Undoubtedly, it is a bleak time in the job market, with the economy contracting in the last quarter of 2020 and the first of 2021, fueled by the initial lockdown in March.
Last week, Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey warned that Britain’s unemployment rate, believed to be 4.9 percent with about 2.2 million people already out of work, is actually much worse than official figures suggest.
Many industries, including retail and hospitality, are fighting hard to survive the ongoing pandemic and competition for jobs is fierce.
If you’re looking for a new role after losing your job – or are just desperate for your current job – it’s never been more important to stand out from the crowd.
To help sing your resume and equip you with the skills for those virtual interviews, FEMAIL spoke with Tony Gregg, chief executive at Anthony Gregg Partnerships, a high-end recruitment agency with senior and executive level positions in the UK and Europe.
Tony is recruiting top talent as the retail director of the likes of John Lewis, Sainsbury’s, Fortnum & Mason and SCS in their new roles. Here he shares his best tips on how to land your dream job.
If you’re looking for a new role after you’ve lost your job – or are just desperate for your current job – it’s never been more important to stand out from the crowd. Stock image
Sell your lockdown hobbies as skills
Covid-19 has created holes in many resumes as employees are fired or on leave through no fault of their own.
If that applies to you, don’t worry – employers will expect and understand this. The worst thing you can do is try to hide the fact as this will only lead to tricky interview questions.
Instead, make a mark of what you did during this forced break: did you volunteer, homeschool, or learn a new skill?
Employers are always impressed by people who are committed to their own personal development. You should also use the time to hone your resume and boost your online profile. The worst thing you can do while out of work is to turn off your light and withdraw from the world.
Tony Gregg, pictured, is chief executive at Anthony Gregg Partnerships, a high-end recruiting firm
Maintain a strong online profile
Your online profile is your own personal showcase. How you present yourself on platforms like LinkedIn can make or break your chances of an interview.
Make sure your profile picture is professional and recently taken. It may sound obvious, but I regularly meet people with 15-year-old profile pictures taken in a sun-drenched Greek taverna!
Join professional networks to build your connections in relevant industries and professions.
Don’t just use them for self-promotion: share interesting articles and make informed comments on the posts of others. The more active you are, the higher your profile will appear on search pages.
Emphasize your transferable skills
If your industry has been decimated by the pandemic, there are always opportunities in other industries.
Stop! Are you making the right choice?
Before you trade your regular job for the thrill of a new challenge, ask yourself, “Do I really want to leave?”
When we go on vacation we plan our trip well in advance and pack the car before we leave. So why do so few of us do this with our careers?
Be honest with yourself about what motivates you to leave. Is there a problem with your boss and if so, can the situation be saved?
If you feel the job is not enough, can you look for new responsibilities or improve your own skills? Self-fulfillment through things like online learning can put you in the best position for a promotion and will impress potential employers if you decide to leave.
Once you’ve made the decision to move on, stick to it. Don’t let your boss change his mind – your relationship will never be the same.
If you decide to relocate, it’s vital that you do your homework with a potential employer so you can assess whether they have a good chance of being around this time and well into the future next year.
Retail, leisure, travel and hospitality are among the hardest hit by Covid-19. The company’s finances are in a desperate state, and we still don’t know when companies can fully reopen.
What are their finances like? Is their business model fit for the digital age? Do you have connections within the company that you can talk to before applying for the position? The last thing you want is to join a company whose future is uncertain and where job losses are likely.
Think about the skills you have that are transferable; For example, front-of-house skills can be easily transferred to other consumer-facing roles, such as telesales.
Think carefully about the environment in which you enjoy working. If you’ve quit a job in a busy restaurant, the fast pace of the grocery store may be a good fit, but a job at a luxury jewelry store, where you may only serve one or two customers a day, can leave you bored and frustrated.
Technical skills are also highly transferable between different industries. Some employers even prefer to hire people from outside their industry who can bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to the company.
Be a digital master
The pandemic means that interviews and assessments are increasingly taking place online.
For some people this can be a source of relief – there are few more nerve-racking experiences than being interviewed by a room full of executives. But that doesn’t mean you should relax or don’t prepare.
Ask friends and family to help you practice video calling with meeting tools like Zoom.
Dress as if you were meeting the interviewer in person. Look at the camera, speak slowly and clearly, and talk to the interviewer using your body language.
Finally, put yourself in a place where you know the Wi-Fi signal is strong. If your connection fails, you may not get a second chance!
Choose quality over quantity
Especially among recently unemployed people will be tempted to apply for as many positions as possible.
My advice is that quality always wins over quantity.
In many cases, recruiters receive hundreds of applications for one role. As an applicant you have to show why you are suitable for that specific role in that specific organization.
A standard cut and paste application will not make it in the current climate. Study the job description and modify each resume and cover letter.
First, list your most relevant skills and experiences – busy recruiters will review each application for a few seconds.
Your number one priority is to instantly stand out from the crowd.
Social constraints coupled with miserable weather are the perfect recipe for staying indoors and doing nothing. From a job search perspective, however, this would be a mistake.
The saying “healthy body, healthy mind” is quite correct. Interviewers, even online, will be able to detect signs of lethargy or a lack of alertness among interviewees.
Drink plenty of water – staying hydrated helps your brain stay alert.
Try to exercise a bit every day, even if it’s just a walk on the street or a few laps in the garden.
Set aside a set time each day to search for lists and write applications – then make sure to take the time to check out.
For more information about Tony and his work, visit anthonygregg.com/