SME Champions

How to pivot your career during a crisis?



Nicki Wilson, CEO, Genie Recruitment

2020 will go down as a year of uncertainty, change, and perhaps forced re-direction for some. We have never seen so much activity in the market both from a candidate and client perspective. With nothing to benchmark against we have ridden the storm and learned a lot on this unpredictable journey. Here we share answers to some very important questions that will help you rethink your strategy while looking for your next career opportunity.

  1. How can you stand out to a recruiter?

Initially send your CV directly to the consultant with a personal message and follow up by adding them to LinkedIn and showing interest in their content if they post on social media! The best way is to try and get a personal connection with the recruiter or if you do have a connection in common ask that person to introduce you. Recruiters are probably more inclined to support someone via a referral. We have also seen an increase in videos being sent alongside a CV which we welcome, a nicely done video will make someone stand out in our inboxes!

2. What impresses you in a new candidate in the job market?

Passion for an industry. For example, I will definitely consider someone without direct experience in an industry if say they have a blog, an Instagram following, or a portfolio that is super creative and shows skills/interest in the area they want to go into. The number of times I have had CVs through when the candidate says they specialise in social content or design without attaching a portfolio is abysmal, especially when this small endeavour could really make that person stand out.

3. Do you have any advice about updating your CV and making it stand out?

  • Get the basics correct! Make sure your contact details are up to date!
  • Have a detailed profile summarising your skills, passions, and experience
  • Ensure your CV has all recent work experience including details of responsibilities and achievements
  • State your hobbies; its always amazing to have some personality in your CV and you never know if the reader may share the same interests
  • Summarise areas that may not be relevant anymore

4. How would you describe the current job market in the UAE?

We have experienced a surge in hiring since May, having some record months in the process. Currently, we are seeing a lot of activity and new jobs daily following perhaps a knee jerk reaction from a lot of companies making redundancies earlier on and also a lot of companies re-engineering their strategies. There are opportunities out there for the taking!

5. What is the best way to communicate my pay cut to my next employer?

Unfortunately, a large proportion of companies have implemented pay cuts. To a new employer, you should show understanding of the situation and never speak negatively of a previous employer regardless of how they may have acted. Showing compassion during this situation even when you are moving on shows maturity and integrity to a new employer.

6. How should I be using this time to plan my next career move?

Network, network, network – whilst social distancing of course! Whether that is via LinkedIn and making sure everything is up to date and you are connecting to key decision-makers via direct approaches, ensuring engagement via Facebook groups, connecting with recruiters, or reaching out to friends. I would also highly recommend having target lists with a focus on brands you really admire or would love to work with, having a plan whilst searching for a role is key.

7. I’ve been made redundant, what do I do next?

Don’t panic! Everything is a gift in life and sometimes even the struggles are there to put you on the correct path. We have seen a huge number of people really transform from one industry to another through remaining positive, reaching out to their direct network, being structured in their job hunt, and remaining resilient.

8. What kind of qualities are employers looking for in candidates and employees during this economic crisis? What should I do to stand out?

Flexibility. We are seeing up to 20% reductions in salary and/or temporary salary cuts upon a new employee joining a company. There has also been an increase in ‘trial’ periods where employers can assess if someone is correct for a role before making it official. Remain flexible, work hard, and show true enthusiasm as it is a competitive market out there!

Authored by Nicki Wilson, CEO, Genie Recruitment.

Nicki is the Founder and Managing Director of Genie Recruitment, an international recruitment entrepreneur specialising in the consumer industry. She has placed thousands of people in roles worldwide.


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