Adapt your application
Even while writing your CV and application materials, you should have the changed situation in mind.
That might mean including your Skype contact details ready for a video interview, highlighting relevant experiences, and even adapting your CV format.
“Your application will probably be read by a manager or recruiter who is working from home and sitting in front of a small laptop. That means reading directly on the screen and rarerly printing out [the application],” says Markus Wiberg, a regional head at Unionen, Sweden's biggest trade union.
Because of this, it's more important to avoid too small a font or too much text. But you can take advantage of using hyperlinks to your LinkedIn profile, an online portfolio, or other useful websites.
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Prepare for remote interviews
“During the pandemic, interviews have become very different from what we are used to. It is more the rule than the exception that it happens over the phone or through a video conversation, which puts high demands on both the person interviewing and the one job-hunting,” says Wiberg.
This means adapting to video call etiquette. Try to look at the camera rather than at the screen — it might help to put a PostIt note next to it to remind you, or hide your own video from your screen (without turning off your video) so you don't get distracted by how you look. Make sure you have a spot where you can focus on the call, with a neat and tidy background and no sound distractions, whether that means asking the children to be quiet for an hour or remembering not to turn on your dishwasher or tumble dryer.
Photo: Jessica Gow / TT
It may be harder to build up personal rapport over a remote interview, and it's also important to use the opportunity to stand out in what may well be a more crowded field than usual.
Johan Mauritzson, an advisor at TRR, which offers support to workers who have been made redundant, advises using a headset if possible for clearer sound, and placing the laptop or camera at your eye level or slightly higher.
And be aware of your tone of voice and body language, which play an important role over the phone or in videos.
“Express yourself clearly and talk at a steady pace, using words you feel comfortable with,” says Mauritzson.
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Be aware of extra competition
Johan Mauritzson, an advisor at TRR, which offers support to workers who have been made redundant, notes that in a competitive field it's extra important to highlight your relevant skills.
“The increased competition puts higher demands on job-seekers generally. There is an extra requirement for being clear about what your skills are and what you can offer the employer. Many get uncomfortable when they have to highlight their own strengths so they are too cautious about it, but in these times there's no room for that,” says Mauritzson. “You have to believe in yourself.”
He advises speaking to previous colleagues and managers to get an idea of where your strengths lie. When other people have told you that you have valuable skills, it can help you feel more confident presenting this to a potential new employer.
And don't give up hope if the first few applications don't lead anywhere. Mauritzson advises that the autumn can be a good time for job-hunters.
“People have often had time to think over summer, companies bring in new strength ahead of the coming year, a lot tends to happen during autumn. Perhaps especially this year, since we had a spring where everything was on pause,” he says.