September traditionally hails the end of the holiday season and a time to roll up the sleeves and get stuck back in at work.  Inevitably, this year feels somewhat different for a lot of people including myself.

A lot of people are now off furlough and either working full-time or part-time again, but the landscape looks significantly different to how it did 6 months ago.

Undoubtably, a lot of people will be feeling anxious about the next few months and what the outlook is for their job security.

Unsurprisingly the job market is becoming increasingly competitive and it has never been more important to make sure you are maximising every effort possible when it comes to looking for a new role.

One thing is clear, no one has a crystal ball or can foresee how quickly we will recover from this unprecedented situation.  In my role I find myself speaking to people all day, every day and I experience a huge range of responses in terms of people's optimism for the recovery.  No one can say with any degree of confidence how this situation is going to play out.

Needless to say there are challenging times ahead for firms and their staff and many of us will feel affected directly or indirectly.  If you are forced to look for a new role or have been contemplating a change, here are some key factors to take into consideration.

Here are my tips on what strategies may help you in your quest for seeking a new role.

At the moment, a lot of companies are busy looking to shore up their businesses in order to remain viable.  Tough decisions undoubtedly will need to be made.  In many cases this may mean staff cuts rather than looking to grow.

Therefore, being willing to accept the reality of this situation will be key, so be prepared and realistic about your prospects at this time.  Putting unrealistic expectations on yourself will only add to any sense of pressure as time goes on.

The current situation will right itself in due course and keeping yourself positive will be key to succeeding when the right opportunities arise. 

Maintaining a positive approach to your job hunting, having a clear plan, following it through and not being too hard on yourself will be vital.

1. Start Networking

Now is the time to look at your existing network as well as try to grow it.

Firstly, look at your LinkedIn profile and make sure it is as polished and strong as you can make it. There are plenty of online tutorials to help you do this. This will act as a shop window when people are looking at you online.

Identify all your relevant connections (those working in your chosen sector) and reach out to them with a carefully crafted message asking how they are doing and make them aware of your situation. Subtly ask for any advice or referrals of other people who may be worth connecting with.  Look out for suitable conversations in your newsfeed that you can comment on and grow your online footprint.  Follow relevant people and companies and maintain a close eye on their activities, commenting where possible and highlighting your interest in the company/subject area.

If the thought of being online makes you uncomfortable, try to look beyond this as not being visible online in today’s job market unfortunately means you are disadvantaged and potentially overlooked by prospective employers.

When reaching out to people think of interesting conversational topics to discuss rather than focusing solely on whether they are aware of any jobs.  Think of some key industry news to discuss/get their opinion on.

2.  Consider How Urgent Your Job Search Is

If you are currently employed use this time to try and improve your current situation at least for the short to medium term as well as investing time in finding a new role.  Are there departments or colleagues within your current firm who might benefit from some additional support?  This would also give you the additional benefit of some valuable experience.

If your situation means you are forced to look for a new role, but positions seem very scarce, try to think laterally and consider whether there are any short-term opportunities to keep you occupied as well as potentially develop new skills.  Clearly this may require taking a pay cut but hopefully this won't be for too long.

3. Staying in Touch

Many people find themselves in a situation where they were interviewing for roles earlier in the year and then things were put on hold due to Covid-19.  It is well worth staying in touch with these firms (but avoid feeling like you are hassling them).  Acknowledge the difficult situation we find ourselves in and highlight