benefit. In Ireland, it is reported that unemployment has jumped to 16.5% due to covid-19 lockdown. It has never been more important for candidates to find ways to standout from other jobseekers.
Under these circumstances, jobseekers face the difficult task of finding work while the world is under lockdown. Here, The Write CV Cover gives jobseekers helpful tips and advice on how to standout from other candidates in Covid-19 era.
Write an outstanding CV to win interviews
Jobseekers, to standout from other candidates, it’s really important to have the perfect CV. Use keywords and format your CV correctly so it passes the applicant tracking system (ATS) test. It is believed that almost 75% of CVs never make it to a human’s screen because the candidate didn’t take the time to write his CV correctly.
This is not the time for mistakes – right now your CV needs to be seen and be read by the hiring managers.
Optimise your CV with keywords to pass the ATS test. How the system works, is by matching the job description with keywords on your CV. “Green light” is given if there are enough words that match. However, it’s not just a case of matching words; it’s also presenting yourself as the right candidate for when the hiring managers receive your CV.
To pass the ATS test you also need to avoid pictures and graphics. Please see this article which gives more details on how to pass the ATS test.
Many candidates shy away from highlighting their achievements and successes as they view it as being boastful. Now is not the time to shy away; it’s when you should highlight every achievement.
Write a great cover letter to standout from other candidates
Don’t just rely on a CV: your application should include a cover letter as it is an important component. Hiring managers read it to understand more about you. It shows that you are enthusiastic and that you took enough interest in the role to write the letter.
For you, it gives you the chance to explain your experience and relevance for the role more: a chance to present your suitability for the job. Also, it presents your communication skills, so take the time to write a well written letter.
Here, we showed you how to use bullet points and short sentences on your CV. Your cover letter, on the other hand, should be presented with full sentences to sell your expertise. It should complement your CV and not duplicate it.
For more help on how to write a cover letter, read this earlier post.
Focus your efforts in the areas you have expertise in
Many candidates apply for jobs they have little experience in, or have held many years ago, when things get difficult. This can be counterproductive as you spend a lot of time applying for jobs that you are unlikely to get an interview for.
We recommend you focus on the areas you have expertise in, as you are more likely to be viewed as a candidate with value. You will have the skills and the knowledge the company needs in testing circumstances and are therefore likely to add value.
Network to standout from other jobseekers
Networking can also help you to standout from other jobseekers and candidates. A lot of candidates do not put emphasis on social media networking, or don’t really understand the importance of it. Business networking is not just limited to social media networking, it also extends to conferences, seminars etc. Right now, as it’s impossible to network face-to-face, the only form of business networking available is social media.
Do some research to find out the most popular social media network in your industry and join, if you are not already using it.
Your future manager could be using this network to find great candidates. Hiring managers often use social media networks like LinkedIn and actually contact candidates they consider to be perfect for their job.
For help on how to fill in your LinkedIn profile, read this blog post.
Also, join online communities to widen your social network. There are online forums that offer career advice and help.
Take on part-time and freelance work
If the market is facing tough times in your industry, consider part-time work. It will keep you active while you look for your next full-time role and it may actually lead to a fulltime employment.
Part-time jobs also improve and widen your skills, and they can increase your industry contact.
Look for part-time work in the industries you are interested in and/or have the relevant experience/qualifications for.
Also consider freelance work. There are plenty of small businesses (and large companies) that rely on freelancers to keep their businesses going – from freelance writers to IT support. For more helpful tips on how to get back into employment, please see this blog post.
Prepare for the interview to impress recruiters
If you get an interview, prepare for it. Do research on the company and learn as much as you can about them and the role you applied for. Go on the company’s website and see their online activities on their social media pages.
Based on your research, list questions you can ask during the interview. This will help you to come across as a serious candidate with real interest in the company and position. The more informed you are about the company and the role, the more at ease you will be during the interview.
Your appearance matters, so make the effort to dress well and appear professional, even if the interview is on Skype.
For video interviews, it’s important you find a quiet location and adjust your positioning, lighting and volume before the start of your interview. We also suggest you use a laptop or a computer, rather than your mobile phone. Holding a phone in your hand for an hour while you talk to a stranger will be overwhelming, plus the slight hand movements will disturb your interviewer. If you don’t have an alternative, find a holder for your phone and place it where you can sit down comfortably and have your face in a clear view.
Also, consider your surroundings. Don’t choose a messy room or an area where your clutter is in a clear view of the camera. Choose a professional, clear background.
If you would like one of our experts to give you a free CV/cover letter review, get in contact.