How to secure your dream job in lockdown!
I’m now in the fifth month of my new job at Revoco and to say things have changed since COVID-19 would be a huge understatement! I was furloughed back in April and ended up staying on furlough for almost 5 months before eventually making the decision to change roles.
As I’m getting to grips with the new landscape of the world and recruitment, I’ve spoken to many candidates in tough positions struggling with their job searches. As someone who works in the recruitment industry and has also gone through the process of changing roles myself recently, I wanted to pass on some of my inside knowledge and tips which may be helpful to anyone looking for their next role.
I’ll admit, I was fortunate to be in a position where I was never without a job. However, furlough is a strange place to be – I always felt guilty of having time off with a steady income, whilst my teammates were working harder than ever and others were losing their jobs entirely. As the months dragged on, my uncertainty grew around the stability of my job so I decided I would proactively start looking. This was tough to do because I was very happy in my role and had great relationships with the people I worked with, but I knew I had to protect my best interests.
My immediate thought process was that as soon as the government furlough scheme changed in August and companies had to start contributing to pay, many recruiters in the same position as myself would eventually be without jobs. Recruitment has a ridiculously high attrition rate and is a saturated market so I wasn’t prepared to take the risk of being one of many recruiters all applying for the same rare jobs (if anyone was even hiring) at the same time.
The first thing I did was speak to my colleagues and friends in the industry. I wanted to know who was hiring, what the companies were like, who worked there and what they had to offer. This gave me a really good insight into what was available and what places would actually be a good fit for me. Recruitment jobs are all very similar so you won’t ever get a good understanding of the difference in roles and companies, without actually speaking to people who know first-hand.
At this point, I’d been given some good advice, and an idea into the options I potentially had. However, I wanted to form my own unbiased opinion so decided I would reach out to an actual recruiter in my network that specialises in placing other recruiters. I did this through my LinkedIn connections and decided to speak to one in particular who had an enormous amount of recommendations and active posts advertising live vacancies.
The next day I was presented with a wide selection of recruitment companies all hiring for candidates like me. Personally, I’m extremely picky when it comes to my career so I took my time to research each company and see what the culture is like, the location and what types of people are currently working there. After a few days, I collected my thoughts and decided to go with two companies in particular that I thought were the best fit for me.
Firstly, I needed to sort out my CV. I hadn’t changed it for some years and it was essentially 4 pages long of waffle about anything I had ever achieved in life and nothing that was of any relevance to the jobs I was applying for! I condensed it down to 2 pages highlighting the appropriate information.
Once my application was submitted and accepted, I had two 2-stage interviews lined up. These were consistent of first stage zoom calls followed by meet the team and offer. I then proceeded to research both companies again understanding their values and cultures as well as their history so I was fully prepared for any questions around the organisations. As well as this I made sure I knew my CV inside out and ran through various scenarios about questions that could come up regarding my experience and skill set.
Fortunately for me, both opportunities were great, the hiring managers fantastic and the interviews went really well. Both roles ended up offering me very similar packages and I decided to make the decision to go with Revoco for various reasons which resulted from the research I’d done, recommendations and also the entire feeling I had throughout the process with them.
3 months into the job and I’ve never been happier, it’s been a pleasure to be part of this team and I’m very excited about what the future will hold. I decided to take an educated risk through COVID by changing roles and it’s proved to be a great decision. Throughout the process, I was incredibly cagey because I had no idea if I was best staying in my role and hoping things would work out, or leaving all my great relationships behind and potentially joining somewhere else that was ultimately worse!
My first-hand experience of changing jobs in a global pandemic:
Do your research!
I appreciate everyone’s position is different and for people without work ‘any job will do’ but I’d urge you to take your time and really identify what role is best for you. In the market I recruit for, many candidates will take a scattergun approach and apply for any roles that seem half applicable. This can be a massive time-wasting exercise for all parties and may also give you the reputation of someone who is lazy or desperate and applies for everything. From a recruiter’s perspective, I can tell you, it doesn’t look great when a candidate who has applied for a job I’m working on and they can’t even remember applying because they’ve applied for so many!
Know what you want!
I understand it can be a numbers game but more effectively I’d advise assessing what companies and industries interest you? What job roles are most attractive? And very importantly how far do I want to commute? Also look at the things you don’t like and try to make a shortlist of jobs that are most applicable to you. You don’t want to make an impulsive decision to start a particular job only to find a few months later you hate it and you’re back to square one!
Bear in mind a lot of job opportunities aren’t visible so get out there and mix with your network. LinkedIn is such a great tool to identify and connect with important figures in your network. Reach out to hiring managers at companies that interest you.
Engage with recruiters!
Reach out to recruiters. I know first-hand that the industry can have a bad rep but there are some truly great recruiters out there who can really help in your search. A lot of jobs won’t be advertised so speaking with recruiters will help broaden your search and give you a good gauge on the market too.
Work on your CV!
When applying for roles your CV is so important so really try to make it a good reflection on yourself. Make it clear, concise and relevant to what you’re applying for – most CV’s are very similar so anything you can do to stand out is great but keep it professional!
Once you’re in the process it’s all about preparation, it’s so simple but research the company inside out, values, culture, history and even look into the experience of the hiring managers so you have a solid understanding going into the interview. These things will set you apart and also give you some great in-depth questions to ask the employer which can also be so important. Having good questions to ask hiring managers will not only give you great information but also demonstrate your effort and interest.
If you’re currently looking for work I encourage you to try some of my tips. Or even better, please do feel free to get in touch directly and I’ll do my best to help.