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Job searching in difficult times

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Published: 1 October 2020

Person applying for a job on their laptop

Although it’s a difficult time to be looking for a job, there are still plenty of opportunities for you

Alice Mcdougall, Careers, Employability and Enterprise Manager at the University of Sunderland in London, is back with her latest tips and guidance on finding a career during the pandemic.  

Leaving university to join the jobs market can be challenging even without the added stress of the coming recession caused by COVID-19. Here are six tips to help you find your first graduate role. 

 

1) Be resilient 

It’s tough when youre applying for jobs and you keep getting rejected, or worse, not hearing back from the company at all. Accept that you won’t get every role you apply for.  

Think about everything you do as experience – if you dont succeed, make a note of what you’ve learnt from the application process and move on.

 

2) Quality applications

Don’t underestimate the importance of high-quality applications. If youre sending out your CV and not getting interviews, rethink your approach.

Avoid using the same application or CV for every job. Instead, try tailoring it to the role youre applying for 

Match your skills and experience directly to the job and make sure youre showing an understanding of what the role needs.  

 

3) Look for growth industries 

Some sectors are suffering a lot right now, but others are doing better. 

Digital industries are growing quickly. Major companies like Zoom and Amazon are expanding very fast. But others, especially in gaming, home entertainment, online learning and related technologies, like Panopto and Blackboard, are also doing well.  

Healthcare and pharmaceutical industries have seen growth. In particular, look at home and leisure activities, groceries and online delivery services. Think broadly about where opportunities exist.  

Bear in mind that all industries will have a wide range of job roles. Think about where you can fit into a sector or develop skills to work in a growth area. Do you see a business opportunity?

 

4) Productivity and proactivity  

It might take time to find your perfect job, so use it wisely. Could you be doing some temp work, starting on a short-term contract, volunteering or studying? 

If you’re offered an opportunity, think about whether it’ll help you grow, if it’ll look good on your CV or use any of your skills. 

A role may not be exactly what you want, but it could still be useful experience. 

Think about how your skills can be used in different industries, especially if the area you want to work in has been badly affected by the pandemic. It doesn’t have to be permanent but could help you get a foot on the career ladder. 

 

5) Stay connected 

Keep in touch with the friends you make at university – they can be a useful support network. 

Sharing your thoughts, successes and disappointments can help give you confidence and make you feel better. 

Think about creating a group and meeting up online for regular chats on your job search. 

 

6) Network  

It’s thought that about 70% of jobs aren’t advertised. Word-of-mouth is a powerful tool when job hunting. 

Tell everyone you’re looking for work. That can include family, friends, neighbours, former colleagues and people in the community.  

Use LinkedIn and other social media networks to connect with professionals in your industry. The University can also help if you’re looking for volunteering roles.  

 

Finding employment 

Visit these links to help you get your dream job: 

The University of Sunderland in London’s Careers and Employability team are here to help you get ready for life after you graduate.  

To have a one-to-one chat with them, book a meeting through Compass.

Alternatively, you can email the team on careers-london@sunderland.ac.uk or visit their website to find out more.

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