The ongoing global pandemic has changed life as it is for a vast majority of the population – both in the UK and worldwide. Law firms are cutting NQ pay, asking future trainees to defer training up to a year and making redundancies left, right and centre in a bid to prevent revenue from dropping too low as the UK plunges into another recession.
We are adjusting to a new way of life, and there are new hurdles that we have to face as we navigate through the new normal – the post-pandemic working world. One of the main hurdles is being able to find a job in this new normal. In this two-part feature, I’ll be explaining what you can be doing now to get ahead as the new application season opens up next month.
As the furlough scheme is set to continue until October 31st 2020 some people have been given the ability to breathe a little easier, but unemployment rates have spiked astronomically as companies reduce the number of roles available, increase redundancies and shut down completely, meaning more people are looking for roles in a shrunken job market. It will be harder for students and graduates alike to obtain roles – this appears to be the case for the foreseeable future until the pandemic ceases to exist. Things have changed in the way job applications and onboarding are being dealt with, but you can take certain steps when looking for a new role.
What are employers looking for in this new economically-motivated employment world? Flexibility, innovation, talent and independent working are some of the main skills that are particularly relevant in lieu of the new climate.
The majority of the working world (and in all general areas of life) being a little all over the place, and businesses are no exception to this change. Being flexible is an inherently valuable trait at the moment as companies look to employ those who are both resilient and adaptable – those who can do their job even when things change drastically at a moment’s notice.
Many industries have truly felt the strain of the pandemic, however sectors such as healthcare, eCommerce and cybersecurity have seen a surge in demand for services and are opening new roles to ensure they aren’t overloaded. This could prove to be a good way to get into the swing of things in the new normal. If you have experience in these areas, look into how they are coping and the level of roles requiring technically able workers that are flooding the market.
Companies are finding new ways to handle business, with almost all law firms moving to the ‘Work from Home’ scheme put in place by the government from March 2020. Agile working has been a slow-growing movement in the legal and business world, with the SRA having been granted over £70,000 to discover new ways of working. Innovative people will be highly regarded at the moment, and if you have the ability to show off your creative-thinking and innovation skills you will stand out to employers who are looking for those that want to constantly improve their business. It has even led Slater & Gordon to close their London office permanently as the ‘Work from Home’ scheme successfully proved their lawyers were better off at home than in the office.
With independent working having increased, businesses are looking for more people who are able to start by hitting the ground running. Showing that you are able to confidently work under your own initiative can be a brilliant way to impress employers.
Many employers are constantly looking for the most talented people to fill roles. Currently, some of the most sought after skills include technological, communication and job-specific ones. Given how common online working is at the moment, technology skills are becoming a more important skill to have. For some companies, this can mean having the basics of computing skills but for others, it may require a more in depth knowledge, such as tech companies. Regardless of which is required for the roles you are looking at, improving on these skills now is perfect.
Communication is also becoming more prevalent with the Work from Home scheme still in place. However regardless of the role you apply to, communication will be a part of any job – be it face to face, over the phone/email or through a video conferencing app. Communication and interpersonal skills are vital for securing a role and learning them can be easy for some and difficult of rothers. Practice truly does make perfect in this area and while some roles require a more specialised knowledge of customer communication, time and practice will help in this area.
So, how do you get a new job in a post- pandemic world? What do you have to do to make it work for you? That is a tale for the next article…