Turn on any news bulletin today, and you’d be led to believe no one across Australia is hiring — and those of us gainfully employed are holding on by our bare fingertips. While it is true that the COVID-19 pandemic has created unfathomable ripples across many industries and seen millions stood down or made redundant, it does not spell instant disaster for job seekers, especially job seekers with security clearance.
Here’s what we’ve observed so far, and our expert advice for those seeking their next career move:
Now is the time to think about your skill set, not your industry
With certain industries shut down or temporarily downsizing, you need to look beyond a narrow scope and seek roles a little more laterally. Whether its experience with a certain software, or incredible management skills with highly trained teams, your key difference when it comes to getting placed may be more than just the sector you’ve worked with the most. In uncertain times, many companies may be looking to pivot their strategy, and seek something beyond what you’d expect: Step up to the challenge, and identify your unique selling points.
Establish and nurture relationships with key stakeholders
While we might not be rubbing elbows at cocktail parties, it’s still a great time to network and share what you know. Dusting off LinkedIn and connecting with the right people is a great way to give key stakeholders an insight into who you are. A lot is going into play when it comes to hiring during COVID-19, and decision makers are under more pressure than ever to make an educated choice. Share your (professional) thoughts, align yourself with the right people, and focus on giving valuable insight. After all, leaders will be finding themselves under the pump, and likely inundated with those who are asking for something, rather than giving it. Set yourself up to stand out, and lead with relationships first.
Fill your gaps
Yeah you’ve heard it before: Isolation is a great time to brush up on those skill sets. While you might be told it’s time to learn pottery or the art of conversation, we’re focusing more on the hard skills that in demand candidates offer: Think software accreditation, business management skills and all those minor qualifications you’ve always wanted to do, but never seemed to have found the time for. You can find a range of software and program courses across the internet for free or reasonably priced, with no requirements except a screen and an internet connection.
Down time is important, and it’s a stressful time for many of us, so we respect and acknowledge the opportunity for genuine rest and restoration. But coming through the lockdown period showing initiative and drive gives you a step up on other candidates, and shows the right kind of attitude many businesses look for.
Be patient, and persistent
Nobody is making snap decisions right now, and as the COVID-19 outbreak changes shape day-by-day, most recruitment processes can be expected to take a little longer. We’d all love to walk out of an interview and get the call for an offer the next day, but depending on your role you might have to show more patience than usual when it comes to getting the green light. If you’ve applied directly for the role, an occasional email checking in can be acceptable, and shows your interest in the role, but it’s important to know the difference between interested and irritating.
Likewise, be persistent. Every interview and application is an opportunity to polish up your presentation, and understand more about what the market is looking for right now. Working with a recruitment agency during COVID-19 also means having an extra backing in your corner — we do the heavy lifting for you when it comes to finding niche opportunities, knowing the market, and touching base with businesses.
With experience across executive, defence, cyber and ICT, Vertical Scope has been the recruiter of choice for a wide range of in-demand roles across Australia and the world. If you’re a specialist seeking a new opportunity or looking to hire during these uncertain times, we’re here to help.