Navigating the job market during a global pandemic


According to the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, in the West Midlands alone youth unemployment figures have risen by 94% and in October 2020, 46,730 young people aged 18-24 claimed unemployment benefitsthe highest figure since 2010. These figures are astounding and are undoubtedly having a detrimental effect on young people’s aspirations, with The Prince’s Trust finding that 41% of young people believe that their future goals are now “impossible to achieve,” with this figure rising to 50% of those surveyed from poorer backgrounds.

At Digital Innovators, we believe that everyone has the potential to succeed and excel in their careers, and that this potential just needs to be unlocked and harnessed. This may be harder to do than a year ago, but there are ways that you can get ahead. Being part of the West Midlands’ demographic of a young person who was in search of work during the pandemic, I wanted to share some of my top tips for navigating the job market during a global pandemic and ways in which you can stand out…

Step 1 – Stay Informed

One of the most useful things you can do when in search of work is ensure that you stay informed of all opportunities and vacancies which may arise.

Although jobs forums such as Indeed and Reed are useful tools when searching for jobs, there are many ways in which you can find out about job opportunities.

If you have specific companies that you would like to work for, follow them on social media so you can keep up to date with the business whilst looking out for any opportunities they might share. In addition, you can check out the National Careers Service and Career Service West Midlands for updates on new jobs and apprenticeships in your area.

LinkedIn is an extremely helpful way to stay informed of job opportunities as well as what is going on in the wider sector. You can build a network of people in your field, follow industry leaders, receive sector-relevant news updates as well as use their job search tool. LinkedIn can be used as an extension of your CV, in which you can showcase your skills by sharing your blog posts or any projects you have worked on, for example.

Tip: you can share with your network and recruiters that you are “open to work” and what roles you are in search of, which can lead to being approached or your connections sharing vacancy notifications with you.

An important aspect of searching for jobs is not relying on job forums to do the work for you, the information is out there – you just have to find it. Many companies will post their vacancies on their websites, so make sure you check these regularly if you have a specific company in mind. Businesses might also share it with their mailing list via newsletters, so sign up to those too.  

Step 1 of navigating the job market during these unprecedented times can be summarised by not missing any opportunities to be informed of job vacancies, as well as staying up to date with the wider sector, information which can be useful when advancing to the job interview stage.

Step 2 – Stay Eager

The coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly impacted an already competitive job market. However, there are a series of ways in which you can stay motivated and demonstrate your enthusiasm for the industry you wish to break into…

Although a vital aspect of searching for a job is scouring the internet for vacancies, it is equally about grasping opportunities to develop and learn whilst at home. Whilst reading job specifications, if you identify any skills or attributes which you need to improve on, try searching for ways to do this. You can read books, watch YouTube tutorials and informative videos, take online courses – many of which are free – via websites such as Future Learn, LinkedIn, Google Digital Garage, etc. The Digital Innovators Skills Programme is a great example of how you can develop at home – it gives you 8 weeks work experience as well as a set of skills that can be applied to virtually any career – plus it is fully funded for those living in the West Midlands.

Make sure your CV and LinkedIn profile are up to date and tailored for every application – if you do complete any courses which are relevant to the job you are applying for, include them!

Research your industry in order to stay informed of any developments or major changes to the sector, this will work in your favour when writing cover letters and in job interviews as you will be able to demonstrate your enthusiasm and knowledge. In addition, you can brush up on your interview techniques and practice mock questions in your spare time – this will build your confidence for when the real thing comes along!

Step 3 – Stay Hopeful

Searching for jobs is a challenging task at the best of times, let alone during a global pandemic. So, it is important to remember that it is okay to feel overwhelmed and even disheartened with job applications!

However, here are some reminders of why you should stay hopeful during your job search:

  • You already have the potential; you just need the right opportunity to unlock it.
  • It might be a cliché, but when one door closes, another door opens – and usually ways you would not expect.

Rejections from job applications can be hard to take, especially when there is no explanation as to why you were unsuccessful. However, in the current climate, it is important to remember that competition is fierce and that even though you might have been rejected from a role you really wanted, the right role is often waiting right around the corner. If you stay informed, stay eager, and stay hopeful then the right job for you will come along.

So, there are some top tips for navigating the job market during a global pandemic. Keep an eye out for our next blog post and sign up to the Digital Innovators newsletter for more employment and development tips.

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