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Eight tips for job hunting during a recession

Everyone knows that it’s a rough time to be looking for a job. You only need to switch on the news or check your social media feeds to see scary-looking unemployment graphs or job loss posts. Though it’s tempting to sit and complain about the current state of affairs, we've put together some practical tips to actually succeed in your job search.

1. Look far and wide. This sounds obvious, but make sure you’re looking on a variety of websites when job-hunting. LinkedIn can be useful, but a lot of their postings are out-of-date. I personally find resources like Creative Access and The Dots more helpful, especially for creative industries. Try Monster and Indeed for a broader selection, and don’t forget that the best (though most time-consuming) way is probably just to go directly to a company’s website – they’ll have current and important information about vacancies and application processes.

2. Think laterally. This is an annoying phrase, but essentially what it means is don’t limit yourself. If you’re set on finding a job in the TV industry but there’s no jobs in TV right now, why not try looking for in-house videographer roles? Or, consider a role which can be applied to lots of industries (eg. finance or marketing/sales, and you can always try moving sideways later on).

3. Keep your files organised. There’s nothing worse than having 10 iterations of the same cover letter and not knowing which one is saved where. Make sure to keep your digital files neat and tidy, and if you’re up to it, track your job applications in a spreadsheet, with columns for job title, company, location, salary, or anything else that’s important to you.

4. Ask around. Networking can be daunting, but seeing as we’re all at home, it’s fairly easy to find someone at a company you’d like to work at on LinkedIn and shoot them a message (you have nothing to lose!) Take advantage of alumnae networks and contacts you have from a random week’s work experience you did a few years back – you never know what might come in handy.

5. Take a break. Yes, you deserve that chocolate biscuit and lie-down, even if you only wrote a sentence. You’ll have heard the term “unprecedented times” approximately 50 times a day for the past few months, but it’s true – what we’re all going through is a strange, often depressing time, and it’s taxing enough on your mental health without all the added pressure of finding a job.

6. Switch it up. If you’ve applied for 30 jobs and haven’t heard back from any, make some edits to your application style. For example, if you usually write cover letters as paragraphs, try using bullet points to make it easier for recruiters to read quickly. Likewise, if your CV is looking a bit long, trim it and play around with the font – you’d be surprised at the difference it makes.

7. Look local. People often think of huge companies and corporations as the go-to for job searches, and while bigger workplaces will often have more vacancies, you might find that your chances are better when you look on a smaller, local level. Try looking for roles at businesses local to you, or small companies you might have a personal (even if obscure) connection to, and you might find it easier to connect with employers at the interview stage.

8. Remember the value of volunteering. It can seem as if jobs requiring “experience” mean “work experience”, but most companies value volunteer positions too. If you’re finding yourself with far too much free time on your hands, look for volunteering opportunities at your local hospital, charity, or even online with us at H&F Circles! It’ll all look great on your CV, and you’ll feel better when you’re busy.

Good luck!

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