How to get ahead when the jobs market is quieter

CV expert Emma Alkirwi advises on what to do to keep ahead when it comes to job searching during the quieter summer months.

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Despite acute and ongoing labour shortages in some sectors, summer can be a quiet time on the jobs front, with holidays meaning more out-of-office notifications. As a result, many companies will press pause on hiring until working patterns go back to normal.

A quieter job market gives you a great opportunity to prepare yourself for when more vacancies do become available again, which ultimately leads to a more efficient and stress-free job search in the future.

Below are some important actions you can take during a quieter job market to set yourself up for future success.

Quiet hiring

According to Forbes, one of the key trends in the job market in 2023 is “quiet hiring”. Quiet hiring is essentially when a company gives their existing employees new responsibilities or projects that go beyond their current job description.

This isn’t necessarily a good fit for everyone – and there are certainly instances where employees could be taken advantage of. If you do take on extra responsibilities, get these in writing from your employer. You should also try to negotiate a pay rise as well, even if this new project is only a temporary change in scope for your role.

This hiring trend could, however, also have benefits for you in the short term while the job market is quiet. You will have new experience under your belt which you can talk about in your job application documents and during interviews. This could make you a more well-rounded and attractive employee to recruiters when vacancies do arise again.

Plan ahead

While there is no mad rush or tight application deadlines to contend with, you have a great opportunity to get clear on your next career move. This will help you avoid putting lots of time, effort and energy into applying for roles that aren’t right for you.

Here are a few of the factors you should consider:

– Role and Industry: Think about how happy you are with your current job description. Do you want to do the same thing elsewhere, move into a position with more responsibility or consider a new career challenge altogether?
– Working patterns: Do you want to work in an office full time, or would you prefer a hybrid approach with the opportunity to work remotely too?
– Flexible hours: Do you need a role that will allow you to prioritise other commitments in your life, such as caring responsibilities?

Once you understand what you want, you will be able to search and apply for roles that are the best fit for your long-term goals.

Speculative enquiries

If there are particular organisations you would love to work with, but they aren’t publicly hiring right now, that doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities to be found.

Sending a speculative enquiry can help put you at the top of the list when a company is hiring in the future. Not only will they already have your details on file, but they will also know about your enthusiasm and commitment to working in the organisation.

All you need to do is send a short email to a relevant contact at the company, stating your desire to work with the company and requesting information on any existing or future vacancies. Briefly highlight your experience in a couple of sentences and include a copy of your CV.

Refresh your CV

Use the quieter job market period to refresh your CV so it is ready when more vacancies open up again.

Think about the competencies that are required for the kinds of roles you are interested in, and make sure they are reflected within the following sections of your CV:
– Your Professional Profile;
– Your Key Skills.
– Your Career Summary

Remember to include specific examples of successes you’ve had in the past that are directly related to the jobs you are going to be applying for. You can find out more about highlighting specific experience on your CV in our recent blog.

Update your skills

If you have spotted any gaps within your experience that you know would be appealing to prospective employers, and you have some free time, a quieter job market allows you to fill them in.

Check if there are any relevant courses you could take, qualifications you could gain or relevant voluntary experience you could complete.

You could also refresh your existing certifications. For example, if you work in marketing, this could be a good time to check all of your certificates are still in date and revisit essential qualifications, such as Google Analytics.

*Emma Alkirwi is the Managing Director of the CV Guru which is the leading service provider of professionally written CVs, LinkedIn Profiles, cover letters in the UK and they also provide specialist consultancy services. If you would like to get your CV, Cover Letter or LinkedIn profile up to date and ready to impress prospective employers, CV Guru would love to help. Its team of experienced writers will create professional documents that highlight all of your unique strengths and will continue to make edits until you are completely happy with the end result.

Want more advice? You are invited to our online Career Fair >>

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