How coronavirus has developed new opportunities
Over the past few months, the way that employees work has changed dramatically. Not just because many more people are now working from home, but because the very nature of the work may have changed instantly.
We’ve read numerous stories of local pubs, restaurants, and cafes turning themselves into thriving community hubs. And last month, it was reported that “Project Wingman” had created thriving airport-style lounges in many NHS hospitals where cabin crew were on hand to offer a first-class service to hard-working NHS staff. With so much creative thinking taking place across the country, perhaps in years to come, we’ll start to view coronavirus as the catalyst for change.
With this in mind, we’re taking a brief look at some of the ways that coronavirus has developed new opportunities for employees, and how they can make the most of these in their next job search.
Coronavirus has significantly changed marketing
Those working in marketing and PR roles may have found themselves still capable of working throughout the pandemic. After all, the roles are set up for remote working and effective communication has been more important than ever. But how has coronavirus changed the work itself?
Firstly, it’s created new challenges for communication teams. They’ve had to focus upon explaining to stakeholders how they are adapting businesses to the new normal, as well as focussing heavily upon internal communications to support staff. They’ve also had to adapt to changing consumer behaviours. For example, with the closure of retail shops, clothing brand Marks and Spencer have had to refocus their entire marketing budget to online communications, and as a result have cut their budget by £50m.
Marketing Week columnist Mark Kitson believes that the coronavirus has allowed teams to revisit their strategic thinking:
“Companies have a chance to repair the business. This is a strategic gift…
This is the time to look at killing brands or restructuring departments and then revisiting budgets for 2021. This year is over from a strategic point of view.”
Mark Kitson, Marketing Week
For those working in PR roles, they will be aware of the importance of positive reputations and we can anticipate that the general public will remember for many years to come, how brands (and individuals) have acted throughout the virus. Those who have been widely praised (such as The Body Coach, Joe Wicks, or Martin Lewis from MoneySavingExpert) will carry that goodwill with them for many years to come, whilst brands who have received criticism (such as Sports Direct or Virgin Atlantic) may find that they struggle to regain the trust of consumers. PR professionals may find that they have to change their approach when it comes to planned PR campaigns as they adapt to how consumers react to brands post-coronavirus.
HR teams have more challenges than most
The swift move towards remote working alongside changing policies and guidelines has meant that HR teams have had to react to a wealth of issues. From refining onboarding and recruitment strategies to implementing social distancing regulations and coping with administrative duties as part of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (aka furlough), we could argue that no one has had to deal with more challenges than HR professionals.
But these changes could bring greater opportunities as we return to a new variation of normality. The success of remote working may see more firms choose to implement flexible working practices – this could give HR teams the opportunity to trial new policies and test comprehensive HR software to monitor and track productivity. As a catalyst for change, HR teams can use coronavirus as an opportunity to review and update any outdated policies and transform their role into something more aligned to strategic business support.
Administrative support can be managed virtually
Whilst virtual assistants are common within the freelance market, we know that traditionally those who employ executive assistants have preferred for admin staff to be office based. The coronavirus has shown that with remote working technologies, administrative support can be handled externally. Many firms may have invested in Office 365, and the new suite of Microsoft products is designed specifically for collaborative working. For those without access to Microsoft Teams, the popularity of video conferencing tool Zoom has also proved popular and has been a valuable resource for those who need to have face-to-face discussions as part of their administrative roles.
Looking to the future, we may anticipate that more administrative support will be handled remotely, or with increased flexi-time. For those who have other responsibilities outside of the workplace, these new opportunities could ensure greater work-life balance.
How to make the most of these new opportunities on your CV
If an employee has found that their role has changed significantly in recent months (perhaps they’ve taken on more responsibilities, or been brought into new projects) then it’s wise to consider how to incorporate these onto your CV.
Whilst CVs should be kept short and concise, there should be an opportunity to outline key responsibilities and career highlights. If an employee has picked up new skills over the past few months, then these should be highlighted and referenced within an interview. For example, if an employee was able to project manage a new way of working or was asked to take on additional responsibilities to cover for a colleague then this should be highlighted. In an interview situation, hiring managers are always looking for those who can respond to a crisis; for those who can adapt and are problem solvers.
Therefore, it’s almost inevitable that interviewers will start to ask job seekers how they worked during the pandemic and what they learnt from their experience.
This may now form a crucial part of future interview preparation. Potential employees may want to consider how to answer this question, giving examples of any volunteering work that they may have done (perhaps they were part of the NHS volunteer network) or whether they picked up any new skills or if different working patterns made them more productive.