Our new normal
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many things for many people. What was once commonplace is now unusual, with lockdowns and social distancing measures forcing us to go about our lives in different ways.
One example of this is job hunting and recruitment. With most career events getting cancelled or rescheduled, those trying to break into the industry have virtually no opportunities to meet with the people responsible for identifying and hiring talent. Ultimately, there are significantly fewer opportunities for graduates and jobseekers to build the connections that could kickstart their careers.
So, what’s the answer? With meetings, events and tradeshows cancelled for the foreseeable future, how can you get on the radar of the right people without leaving the house?
The first step for any graduate or jobseeker is to use online platforms and social channels to showcase your skills. Start by using websites such as Wix or Square to create an online portfolio that you can share with potential employers. There’s a huge range of free and paid-for options out there, all full of templates that can help you quickly and easily build a professional looking portfolio. This will help to advertise your creativity and visual design skills, potentially making a big difference when it comes to getting noticed.
In terms of social media, it’s important to choose the channel that best suits your skills. If you’re more of a visual artist than a technical artist, then Instagram will be more appropriate than Twitter or LinkedIn. Just remember to separate your work and personal accounts. You don’t want recruiters to have to spend time browsing through all your personal photos before getting to your artwork. Think of it as a personal marketing exercise that will help get you that dream job, rather than mixing it in with your everyday social media activity.
Once you’ve set up your Instagram account, make it as accessible as possible by linking to it from your Twitter and LinkedIn profiles. LinkedIn is especially important, as this is what most recruiters will use as the ‘professional gateway’ to start building up a picture of you as a person.
Finally, remember that embracing digital channels doesn’t just apply to practical skills. For example, why not use YouTube to teach other people certain techniques or share your experiences of working in a certain way. As well as giving back to the community, this will give recruiters more insight into your personality and showcase additional skills such as your presenting and communication abilities.
Don’t forget about social etiquette
Whichever social channel you choose to focus on, it’s vital that you remember to be as professional as possible. Employers pay close attention to peoples’ etiquette and professionalism on social media, which means it can have a big impact on how they perceive you.
This can be especially important when you’re not meeting people face-to-face and don’t have the chance to make a first impression in person. The key is to build relationships with potential employers slowly and start a conversation rather than being too forceful or direct. Ask questions about how their company works, explain what attracted you to the role and show that you’ve got a genuine passion for the industry.
The worst thing you can do is dive in and ask for a job straightaway. If you want to improve your chances of making a positive impact through social channels, remember to be polite and take the time to build a connection and rapport with whoever you’re talking to. This is what will stand out to recruiters and employers.
Work on your soft skills
One thing to keep in mind is that, as much as employers are looking for highly skilled recruits, they’re not necessarily looking for the finished article. While having the right level of technical skills is important, employers are also interested in the soft skills that will help you grow and develop.
They’re thinking about things like how you’ll portray yourself in the studio, how effectively you communicate and whether you can work well with other people. These factors aren’t always as obvious as technical skills, especially in a world of remote interactions, but they are highly valued by many recruiters and businesses.
For example, someone who is charismatic and a great communicator but isn’t as technically-minded might not bring value in terms of developing amazing shots from day one, but they will bring value just by being in the studio as part of a team. That’s why, when you can’t meet in person, it’s especially important to improve your people and communication skills so that they come across virtually. Making it clear that you’re willing to learn and that you have the aptitude to progress is often just as important to recruiters and employers as technical ability.
Remember, even though there aren’t currently as many opportunities to physically meet people, there are still plenty of ways for you to make an impact remotely. By embracing digital channels, recognising social etiquette and developing your soft skills, you’ll put yourself in the best position to make a great first impression and take the next step in your career.