How to get a job at the moment: advice from Jack Johnson

If I was a job seeker right now how would I get a job in Lockdown? Read on. 

In the last few weeks I have spoken with some amazing people who have unfortunately lost either their jobs or have been put on furlough and are at risk.

It's been a long time since I last looked for a job and the last time was way back in 2010 however I have had the pleasure of helping hundreds of people find great careers since then. I have a very unique view and know many would understand my viewpoint or others hopefully take strength on what I say.

We are in very challenging times where jobs year on year are down and processes have slowed down however in many ways you shouldn't focus on that. My viewpoint is that nothing should distract you from your goals.....absolutely nothing. Consistency is key. Whether you are in Good times economically or periods of economic downturn...nothing should distract you. Do what it takes.....Yes stay positive....however focus on your mental toughness and grit. I love to see how people face challenges, as I myself get motivated from facing adversity and in many ways drives me, however I understand people react differently. I get a kick out of.....growing no matter what state the economy is in. I am extremely hopeful ecommerce and digital long term will be a winner in this and those working in this sector will find a lot of opportunity.

I would be dedicating all of my hours to searching for my next role and treating it very much like a job in itself. Let’s be honest here at the moment short term it will be very competitive, there are less jobs, more candidates on the market due to the fact they have been let go when the lockdown came in to place and this doesn't even count all of the other people who will be let go when some companies go under over the coming weeks or when furlough ends.

This week I personally found 3 amazing people new roles. Why did these candidates get the role? They were either headhunted or they applied for the jobs as well as messaging and calling me. As a candidate at the moment you need to be everywhere, why else would someone get in touch with you when they have two other people around the corner with the same skillset they can call upon? 

How To Give Yourself the Best Chance?

A) Build relationships with the best recruiters in the market. The market is still crowded, over populated. Clients will still want to speak to trusted recruiters who can save them time to shortlist and speak to the higher number of candidates looking. If a client is recruiting at the moment they must most likely be in a busy sector and stretched so saving time and doing their job for them is key. The placements we have made in the past 5 weeks have been some of the most straightforward recruitment we have had, where clients are heavily relying on us to recommend and drastically shorten the process. Be front of mind for the BEST recruiters. Call them introduce, make a good impression, show hunger, show commitment and regularly catch up and mix it with email / text/ WhatsApp / LinkedIn.

B) Spruce up your LinkedIn and CV. Ask your most trusted recruiter to help you or if you want to put some money towards it potentially ask a professional CV writer. I am not keen on this however a lot of people are doing this at the moment and have seen some good results. You should be able to sell yourself. Selling yourself should be the easiest thing you can do and right now some people are going to extra-terrestrial levels to get in front of the right people right now, that alone should drive you and your competitive side. If you need any help on this I can schedule time with anyone who wants free help. If you don't take me up on this ask yourself if you are going above and beyond to do whatever it takes! I'm an introvert by nature and understand the challenges of pushing yourself to be more vocal......what has helped me is to set out plans, be busy and focus on the action and not concentrate on thinking too much/being over analytical.

C) If you can't find a job to give you money right now, or you're not benefiting from furlough and you can't wait any longer - Create a business. Follow where the money is going and if you can mix it with a passion even better.

D) A lot of employers in the next few months will be asking prospective candidates what did you do during this time? How will you want to be answering this question especially when you know you will be against other candidates in future processes? Will you be someone who spent all of their time with your family and spent quality time which you haven't had for years . Or will you be the person who spent quality time with your family and did a specific course to help you gain knowledge, did pro bono work for clients you approached off your own back, wrote weekly articles for online publications reviewing ongoing trends, listened to podcasts, read industry books, listened to audio books, helped businesses and old colleagues in an advisory capacity - the list goes on.

E) Post regularly on LinkedIn, twitter etc. Push your personal brand. If the same people like your posts - change your content and think how you can reach potential employers and recruiters. You need to be providing insight and enough interest for other circles of people to know who you are and click your profile. Obviously you will have on your LinkedIn profile or twitter that you are looking for a new role. 

F) Spend the time to make sure your LinkedIn presentation is amazing.

If you are a leader in Digital looking for your next role, have the variety of job titles you would be suited for listed somewhere near the bottom of your LinkedIn summary. A lot of recruiters on the back end of LinkedIn recruiter and job boards search just the job titles and not the skill set. This brings you up closer to the top of the searches increasing your chances of being noticed FIRST. One of the candidates we placed this week was on the first page of the search results, was messaged first, was spoken to first, their cv went over to the client first, interviewed first.....he was against a few other people however he got the job.

G) Apply for jobs on LinkedIn, Reed, Indeed etc however most are getting 10's if not 100's of applications within a day. This shows how important it is to contact the hiring manager over LinkedIn to arrange a call after you have applied. If they haven't replied in a couple of days follow up again. Also watch out for adverts on LinkedIn those with a logo next to them are newly published and those without have been scrapped from other places and most often old.

H) Make a list of your network, old university friends, school, past work colleagues, brief meetings with people. Contact them, set up video calls and get advice, further recommendations with people in their network or possible contract/permanent roles within their organisation.

I) SME's are under immense strain at the moment however I am seeing a lot more movement within small to mid-size businesses where blockers to recruit are not present and tend to be businesses in high performing sectors.

J) Larger business are in some cases furloughing 100's of staff and to recruit on a permanent basis isn't possible unless business critical. Set yourself up for contract roles. Set yourself a target. If your LinkedIn connections are 5,000 make sure by the end of the month they are doubled. Start messaging people who would be in positions to recruit someone like you. Message them and talk about your availability and possibility to work in any under resourced areas and arrange a call.


It's about the extra margins. Even if the margin by doing each step is 0.5% then following all of them will increase the chance of you getting noticed and getting the role by % right?

You may ask yourself the question if everyone who is reading this implements all of these points doesn't this give you more competition again as you are working against individuals doing the same thing as you? Unfortunately not. Only a select few would action all of this....Don't worry. It takes high levels of action and commitment to do all of this however my advice is to be one of the one's to follow through. To do and get things you want in a difficult setting you have to do what others won't do. As mentioned in a linkedin post yesterday the following people on linkedin were open to opportunities in London as of Sunday 26th of April:

  • 509 Leaders in Ecommerce are open to opportunities in London alone
  • 528 Ecommerce Managers are open to opportunities in London alone
  • 515 Digital Directors are open to opportunities in London alone
  • 570 Digital Marketing Managers are open to opportunities in London alone 

How are you going to make sure you are in the upper quartile of those being approached for jobs first? 

The extra special thing is if you do this, would you also take it a step further to develop yourself further with similar levels of action when the good times return? Thats the dream isn't it? However the feeling of being in total charge of your situation and not leaving it to chance is the most rewarding outcome. Setting an example to your future self.

And remember this is short term: Ecommerce and Digital is going to be more important than ever and all of you amazing people will be hot in demand. 

Written by Jack Johnson


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