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Effective Job Hunting in COVID-19: Here’s what you missed from the first Careers Webinar

In case you’re one of those people who never checks their email, from June 1st – 11th, the QMUL Careers department are offering a range of webinars related to finding work and opportunities after graduation. You can take part regardless of the stage you’re at in your degree, and many of these sessions are targeted towards Humanities students, covering topics such as CV’s, LinkedIn and Q&A sessions.

Don’t worry if you’re a bit late to the game. Many of these sessions are recorded and can be emailed to you if you missed the first few. And you’re welcome to join as many or as few as you like.

Right now, you might be feeling anxious or unsure about what direction to go in after graduation and that’s okay. This first webinar, led by careers consultant Andrea Cox, offered practical tips and information on how to effectively job hunt during COVID-19.

It’s important to decide whether you’re looking for work instantly, or if you’re willing to wait for the right position. If you need a job immediately, opportunities to tutor have increased as a result of the reduction in children attending school.

However, some of you who have already applied, or are looking to apply to your preferred role have likely had things put on hold. Currently, you might be in a limbo of unanswered job applications, or find that vacancies have been removed. It’s important to note that job forums such as Prospects or Target Jobs might not have had their information updated – so if you do apply, check the websites of employers and perhaps make contact with them before applying.

In case you’ve set your sights on a particular company or job role, but you find they aren’t hiring, there’s no harm in sending out a ‘Speculative Application.’ This involves sending over a CV and cover letter, expressing what you could potentially do for this employer and why you are interested in working for them. People have found this to be successful in granting them work experience and even part time jobs.

Luckily, it’s not all doom and gloom. Many large companies are still continuing with graduate schemes. Although graduate recruitment has decreased, we were told that 82% of businesses say that they can wholly / partially get back into operation quickly once restrictions are eased. In the meantime, there are many things you can do to make yourself more employable once jobs open up again.

Volunteering remotely or face to face is a great way to increase your employability. Upskilling has also become more popular during the lockdown, with people choosing to spend their extra time enrolling in online classes. Websites such as FutureLearn and Harvard are offering online courses in a range of skills, and many of these are free! Depending on their difficulty, some will only take a few hours, and you get a certificate once completed that can go straight on your LinkedIn profile. In a few hours, you can gain digital skills in computer programming, social media marketing or anything that strikes your fancy.

There’s also a range of career related webinars going on, so now really is the time to take advantage of these free opportunities. In the near future, recruiters might begin to ask applicants:

‘So what did you do during COVID-19?’

Therefore, it’s important to be prepared. Online courses and attending online events are a productive pastime to introduce at home that don’t occupy your whole day. You can even practise psychometric testing online, or sign up to websites on QMUL to receive daily job notifications by email.

A useful activity is also researching graduates on LinkedIn: look at who studied your degree. Noting their career path and experiences might give you a good starting point if you’re wondering what skills you might be in need of. Use LinkedIn to find people of interest and develop your network.

The webinar also emphasised the need to adapt and change our strategy when things don’t go our way. In an uncertain labour market, some things will be out of your control. It’s more important than ever to create opportunities, meaning you might have to temporarily change course. If your first job necessarily isn’t the role you want, it’s never too late to circle back to the sector you prefer after gaining some tangible skills.

Although life is more challenging right now, you can still start the journey to securing your dream job. Things might not happen straight away, but there are definitely steps you can start making from today.

A big thanks to Andrea and all the consultants in the careers department, and for more information about the upcoming webinars, you can use the link below and register.

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