Finding a new job

Posted: 12 January 2021

Author: Angelique Ruzicka 


Last year saw a number of people lose their jobs thanks to the pandemic, while for some, it may have put in sharp focus their career and the potential to retrain, or look elsewhere. 

While rising unemployment and currently lockdown back in full swing, it may look bleak out there.

However, one expert believes that the rate of hiring this year will accelerate for a number of reasons.   

There are over a million people unemployed in the UK right now but there are things you can do to stand out from the crowd of job hunters and get hired

James O'Dowd, managing partner of independent executive search firm Patrick Morgan explains: 'Generous government support over the past nine months accompanied by promising vaccine news will mean that many businesses will enter the new year with the appetite to grow and the capital to invest.

'As a result, we anticipate that the first three months of 2021 will likely see a significantly accelerated rate of hiring, as organisations look to not only recover, but expand across all levels.'

There will no doubt be a larger talent pool of people looking for work, but there's much you can do to increase the chances of landing a role in 2021 and stand out from the crowd.

1. Register with an agency

Agencies are still looking for people to represent in 2021. 

Elaine Weir, director of CVFriends Ltd, says: 'Build up a positive relationship with an agency and, where possible, look for an in industry specific recruiter.'

Cromwell Medical Staffing, is one example of a specialist recruiter looking for more staff. 

It's a leading supplier of agency nurses and says there's a high demand for nurses with ITU experience, general nurses and theatre qualified staff.

Bethany Last, managing director of the firm, says: 'Working through a recruitment agency allows our staff to choose the hours and shifts that helps to support their work life balance, the hours that fit around childcare, for example.'

Weir adds: 'Don't excessively hassle the recruiters but schedule a regular time to keep in contact to make sure you're front of mind.'

2. Hunt for jobs on online jobs platforms

Online jobs platforms have thousands of jobs currently being advertised and there are plenty to choose from. 

There are established players such as Indeed, which had 17,182 jobs listings in December and some newer players like DirectlyApply, which currently has 300,000 jobs listed in the UK and was founded in 2018.

Recruiters on Indeed include Four Seasons Health Care, Engage Education, Ocado while DirectlyApply works with the likes of Uber, Amazon and Boots. (see 'Get Hired! We showcase 15 companies recruiting right now).

Online jobs platforms like DirectlyApply have hundreds of thousands of jobs advertised

3. Look in the right sector

If you haven't been successful in your job hunt so far, it could be that you're looking in an industry where there are too many people competing for one job.

If you have transferable skills, why not consider looking elsewhere? A study conducted by Aviva recently found that more than half of people are considering a career change.

Don't excessively hassle the recruiters but schedule a regular time to keep in contact to make sure you're front of mind  Elaine Weir, director of CVFriends Ltd

Deepa Somasundari, director of strategic projects at the global job site Indeed, says: 'The changing mix of the jobs available means we hear a lot about transferable skills and while many jobs require hard skills - i.e., those specific to the job - don't underestimate the importance of soft skills such as communication and analytical ability.

'After a difficult year, personality traits like empathy and patience will also stand you in good stead when it comes to the application process.'

Somasundari adds: 'When it comes to finding a job, the most important first step is to do your research - and that means knowing who's hiring. 

'Supermarkets and healthcare providers have posted the highest numbers of new jobs on Indeed in recent weeks, but roles have also been added in perennially strong sectors like finance.'

Top newly listed jobs on Indeed JobsNumber of new listings:

  • Nurse 5,008

  • Customer service 1,515

  • Administration 1,384 

  • Doctor 1,098 

  • Transport 893

  • Cleaner 817 

  • Childcare 576 

  • Delivery driver 455 

  • Warehouse 339 

  • Psychiatrist 313 

  • Teacher 301 

  • Receptionist 276 

  • Network engineer 273 

  • HMP 222 

  • Social media 190 

  • Paramedic 180 

  • Youth worker 129 

  • Electrician 111 

  • E-commerce 109 

  • Finance assistant 97 

  • Plumber 90 

  • Complaints 88

  • Online tutor 64 

  • Handyman 44 

Data extracted from Indeed, looking at the number of jobs listed in the UK between 19 December 2020 - 22 December 2020

 4. Consider going freelance

According to jobs marketplace, PeoplePerHour, 2021 will be a good year for freelance talent to earn more money. 

The job platform conducted a survey which indicated that 60 per cent of business owners say they plan to use more freelancers in 2021.

Weir adds: 'Upwork and Fiver are great online places to have a look at freelance options open and can provide a platform to launch your services. 

'Alternatively, you could look to your existing network and use a platform such as LinkedIn to promote yourself and your services.

Remember, though, to take into account a freelance platform's fees and compare them. PeoplePerHour for example charges an average free of 7.5 per cent for projects but can go as low as 3.5 per cent depending on the size of the project.

5. Create your own job by starting a business

Laura Bannister founder of remote business The Holiday in a Box Co says she started her business by spending £6k on stock and found some of the formalities easier than expected

According to a study by Small Business Prices setting up a remote business in the UK costs £1,680. This total includes everything from registering the business, buying a new laptop and web domain to invoicing software and setting up business phone numbers (see 'The cost to set up a remote business in the UK).

Laura Bannister set up her own remote business, The Holiday in a Box Co, during the pandemic for £6,000, which she used to buy stock.

She says: 'The formalities don't take as long as you think. Registration with Companies' House is straightforward; bank accounts are simple enough; the right people (accountants, etc) have a habit of appearing when you're ready to start looking and asking around.

'What this experience has really impressed upon me, is the need to launch and learn. It's important to just get started. As they say: "Leap and the net will appear".'

6. Learn a new skill

Retraining is another option for the unemployed to boost their chances of getting hired. There are plenty of accessible resources that can help you upskill.

Aliza Sweiry, managing director of digital and marketing recruitment company Aquent UK, recommends courses from FutureLearn, LinkedIn's time management course and Aquent's own free training resources, which include courses on how to create your own social media presence and modern web design.

Sweiry says: 'If you've found yourself out of work, now is a great time to begin upskilling. This could be through online courses, webinars or self-initiated work and there's currently a plethora of free upskilling courses available on the web.

'Not only will this help give you an advantage over the competition by adding extra skills to your CV, but it will keep your mind active and in good stead once you do land a job. 

'Employers love to see candidates who are passionate and show a willingness to improve and progress.'

Aliza Sweiry, Aquent UK managing director, says it's possible to learn a new skill for free

7. Improve your CV

Weir suggests starting with creating a strong foundation CV. 

She explains: 'Once you've created your foundation CV, the tailoring for each role becomes less onerous and easier to manage.

'Get others to read your CV and give you feedback, make sure you tell them what kind of feedback you're looking for (grammar, spelling, achievements, layout etc). 

'Ultimately your aim is to get someone to read your CV and think 'Yes, I need to meet this candidate'.'

Little changes could also make a big difference. 

If you're a sporting enthusiast, highlighting this on your CV could make all the difference. According to a survey conducted by GolfSupport.com, stating a sport on your CV increases your chances of employment by more than 30 per cent.

Their survey results also showed that employers in accountancy, banking and finance are most likely to employ those who take part in a sport (54 per cent).

8. Don't chase the money

If you can't find a job that has the salary you desire, reconsider how realistic your salary expectations in this current climate are.

Somasundari says: 'Job search also means weighing up what is important to you. We know salary remains the number one motivation for people looking to switch jobs, but after millions of people got their first taste of remote work in 2020, our own research shows that jobseekers increasingly want jobs with flexible working options built in.'

9. Prepare for video interviews

While getting interviewed from home may be convenient some thought and preparation must still go into it to create the right setting and ensure the interview goes ahead without any technical glitches.

Sweiry says: 'Ensure that your environment is well-lit, distraction free with mobile phones switched off and that your home technology is working before you start – after all, first impressions still count. 

'It's also worth remembering that although you're at home, it's still an interview, so be sure to wear professional, office-appropriate clothing. Having your CV in front of you can also help when being asked questions about your work history, so always keep that to hand.

Checking the sound works and ensuring you have a well-lit environment ahead of your online interview is important.

10. Network

You may no longer be able to network face to face, but that doesn't mean you can't do this online. Weir says that LinkedIn is a great networking platform. 

A good way to show prospective recruiters is to enable the 'open to work' feature on LinkedIn, which shows recruiters you're looking for opportunities.

Take advantage of your own networks as well. Weir adds: 'Reach out and talk to people such as your family, friends and professional networks. Let them know you're looking for a new role.

'Ask for help – if you're stuck, feeling overwhelmed, not sure what to do ask for help from your networks, access professional support, such as a CV writing service or career coach - you don't have to go it alone.

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