Ireland’s unemployment rate stood at 4.8 percent in February 2020, compared with 5.0 percent in the corresponding month of 2019 (source). Now, over four months on, it’s difficult to quantify how many people face unemployment.
So, if you are now job hunting amid Covid-19 here are a number of tips and actions to keep in mind in a competitive job market for job seekers.
1) Craft Your Cover letter
A cover letter is an excellent tool to help your CV go that extra mile when being sent to a potential employer. For a lot of people they may have a cover letter already drawn up from a previous time but it is important to make sure that it is reflective of your experience gained since then. The typical structure for a cover letter is as follows:
- Who you are and what role you are applying for
- Why based on your experience and education you believe yourself to be a good fit for this role
- What are your key career success or experiences to date that will set you apart?
- Why you would like to work in this company and your soft skills that apply to the role
2) Optimise Your LinkedIn Profile
Don’t underestimate the power of a well put together LinkedIn profile. The most important aspect of a strong LinkedIn profile is a clear and concise layout with enough information for the reader to understand fully your background both in education and work. In relation to each job on your profile, 4 or 5 bullet points should be used to summarise your experience in these roles. For your education make sure to include your actual results as well as where you attended, the course you studied and the time frame.
As important as it is to have enough information on your profile it is also vital that your page is up to date and searchable. Make a list of keywords most relevant to your career profile to include (eg. tolls of the trade, qualifications received, software products used). If you have been let go or have left a job make sure that your end date for that job has been updated. Also in your privacy settings mark your self ‘Open to Job Opportunities’. That way recruiters will see you are immediately available and your profile is instantly more attractive. Lastly, include a clean and professional profile photograph.
3) Spend Time Crafting Your CV
Naturally having your CV up to date is a must when job hunting. A solid structure for a CV includes the following:
- Full name, contact number, email address and home address at the top.
- After this you should include either your education or employment history. The best way to decide which should come first depends on what you deem to be most relevant for the type of jobs you are applying to e.g. you haven’t worked in this area but you
- have studied in this area so attention should be drawn to your education so this should go first and vice versa.
- It is important that your employment history is broken into clear and concise bullet points, only then can you demonstrate your work in this area. Keep in mind a potential employer will look at your CV for on average 30 seconds so avoid paragraphs of writing as they are off-putting for employers to read through.
- Notable achievements can also be included following on from education and work history
4) Create A List of Target Companies
Compiling a list of companies that you would like to apply to is a step that many candidates overlook in the job hunting process. Looking firstly at companies you would be interested in, a list can help you gain an idea of the size of the market you are looking at and it also helps you avoid missing key players in the market as you research potential employers. Once you have done this a great a next step would be to go through the companies one by one and check their career pages for live vacancies. You will find some companies may not have vacancies at present and that’s why it can also be useful to follow their LinkedIn pages for any updates on new jobs.
Another reason this list is useful is that when you apply to jobs within certain firms you can mark down which firms your CV has been sent to. This avoids sending in multiple applications for the same role and it is also useful when interacting recruiters as they will then know which firms aren’t an option to approach with your profile. You can also use it to track interviews as well as what companies have responded etc.
5) Using Job Sites Efficiently
The key to being successful in a job search is is to efficiently use job boards. A good starting point is to set up alerts so you are notified of suitable jobs as soon as they are advertised. It’s also important for candidates to know how to search properly to ensure they aren’t limiting themselves to what they are viewing. For this reason candidates should consider a host of job titles and keywords to search for ensuring that they don’t miss relevant job opportunities. Finally timing is essential, have your CV and Cover Letter ready so when your ideal role is posted you can be one of the first applications the employer will receive.