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Is the current job market leaving you mentally exhausted?

We talk ‘ghosting’, job rejections and why it’s time for HR to be more ‘Human’

If you haven’t been fortunate enough to be ‘WFH’ over the past year, you may be in the thousands of people struggling to land a role during the pandemic. Unemployment has been at an all-time high and with employers placing many jobs on hold, and a bigger pool of candidates to choose from than ever before, competition is tougher than it’s ever been.

A study from research group Statista shows unemployment is only on the rise. ‘In 2021 the unemployment rate of the United Kingdom is expected to reach 5.6 percent, compared with 4.5 percent in 2020. Unemployment is expected to peak going in 2022, at 5.9 percent as the Coronavirus pandemic continues to impact the UK economy.’ providing an extremely competitive market and leaving many job seekers mentally exhausted.  

Young people under the age of 35 have been hit the worst, with applicants being asked for 3+ years of experience for entry-level roles. And, If you are lucky enough to land an interview, most hiring processes include four, five and even six stages, not to mention tedious tasks, and a hit on salaries before an offer is made.

*Laura 27, a copywriter from Manchester was made redundant due to the pandemic back in March 2020 she tells Debut “I’ve applied to hundreds of roles and had a few interviews where organisations have made me jump through several hoops before sending me a generic rejection letter with no feedback. Not only is it a knock-on confidence but also very time/energy consuming and leaves me feeling deflated’

Laura’s experience resonates with thousands of people across the UK who have taken to social media/LinkedIn to openly express their frustration and at times naming and shaming the organisations responsible.

23-year-old, Jordan Matthews, a Graphic designer from London talks to us about being ‘ghosted’ throughout the application process and why this was probably the worst year ever for her to graduate.

“I’ve been ghosted too many times to even count. It gets you down sometimes when you’re holding out hope for a role. I had an interview for a designer position at a very well-known company. Was told I made the shortlist from 700+ applicants, had the interview and they said they would let me know in a week. I heard nothing.

To be narrowed down from 700 people to five, after meeting you personally via a zoom call and arranging interviews with the Head designer, Directors etc. You would think they would have the respect to just drop an email letting you know you didn’t get the role”

And it doesn’t stop there, not only are organisations completely ignoring candidates who they have interviewed but asking inappropriate and irrelevant, questions.

London based Kate, 34, shares her experience of trying to land a Business Development role ‘It’s been 10 months of unemployment for me and honestly it’s taken a toll on my mental health, I’ve filled out over 500 job applications and when I’ve been lucky to land interviews, I’m faced with unorganised hiring managers, dated interview questions and time-consuming tasks. One of the worst questions I’ve had is ‘Where do you see yourself in 10 years?’ Given that we’re going through a global pandemic where some of us have lost relatives, friends, colleagues, and our freedom, my mind is focused on getting on with today and tomorrow, it’s not easy to think about the next 10 years so probably not the best question to ask right now, also how relevant is this to the role I’ve applied for?”

So what can you do when you feel like giving up, crawling into bed, and never applying for another job? We speak to Career Coach Tracy Short on tips to make sure you are doing all you can to have a better chance of getting employed.

“First tip I’d give anyone is to switch off from the news and focus on what is in your control. Don’t waste time and energy down rabbit holes – you need an action plan! Have you contacted all your favourite and influential people to let them know you’re on the hunt? Have you thought about doing things differently such as working freelance, project work or part-time to tide you over while you look? Have you thought about working with a coach to boost your confidence and job search skills?

Put the effort into your application – it does show. Do your research, prepare, plan and edit. That means no generic answers and no waffle. Ensure your CV is ‘tweaked’ to emphasise you have the skills and experience the job requires and when it comes to sending your CV – include a short cover letter. Try to personalise your letter by finding out the name of the hiring manager. Show that you’ve read and understood the brief by referencing some relevant experience and examples and say why you’re interested. Keep it short and snappy! You can always follow up later with an email but if you pick up the phone you’ll definitely stand out – everyone else relies on messages and email.”

Lastly don’t underestimate the power of your LinkedIn profile. Frankie Torpey, Recruitment Consultant at D&A Recruitment explains ” I think there’s a great opportunity to try and reach out to recruiters and talent acquisition partners on LinkedIn for alternative routes into roles as you can directly discuss with them your skillset and successes within previous roles and that could offer you a much better advantage than your standard application process”

It has been a tough year for anyone who has lost their job and is unemployed, losing hope but the good news is the job market seems to be on the move again and we’re hoping there will be more opportunities opening up in the next few months.

So if you feel like crawling into bed for a day, crying, ranting about it or pulling your hair out at yet ANOTHER rejection letter, do it. But whatever you do, don’t give up.

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