Facing redundancy? Here’s how to turn COVID into the skill recruiters are looking for

There’s been a significant increase in notices of at-risk jobs and redundancies over the past six weeks, with many more expected to follow as the furlough scheme stutters to an end. If you’re facing redundancy, you’re certainly not alone – and that means one thing: competition. 

While industries such as hospitality, leisure and tech are emerging from lockdown with open vacancies in Milton Keynes and beyond, the number of active job seekers has also multiplied, substantially.

Figures from June show there were more than 30 unemployed candidates per local vacancy, and last week’s headline coverage of the 1,000 applications for a receptionist post isn’t a unique story. 

If you’re job seeking through the pandemic, it’s more critical than ever to stand out with the right skills, experience and capabilities – and there’s one quality in particular that employers are looking for in their post-COVID workforce: adaptability. 

Adaptability – the top skill for 2020

Adaptability is the skill of being able to read new circumstances quickly and adjust accordingly to secure the best outcome. It’s a skill commonly listed in job advertisements and descriptions, often clocked under the buzzwords of flexibility, versatility, fast-paced environments, and change management. 

However, since COVID, adaptability has jumped from a desirable quality to an essential skill, with recruiters actively seeking candidates that demonstrate this hot for 2020 talent. 

Why? Well, the companies, departments and teams that faired well during the lockdown are those that responded quickly, adjusted accordingly and found ways to minimise (and in some cases commercialise) the effects of the pandemic. And businesses want in on that action. 

How to develop, nurture and showcase adaptability

Listing adaptability on your CV isn’t good enough – you must demonstrate it to potential employers using examples and achievements. 

To understand what adaptability looks like in practice and start developing this skill, let’s look at four common habits of adaptable people. 

1. Treating change as an opportunity

Adaptable people adopt a positive outlook. That doesn’t mean your initial reaction isn’t one of loss, frustration or sadness, but it does mean you quickly recognise and turn that reaction into a positive mindset. For example, redundancy isn’t ideal but when you begin viewing it as an opportunity to advance your career, change direction, take time out or welcome new challenges, more doors open. 

Get into the habit of approaching new situations with questions such as: What could I learn? How can I benefit? What can I do to secure the best outcome?

2. Networking, networking and more networking

Adaptable people treat networking as an investment, making industry connections that they can call upon during times of change or challenge. This could be for expertise, advice, introductions or recommendations. 

Invest time into expanding and nurturing a wide network of connections by attending networking events, seeking out different expertise, getting to know people, providing help and keeping in touch. 

3. Turning learning into a habit

We don’t need to tell you the importance of continued professional development, but we do need to remind you to do it. A top adaptability tip is turning learning into a habit so you are adequately prepared for different situations. 

Schedule regular time in your diary to polish your hard skills, practice your soft skills and read up on what’s happening in the industry and world – remember, adaptability is about being able to quickly read signals of change too. 

4. Being comfortable with the uncomfortable

A strong trait of successful people is being comfortable with uncomfortable situations and this is developed by frequently stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying new things. The more time you spend challenging yourself with different situations, the more you learn how to handle, respond and even like them. 

Whether it’s signing up for an online course, trying a new class at the gym or jumping out of a plane – start making friends with the uncomfortable. 

How we can help

If you want to develop your adaptability skills, now is the perfect time. Face you redundancy with positively and turn it into an opportunity by getting in touch for free careers advice and vacancy matching. 

And, if you want to discuss how you can recruit for adaptability in your next recruitment drive, contact our partnership manager. 

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