How to pandemic-proof your CV and improve your job applications

The job market is a hostile place at the moment.

Unemployment has just hit it’s highest level for three years, and between June and August, redundancies stood at 227,000.

So if you’re looking for a job, you’re likely up against an entire year’s worth of fresh graduates, as well as the thousands who have lost their jobs thanks to the pandemic.

In the face of a catastrophic economic downturn and looming recession, searching for a job can feel hopeless. So much of it is out of your control.

However, there are things you can do to give yourself the best possible chance of securing work – even in these incredibly uncertain times.

Whether you have just graduated and are looking for your first role, or you’ve recently lost your job, here are some expert tips to help you make your CV as robust as possible, and make your application stand out from the crowd:

‘In a climate of uncertainty, the only way is forward,’ says Toptask CEO Greg Newman.

‘In the face of the pandemic, many businesses are closing or downsizing offices and juggling their way to remote working. At the same time, a technologically literate pool of youngsters is experiencing a disruption in their higher education and job prospects.

‘A big-name university or a highly demanding degree is no longer a golden ticket to an ideal job in the mid-term.

‘Attitude, common sense, resilience, and soft skills are the master’s degrees employers seek today.’

Greg says that in most cases, it is more useful knowing how to tackle a difficult situation or understanding how to properly deal with a complex client or employer than it is to be able to solve a quantum physics equation.

‘Experience is no longer down to knowing how to carry out the job, but rather how to handle requests, challenging situations and an office social environment,’ he explains.

‘We strongly encourage our students to take on missions and tasks to sharpen their skills and effectively manage work challenges, communication and professional interaction whilst making some good money on the side.’

How to strengthen your CV

To give yourself the best chance of being noticed by an employer – your CV is the best place to start. You need to make sure it is the best possible reflection of your skills and experience.

When updating your CV, it is helpful to have a good idea of what your employer is looking for.

Research from Ezra has revealed the areas that are currently most sought after amongst companies.

The data shows that ‘leading change within the workplace’ is currently the most prominent goal that many companies want from their employees.  

‘Good communication’ was the second most prominent goal, while ‘resilience’, ‘innovative thinking’ and ’emotional intelligence’ also ranked highly.  

Remember though, it is not just about shoe-horning these buzzwords into your CV, you should also take care to include clear, concise examples of when you have displayed these skills.

‘For many, the pandemic will have brought a fresh wave of issues and many are likely to have found themselves on furlough or out of work,’ says Nick Goldberg, the founder of Ezra.

‘As a result, competition for current job vacancies is high and so understanding the skills that companies find most valuable could help you stand out from the crowd during the hiring process.

‘Based on our research, many individuals are focussed on the day-to-day skills that allow them to execute within their role. However, companies themselves tend to value a much broader mindset, with a focus on evolving, innovating and understanding the wider workplace while communicating this effectively. 

‘Demonstrating this all-encompassing mindset could make the difference when it comes to securing that new role or advancing within your current one.’

What should you do if you are not hearing back from job applications?

Understand and learn from the current situation.
Be empathetic with business owners and ask yourself what they need and how can you help.

Remember how rewarding or devastating your wording and eloquence can be on online-dating and apply that mindset to your pitches and CVs.

If your CVs are not being noticed, they are not standing out from the dozens (or hundreds) of others the employers are receiving.
Rethink how you present yourself to employers and how you transmit not only your experience but also your personality.

Greg from Toptask also says it is so important to cultivate your general knowledge before getting to the interview stage. He says this is particularly important for graduates.

‘I will never forget once interviewing a recent Molecular Biology graduate who did not know what a communist or communism was,’ says Greg.

‘Try to catch up on cultural knowledge you may not have been taught at school and become interested in the world around you. At the same time, sharpen your skills and make money by carrying out tasks online.’

He adds that for recent graduates with no family obligations or major financial responsibilities like a mortgage – taking a while to find a job shouldn’t be a source of immediate panic.

‘Use the time to re-live the experiences, knowledge, fun and friends you’ve gained throughout your time at university,’ he suggests. ‘Take some deep breaths, appreciate your position and brainstorm with your friends over a pint.’

Of course, not everyone has the privilege of feeling chilled about being unemployed, and if you are feeling pressure, stress or anxiety, it is important to talk to someone – and remember that you are not alone.

If you the pressure of job hunting or the stress of unemployment is impacting your mental health, reach out to family or friends if you can, or talk to your GP about it.

And remember that a rejected job application is not a reflection on your worth as a person.

Do you have a story to share? We want to hear from you.

Get in touch: [email protected]

Source: Read Full Article