How To Advance Your Career In 2021: “Wilfully Disrupt” Your Job Search
Is a new job on your radar for 2021? If so, it’ll take a determined and strategic effort to stand out and a willingness to disrupt your pre-COVID-19 job searching model to be successful, according to recruiting experts Hays.
This year, relationship building, the right mindset and continuing the conversation after a rejection letter all feature in Hays’s list of how to advance your career in 2021, with the recruiter labelling it the year to “wilfully disrupt” your job search.
“COVID-19 has – and continues to have – a hugely disruptive effect on everything to do with the world of work,” says Adam Shapley, Managing Director of Hays in New Zealand. “We’re working differently, collaborating differently and prioritising differently than this time last year. Is it any wonder then that you need to approach your job search differently too?
“After all, what worked well when job searching in the past now requires some adjustment. Those who can embrace the new trend to wilfully disrupt their traditional approach to job seeking will be the ones who stand out, land their next job and advance their career.”
Hays offers the following tips to advance your career in 2021:
- Be proactive:
“Mindset is playing a huge part in a
jobseeker’s ability to secure a new role right now,”
says Adam. “We’ve spoken to a significant number of
candidates who think that because of COVID-19, they won’t
be able to get a job. So, instead of quitting before you
even start your next job search, think more positively and
understand that when markets change, you must pitch yourself
at the right point.”
relationships: According to Adam, this begins with
being proactive in your job search. Rather than sending your
CV and hoping for the best, he explained, reach out to the
relevant employer and follow up every application.
“Relationship building is more important than ever to cut
through and shine, so make a genuine effort to engage the
recruiter or hiring manager when you follow up to ensure you
are at the front of their mind. Don’t forget to also ask
that all important question, “If you don’t think this
role is right for me, what other roles might be
- Avoid the scatter gun approach: Don’t use the same CV in every application, warns Adam. “Every employer is different and therefore naturally values different skills and competencies. Take the time to research an organisation to understand their values and what they want, then tailor your application to engage them. Yes, personalising your CV for each application may seem like a lot of effort, but if you really want a particular job, you need to invest an hour or two to customise your CV for that role.
may also think that you don’t have enough time to
personalise each application because there are a lot of jobs
you want to apply for. If this describes you, it’s time to
be honest. Yes, you could apply for them all, but you
won’t be applying for any of them very well. So, think
objectively about your strengths and skills and identify the
roles that suit you best. Then spend time personalising your
CV for each one.”
brave: To advance your career in 2021, you may need
to consider previously unchartered waters. “Look at the
industries where vacancy activity is highest, even if you
haven’t previously worked in them before,” says Adam.
“For instance, IT, healthcare, logistics, infrastructure
and professional services have strong job opportunities on
offer, so be brave and consider searching outside your
yourself: The ability to sell yourself doesn’t
come naturally to everyone, says Adam. But today, if you
want to stand out, it’s essential. So, the advice is to
identify and understand your unique selling points and how
your key strengths can add value in the job you’re
applying or interviewing for. Remember to share concrete
evidence of your achievements for each selling point.
Practice articulating your pitch to family, friends or
- Show you used
2020 as a year to grow: A recruiter or hiring
manager doesn’t need to know all the details of how your
career plans for 2020 went astray, explains Adam.
“Unfortunately, many people experienced a similar
situation. Instead, spend the crucial time you have with a
hiring manager or recruiter sharing what you learnt from
your experiences during the past year and how you developed
and upskilled yourself. For example, did you join an
association, volunteer at a local charity, complete one or
more short courses or listen to relevant podcasts or TED
talks? For those who found themselves unemployed in 2020,
showing how you used the time productively to upskill
demonstrates an impressive commitment to your
- Prove your
adaptability: If there’s one soft skill that will
top all in 2021, it’ll be adaptability, believes Adam.
“This is a critical skill given how much change is
occurring both within organisations and the wider world of
work. So, in your CV and an interview, share examples that
demonstrate your adaptability, such as how you were able to
continue to add value to your employer and how this makes
you a stronger candidate
- Don’t let the
conversation end with the rejection letter:
Persistence is an important trait when job hunting
today and one that should not end when you find out your
application was unsuccessful. As Adam explains, “Call or
email the hiring manager to ask why your application was
rejected and if they can suggest any areas to improve to aid
your continuing job search. You may not receive a reply, and
you may not receive helpful feedback, but it only takes one
hiring manager to give you the constructive advice you need
to help you succeed next
- Use social media to show genuine interest in your field: Cleaning up your digital footprint may seem like job seeking 101, yet Adam says recruiters continue to see countless candidates who fail to review their social media profiles before applying for a job. “Those memes you think are funny or the scathing product reviews you posted may not present you in a professional light, so Google yourself and remove anything that doesn’t align with the professional reputation you wish to present,” he explains.
“Then update your LinkedIn profile,
follow industries and organisations of interest, keep up to
date with your specific market and post on LinkedIn. Such
demonstrated interest in the market will aid your
- Articulate how you are most productive: 2020 marked a turning point in the way people work, with the acceptance of flexible working catapulted years ahead. With more employers, when relevant, using a hybrid working model, Adam says you need to be able to express the steps you’ve taken to ensure you remain productive in both a central office and remote model. Share any changes you made to adapt your working style to remain productive in both settings.