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John Moore: Standing out from the crowd is more important than ever

John Moore

You may have seen the story about a former royal butler who secured several job interviews by holding up a cardboard sign and handing out his CV at Leeds train station after struggling to find work since losing his cruise ship job because of the pandemic.

While it’s not an approach I’ve advise everyone to follow, the gentleman in question must be applauded for doing his best to stand out from the crowd and get noticed by potential employers.

Anyone embarking on a job search at the moment may be feeling unsettled considering the disruption caused by coronavirus. But while we’re certainly in challenging times, there’s no reason why jobseekers should put finding a new job that meets their career ambitions on hold.

Our research shows upwards of 40% of employers are actively recruiting across the UK and the picture is similar in Northern Ireland.  However, as you’d expect, the volume of applications for roles has increased and competition is high for jobseekers. So, what do candidates actually need to know to secure their next role? Here are five ways to stand out from the crowd in your job search.

BE OPEN TO NEW OPPORTUNITIES

Going into your job search today requires an open mind. The global situation has caused changes in demand across skills and industries, so try to be flexible and perhaps look outside your usual field. Consider what factors you are willing to compromise on, and what factors will be integral to your workplace wellbeing and career goals. If you’re working with a recruiter, make sure they know what these are, so they don’t pass you up for a promising opportunity just because it didn’t match all of your criteria.

GIVE LINKEDIN A REFRESH

Consider LinkedIn a living, breathing version of your CV which is accessible for employers to discover more about you. When used properly, your LinkedIn profile can help you establish your professional identity, grow your network and share content, all of which will make you stand out to potential employers. LinkedIn is certainly a key platform used by recruiters and hiring managers and is worth investing some time in to make sure it’s up to scratch.

TAILOR YOUR APPLICATIONS

At this time, it’s really worth doing some research so you can tailor your applications accordingly. Organisations and entire industries have gone through an incomprehensible amount of change in recent months, so read up on what impacts the pandemic might have had which are relevant to where you’re applying. This insight will come through in your application and also give you vital context for discussion if you go through to an interview.

BE CLEAR ABOUT YOUR USPs

To determine your unique selling proposition or USPs, answer the following questions. Why should an employer hire you over any other candidate? What is it that you can bring to the table that other candidates can’t? What unique skills or experiences do you have that could add real value? Do you consider yourself to be particularly creative or innovative? Also, it’s important to think about any specific examples you can cite which clearly evidence your USPs to both recruiters and hiring managers. Don’t forget to include these on your CV.

AGILE WORKING REQUIRES AGILE THINKING

We are moving into a rapidly evolving world of work – one that will involve new practices and different ways of collaborating with each other. Obvious as it might sound, the ability to integrate quickly and adeptly into this new era will be fundamental, as well as a willingness to improve existing skills or acquire new ones where needed.

Many elements of workforce practice, including communication, management and strategy will need to adapt, and those who demonstrate open-mindedness and willingness to embrace the ‘new’ will be best placed to succeed. Think about how you can address this in your job search, either demonstrating flexibility and adaptability through your application or when you get to interview stage. This will be critical as we all start to move forward.

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