Tags: Career Guidance, career-guidance, blog

The job market is a competitive place at the best of times, but due to Covid-19 and a sizable wave of job losses, it’s about to intensify and leave few sectors unaffected. But don't panic! There will still be opportunities and employers will obviously still need to hire. If you do find yourself looking for work, it’s important to be realistic, and to identify the current challenges within the pandemic job market.

The key question to consider is how to make yourself stand out from the crowd. At a time when many people are looking for work, with employers bombarded with applications for available roles, it can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. That’s why it’s important to seek help and support from the experts.

Search has three decades of recruitment experience, helping connect exceptional people with rewarding, challenging and fulfilling jobs. We're on the frontline, so understand how stressful and difficult the job hunt is at the moment. After giving the matter some careful thought, we've put together this list of top tips, to assist your efforts to stand out from the crowd of eager job-hunters. Read on for some hints and tips to help glean a crucial advantage over the competition, from making the best first impression to acing the interview.

1. Emphasise your flexibility

Perhaps you have a strong CV with lots of relevant experience, but you can’t rely on this alone to land you an interview. You’ll need to prove that not only are you better equipped for the job than your competitors, but also that you’re prepared to go above and beyond. Employers are increasingly looking for evidence that applicants are willing to learn new skills, and take on additional responsibilities. Make it clear that you’re very capable and more than willing to rise to their expectations.

When you’re applying for a job (and again in the interview), make a point of demonstrating to your prospective employer that you relish new challenges, and are always looking for opportunities to expand your skill set. Draw attention to any relevant examples of this from your previous work experience.

2. Turn adversity to your advantage

We’ve already discussed just how difficult things are in the current circumstances, with such intense competition for job opportunities. It’s therefore important to prove to employers that you’re enthusiastic and strong, and take knockbacks in your stride. Show them that even in adverse circumstances, you have the wherewithal and determination to pick yourself up and keep yourself occupied.

Employers tend to get nervous when they see long gaps between jobs in CVs. Of course, there might be a perfectly good reason for them - perhaps you’ve taken a sabbatical to travel or explore new opportunities. What you do need to show, however, is that you haven’t just spent the time waiting for the perfect job to fall into your lap. Make sure you’ve kept yourself productive  and active during your time off, for example, try taking an online course or learning a new skill.

3. Retool your resume

If you are looking for a new job and have not revamped your CV recently, it’s a good idea to do so. Don’t just assume that your CV is fine as it is and that you have nothing else to add, because it’s important to keep it updated. When employers are inundated with applications for a single role, it’s unlikely that will have the time to spend poring over each CV. Instead, they’ll be scanning them looking for anything that might stand out from the crowd, and those are the applications that’ll be likely to get a response.

Revisit your CV and see whether it could benefit from any changes. Check for any grammatical or spelling errors, and remember the importance of presentation. Use bullet points to accentuate key skills and relevant past experience. Is there anything on your current CV that doesn’t need to be in there? These might sound like obvious points, but you’d be surprised how many people overlook them. Changes like these could give you the edge.

4. Be responsive

Of course, you’re never guaranteed a reply from a prospective employer. If you do receive one, make sure you respond to it as quickly as possible. Employers don’t like to be left hanging around, but they do appreciate it when applicants are quick to reply to their emails and messages. Again, when you’re looking for a job and there’s lots of competition, you have to find ways to stand out from the crowd - and this is a quick win. It suggests you’re bright, engaged and keen, all qualities employers love.

5. Show initiative

Before you submit a job application, think for a second: what else could you do to demonstrate initiative and emphasise your credentials? Perhaps you have a portfolio of previous work that you could send across, or you have a personal website that you can link to. If you don’t have a portfolio, why not put one together? These are all really effective ways of demonstrating why you’re better equipped to do the job than your competitors. Don’t bombard your potential employer, but give them a little something extra that might help catch their attention.

If you’re moving on to pastures new, check out our previous blog on how to write a CV for a post-Covid world for more useful tips and suggestions.

Whatever the situation, Search is always on hand to help you with your job hunt. We have a  diverse range of jobs advertised on our site, or you can get in touch with our friendly team of specialists today for their expert advice.