Are You Ready for When the Job Market Opens Back Up?

Posted on Wednesday, March 31st, 2021 by


The signs are there at last. Maybe this time, we can get on with our lives, maybe not. But now is always the best time to take another look at your career and be ready for whatever comes along next. In the last year, many of us were laid off, furloughed, or asked to work from home. Few people have escaped change for better or worse, and that’s why we all need to take another look at our careers and decide whether our priorities have changed, or even our attitudes to work and ambition altogether.


Where to start

Whether you need to find a new job or reduce your working hours, add qualifications, or change careers entirely, there are a few steps you can take to make sure you’re ready to grab those opportunities when they come along.

That cliched question you hear in interviews – ‘where do you see yourself in 5/10 years’ time?’ is actually the best place to start. Ask yourself these 3 questions:

  • what is your career goal now?
  • has it changed in the last year?
  • and do you now need to adjust your job searching/career strategy or even start again entirely?

For many people, the time for self-reflection during lockdowns has been revelatory. Few of us have ever had the luxury of stopping and really looking at what is important to us. We mustn’t forget those newly discovered priorities once life returns to ‘normal’ whatever that turns out to be. There are some people, often key workers, who have never been so busy and the luxury of time for self-reflection has been denied them. Hopefully, despite being exhausted, they are happy with their career choice and not looking for a career change.


Steps to follow now

It can be daunting to know where to start, but following these steps can help give a structure to your career appraisal and job search:

  1. Start with the goal – where would you like to be in 5 years’ time, and what is your top priority? Is it salary, a great work/life balance, job status or a mixture of those? Once you have decided, you can work your way back to today and what you need to do now in order to get there.
  2. Practice interview techniques and how to tell your story. You can work on and practice both in advance, before you need to do it in a real interview. Work on how to tell your story in a unique, compelling and concise way. Practice with friends, easy to do on Zoom and see what they think. Make sure they’re prepared to be constructively honest before you start!
  3. Change your job search strategy. Perhaps you have already applied for dozens of jobs and not had any interviews. Maybe there is another way. Try talking with a recruiter who specialises in your skill set, who can help with career overviews or interview skills, or reach out to someone in your network. They may have a different perspective or a key contact who could help you to the next stage.
  4. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and aligns with your CV. Focus on the summary section which is not only the first thing a visitor to your site reads but may be the only thing. It needs to leave a good impression.
  5. You don’t have to be a marketer or work in sales to be able to promote and sell yourself online. All you need is to engage in conversations with groups and individuals in your industry or expertise. Recruiters and hiring managers will see that you know what you’re talking about and can show some of the skills they may be looking for and how you would fit in well with their organisation.
  6. Rather than apply for an advertised role, try approaching companies you would like to work for. There are many inspiring examples on LinkedIn and other social media platforms from people who have been hired based on their proactive actions alone, such as seeing a problem and offering a solution unsolicited.
  7. Keep checking that your personal branding and social media footprints are reflecting you as a career focussed professional. This guide from Forbes gives a useful check list on how to clean up your digital presence.


The business perspective

Businesses are responding very differently to each other as we hopefully leave the pandemic behind. Some are committing to keeping their workforce remote, or at least in the interim, some rejecting homeworking altogether, while others are planning a hybrid of the two. There are stories of cutting office space and using hot desking or using collaborative space with other organisations. Many new ideas that wouldn’t have arisen without the pandemic.

As several of Chapple’s previous blogs have pointed out, flexible working and an agile response to the changing world of work is often the key to success for any organisation. This attitude can work well from a candidate’s perspective too. Showing that you can embrace change, be flexible and adaptable in a challenging, changing workplace is appealing to any recruiter.

Change management experts have never been more in demand, and niche recruitment specialists are best placed to help find the right person to help translate the big changes ahead to great success, for every organisation, big or small.

If the predictions are right, we could see a swap back to a candidate market within the year and organisations and individuals need to be ready for anything, whether it be finding ways to attract the best talent or having to fight them off. There are so many questions to address in a short time from retaining office space, homeworking, to new initiatives for meetings and business travel.

Our priorities have changed. Whether you are a business owner, a job seeker, or a consumer, we have a new start ahead of us to embrace.


At Chapple we specialize in sourcing candidates in external and internal communications, employee engagement, change, HR and business transformation roles.

Contact us on 020 7734 8209 for more information about how we can help you find your next role or indeed find the right people for your business.