Finding a job in a market that was devastated by lengthy global lockdown periods followed by companies restructuring /retrenching possess unprecedented challenges for job seekers. As it stands, companies are rethinking their business models and finding ways to operate with a much learner workforce to combat losses incurred during the past couple of months in efforts to remain viable. There are industries that are thriving under current conditions but this is not the case for the majority of employers.
Finding employment was already a challenge and now industries are now saturated with skilled and experienced job-seekers some willing to take on lower positions than they held in the past making it harder for the average job-seeker, most people now need to overcome the fact that they are going to find themselves gunning for the same roles as more experienced individuals.
Applying with an outstanding CV is a no brainer, but sadly, it is no longer enough. If you find yourself looking for work, you are going to need to do a lot more than update your CV and polish your LinkedIn profile. When supply far exceeds demand, job seekers are faced with a conundrum. In order to navigate these murky waters, your primary focus will need to be an effective job search strategy.
1. Sharpen the axe
Putting yourself out there is daunting enough all things considered. Now you have to do it in an unforgiving environment when company survival is uncertain, you need to plan before you act. You need to have a well laid out plan of where, how and for what you are going to be applying for. There are a lot of variables to consider. There is no escaping that Covid-19 is here and it is most likely here to stay. Work in the traditional sense is soon to be a thing of the past. How employers acquire, manage and reward their workforce is quickly changing. When choosing which jobs to apply for, consider the short and long term changes that career path is facing, also assess if you are willing and able to fulfil the new demands this may come with.
“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six sharpening my axe.” – Abraham Lincoln
2. The new normal
People remain a company’s greatest asset however, as companies repurpose their facilities and restructure their offering to align with the current demands, it is important for employees (present and future) to align themselves accordingly. Shocking as the Covid-19 pandemic was and still is for some of us, we need to accept that some of the changes that took place as a result may be here for good. As most people found themselves sitting in front of a zoom screen or navigating workflow tools or work management systems truth is, that is not the only part of work that has changed. Talent sourcing is also transforming. The “new normal” is a moving target, a lot is still going to change as economies look for new ways to respond. The post covid-19 workforce needs to be alert, agile, and innovative.
In a blink of an eye everything moved online including how our kids learn, how we consult, how we get food, how we catch up with our loved ones, even Friday night entertainment. Recruitment is no exception, most companies have been interviewing using platforms like Skype and Zoom, as much as some companies may return to traditional recruitment once lockdown ends, the lessons learned during this time cannot be forgotten. As a candidate you need to acquaint yourself with everything there is to know about online interviews should you find yourself booked for one.
In the current job market, there are way more job seekers than there are available vacancies. That fact that many large corporations are retrenching is making matters worse. We need to look outside traditional employment and freelancing is a way millions of people have been earning an income for years. Becoming a freelancer allows you to be your own boss and this is something that can be done short term while waiting to secure a more permanent role or could be a lifetime career option. Just like everything else it has its pros and cons but definitely a viable option at the moment. Which brings me to my next point.
5. Own your career
There are many things that are out of our hands, like global pandemics, national lockdowns, restricted international travel, and weeks without being able to buy wine. When it comes to your career, however, you and only you are in charge. You may not control if you get selected for a promotion or if you will be affected by the next round of retrenchments, but your agility in those situations is all up to you and you alone. You have the power to decide how you are perceived, all past achievements and every struggle you had to overcome to get to where you are all valuable assets, use them you’ve earned it. Learn to articulate how your accomplishments have geared and positioned you towards contributing to achieving organisational goals. You may be employed by company X but really you work for yourself, the experience and achievements gained in all your roles goes with you wherever you go.
Here is a great article from Huff Post with practical guideline on how to go about #owningyourcareer