With the coronavirus pandemic still ongoing, it can be easy to believe that job hunting at the moment is an exercise in futility. In reality, however, many employers continued to hire throughout lockdown, and as businesses around the country reopen, the organisations that had put their recruitment drives on hold have resumed efforts to source new talent.
That being said, job hunting now looks very different than it did back in March, and competition for roles in the legal profession is fierce. With the number of vacancies on-site growing and confidence in the job market improving, we decided to put together this list of advice and tips for how to get hired during COVID-19.
With staff on furlough, redundancies being made and many people still working from home, you may find that you end up waiting longer than usual to hear back about job applications and interviews during COVID-19. There’s no harm in a polite email enquiring about next steps if you haven’t heard anything in a week or so, but be prepared to be patient. Remember also that some email addresses and phone numbers may now be unmanned or unmonitored.
Ask for video interviews
In the unlikely event that you are invited for a face-to-face interview, don’t be afraid to ask for a video appointment instead – especially if you are vulnerable, are looking after a family member or would have to travel a long way to get to the interview. While they are not obligated to give you a video interview, you have to wonder if you would want to work for an employer who is potentially asking you to risk your health and that of your loved ones.
Prepare for video interviews
Preparation is key for any interview, but right now it’s particularly important to be ready for video interviews – especially if you haven’t had one before. In addition to the usual prep of researching the company, dressing to impress and brushing up your CV, you need to eliminate potential distractions, know how to handle technical glitches and make sure you’re taking the interview in an optimum location. Read more on how to have a successful video interview here.
Consider your options
When job hunting during the coronavirus, you may find that the number of roles available is lower than usual. However, you can counteract this by widening your pool of potential jobs. If you are a Paralegal, would you consider taking on a Legal Secretary post? Would you consider temporary or contract work for a few months? Don’t forget that many positions available at the moment will be remote, which could also potentially open up a greater number of opportunities for you.
Apply for jobs in growing areas
For your best chance at landing a new job, we recommend applying for roles in areas that are showing growth despite the ongoing pandemic. For example, in June we recorded monthly growth for family and child law roles, as well as for jobs in a range of commercial practice areas including commercial litigation, commercial property and commercial contracts.
Make use of your professional network
An active network of likeminded and admired professionals is an essential tool in the arsenal of any legal professional, especially when job hunting during a pandemic. Reach out to your network to see whether anyone knows of suitable opportunities for you that aren’t being formally advertised.
Give yourself the chance to get headhunted
Speaking of roles that aren’t formally advertised: legal recruiters and hiring managers use our CV database to source candidates for exclusive roles, so why not upload your CV today for your chance to get headhunted?
Tailor every application
With competition fierce, it’s vital that legal professionals tailor every application they make as they navigate job hunting during a pandemic. If your CV, application and/or cover letter are targeted specifically to the job at hand, mirroring the keywords used in the advert, you stand a much better chance of getting invited to interview.
Get back in touch with pre-lockdown interviewers
It may be that you had some really successful interviews back in March, but then lockdown was enforced and hiring was put on hold. As businesses reopen and a sense of normality slowly returns, it’s not a bad idea to get back in touch with those who interviewed you to see whether the role you went for is available again. Even if it’s not, getting in contact will put you front of mind if a suitable opportunity does arise.
Take some time to reflect
With social distancing still in place and arguably fewer jobs around to apply for, it may be that job-seeking legal professionals have a little extra time on their hands. We recommend using some of this time to reflect on your career to figure out exactly what you want from your next role. Perhaps you want to take the next step up the career ladder, or now that you have had a taste of remote working you don’t want to give it up.
Update your CV
Lockdown has been different for everyone. Some of us were furloughed, others worked from home, while others lost jobs. Whatever your situation, update your CV to reflect what you have been up to and what you have learned over the past few months.
Be the first to hear about the latest opportunities
Fancy gaining a competitive edge? Sign up for a personalised TotallyLegal job alert and you can be one of the first to apply for the latest roles. Just let us know the details of your ideal job, and we will send matching vacancies to you via email as they become available.