COVID-19 Career Advice
Hunting for Jobs and Researching Employers
“This is going to be a difficult year, but we know from previous economic crises that many graduate recruiters continue to hire as they need their business ready for the upturn,” noted Stephen Isherwood (CEO of the Institute of Student Employers).
Certainly, the circumstances we find ourselves in now are unprecedented and many employers, just like us as individuals, are unsure of what our ‘next normal’ will look like, once businesses are able to open up once again.
Despite the uniqueness of this situation, a number of the job-seeking strategies and tips that we have advised students on in years gone by still stand the test of time today.
Before you take that first step to finding your ‘dream’ job, (or, at least, the first job on the pathway to your dream job), I think it is vital to have a clear understanding of yourself: what are your strengths, weaknesses, skills and preferences? Can you talk articulately about your achievements and do you have some examples to back these up?
Advice on this is included in the article “Job search skills you need from the very start”. (You may need to use your SHU login details initially to access this article and those below).
Whilst we wait for this phase to pass, and for businesses to start finding their feet again, a productive use of your time would be to research employers of interest. Using social media and industry-specific publications, as well as news articles, set some time aside every day to read around your industry and make yourself a shortlist of employers you would like to work for, or find out more about.
In this article entitled “Use social media to grow your commercial awareness”, there is advice on how to use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to read up on employers in your preferred industry.
Using the Hallam Alumni tool on LinkedIn is another fantastic way to research employers and potential jobs in your chosen field. By searching for Alumni who completed your degree, you will be able to read about, and connect, with people who are working in jobs you are interested in, and/or companies you would like to find out more about. Maintaining contact with our professional network is also really important, not least because a very high percentage of jobs (up to 75%) are filled through what is called the Hidden Job Network, i.e. through word of mouth, or referrals. Therefore, don’t just connect and forget; maintain communication with your network throughout this period and beyond.
Another avenue students often ask about is whether to use Recruitment Consultants for their job search. My advice would be that it can be one additional tool in your toolkit, but I wouldn’t rely on it exclusively. This is a useful article called “An introduction to recruitment consultants”. If you can find one that will really listen to you, take time to understand your needs, and work with you to find you the right role, that can be very helpful. Additionally, recruitment consultants who work closely with particular companies often have a very good insight into what the employer looks for, and what will go down well with them in terms of an application and at interview.
One other important step to take when setting out on your job search journey, is to check your digital footprint. In this video, entitled the “Importance of managing your online footprint”, you can hear employers talking about how they use social media to look up a candidate during the recruitment process. Reputation and risk are key and at the top of every employer’s agenda. Have you googled yourself recently? If not, give it a try and see what comes up! Are you comfortable with a potential employer seeing your Facebook posts and comments? If not, check your privacy settings and make any adjustments necessary.
Whilst the current situation may not be ‘ideal’, it could also be an opportunity for us to consider non-linear roles, or to explore careers or jobs we may not have previously considered.
As a final thought, I would encourage you to approach your job hunting in the same methodical and focused way that you would when planning or researching for an assignment or project you were about to undertake. Keep Calm and Carry On and seek out support from Hallam's Careers Service whenever you need it! We are here for you throughout the summer, and even after you graduate with a lifetime support offer.
Have a look around our website for loads of info, tips and online events
If you would like any support, please book an appointment with one of our Employability Advisers via UniHub – we have appointment slots available 5 days a week via phone or Zoom! You can also reach out to us at Careers on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0114 225 3752.