Here’s what’s going on in the labour market this year and 10 things you can do to increase your chances of getting a job.
Current labour market: If you’re a head in the sand type of person, you might want to skip this bit. Executive and Professional sectors remain weak for hiring, (KPMG/REC UK report on jobs March 2021) – with London & South East worst affected. Temping and contract market is steady but less active than 2020. ONS Labour Market Review in March 2021 shows 27% fewer jobs advertised than this time last year. (220,000 fewer vacancies advertised). SO, competition for jobs will continue to remain high this year.
Wait….! it’s not all bad news, here are the sectors and regions hiring the most in 2021: 55% of all employers said they will be hiring in 2021 – whoop whoop! (CIPD Labour Market Outlook). The highest rates of employment intention are outside London and the South East – with the North West, South West, East Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside looking the strongest.
Most jobs this year are expected to be in the public sector (77%). Currently, most advertised jobs are in Healthcare & NHS (no surprises there), Public Administration & Defence, ICT, Education, Transport, Warehousing, Distribution & Logistics, Supermarket & Online Retail, Finance, Insurance, Business Services, and Construction.
☆ Worth a punt: the UK economy is propped up with 6m small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) – these are businesses with less than 250 employees and represent 99% of all businesses. Many of these rarely advertise for jobs. Instead, they often rely on recommendations from people who already work there. Which is a damn site easier for them than wafting through thousands of CVs. So, look at the SME businesses near you and get in touch (especially if their business is connected to the sectors mentioned above eg. suppliers of products or services to the healthcare sector for example), send the MD a damn good letter and your CV. Even better If you can, (lockdown restrictions depending) – pop your CV and letter in person.
How to increase your chances of getting a job:
In a nutshell, do the things that most other people don’t do. This will make you stand out against the hundreds (sometimes thousands) of other applicants. If you find yourself dressing up as a Disney Character and singing outside their office, then you’ve probably gone too far.
Here’s what’s working for my customers at the moment:
- CV. Assume you’re competing with people with similar experience, similar qualifications. What makes you different? What are you offering? Remember you’re writing for a machine first (ATS) then a human and you have to get past both. All large organisations use an ATS to sift candidates. The format and content of your CV needs to be ATS friendly to get past this stage. THEN, your CV needs to appeal to an actual real person and you can do this by packing your CV full of achievements, evidence that you’re awesome and bags of personality so the reader feels an emotional connection with you. My website resource on CV Writing Top Tips can help you: https://www.ckfutures.co.uk/category/cv-writing-tips/
- LinkedIn. If you’re not on LinkedIn then a future employer or recruiter/head-hunter can’t find you. If you’re a professional at any stage of your career, employers will expect you to be on LinkedIn, they will check you out before the interview and not being there can make you look out of date. Use your LinkedIn to help you find work. There are tons of ways LinkedIn can help you, here’s some of them; get your content up-to-date; build your connections; set your profile to ‘open to work’; reach out to people you’ve had good relationships with now and in the past; ask people for testimonials via LinkedIn and use LinkedIn to search for jobs.
- Tell everyone you know that you’re looking for work. People like helping other people. Your contacts will always be the most effective way of getting your next job. So, tell everyone, from the shop assistant to your friends, family and contacts – and tell them what you’re looking for.
- Quality, not Quantity. Are you applying for tons of jobs by just hitting ‘APPLY NOW’ and uploading your CV? This takes 3 seconds. Do you seriously expect a great response? This is what everyone else does. Be more Unicorn. Apply for roles you really want to do and take the time to do the next 5 steps:
- Adapt your CV every time. Yep, sorry but you really do have to do this. Every job advertised is slightly different. To get past those pesky bots, your CV needs the keywords and skills mentioned in each individual job ad/spec.
- Do a cover letter. Every single time. If possible. Most people don’t do this which makes their application look naked and unloved against your magnificent effort. Avoid using a ‘generic’ one you just ping off to all employers. Do your research, check out their CEO, watch talks they may have done, what projects are they involved in? what’s their vision? Why do you really want to work there? These are the things that take your Cover letter to a completely new level. It shows you care and that you’re genuinely passionate about working there. Write it like you are talking to them (unless you swear naturally, then take those bits out) use clear English, short sentences and be enthusiastic.
- Phone them. If you see ‘for any questions relating to this position, please call Simon on …..’ then take this golden opportunity to pick up the phone and talk to Simon. Write down what you want to say. You could try – ‘Hi Simon, my name is….I’ve been a Customer Manager at Barclays and I was excited to see you’re looking for a new Customer Service Manager. Before I spend time getting my application spot on – I just wanted to check that it’s still open?…. Doing this, might just mean that Simon watches out for your application coming in because you’ve made a connection and shown that you have just the level of initiative and positivity they’re looking for.
- Follow up. If you don’t hear after 7 days. Give them a call to check they’ve received your application. Obviously, be friendly and nice about it. Some employers don’t get back to you. You need to be resilient – it really isn’t personal. (Though this does bug the hell out of me too).
- Mind the gap. If you’re currently not working, then fill your gap (volunteering, attending training, helping people around you, building, making things, home renovations, exercise, caring for people etc – think about everything you’ve been doing) and explain your gap on your CV. Depending on what you’re looking for, it could look something like this:
2020-present: Training & Development
I have attended 6 courses in leadership, customer service, communication and IT during this time via the Open University and National Careers Service and having done so, am ready and eager to move into my next career role.
(See how this also gets keywords into your CV?)
Free online courses you can use to keep your brain ticking over, learn new stuff and fill a gap:
- The Open University: https://www.open.edu/openlearn/free-courses/full-catalogue
- National Careers Service https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/find-a-course/where-to-find-free-online-learning
- The Princes Trust (for 18-30’s) https://princes-trust-health.eventbritestudio.com/
- Be interview ready. When you make it to interview, you’ve got an approx. 1 in 5 chance of being offered the job, you’re nearly there…so winging it at this stage is a tad reckless. Don’t panic though, you don’t need to learn answers off by heart. However, you do need ‘stories’ up your sleeve that you can bring into the interview. Expect questions that begin with ‘Can you tell us about a time when….’ This is why you need stories, not over-rehearsed answers. So, take time to think about times when you’ve solved problems, overcome challenges, done something difficult, improved something, helped or supported others, communicated to people, made a team better and so on. Your whole self needs to show up at the interview (well the good bits at least), think about work and your life experiences – it’s all relevant. For more interview tips check out my website https://www.ckfutures.co.uk/category/interview-tips/.
Good luck and I’d love to hear how you get on. My mission is to prevent people from having a small gap turn into a massive gaping career chasm….SO, please share the heck out of this to help as many people as possible.
Charlotte Eve is an award winning CV Writer, LinkedIn Writer and Interview Coach, helping people internationally to move confidently into new roles. With an HR background, passion for writing and determination to pursue a ‘useful’ career, Charlotte set up C K Futures to support people most at risk in the job market. She is recognised by recruitment agencies, career coaches and back-to-work organisations nationwide as a specialist in helping people affected by redundancy, those seeking career change, individuals with complicated careers, parent returners and those with career gaps. Charlotte has helped more than 20,000 people into new roles, delivers her Masterclass Course to employment organisations and is sought out by businesses for her outplacement services. Also mum to two teenagers, Charlotte supports charities to help young adults and is a Youth Mentor.