Amidst the COVID-19 news, the one thing that is on everybody's minds is job security. The pandemic has caused many companies to go on hiring freezes and do mass layoffs in a bid to recoup their losses. Consequently, there are a lot more people competing for fewer job roles, which means increased competition. This spells especially bad news for fresh graduates and workers who are planning to switch jobs this year. The increase in competition is likely to mean that landing a job may take longer.
While the Singapore government has implemented schemes to help employees and many Singapore universities are holding virtual career fairs to expose students to job opportunities, the onus is still on the job seeker to stand out amidst all of the other applicants. If you are someone who is currently on a job hunt, here are 5 tips that you can use to ensure a successful job search.
1. Create A Strategy
The first thought that runs across your mind is to probably apply to as many jobs as possible in the hopes of landing a few of them. However, this strategy has the least amount of success and you'd run the risk of wasting a lot of your valuable time. The reality is that landing a job is going to be a lot harder now, so it will be more beneficial to have a targeted approach for your job hunt. Your strategy should answer these 4 questions:
I. What are my current skills and strengths?
II. What kind of jobs does my current skillset allow me to do?
III. What type of jobs will I be interested in doing?
IV. Which job portals give me access to the jobs that I want?
2. Upgrade Yourself
Besides applying for jobs, use this opportunity to improve your skillset and add new skills under your belt. This tip especially useful for fresh graduates who will need to differentiate themselves from their peers in other ways. It is also highly likely that you may spend some time without a job. As such, spending your free time upgrading yourself will indicate to the employer that you value growth and that you have a wide variety of skills that the company can tap on.
Websites like Coursera, Khan Academy and Udemy offer a wide range of courses for free and many learning platforms are now offering their popular courses at a discount. National Library Board even has a huge range of e-books that you can borrow and read. Volunteering is another great way to develop your skills. Even though circuit breaking measures are currently ongoing, there are many volunteer organisations that still need help. With so many resources at your fingertips, there is little excuse for you not to invest in yourself.
3. Expand Your Professional Network
Job opportunities often come from the unlikeliest of places and this advice holds especially true during these trying times. Get on LinkedIn and make connections with your previous colleagues and peers. They are the ones who will recommend you for jobs and provide referrals. Make sure to pay back the favour in kind! If you are a newbie at networking, read our article here to get a crash course. There are also many Human Resources personnel and recruiters on LinkedIn. Getting in touch with them, especially after applying for a job, will definitely help you to stand out to them.
LinkedIn is also a rich source of information on how businesses are handling the current situation. Right now, companies are in a state of flux and it is likely that their job descriptions may be a little outdated. Conduct some research into their current state and pinpoint ways you can utilise your skills to resolve their issues. Including this in your messages to the recruiters will definitely catch their attention and you may have a higher chance of getting the job.
4. Update Your Resume
A step that cannot be stressed enough, make sure to update your resume with your latest credentials. This includes your LinkedIn profile and any online job profiles that you may have. There are 2 important things that you have to include in your resume. Firstly, make sure that your resume is rich in keywords. You can do this by looking through all of the job roles you are interested in and extracting out the common keywords. Try to include these keywords in your resume. Doing this will ensure that the application tracking system that the organisation is using will pick yours.
Secondly, populate your resume with quantitative results. Including numbers is a good way to show your employers how much you contributed to your previous jobs and how effective you are in your job role. So, include whether you made a task more efficient, helped to increase revenue in any way or even just the number of projects you were in charge of. As such, these 2 details will help you tremendously in ensuring that your resume stands out.
5. Practise Video Interviews
It is highly likely that most jobs will conduct video interviews, and so, it is essential to do practise runs of video interviews. Video interviews are quite different from real-life interviews, so make sure that you get as much practise as you can. You would have to simulate the actual conditions of a video interview. So, here are a few things to keep in mind when doing a practice run:
I. A quiet place with good lighting.
II. A stable Internet connection.
III. Wearing appropriate attire.
IV. Correct camera angle.
V. Maintain eye contact with the webcam.
Before your practice run, make sure to research on common questions interviewers ask and prepare your answers accordingly. Ask a friend to conduct the practice run with you and record the video interview. After that, you can review it and see which areas you can improve on. Repeat the process until you are satisfied.
If at first, you don't succeed, try and try again.
Going on a job hunt is never easy; it has become even harder given the current circumstances. In these trying times, it is easy to get discouraged and feel helpless, so make sure to take care of your mental health. If you find yourself getting burnt out by the job search, it is alright to take a few days off to rest and recover. It may take you a while to find a job but you will eventually find one. You just have to believe in yourself and continue working hard. So, treat this as a learning opportunity and a chance to be better than you were yesterday.