With the recent announcements that Singapore is extending the Circuit Breaker (CB) until 1st June and Malaysia is extending the Movement Control Order (MCO) until 12th May, we thought it would be a good time to look at job hunting during the regional ‘lockdown’ period.
While it is certainly true that many staff are furloughed and while many contract workers have lost a lot of their income, there are still many companies worldwide who are hiring. For example, supermarket chains and firms in the ecommerce space are experiencing a boom and still hiring staff, as are logistics firms, digital entertainment firms and manufacturers of medical supplies. And while many companies have imposed hiring freezes in order to focus on looking after their existing staff, many are still taking people through the recruitment process and simply deferring their hiring.
So, with this mind, here are our top 10 tips for ‘lockdown’ jobhunting:
As mentioned, there are firms that are still hiring and firms that are deferring, so it’s still worthwhile applying for jobs. This is especially true if you have digital development skills, as it is likely that the imposed remote working across the globe will result in a significant increase in the demand for these skills once the lockdowns are lifted, and some firms will be planning ahead for this. But whatever area you are working in, getting those applications in early will be beneficial.
Get your CV and profiles in order
This is the very basic number one rule of any job application advice and we’ve mentioned it many times, but this is especially true during the movement control periods. For example, you may have been working with your team to complete projects remotely, as a ‘virtual’ team – all of which should be highlighted in your most recent CV and in your skills/experience in your online profiles. Now is also a good time to ensure that your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date, or even start one if you have not yet done so. It may well be that you’ll need to start your new job working remotely, so good demonstrable experience in this area will give you a good standing among the applications. See our guides to cover notes, constructing and adding content to your CV and then updating it for the current decade.
Now is an ideal time to complete some online training and development. There may well be courses and training sessions provided by your employer, but there are also a wide variety available online, many of which will be offering discounts and a month or a few weeks free when you register.
Make yourself visible
On the one hand, make sure you use the available time to do some extra networking online, connecting to people and finding out as much as you can about the firms you are applying to. On the other hand, take a look at what content you can put out to increase your visibility. For example, many people have started YouTube channels, mini blogs and virtual interviews. Is there something you can contribute that will help keep you front of mind? A LinkedIn article maybe?
Keep updated with your recruiter
Recruitment firms are hard at work servicing clients and looking for new leads during this time. They will need to know who is primed and ready for interviews despite the lockdown. Be sure to update them on the best time for you to be contacted and the best way to do that (Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts etc). It is also helpful for the recruiter to know if there are strong candidates who are available for interview as they can pass this information on to clients, who may decide to pre-emptively interview promising candidates.
Prepare for virtual interviews
Remember to prepare for a virtual interview in just the same way as you would for a face to face interview, but bear in mind the lighting, background noise, background scene, and also the need to emphasise a bit more emotion to translate this on camera. For a full write-up on this, read through our video conferencing tips from our previous blog. Do not forget to get your technology in order as well to prevent any hiccups at the start. It will be well worth looking back over our guides to interviews.
We’d also suggest getting regular exercise at home. A daily routine that involves healthy eating and exercise will help blow away the cobwebs that can develop during a life indoors and will dramatically improve your focus for interview, especially if the home-schooling is driving you to distraction.
As well as virtual interviews, you should expect virtual onboarding. Naturally, this will be a step away from what you expected or are used to but, in some ways, this can be less daunting than onboarding in reality – a softer approach. You won’t have to worry about getting to the office on time for the first day and instead you can login a little early and video-meet your new team members. Make sure your homeworking space is conducive to work and you’ll be off to a great start. Here’s our previous guide to working from home, and our advice for getting started in a new job.
Remember these are unusual times, so it’s best to be a little more open minded regarding the positions you will consider of you are currently out of work. Remember also that we are all in the same boat now, home-schooling kids, trying work at the same time. So be as flexible as you can with availability (even consider some unusual interview times if needed).
In a similar way, don’t expect fast responses. You may be put in contact with HR teams who are fully committed to helping employees with remote working and the overall large-scale change that we are experiencing, while adapting to this themselves.