Economic and job market forecasts are not a crystal ball! For those Generation Y workers like myself we have already early into our careers been faced with a recession. We are now facing further uncertainty with the post pandemic market recovery. Many of us are once again questioning our future job security and others have already found themselves being made redundant.
For those Graduating, or leaving school this summer and planning to enter the world of work for the first time are also faced with the same level of uncertainty. They will also be questioning their prospective career choices and desirable markets.
So, the big question is how do I decide what I want to do in the future and how do I secure a role in these challenge times?
1. Remind yourself what you are good at and what you enjoy
Open your screen and set up a new note page and start to think of your positives. Many of us struggle with this, so instead of staring at the blank page ask your partner, or family members what it is they think you are good at. This doesn’t just need to be work focused, it’s a nice opportunity to hear some positive comments once in a while. Be inquisitive and ask yourself or others what makes you good at that. Look back on references or your LinkedIn endorsements to remind yourself what colleagues in the past have commended you on. This exercise is really useful for when you start updating your CV or attending interviews.
Reflect on what you enjoyed about your previous job, was it the flexibility or perhaps the autonomy you had? When you start looking for roles it is important to remind yourself what it is you want from the role.
2. Update your CV
This may sound obvious, but I must stress the importance of updating your CV. We all remember to put our most recent job or experience at the top but on so many occasions as a HR professional I have received CV’s with out of date contact details. Candidates therefore falling at the first hurdle in the job-hunting race. Check your personal details and also review the remaining content for accuracy.
3. Who is who – use your network?
Gone are the days you get a job because you know the owner, people get jobs on their own merits. However, finding out about opportunities before, or as they go to market is more of a challenge.
Write down who is in your social and professional network – not just your LinkedIn contacts - your extensive network including friends and family. Consider if these people have connections within your desired marketplace or locations. Be confident to reach out to them and make them aware that you are looking for work, a quick email or LinkedIn message can be very effective. Many employers now offer employee referral schemes so this may be an attractive prospect for your connection.
4. Social Media presence
With 3.5 billion social media users worldwide, social media has changed the way we live our lives and for many employers has changed the way they recruit. 73% of companies now have their own LinkedIn pages, and use the platform as an effective way to post their job opportunities whilst also selling their company brand, values and culture.
It is important when looking at prospective employers you look at their social media representation, this can typically be found from links on the company home page. As a prospective candidate ensure that you take your time to follow, like, or connect with the company of the platforms they operate on. Ensure that your social media presence is however ‘work’ appropriate. So many times, I have seen very social profile pictures on LinkedIn profiles, and I must admit has potentially subconsciously led to me forming an opinion.
5. Do your research
In a challenging market, job seekers tend to take roles without thoroughly researching the company as they feel pressured to take an opportunity when presented with one. This can be disastrous as they may find themselves starting, not settling, and ultimately leaving, finding themselves back on the job market.
Take the time to research companies, as I’ve mentioned look at their social media presence and website. Many employers now include blogs on their careers pages so you can see what it is like to work for them (albeit these may have sometimes been creatively edited!).