London Met’s careers team reflect on the effects of the pandemic on jobs, how to stand out in applications and virtual interviews, and the resources available for students.
Date: 23 June 2021
What's changed about the work/careers landscape since 2020?
The pandemic has seen many changes in the labour market with employers having to take difficult decisions about attraction, recruitment and retention of employees. There was much disruption to the graduate labour market, particularly in the creative arts sector, but many sectors such as health, social care, IT and business services were less affected. Vacancies across many sectors have started to improve.
A key change for organisations was moving to remote working at great speed with staff having to become familiar with new technology. The impact of this is that many organisations are now considering a hybrid way of working. Employers' demand for digital skills and other transferable skills such as creativity, critical thinking, interpersonal communication skills and leadership skills will also become more important as technology advances and virtual working becomes a lot more common.
What support does the University offer to help with career development and how can I access it?
The Careers and Employability team are available to help you develop the knowledge, skills and experience to become confident about making informed decisions to build a rewarding career. We offer guidance appointments, job and volunteering opportunities and advice and webinars on a range of careers topics and events with fantastic interactive resources to help you in your career planning, applications, interviews, assessment centres and skills development.
Current students can:
- Book an appointment and view job opportunities here
- Attend a webinar here
- View our interactive careers resources here
And for all queries, prospective and current students are welcome to email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can I make my applications stand out in a tricky hiring climate?
Alison Street, Careers Consultant at London Met, offers the following tips:
- Reflect on yourself and your achievements. What strengths and skills can you bring?
- Research the role. What qualifications, skills, qualities or experience does the employer require?
- Tailor your application to the role. Focus on the aspects of your experience which clearly show how you meet the employer’s needs.
- Get the basics right. Spelling, grammar and visual presentation are important.
- Keep building your CV. Use free online resources, and consider part-time work or volunteering whilst searching for your ideal opportunity.
- Get a second opinion. Students and recent graduates can email the university Careers and Employability team for help, to maximise the chances of success.
Do you have any tips on doing virtual interviews, or in starting a job remotely?
London Met Careers Consultant, Patricia Nnadi offers her advice:
- Be aware of your background and do check what employers can see prior to logging on.
- Have a source of light in front of you
- Set up your camera at an appropriate angle: your camera should be set up directly in front of you capturing your shoulders and full head.
- Make sure your surroundings are as quiet as possible. Turn off your mobile phone and laptop/computer audio notifications. Close your window if necessary.
- Practice the setup with someone a few days before your interview and use the interview practice resources available. You can also try the mock interview platform.
During the interview
- Avoid reading directly from your notes, but have quick prompts near you if needed. Look directly at your camera lens - a post-it note placed above or near your camera can help you maintain eye contact with greater ease
- Maintain eye contact with the recruiter as you would in a face-to-face interview…and smile.
- Remember you can ask the interviewer to repeat a question if you need to.
- Spend some time writing down some of the questions that you were asked and your reflections
Starting a job remotely
I lost my job or otherwise wasn't able to work through lockdown - how can I explain the gap on my CV? Will this affect my future career?
Tiffany Platt, Careers Consultant says:
If you lost your job or were unable to work during lockdown, don’t despair. The pandemic has impacted different situations and recruiting employers will be aware of this. Be clear about why the role ended and detail anything that you were doing whilst unemployed, using clear headings on your CV such as Career Break, Volunteering, Self-directed Learning.
Prospective employers will be interested in any activities you have undertaken that show you used your time wisely such as volunteering, personal development and even hobbies or new interests. If you were caring for a relative or had other responsibilities, you can demonstrate how you will have also developed valuable skills. Whatever you did during lockdown, you can show how you used that time positively and promote your experiences to the best of your ability.