4 ways to stand out in the post-COVID crowd
Before coronavirus hit, employers were gasping in a ‘talent drought’, desperate to woo skilled candidates. Now they’re drowning in a talent flood. If you’re feeling out of your depth in the new ultra-competitive job market, you’re not alone.
You’re really not alone.
With paid employment down by almost 650,000, there are more than 30 applicants for each job in parts of the UK, and another wave coming in the next three months as 29% of businesses plan to cut more jobs.
But according to Nadine, an HR Manager for a world-class digital agency, these four tips will make your CV stand out at the application stage, and make you stand out at the interview stage. Three of them are about skills – but the fourth is perhaps the most important.
1. Stay skilled
We’ve all been guilty of it: putting skills on our CVs that we haven’t looked at for years. Now is not the time for that. Nadine explains that if you put a relevant skill on your CV in this job market, you can expect to be tested on it at interview.
Nadine explains, “when we look to recruit, we need to ensure that people have the right skill set and can undertake the technical elements of the role, so as a part of our process we skill test everyone during the interview process”
2. Highlight your skills
Recruiters only spend an average of 5-10 seconds looking at your CV. In the current market? Definitely closer to 5. And the main thing they’re looking for is skills.
A shocking 65% of applicants aren’t properly qualified for the role, so you have 5 seconds to make it very clear that you are before you land face down on the discard pile. “Make sure your technical skills are easy to find on your CV,” says Nadine. “Highlighting them right at the top will make you more likely to get shortlisted.”
3. Keep upskilling
Learning new skills doesn’t just keep you relevant; it demonstrates that you’re willing and able to learn. With the pace of change moving faster than ever, this is the most vital skill of all. “it’s important for us to see how applicants continue to learn and upskill for the future. Software is evolving daily, those who work in the tech space are passionate about what they do and the sector they work in. This comes across when we ask questions around outside interests.” Nadine continues with “it’s what applicants do above and beyond outside of their job. Candidates who attend “meet-ups” and tech events are the ones that will stand out. In our experience, what may be the technical skill set that we are looking for today, could be totally different in 6 months’ time.”
4. Show your good character
While demonstrating your skills and commitment to learning will get you shortlisted, it’s who you are as a person that will get you the job. In today’s market, you need to show that you’re agile, adaptable, and above all, passionate.
Being a team player is no longer something to pay lip service to; it’s something to take seriously and wholeheartedly. “Given how many projects you and your team could end up juggling,” says Nadine, “being a team player really is important to employers in the post-COVID world.”