Jobs and employment have been one of the most discussed topics during Covid-19, and for good reason. The pandemic triggered Australia’s first recession in three decades, and an estimated 360,000 local jobs have been lost over the last year. We have needed to adapt the way we work in these uncertain times, and it’s likely that some of these changes will remain a permanent fixture to our society even after Covid.
Recruitment has also seen a paradigm shift caused by the pandemic, and while the exact long-term trends remain unknown, here are a couple predictions and tips on how to navigate the post-Covid job market.
1: More Competitive Applicants
While employment opportunities in certain industries are projected to rise over the next year, it’s expected there will be a large imbalance between available new positions and the number of job applicants in the short-term. Recruiters will have the tough job of comparing hundreds of candidates for a single position, which means only the strongest applications will likely make it to the next stage of the recruitment process.
Recognising this competitive environment, and taking proactive steps, will help you stand out from the rest and secure that next job opportunity.
Tailor your cover letter and resume specifically for the position.
Recruiters will be scrutinising resumes more than ever in order to sort through potential candidates. It is now even more important to ensure your cover letter clearly addresses the selection criteria of a role and to explain clearly and concisely how you are the best fit for the position. Make sure your experiences which most closely resemble the job description are at the very top of your resume to capture the recruiter’s attention as soon as they begin reading.
Build your skillset.
The Red Queen hypothesis, coined by biologist Liegh Van Valen and named after the character in Lewis Carol’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’, postulates that in order to succeed one must keep up with the fast pace of the surrounding world.
‘Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!’ – The Red Queen
Many people have used the Covid period to develop themselves professionally with online courses and advanced training, which has increased the standard of applicants vying for the limited open positions. In order to keep up with the rising quality of candidates, it will be important to continue to build professional skill sets to stand out among the rest.
2: The Shift to Virtual
One of the biggest changes seen during Covid has been the shift to virtual communications. Zoom and Microsoft Team conferences have become commonplace across many industries with the advent of social distancing rules. Virtual interviews have replaced traditional face-to-face meetings during lockdowns and isolation, and due to the convenience and flexibility of these online sessions this may be a new normal for recruitment even after Covid.
Making a good impression is critical in making it to the next step in the recruitment process, and there are a few ways to make the most out of a virtual interview.
Look your best.
Presenting yourself online is just as important as an in person meeting. A laptop camera up your nose is not your best angle, and a fuzzy microphone can be a tedious hindrance to having a conversation. Good lighting and a good backdrop can be just as important as the clothes you’re wearing. Avoid having the sun at your back and instead find a light source which shines on your face. A nice neutral background with artwork or plants can also add a sense of professionalism to your environment. Avoid noisy areas, and make sure you have access to a stable internet connection with enough bandwidth (turn off the Netflix).
Make the most of being digital.
Take advantage of your access to the computer. Keep your resume and cover letter on hand to refresh your memory on your achievements and work examples. Have the job description and company details open on another tab so you can ask relevant questions about the position and tailor your answers to the selection criteria.
3: Increased Importance of Offering Job Flexibility
One benefit for many people to come from Covid-19 has been the increased flexibility with working from home. Two-thirds of Australians have said they are more productive outside the office environment, and remote working has provided many people with hours of extra time a week by no longer commuting.
While not all industries are able to allow people to work remotely, for many Covid has created an improved work-life balance for those who have spent many working days from the comfort of their homes — which may now be difficult to revert back to, and which many job candidates may push for while applying for a position.
Flexible working arrangements can benefit workers and employers alike, with companies seeing reduced costs in affording office space, fewer travel deductions and, surprisingly, less amount of sick leave taken.
With the potential of new outbreaks still looming, it makes sense to see an increase in flexibility for working arrangements, although the finer details may need to be negotiated.