If you’re a job candidate, your CV may not have had a great time during this pandemic.
From the lack of time you’ve spent in an office environment, to a hard skill you haven’t had a chance to gain because of the ever-shifting workplace, coronavirus restrictions have had a clear impact on the type of skills and experience many candidates like you have been able to build up.
But there’s a way through this. Try to turn the things you feel you lack into actual positives - whether you’re tweaking your CV/covering letter to apply for a role, or are sitting down for an interview.
You might have recently left school or college and be new to the job market. Having a skinny CV when you’re aiming for your first role can be challenging enough - starting out just at the peak of the pandemic restrictions will be doubly so.
Newbies are ready to mould and eager to learn - and for many organisations, those things are the building blocks of great employees. So draw on past scenarios of when you’ve had to learn quickly - perhaps an example of something extra-curricular that happened in your time at school or college.
According to one LinkedIn survey, over 40% of recruiters said they saw volunteer work as the same as full-time work experience. So highlight any times when you’ve given your time for free for a cause you support, and talk about what you gained from it.
Perhaps you’d been hoping to land a permanent job but the effects of the pandemic meant that only short-term contracts were available. Months on, you now feel that the experience you’ve clocked up isn’t relevant to the type of permanent role you’d like.
At HR GO we recruit candidates for temporary as well as permanent roles. We know that short-term contracts can be a brilliant way to build up skills that cross over between sectors.
So hone in on the transferable skills you’ve gained - for example, collaboration skills as part of a team, or working under pressure - and aim to make them specific to the permanent role you’re applying for.
Let’s say there’s a specific hard skill that you haven’t developed or learned yet (and you suspect that if there wasn’t a global pandemic happening, it’d be firmly on your CV by now).
Although this skill isn’t crucial for carrying out the role, you know from the job description that your potential employer values it.
Our advice is to be upfront about how you haven’t had an opportunity to develop a coveted skill yet.
But here you have a chance to shine. Show how you’ve been able to learn this type of skill quickly in the past, and so are confident that you’ll be able to pick things up quickly again.
If you’ve kicked off your career since the coronavirus pandemic began you might have started your first job remotely.
And when you’re based at home it can be harder to learn the team dynamic, network properly and generally pick up the unspoken rules of the workplace.
Many experts believe that the workplace has changed for good, with hybrid working (being based at home as well as in a physical office) set to be the norm.
So even if your next job involves working on-site, you can turn your status as a ‘remote working native’ into an asset if you show that you understand what it takes to be productive and engaged at home, and can thrive by collaborating virtually with your colleagues.
Our advice? Don’t sell yourself short as a job candidate. The key is to show self-awareness and what you have been able to achieve in the face of huge obstacles. Chances are you’ll be seen as a stronger candidate - and more attractive future employee - as a result.