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Thinking long-term: how best to stand out as a candidate when the pandemic is over

by Samantha Hattersley | 18 March 2021

Undoubtedly, the Coronavirus pandemic caused a nationwide panic throughout 2020. From a business perspective, many were put in a difficult situation with their employees and their positions within their firms. Some businesses were lucky enough to be able to save their staff by transferring the skills into other business roles. However, at the other end of the scale, just as many businesses were sadly forced to make redundancies and decrease their headcount.

Thankfully, we are now starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel and slowly many businesses are able to return to some form of “normality”, whether that be remotely or going back into the office(ensuring government guidelines are followed of course). This being said, the virus is still very much at large and there is still a lot to do before things can go completely ‘back to normal’.

In the recruitment industry, we are now starting to see an increase in job demand, which is looking great for the economy. This confidence returning to the UK jobs market will put a lot of people back at ease and will result in an influx of job searches and applications over the next 6+ months. If you are in this situation, and are looking forward to your next opportunity on the other side of the pandemic, it is important that you are ready for this to happen and do all you can now to prepare.

In this blog, we have provided some top tips on how you can stand out as a candidate once the pandemic has passed and further develop your career within your chosen sector.

Be clear about exactly what it is that you want

Have you thought about what type of role you want to be placed into or where you next career step will take you? Is there a specific sector that interests you and have you done your research to make sure that it is the right choice for you? It is important that you use this time to explore your options and review job boards including Indeed, Total Jobs and CV Library to see what career opportunities are available in your preferred location. You should also research the current market and look where there is a need for extra staff as you might get lucky and secure a role straight away if a need arises.

You might also want to research different types of roles and figure out what transferable skills you have that may open new opportunities for you. Doing this will give you a good understanding of the market, and ensure you have a head start when hiring managers are on the lookout for their next candidate.

Research your target companies 

Think about the role that you would like to be placed in and do your research on companies within that sector to draw up a list of preferred workplaces ahead of applying. When doing this it is important to ask yourself some specific questions. Are they reputable? Do they have any reviews? Can you see yourself working there and making a difference to both the business and your own development?

It is important to take your time to create a list of companies that you would like to work for and review company websites to find out more information on the types of roles they usually have available and the culture within the business to ensure that you would be the right fit. Within your chosen industry, are there specific companies that are well known that you could contact for further information on their current vacancies? Make sure that you cover everything that you can when researching your next role.

Make sure that you are organised

Being organised is an important factor when applying for roles, so get everything you can ready now. You can use this time to make sure that your CV is up-to-date, practice common interview questions and work on your personal brand to name just a few. Having your facts lined up ready to explain to the panel who are interviewing you and having a list of contactable referees are also key things to remember when applying for roles.

It is also important to develop a system to organise your job searching. Creating a detailed spreadsheet may help you to track jobs that you have applied for, where interviews have been given and whether you have or have not received a response. We have some top candidate resources that can help you getting all of this up-to-date and ensuring that you are in the best possible position.

Utilise your professional network

It is important to remember that job hunting is often about who you know, not simply what you know, so reach out to your network as someone else may know about an opportunity that is perfect for you. It is therefore crucial to use your network to your advantage and help you advance your career. Think about reaching out to previous colleagues, speaking to professionals in groups or attending virtual networking sessions that will help you build those relationships. As it currently stands, everybody is in the same boat, so it is important that we all come together to help out where we can. Reach out to your connections where possible and ask for help, you never know what might come up!

You should also request information from people who you see posting information on job roles or current situations within your market. Speak to your current employer and seek internal advice so that once all of this is over, you can improve your skillset and advance your career to the next level.

Review your social media platforms

Over 60% of hiring employers review their candidates’ social media platforms and 92% of recruiters use social media to find candidates. Therefore, it is imperative to make sure that you stick to being professional and avoid uploading content that isn’t relevant and may be deemed as unprofessional.

Think about the experience that you have gained in previous employment and make sure that your profile is built to the best possible standard – employers will be looking at all of your traits and transferrable skills, not just those in your current role. It is also really important to make sure that your social channels are up-to-date, so make sure you are regularly checking and amending where possible.

Here are some additional tips to make sure your profile is up to date:

  • Make sure that your profile photo is up-to-date and is a true representation of you; no filters, strictly professional
  • Utilise content from your CV to boost your personal summary
  • Obtain recommendations from previous colleagues / employers
  • Update your LinkedIn status a few times a week, share articles, projects that you are currently working / have worked on, events that you have attended / are attending etc

LinkedIn profile tips

Thinking ahead to the end of the pandemic and remembering all the above will increase your chances of standing out from the crowd. You won’t be the only one looking for their next role once this is over, so it is important to take these steps to make yourself stand out from other candidates that are applying for the same or similar roles.

If you would like further advice on preparing for an interview or applying for a role, you can visit our Candidate Resources page via our website or alternatively you can speak to one of our expert recruitment consultants.