Top 7 tips for job searching during Covid-19

Written by: Claire Brandon, Head of ICAEW Jobs
Published on: 8 Jun 2020

Right now, a lot of people currently find themselves as job seekers for one reason or another because of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Perhaps you have been on the job market for a while or you have been let go as a result of the crisis.  

You might currently be on furlough and placed on the coronavirus job retention scheme, or its replacement under the new tier system, which has given you a chance to look at job boards and reevaluate your career or your current employer.   

Whatever the reason might be, you can be assured that ICAEW Jobs will continue to support you through your career.  Even in the current circumstances, staying at home represents a great time for applying for jobs. We have put together our top 5 job search tips during Covid 19 to help you find your next job during a difficult time. 

1. Is your job search urgent? 

Reassessing your current employer has possibly made you eager to seek pastures new, but rushing out in this current situation might be a mistake. Is there anything you can do to make your current role better? If you’re currently unemployed, you might also struggle to find the dream job next and could require something more short term to get you through this bumpy patch. 

Industries have been hit hard by the pandemic and will continue to do so after, but there are still many companies hiring. Whether you’re looking for a permanent job or something short term as a stop gap, find an opportunity that makes sense for your livelihood.  

2. Grow and nurture your network 

There’s a famous saying “It’s not what you know, but who you know” and there are elements of truth in this.  Obviously, your academic achievements are a given as a Chartered Accountant, but perhaps what could give you the edge is a thriving network of key professionals.   

During these uncertain times, a lot of people will have more time on their hands, so this could be a great time to reach out to your connections on LinkedIn and social media, check in on them and have a catch up. Perhaps you follow a managing director online who has started a debate, which you could get involved in to get you noticed. 

So many of us struggle to make time for such activity during normal life, and relationships can become distanced.  Take this time to reconnect; you never know they could be a key part in putting your foot in the door of potential employers which can lead to your next dream role. 

3. Focus on professional development 

Whether you’re currently in a role or out of work, a great job hunting tip for now is to focus on your CPD.  If nothing else this will show commitment on your CV and during your next job interview, but you will also learn some new key skills and develop existing skills further.  Several companies are now offering courses online completely free of charge as they are sensitive to the current market.   

There are lots of self assessment quizzes and training you can take to see where your skills are currently at and if there’s any gaps that you need to fill ahead of that next job interview. Perhaps you might find there’s another role out there for you aside from the one you keep applying for. 

The ICAEW itself is also running several webinars where you can keep up to date on industry specific updates, as well as learning how to adapt to this new remote work life we find ourselves in. 

4. Work on your CV 

While you’re in a new role, keeping your CV up to date may be the last thing in your mind with thoughts of “I have no intention of leaving any time soon” coming to mind.  Fast forward four years and you find yourself ready to enter the job market once again, but what on earth have you done for the past four years?  You know you’ve achieved a lot as you have always had great job satisfaction, but what should you write down?  What are you proud of?  What have you overcome?  What cost savings have you implemented?  Thinking back to these key milestones that are important for your CV is not easy and takes time.  We’ve all got a bit more time on our hands currently, even if it’s just saving on the daily commute times, so use it wisely.  Find yourself a quiet corner and really take time to think back and remember your key achievements over your most recent tenure and get your CV and cover letter up to date.  Whether you’re actively looking for your next role now, or in the near future, you will be grateful that you updated and optimised your CV while you had the chance to reflect. 

5. Be Patient With HR Professionals 

A lot of people are working from home now and will be for the foreseeable future. This includes HR professionals and hiring managers who are now facing a deluge of applications with many people on the job market. In the office, decisions on who to interview and hire are made quicker but with video calls and emails those choices may take longer.  

It’s important to be patient if you’re asking for confirmation of your application having arrived or if you are looking for feedback on an interview you’ve had recently. As processes are slower, the wait can be agonising, but there’s a chance that a long wait will be worth it, and you get the news you want. 

6. Stay positive 

This doesn’t just relate to finding a job, but to the whole pandemic and the effect it is having on our daily lives.  Remaining positive is important for our well-being and is crucial to allowing us to maintain a routine and have some focus.  Referring to the job market specifically, there are definite reasons to remain positive.  Yes, many companies have implemented a recruitment freeze, but this won’t be forever, and the recruitment market is normally one of the first to bounce back after turbulent times.  Furthermore, there are still many companies currently recruiting, looking for people to work from home, making it the perfect time for you to apply for full time roles.  Competition is not as high right now, which is always a plus, but also, you’ll have more time to dedicate to your application, receive calls from the hiring manager, attend an interview (albeit a video interview and not face to face) and receive job offers.   

7. Plan ahead 

Now could be a great time for you to reflect on your career to date and look ahead to the future and how you envisage that future being.  Perhaps it’s time to consider the age-old question, “where do you see yourself in 5 years?”. The hiring process may change after the coronavirus pandemic in the new normal, but the skills employers expect won't. 

Career planning is important to ensure that you have direction and purpose in your career, so now could be the perfect opportunity to spend time researching the industry or job title you’d always dreamt of doing.   

Is it all you thought it would be, or has something else now caught your interest?  Start thinking what you’ll need to achieve to reach that next step.  In order to progress do you need to start managing a team, if so, how about taking part in some online courses on team leadership?  Be mindful and self-aware of what might potentially hold you back from making that next move, and use this time to overcome those obstacles so you’re ready to achieve your goal. 

So, whether you find yourself looking for your next role imminently, or just planning for the future, these 5 job search tips are a great starting point to give you some direction and advice on what to focus on right now.  Be sure to check out our blog for further job tips at this difficult time.  

Obviously you still need to be keeping an eye on the latest finance roles when job hunting, and ICAEW Jobs has hundreds of live vacancies all suited to fully qualified Chartered Accountants.  It takes a special kind of individual to pass all their ACA exams and become an ICAEW member, so don’t let Covid-19 get in the way of securing your next dream career move.