Looking for Work in the Middle of a Pandemic

January 12, 2021

Keep an open mind. Being flexible is key, and it’s really important to keep an open mind.

The world as we know it has changed quite drastically in these last 4 weeks. These are uncertain times and if you are currently looking for your next opportunity you may not know where to start. Here are some top tips for job hunting in this new world.

Keep an open mind

No one has the answers right now and with a large number of organisations facing challenges in remote working as well as financial challenges, priorities are changing. A lot of opportunities that may have been moving forward prior to lockdown are being put on hold, or vanishing altogether. Try to be patient and try to not take this personally. If an opportunity has been put on hold this does not mean that it won’t ever progress. If roles are still progressing there may be a number of stops and starts, or things may move a little slower. Being flexible is key, and it’s really important to keep an open mind.

Looking at BNZ/Seek's Employment Report from the 16th of April, we can see that March job advertising fell by 29.4%. Industries that had the biggest decline were Engineering at 24%, Science and Technology at 22.8% and Sales at 21.9%. ICT was sitting at a 7.2% decline.

Less hiring does mean a more competitive search so spend some time thinking about the transferable skills you have. Different industries are going crazy and many that were previously busy are now in financial difficulty. The Health and Education sector in particular has taken off and there is strong demand in the following ICT areas – cloud, cyber security, networking, helpdesk and desktop support.

Consider your skillset and what you can do. If you’re an Automation tester and struggling to find the right opportunity perhaps start looking for Manual testing opportunities. If you’re an Architect or a Development/Technical Lead that can do hands on development, maybe there is opportunity to step back into your development roots?

With so many organisations facing financial difficulty right now you may need to be flexible on things like hourly rate or salary. Remember that accepting a lower rate now does not mean you are going to be locked into this rate for a lifetime!

Network, network, network!

Spend time building your network. Look out for online groups of similar individuals, attend virtual meet ups and virtual events. Interact and engage with others on LinkedIn. Reach out to old colleagues. Think about the companies and organisations that you want to work for and the industries that you are interested in, then think about who you may know at those companies and reach out to them. A company may not be hiring now but this will put you in a better position when things do start moving again.

Take some time to update your LinkedIn profile and CV

Spend time having a good read through your CV. Is it easy to read? Have you highlighted your key areas of expertise? Make sure your LinkedIn profile aligns with your CV in terms of dates and job titles. List any key technologies, tools and frameworks you have worked with on your LinkedIn profile so that if recruiters are searching using LinkedIn, your profile will come up. Spell check is as important on your LinkedIn profile as it is on your CV!!

Train and upskill

Look at the tools and technologies on your CV – are there any skills you need to brush up on or skills you haven’t used in a few years? Spend time doing this. Are there technologies you have seen listed multiple times in ads that you could spend time training or getting a certification in? There are plenty of free online courses and YouTube tutorials to keep busy with.

And finally – a few tips on video interviews

Organisations that are able to remotely hire in these times are carrying out video interviews. Here are a few tips for success:

  • Find a quiet and private area in your house, free of interruption from children, pets and others you live with.
  • Make sure your background is distraction and clutter free.
  • Have a trial run with a friend on the platform of choice (Zoom, Skype, Teams) to make sure your computer audio and camera are working and your internet connection runs ok.
  • Make sure your laptop is full charged and plugged in.
  • Make sure your phone is on silent and any alerts and notifications on your computer are silent.
  • Print out your resume and have it nearby along with points you want to talk about and any questions you have.
  • Dress as if you are doing a face to face interview.
  • Make sure you have appropriate lighting and your whole face is visible.
  • Smile, make eye contact and be confident J

In these uncertain times it’s really important to focus on what we can control so hopefully these tips have helped. Feel free to reach out to the Taska recruitment team at talent@taska.co.nz if you need some CV advice, if you’re looking for your next opportunity or if you just want to have a chat about the market!

Written by

Nathan Masters