As the unemployment rate rises, many workers are having to look for a new job. How can you stand out from other candidates?

With the COVID-19 crisis, there are two job markets, observes Michael O’Leary, regional vice-president of Robert Half in Montreal, a recruitment firm. The first is the conventional market where employers post their needs and look for personnel. Then there is a second market, where organizations are prepared to supplement their staff with workers who would not be available if it were not for the current situation, even if there are no positions to be officially filled.

“It’s not active recruiting,” he explains, “but companies are open to recruiting these talents who add value through their experience or expertise.” 

In this context, job seekers have a strong interest in being proactive, the specialist continues. “You can call a competitor of your former employer to find out what their needs are or simply to send them your CV. You can also read up about your industry, do research on the web and follow companies in your field on LinkedIn, for example.” Turning to recruitment firms, who have good connections in the job market, is another avenue to explore. You should not hesitate to use your network of contacts either, he also advises.

Getting noticed

To stand out, job seekers need to increase their visibility, says Patrick Chenard, an IT recruitment specialist at Adecco Montreal, a recruitment agency. “This might sound simple, but people often forget to advertise themselves online.” That’s why he suggests registering on networks such as LinkedIn and on job platforms such as Indeed. “Thanks to this tool, recruiters can even see which candidates have recently updated their CV. This allows your candidacy to be highlighted.”

In addition, the expert advises regularly posting career-related content on LinkedIn. “This show that you are not only active and motivated, but also passionate about your field.”

Teleworking requires that employers are also looking for candidates who have mastered virtual collaboration tools such as Teams, Michael O’Leary observes.

Similarly, while technical skills are important, human qualities are worth a lot in the eyes of recruiters, Patrick Chenard says. This is a trend that has become more pronounced in the context of the pandemic, when new employees are often being integrated remotely. “Aptitudes such as autonomy or adaptability are therefore very important.”

Above all, even though the health crisis has affected the morale of many laid-off workers, it is important not to give up. “People who are proactive, who make themselves seen and who are strategic in their searches are more likely to find job opportunities and even have the choice of several offers,” sums up Michael O’Leary. Valid advice, regardless of the context!

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