By Essie Bester
Before the arrival of the corona virus and the accompanying period of isolation almost one out of every three South Africans did not have a job. It is now estimated that the unemployment rate could increase from 29,1% to 50%.
Given the alarmingly high unemployment figure it is important to learn as much as possible about the labour market and to investigate ways of making yourself stand out in a crowded field.
Professional personnel recruiters like Ed Han (a talent recruiter at a top financial-services organisation) and a few others offer clever insights and valuable advice that focus on helping people find work during this period.
Their advice to those who are newly unemployed or are worried about the safety of their present jobs are as follows:
“Currently there is a lot of competition because of race exclusion. The competition is tougher than ever before,” says Han. See what others with your job title are saying about themselves. Go to Indeed.com, do a search for your job title and industry, and see what your opponents do with their résumés. Note how they position themselves and portray their talents, skills and experience. Then decide what will work best for you.
Video interviews have become standard. Han says that candidates should enquire about the systems used by businesses. Install the necessary software on your phone or computer and do test runs to make sure that you eliminate all mistakes. In this way you will be ready and more self-assured when the day of the big interview arrives.
- Set up your surroundings for video interviews
Dawn Graham specialises in career switches. She says that one should set up your interview surroundings beforehand for your video interview. It takes extra preparation and could have a major impact on the outcome. Look at lighting, connectivity, audio quality, background noise as well as visual background and video angles. This could quite possibly be part of your evaluation because in your new role you will probably have to use video technology regularly in order to communicate.
- Be ready for questions about how you are handling the pandemic
Your leadership, creativity and adaptability during a crisis will be assessed on this. Describe the new skills you have developed, relevant online courses you have completed and/or volunteer efforts in your community in which you have participated. Do not make a botch-up of the opportunity by not considering your answer beforehand.
- Build your network actively
It is of critical importance to develop a strong network of like-minded professional people who can help you find the right businesses you would like to work for.
LinkedIn can be used to your advantage by rather choosing the follow option than the connect option on LinkedIn, says Andy Foote, a respected LinkedIn expert. In this way it is easier to control who you want to speak to.
Career coach Sarah Johnston advises you to accept a temporary position if you are jobless, even if it is below your level of expertise and experience.
Nobody knows what the future holds. It is impossible to say when and if a suitable position will be available next week, next month or in a year’s time. It is wise to accept a job offer that could serve as a bridge and must not be seen as career suicide.
This could positively impact your mood, get you out of your house and give you a source of income that will give you more time to find the right job. A CV writer can help you to address gaps and develop a positioning strategy.
According to Kenneth Lang, a LinkedIn facilitator and business analyst, there is nothing worse than applying for a job that isn’t really available. This is referred to as building a talent pipeline.
The job advertisement entices job seekers to apply for a job that is currently not available. The recruiters use the applications to create a pool of qualified candidates who can fill recently vacated or newly created posts at a later date.
Be proactive by finding out beforehand when the job will be available and whether it is a new or existing opportunity.
- Work on your mindset and attitude
It is also important to work on your mindset and attitude, warns career coach Phyllis Mufson, who claims that most job seekers feel overwhelmed.
“People who have lost their jobs and are now looking for work, have to deal with feelings of sorrow and trauma while they have to handle long periods of tension – something that can drain energy and complicate job hunting.”
In times like these it is easy for job seekers to surrender to micro-addictions to make them forget reality. This can range from too much Netflix while eating junk food, to drinking too much alcohol and even taking drugs.
Rather focus on good habits. Double your self-care routine. For instance, try twenty minutes of yoga if you normally spend ten minutes a day on it. The same goes for any other positive, productive outlet valve.
- Work on your self-confidence
It is easy to lose confidence if you send out CVs and fill in long applications, never to hear from the companies again. When negative feelings begin to seep in, remind yourself of your previous triumphs. In this way you will trick your brain and you will begin to feel energetic again.
Stop asking yourself why you were dismissed or why you did not get the job. Rather focus on a solution approach by asking what you could do better next time and make sure that your LinkedIn profile and CV reflect your performances in a way that illustrates your value.