How adapting to change can increase your job opportunities

By Robert Half on 7 September 2020

Change can be unpleasant but it’s also the fastest route to job search success. When you have the ability to adapt or reframe your skill set, you open yourself up to a wide range of job roles you may not have considered.

Robert Half UK Managing Director, Matt Weston interviewed a panel of experts as part of our ongoing Your Future webinar series. Our panel featured Emma Howard (HR Professional), Sheryl Miller (Transformation Director, Career Coach, Author) Janet Moran (Owner of The CV House), and Robert Half Director, Gareth Gage.

They offer advice on how to recognise and adapt to the change curve, so you can appeal to the widest spectrum of opportunity available.

Webinar: YOUR SKILLS - Recognising the opportunity

Creative thinking reveals new potential

Recognising potential opportunities requires a much freer way of thinking and when you’re feeling stuck in place, this can be a challenge.

There are three ways to break your normal thought pattern and unearth new opportunities:

1) Explore your options with someone trusted

Reach out to old bosses, colleagues or recruitment consultants (like those at Robert Half) and gain a fresh perspective on the potential opportunities available to you.

2) Reimagine the future

Rely on reputable industry research (such as Deloitte, EY or Robert Half) to open your eyes to the future of business, within your industry and beyond. This will help you see how your role might be developed and which areas have the potential to yield opportunities for you.

3) Break out of your routine

When we change our routine, we also have the potential to change our thought pattern.

Sheryl says: “Literally just change the direction that you're going in. That will start to get the creative juices flowing and you'll potentially start to come up with some different options. Do something to get the brain into a far more creative space.”

Approach your job search with an open mind

If you’ve found yourself searching for a job out of necessity rather than desire, your panic may affect your ability to clearly assess new opportunities.

“The more panicked and the more stressed we get, the more rigid we get around what we're looking at,” Emma says. “If you've turned down jobs because they haven't been perfect, then that's an indication you're really in distress.”

She recommends approaching your job search with a clear idea of what you’d be open to and a more flexible outlook on which roles might fall into that category.

Use structure to stay focused

In circumstances where you have felt completely out of control, introducing structure into your job search can empower you to make better decisions about your future.

“Have a clear idea of what it is you're aiming for, know what your tactics are going to be and give yourself some time out to be active,” Janet says.

“Don't just spend all your time sitting staring at your laptop firing off applications, because a scattergun approach just doesn't work. You'd probably be far better off going for a nice walk.”

Don’t limit yourself to permanent roles

Interim assignments present a wealth of new job opportunities and can add value and add skills that you may not already have on your CV.

If you’re a heavyweight or have a skill set that isn’t an exact match for the role, be sure to provide context in your cover letter when sending your CV or job application.

Gareth says, “it's absolutely fine to apply for something that you feel you're relevant for, even if your skill set doesn't match.”

“What you really need to do is be able to articulate why you're applying. There will be a reason as to why you think you're relevant for that job, even if your CV is not.”

Learn to be skill smart when pivoting

Job search success will depend on how smartly you can leverage your existing skill set and how willing you are to learn new things.

There are several ways you can realistically achieve this:

  • Upskill using free eLearning courses.
  • Demonstrate an interest in new areas using extra-curricular hobbies and volunteer work.
  • Reverse engineer your CV so it follows a skills-led format rather than role-led.
  • Collect feedback from friends and colleagues regarding your natural skills and areas for improvement.

“I think we're going to start seeing a shift in terms of sector specificity. People are going to be more open,” says Emma. “Build that experience, build the links and really articulate it in your CV and your cover letter.”

“The amount of people who have asked me for advice and when I talk to them, it usually transpires that they have one CV that they’re sending out for every single job,” says Gareth.

“You definitely will have some transferable skills and gained some skills in the past which makes you a good fit for the job that you’re applying for. You can use that to tailor the CV to the job and really grab attention.”

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