Job hunting can be stressful at the best of times, and during a pandemic, it is even more important to shine above other job seekers. With cutbacks resulting from COVID-19, it can be a struggle to find relevant job opportunities. This article highlights how PA and other administrative candidates can become more competitive within the current job market. Whether or not you are an experienced senior PA or a graduate looking for your first career role, the following tips will help make you more attractive to potential employers, helping you to land that all-important job offer.
Keep focused and motivated
It’s not about getting any job but the right job. Avoid the temptation of sending out mass applications for roles that are not relevant to your experience or your career aspirations. Keep positive, although the job market has slowed down there are many companies still hiring. Processes may be taking a little longer, so patience is needed, however, do not be afraid to follow-up.
Your CV is your first introduction to a potential employer and needs careful consideration before you submit it. Any spelling and grammar mistakes will take you out of the running immediately. We recommend you follow a traditional CV format, see our CV advice for assistance with this.
It is a good idea to tailor each CV and covering letter to the role that you are applying for. Make sure that the skills that you have learned through your studies, work experience, and extracurricular match the role that you are applying for wherever possible. Be guided by the job description as to what they are looking for and keep in mind the specific company and sector that the role sits within highlighting any relevant experience. During these times skills such as problem-solving, flexibility, adaptability, and resilience are especially important.
You might have some gaps in your CV due to redundancies caused by the pandemic. Do not worry, these are understandable, however, it is a good idea to add any volunteer work or online training courses that you have taken up during this time to show that you have been active in learning new skills.
Use online platforms like LinkedIn
Make sure you have an online presence. Linkedin is a professional platform that will help employers see your work history and gain further insight into your professional background and interests that will set you apart from other job seekers. It is important to make sure your profile is accurate and up to date, and matches the information on your CV. Join industry-related groups. Commentating on any relevant posts will show your enthusiasm to potential connections and employers. Use Linkedin to grow your network, sending out connection requests to other Linkedin members within industry sectors that you would like to work in. Remember to always send out a personalised, professional request when asking people to connect with you. LinkedIn is also a great way to research different organisations and help prepare for future interviews.
Once you have been invited to interview, you will be able to demonstrate clearly that you are the right, high calibre candidate for the job. Thorough preparation at this stage is paramount as you will only get one chance to shine above the other candidates. With most employees working remotely at the moment, most interviews are being held over Zoom, MS Teams, or Skype. Familiarise yourself with these making sure you have all the right applications set up on your laptop well in advance of the interview.
Running through a practice interview with a friend is a good idea to make sure that your body language and tone come across well over the screen. Although you are likely to be sat at home you must come across as professional as possible, making sure you are dressed in suitable interview attire and are as prepared as you would be if you were going into their office. It is always a good idea to choose a quiet place, with a strong internet connection and no distracting backgrounds.
Make sure you have done all the necessary research on the company and the interviewer, know your CV inside out, and have a good understanding of the job description. Be prepared for competency-based questions, having good examples of different work experiences to hand, relevant to the job description. Lastly, make sure you have a couple of good questions prepared for the end of the interview.
The last tip I can give you is to choose your PA or administrative recruitment agency carefully. The right agency will be able to introduce you to their clients who can offer you excellent opportunities, always representing you in the best possible light.
During a difficult time such as this, extra care and resilience are needed to find that perfect job. Use all the tools and advice open to you, do not spread yourself too thin, and keep your career goals in sight.
Thanks for this post go to our friend Auria Heanley, co-founder of Oriel Partners, a boutique PA and administrative recruitment consultancy based in Central London. She is extremely passionate about providing the highest quality of service to both clients and candidates. Oriel Partners’ clients range from global multinationals to small boutique firms, all requiring the same personal service and high calibre support.