As COVID-19 continues to impact the daily lives of millions of people around the world, those of you looking for reliable employment will be feeling the strain even more. What was already a demanding task has now become even more strenuous, with countless companies laying off workers, announcing redundancies and even shutting up shop completely.
We don’t want you to feel disheartened, even though you would be forgiven for assuming that now is not a good time to be job-hunting, which is why we’ve pulled together some tips on how to stay motivated during job search phases, as well as positive and determined to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis with a position you enjoy.
8 tips you’ll find in this article
- Don’t panic – companies are still hiring
- Know your rights if you are made redundant
- Remember that the Government is supporting business now
- Explore free courses and learn a new skill
- Improve your job hunting chances by being open to different careers
- Think seasonal, short-term as well as permanent
- Make your finances your top priority
- Look into what benefits you could be eligible for
Don’t panic – companies are still hiring
Easy for us to say, right? Well, we know that not all industries or companies are looking to pause their recruitment drives. Quite the reverse in fact, as some sectors are more in need of available hands than ever before.
Take a look at the table below, which shows a significant uptake in recruitment for eleven large companies in the UK.
|Company name||Mar 2019 job vacancies||Mar 2020 job vacancies||% change|
|Spies Online Tutoring||971||1,444||49%|
💡 Read more: Most searched for jobs during COVID-19 outbreak
Know your rights if you are made redundant
It is worth bearing in mind that as new restrictions on movement are being enforced, it is likely that some of the most recruitment-focused companies and industries will change.
For example, fast food preparation and delivery outlets are unlikely to still be looking for people to fill positions now, but they may well be keen to get a full staffing contingent in place for when normal business resumes.
If the COVID-19 crisis has left your employer with no option but to make you redundant, rather than making you a furloughed worker, it is vital that you know what you are entitled to.
If you are part of a lay-off initiative that sees you working fewer hours than normal, check your contract to make sure that your employer can make contractual changes of this magnitude and if you have agreed to be left unpaid for a number of hours each week.
If contingency for such a need has been built into your employment contract, you may be able to claim help in the form of guarantee pay. Although the maximum you can get back is £29 per day, for up to five days in any 3-month period, it still amounts to £145, which could help you to stay afloat as you search for other positions. And remember that this will be on top of any wages you are still able to earn.
The Government is keen to help job seekers who have been made redundant to make a fast and efficient return to the employment world, and as such, have put together a handy online guide about bouncing back from the loss of a job. It covers everything from improving your chances of finding a new role through financial advice and tips for coping with the shock of redundancy.
Remember that the Government is supporting business now
The Chancellor has announced a number of plans for supporting UK businesses during the Coronavirus pandemic. They are designed to keep cash flow moving and employees on the payroll, so you might not actually need to find a new job at all. Talk to your employer about their plans and see if they are looking into the Business Interruption Loan, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or if they really do have no option but to close entirely.
Your employer will have a number of options to look into, including deferring VAT and income tax payments, but what you’ll be most interested in is the potential to be kept on but sent home for a duration of time, with up to 80% of your wages covered by the Government, up to £2,500 per month. Your employer will have the option to pay you anything that you normally earn over this threshold.
If you are self-employed, you are also going to be able to claim help from the Government, although at the time of going to press, the details of the package have not yet been finalised.
If you’re a freelancer, engaging online with the wider community could offer some valuable support, as well as advice. Share resources for new work opportunities and information that could be useful and be sure to register on helpful forums such as The – Dots.
Explore free courses and learn a new skill
You might wonder how to stay positive during your job search, especially when you start to notice that interview offers aren’t coming in as thick and fast as they used to. Don’t get disheartened, because you can use your time in such a way as to impress any future interviewers above and beyond your original CV submission.
Some great ways to use your free time while you wait for interviews include:
- Taking a free Ivy League course — You can choose from 450 of distance learning courses, and let’s be honest – it’s never going to hurt your chances of employment if you have a qualification from one of the most prestigious colleges in the world like Brown, Harvard, Cornell, Princeton and many others.
- Look into industry-relevant courses on LinkedIn — You’ll find plenty of courses all geared towards improving core business skills on LinkedIn, including but not limited to spreadsheet training and strategy development.
- Get your blog on — If you’ve been meaning to start blogging for business for a while, you can take a free course that gives you all the essential information and tips you’ll need. From there, what’s stopping you from getting online and starting?
- Finally learn that new skill you’ve always wanted to — Let’s say that you’ve always fancied yourself as a graphic designer but can’t find the time or money to go back to school. Get on YouTube and start watching some of the free tutorials and courses that experienced designers have uploaded. This can be extended to a huge variety of creative skill sets. And keep an eye on new graphic design vacancies while you’ll learning.
💡 Read more: Tips for successful video interview
Improve your job hunting chances by being open to different careers
If you’re having little to no luck finding a role in a sector you’ve worked in before, why not widen your search criteria?
Upload your CV to our CV checker tool and discover which roles could potentially be a match for you, based on the skills and experience you already have. You might be surprised by the results and it could even lead to a drastic change in career that you love.
Think short-term as well as permanent
The security that a permanent role offers is hard to beat, but in lieu of being able to find one, think about seasonal and gig opportunities. They can be varied, plentiful and interesting, while never getting too boring because you know they won’t be forever.
With harvest time looming, farms around the UK are in need of extra hands, which could suit you if you aren’t locked to staying in one location for work. You could also consider taking on a number of part-time roles (over 6,000 vacancies available!) to accrue full-time hours.
🔎 Explore: Seasonal jobs available right now
Make your finances your top priority
Only you know how much money you need to earn per month, so once you’ve cut out anything unnecessary, that’s the figure you need to focus on. Ensuring that you’ll have enough in reserve to cover what could be months of unemployment can be tough but here are some options to strongly consider:
- Apply for an emergency loan or credit card — With interest rates at their all-time lowest, now could be a good time to take out a contingency loan, if you are eligible. Weigh up the interest rates on credit cards and loans and be sure that you’ll be able to make your monthly repayments, or our credit score will suffer.
- Ask for help — There’s no shame in asking friends and family for a little support, if you find yourself out of work suddenly. It doesn’t have to be a case of lending you cash, either, as maybe moving back home for a few months would take a huge burden off your shoulders?
Look into what benefits you could be eligible for
The benefits system is there for people in need and if you can’t find work, you should qualify for some financial aid. Use a benefits eligibility calculator to see which forms of support you could apply for and how much money you could expect.
Whether you’ve been hunting for a job for a while or are facing sudden redundancy in the COVID-19 crisis, there are plenty of resources that can tell you how and why to stay positive during a long job search.
Most of all, it’s important to remember that you are not alone and that this moment in time will pass – and when it does, you will be a far more upbeat and resilient worker for it.