How to find a new job during the pandemic

How to find a new job during the pandemic

You might be surprised to discover that a pandemic might not be the worst time to look for a new job. While some industries are having to lose workers, others are hiring. A quick search through LinkedIn or using the hashtags #nowhiring and #hiring should give you a good idea as to what jobs are around.

If you have lost your job as a result of Covid-19 or you were looking for a new role in FM when the crisis hit, don’t give up - just follow these tips for job hunting during a pandemic.

Be job search ready

Now’s the time to undertake these three essential tasks:

- Update your CV, tweaking it for any job you apply for
- Write a cover letter that gets you noticed
- Update your profile on LinkedIn

And upgrade your online job searches:

- Set job alerts
- Use relevant hashtags to search
- Organise your job search for a smoother result

Research the job market

A quick look around and at the news will tell you who’s doing well post lockdown and what sectors to avoid. Travel, food and entertainment have all been hard hit by social distancing. But food and retail, healthcare and cleaning services are thriving which could present a good match up with your facilities management skills.

For businesses that have emerged from lockdown relatively unscathed, tapping into new talent is a priority. Not only are organisations looking for more workers, but they’re looking to onboard fast, so make sure you’re available to move as quickly as possible.

Become a remote worker

Covid-19 has pushed many organisations towards a swift digital transformation, making remote working more attainable and attractive than ever. It’s a particularly good option if you’ve been cocooning or you’re uncertain about a return to your old ways of working. All you need is an internet connection to search for, and land, those work from home jobs. Try searching the top job sites for freelance and telecommute jobs. Or try some of the more niche job search sites that deal with the gig economy.

If you can work from home you may have a better chance than ever of getting a job. If you can solve an organisation’s hiring problems then let them know your most valuable qualifications upfront.

Get interview ready

The chances are you’ll be interviewed via video so take the time to get to know how Zoom and Skype work. It may be a learning curve but practising your interview techniques and the way you present yourself on camera can be critical to getting hired. Pay attention to your choice of outfit, lighting and background - Zoom lets you select a suitably professional backdrop.

Upgrade your networks

Networking doesn’t depend on face to face for success so make the most of socials including LinkedIn and Facebook. Take some time to endorse former colleagues or offer to help friends with tasks such as proofreading their CV and cover letter. You can also take the time to upgrade your own skillset through online courses then polish up your profile.

Key takeaways

Just because there’s a pandemic doesn’t mean businesses aren’t hiring. Take the time to get job search and interview-ready and remember that these are challenging times for all so be prepared for when that new job lands.


New year's career resolutions to make in 2020

New year's career resolutions to make in 2020!

Want to make your career in facilities management shine in 2020? You need to decide on realistic goals that can be achieved in a timely fashion throughout the coming year. If you want to start moving on and moving up, then these are the top career resolutions to make now.

Get into learning mode

Been doing the same FM job for a while and starting to coast? Now’s the time to switch your brain into learning mode and adopt a growth mindset. Even if the things you learn don’t directly relate to your skill set, it’s the attitude that matters.

Make an impact

Want to gain maximum visibility? Then pick the big high profile FM projects and make your contribution felt. Create your own opportunities rather than waiting to be invited to climb the next rung of the career ladder. Get some clarity on what you need to do to be considered for promotion and take steps to get there.

Step outside your comfort zone

Don’t get stuck in a rut. Make 2020 the year that you stretch your role and show some initiative. Whether you seek out a different role in one of the big facilities management projects on your patch or come up with your own ideas and find ways to implement them, taking on some new responsibilities is a cast-iron way to gain experience and become more valuable to your company.

Build a great relationship with your boss

When it comes to advancing your career, fostering a great relationship with your boss is paramount. Managing up is a smart strategy for developing that relationship, so find out what issues are keeping them up at night and find ways to ease the burden. Help your boss to hit their goals and chances are they’ll be more motivated to help you hit yours. Whatever the financial or performance targets they need to hit, be around to help them achieve their goals.

Manage across your team

When you’re working on team projects, the way you interact with your colleagues can make or break the chances of success. Always give credit where it’s due and make the effort to engage and build rapport. Giving emotional support can help you work as a team more effectively and build more meaningful and productive relationships in the long term.

Communicate better

One of the quickest ways to improve your profile is to improve your communication skills. Return calls and emails promptly, keep your colleagues updated, ask them about their own progress and projects and give thanks and credit where it’s due. If you’re going to be unavailable, let people know in a timely fashion.

Be open to new possibilities

Want to move up or move on in FM? Whether you’re happy or not in your current position, you should always have one eye out for new possibilities. See something that’s a good fit and you could open up a whole new career avenue so make sure your CV is up to date and uploaded.

Create a work-life balance

If you're miserable and demotivated at work then your career is liable to stall. Make this the year that you claw back some time for friends and family and don’t forget to take those holiday days to rebalance your life and career.


Blog - Catch 22

Is it time for a career pivot?

Have you hit a plateau in your career? Then you could be due a career pivot. If you’re ready to take a risk then why not make a confident and intentional career change that takes you in a new but related direction.

Do I need a career pivot?

Feeling that you’re due a career change can be as simple as not wanting to get up and do your job in the morning. If that sounds like you, then be on the lookout for a lack of engagement with your work or feeling low in energy and enthusiasm. If you’re staying on your present career path simply because of the money and the job title, it could be time to pivot.

Inventory your strengths and skills

Before you start seriously pursuing new career goals, it’s time to take an inventory. What are the transferable strengths and skills and the value-adds you bring to your current position? What are the skills you’ll need for your pivot in facilities management? Where are the gaps in your knowledge?

You’ll need to complete this process before moving on to the next step.

Work on filling the gaps

If you’re looking to pivot within facilities management, you need to sharpen up your skillset. You may need to take a related qualification or hone your communication skills. If you work as an FM, you’re in the right place to start your own skills bootcamp by asking the right questions and meeting the right people. If you want to get into facilities management, start working on your knowledge gap by reading websites and trade publications.

Formulate your pivot plan

Creating a plan with measurable milestones will help you to pinpoint the right time to pivot. Consider the following metrics:

- Financial goals: set goals for savings or money earned before you commit to the pivot
- Progress checkpoints: set goals for your accomplishments as you move towards your pivot point - the number of clients you’ve accrued or the projects you’d like to accomplish
- Data based planning: set a target date for acquiring new skills and exploring what’s involved in your career pivot
- Gut instincts: If you feel that you’re ready to move or you can’t stay in the same career any longer, you’re ready to make the pivot

Take time to update

Now you’re ready to update, set aside the time to do the following:

- Revise your CV to take in new skills, experience and qualifications
- Maximise your LinkedIn profile
- Order new business cards
- Continue to familiarise yourself with your new dream job title and industry
- Review and revisit your elevator pitch to include your new skillset

Take the leap

Letting go of your safety net will never be completely risk-free, however well prepared you are. But it’s worth remembering how you felt when you got into your career in the first place and were hungry to establish yourself. Use that energy and enthusiasm to say yes to everything, no matter how small.

Your career pivot can take time and will require reserves of resilience. But once you make the move you’ll find yourself taking chances and by moving out of your comfort zone, you’ll give yourself the opportunity to let your skills and strengths do the talking.


Signs that you're ready for a new job

Signs that you're ready for a new job

How is it that on the weekends, you can wake up naturally at the crack of dawn, shower, get the kids ready and be all packed up in the car ready for a fun family day out? Yet by Monday morning, you’re hitting that snooze button harder than a cricketer hitting a six.

If this resonates with you, it could be time to consider your next career move. Feeling unenthusiastic and down about work is one of the first signs that you’re unhappy and ready to burn out.

It could be possible to relight the excitement you felt when you first started your job. If you’ve allowed your disappointments to mount up, you could try to tackle some of the issues you’re facing and make positive changes. Conversely, you may have learned from previous jobs that you’ve already gone too far down the road to turn back.

Either way, here are some things to consider before you update your CV and start to circulate it amongst your favorite recruitment agencies:

Signs that you’re ready for a new job:

• As you’re setting your alarm in the evenings, you get that overwhelming feeling of dread. When the morning comes, you are not motivated to get out of bed and find yourself pressing snooze as many times as you feel you can get away with.

• Both leaving the house early and arriving home late are getting in the way of much-valued family time. Your work commitments are beginning to have a negative impact on your social life and on relationships with friends and family.

• You’re fed up of the commute. Sitting in traffic for long periods of time at both sides of the day is making you resent your job.

• Your workload is expanding and you’re feeling overloaded. You’ve been given more responsibility, but you have not been given the financial compensation that should come with it.

• You no longer feel challenged and you’re bored. The long working day is becoming a drag.

• Your impeccable sickness record is suffering, and your level of absenteeism is increasing. You’re feeling stressed which is causing health issues.

• Your manager lacks motivation and support which is letting the team down. You feel they won’t be going anywhere fast and have concerns about personal progression.

• The company isn’t moving with the times which is affecting sales; you’d prefer to work with a forward-thinking company and a more innovative team.

• You feel that opportunities to grow both personally and within the company are limited.

• You don’t feel like you fit in with the company culture and want to work somewhere with like-minded people who have the same objectives as you.

• You receive your first negative appraisal, which could indicate your dissatisfaction and lack of enthusiasm at work is not going unnoticed.

If you can relate to one or more of the above, you may be ready for a new challenge where you can set goals and push yourself to reach them. Now could be the perfect time to grab a new opportunity with both hands and get that spring back into your step.


artificial intelligence

Ensure your CV gets past the AI recruitment robots with these tips

If you’re looking for a job these days, you need to know what an ATS is. It’s an applicant tracking system. Despite its very dull name, it’s a bot you need to know about so that you can stop it from filtering out your CV before it ever gets in front of a human being.

These artificial intelligence (AI) bots are working at a slightly more sophisticated level than simply scanning for keywords. They’re able to consider context as well (a bit like a Google search). But they can still be led in the right direction by applicants who know what they’re doing. The important thing is to ensure that the CV still makes sense to the human who reviews it, once it’s got past the bot.

Five hints for bot-proof CVs

1. Make the title big and bold
It should either state the position you want, or make a powerful statement about who you are and what you offer. Limit the text to about 20 words and use a larger font.

2. There’s still a place for keywords
Add a couple of bullet points near the beginning about your expertise. These should contain your most significant keywords. For a facilities management job, you could use those two words, followed by FM in brackets afterwards.

Next, use a “Skills and Attributes” or similar section, to cluster all the keywords that you want the bot to pick up, and the recruiter to focus on later. But remember that you may need to explain why you have included them - so don’t be random. Put your strongest words first, followed by any secondaries.

You can give the keywords some context by providing a couple of concise examples of projects or work achievements that demonstrate how you embody the keyword or have applied it to achieve success.

3. Ensure that you unpack acronyms
For example, if you’ve helped the organisation to redefine its KPIs, write “Key Performance Objectives (KPIs). Note - don’t use a comma before the final s!

4. Don’t overestimate the bot’s cleverness
For example, to a human it’s obvious that a cool graphic box with some focused text looks great. To a bot, this looks like a picture and it may just ignore the entire box. So don’t confuse the poor bot with one-off graphics or original layouts. It’s not that bright.

5. Beat the bot by networking with a recruiter
Recruiters know where the jobs are, when they’re coming up, who’s running the recruitment campaign and so on. It’s their job to gather this business intelligence, and if you’re canny, you’ll make sure that you exploit that by talking to a recruiter. It can save you an awful lot of time and help you focus your CV writing efforts so that you get the best results.

Not only that, but the recruiters know how the bots work, and can advise you if there are items on your CV that are causing it to get thrown out early on, in the automatic sifting.

That’s not something that any bot is going to do for you!


Checklist

Tips on switching careers into FM

ChecklistIf you're thinking about switching to a career in facilities management, try the self-assessment questions below, to give yourself the best chance of success. 

1. What interests you, what can you do, and what do you value? 
Try to answer these questions as honestly as you can, because they are key to building insight into what motivates you and makes you tick. You can also try the questions in reverse - what bores you, what are you bad at, and what do you think is not worthwhile? But focus more strongly on the positive versions because you’ll need to keep positive for your job search and career change. 

2. Why are you dissatisfied with your current job?
Again, you’re developing insights which will help you to decide on your future direction. It can help to keep a work diary (not on a work PC!). Use the diary entries to figure out whether it's the company’s culture, your particular role, or the people you work with that are making you want to seek new opportunities. 

3. Which FM job would be right for you?
Facilities management covers a range of activities, in a very diverse set of environments and companies. Try looking at a recruitment site, and checking the job descriptions for FM jobs, noting down the kind of role that appeals to you. 

4. Start building your network
Try and make contact with people in your chosen slice of facilities management. Read the trade press, go to trade shows, or respond to blogs written by specialists in the industry. 

5. You probably have access to an FM professional already
You could start by talking to the facilities people in the building you currently work in. It’s amazing how much useful business intelligence on opportunities and companies you can gather through casual conversations. 

6. Explore online 
Use job networking sites such as LinkedIn, and social media such as Instagram and Facebook, to identify anyone working in the industry that you may be able to contact discreetly. Don’t say that you’re looking to change career unless you are ready to move job, because your current employer may see the post. 

7. Start thinking about your CV
When you read online job descriptions, start thinking about aspects of your experience that would be relevant, even though you’ve been in a different industry. For example, team leading, working with people and planning are widely applicable.

8. Get qualified
At the very least, find out what qualifications you would need. Many employers will send staff on courses - take a look at the qualifications most often requested in job ads that interest you and gain any pre-entry certificates that you need.

9. Start to move in the new direction
If you’re offered training in your current job, try and make it something that would be relevant to your potential FM career - a project management qualification is always a good option. 

10. If necessary, use a stepping stone
You may not be able to get to the job you want in one step. You may need to move sideways or to take a role in FM that will give you the experience you need to qualify for the job you really want.


networking

These networking tips will help you to land your next job

If you’re not using networking to get your next job, why don’t you spend the extra free time you have, writing a letter to Mark Zuckerberg explaining that the whole networking thing doesn’t work, so you won’t be using it anytime soon. Instead, you’ve decided to stay in your room plugging away at a CV, aimed at an organisation that just gave their best job to someone they met through their networks.

Alternatively, you could give yourself a chance, and network. This doesn’t mean you have to spend every evening on the white wine and Pringles circuit. It’s simply that you need to get known and let people know that you’re available. These days, there are lots of different ways to do that.

Take a look at these four key tips for using networking to get the job you really want...

1. Get business cards printed

You can’t expect people you meet at an event to find a pen to write down your email address or mobile number. So get a business card printed with your name and contact information on it. Then they can either take a card, or capture it with their mobile. Don’t make up a job title, if you haven’t got a job yet, or you’re working below the level you’re aiming for. Just tell the person you have a card - they’ll be impressed by how organised you are.

2. Find the events that feature your kind of firms
You need to get talking to people, so if you want to get into facilities management, attending trade shows can be a real network game changer. Dress for the organisation you want to impress, make for the stand, and start talking to people. Even if it doesn’t result in an immediate call, if you then apply for a job via their website and get an interview, you can use this as proof that you’ve wanted to work for the company for some time. (You needn’t tell them you did the same thing with 20 other companies at that trade show).

3. Networking isn’t always social
There’s a lot of networking that takes place away from social networks, even work-based networks like Linkedin. Look for webinars that feature major names or firms in the areas that interest you. For example, say you want to get into Facilities Management. The British Institute of Facilities Managers has a bunch of relevant webinars on its website - https://www.bifm.org.uk/bifm/Qualifications/studysupport/Webinars.

If there are comment boxes, use them to make yourself known. Say that you were really interested in and that this is an area you hope to work in. Ask for advice. Most people are happy to give it. If you don’t want to comment, remember that it helps when networking in real life, if you have things to talk about that are relevant to the industry and recent. This will help you get over any natural reticence.

4. Use all the social networks
Finally, remember to cover all the bases, with LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, to make sure you don’t miss any opportunities.


Light Bulb on book

Why FM job seekers need to understand the role of sustainability in the role

In the past, facilities managers often only needed to take a short-term view. Leak on the fifth floor? We’ll get someone up there... But that kind of simple, operationally-based approach is no longer enough to satisfy potential employers. If you want to progress in this industry today, you need to show that you understand sustainability, and how profoundly it affects what facilities management is all about. 

The FM scope has widened significantly

One of the challenges for people building a career in FM is to understand how much the scope of the function has increased. It’s no longer just about providing a managed workplace. Many clients want their building to showcase their values - demonstrating in physical terms that they are an environmentally sensitive and responsible business. And of course, in energy saving terms, this also makes economic sense. 
The facilities manager has to be prepared to get to grips with solar heating, wind turbines in the grounds, battery storage of energy and so on. It’s not that every office block has these - it’s that they are now within the scope of facilities management. It doesn’t matter so much whether you have practical experience of these systems - but you do need to be aware of them and show that you’re willing to learn about them. Reading the FM trade press - online obviously - is a great way to be well informed about what leading-edge companies are doing in this area. Because what is considered “out there” to begin with has a way of trickling down and becoming normal a few years later. We’re in a period of enormous change in the way we relate to our environment, and you’ll need to show awareness of this. 

Employees are driving some developments

Another area that would not have entered the heads of old school facilities managers is internal pollution. Yet this is a growing area of concern for employees. Just as external pollution has resulted in an effort to reduce emissions, concerns over internal air quality are resulting in changes to air conditioning and ventilation systems. 
Similarly, people now work differently - with many people working at home more often, and visiting the office sporadically, a sustainable building needs to be flexible, and easy to reconfigure for different types of employee groups. 

Roofscapes and gardens

Many office blocks have unused space around the ground floor and on the roof. In the past, it was a simple matter of getting the grounds person to mow the lawn and planting a few nondescript shrubs. 
Now, companies are using their green space to encourage sustainability initiatives, such as bee-friendly planting. Rooftops are being turned into herb and vegetable gardens, often with the product being used in the company cafeteria

Be ready with your own ideas

Imagine that you’re going for an interview, for a job you really want, as facilities manager for a large office block with some grounds, in a city centre. The candidates are shown around and given information about the building. It’s your turn to be interviewed. Imagine that the director turns to you and asks: “What would you do to make this building more sustainable in the long term?”
It’s a key question. So could you answer it?


cv writing tips

The top steps to creating a perfect facilities CV

 

cv writing tips

So you want to move upwards and build your career in facilities management? The first thing you’ll need to do is put a great CV together, so you get through the sifting process that employers use to narrow down the field of candidates. So follow these 5 tips to impress the facilities management firm you’ve got your eye on.

1. Keep it short
Two pages are OK - but one is better. Apart from anything else, it shows that you can boil a lot of information down into the key points. You don’t need the full postal address of schools or colleges. If you get to the stage where references and qualifications are being checked, then you may need to supply the information. So the name of the school, college or employer, town and postcode are fine. This should keep the information to one line.

2. Use formatting to help readers scan and skim
Make sure that the information is presented in an organised format and aligned. This gives an impression of method and neatness and makes it easier for recruiters to quickly scan through the information.

In the same vein, before you press Send - make sure everything has been spell checked! Nothing gives a poorer impression than a CV full of errors, no matter how great your work experience or qualifications are.

3. Make it specific to the job or employer
If you’ve seen a job advertised for a maintenance manager, for example, and it asks for CVs, make sure your CV is angled to the specific post being advertised. Play up all the kinds of experience you have that makes you a great candidate for this kind of job. Don’t forget to include soft skills such as being good at motivating people, or having good organisational skills.

4. Use the personal statement to the good effect
One way to point out your relevant experience is in a short personal statement - and that means one paragraph. You might want to point out that your current post requires you to prioritise and set goals, and that this would help you to be effective in the post being advertised.

5. Be honest
Don’t make up experience you haven’t got. Even if being dishonest gets you a job, you may fail due to not having the right experience. Or you may be a huge success until the day the head of HR asks you to step into the office, to tell you that you’re sacked because your credentials don’t check out.

Similarly, if there are gaps in your CV, as long as you can explain them in a way that satisfies a potential employer, they needn’t be a deal-breaker. People often say that they took time out to travel, write a novel, try and make it in the music industry or whatever. Just don’t use one of these explanations to hide a difficult truth - it will almost certainly come out at some point.

Follow these guidelines and you’re ahead of the pack when the recruiter starts sifting through those CVs.


Blog - Catch 22

5 reasons to attend a careers fair

It can be pretty daunting to start looking around at the world of work when you're finishing school or even college. There is such a range of employers, courses apprenticeships and other options, it's difficult to know where to begin. A careers fair is a great way of doing some research quickly, because lots of different companies and providers will be gathered together in one place and you'll get the chance to ask questions. Here are the top five benefits you'll get from going to a careers fair.

1. Get the inside info

A careers fair is a great way to find out about jobs and apprenticeship opportunities that haven't even been advertised yet. If you make a good impression, talking to the employer on the stand is a great way to get remembered by them, if you decide to apply. Some organisations will even make sure that there are current trainees or apprentices on hand to give you a real insight into what it's like to work there.

2. Great networking opportunities

Just letting people know that you're interested and giving them your details can have results. Equally important is to collect names as you go around the hall talking to people. If you do decide later that you want to apply to a company, you have a named person as your contact.

3. There’s nothing like meeting people face-to-face

It's amazing how you can get the wrong impression about an organisation or company, despite all their advertising and PR. You may find that a potential employer you were seriously considering is much too formal for you - if you're an informal kind of person, a clue would be that every single person on the stand is wearing a full business suit. The opposite can happen too. A company or a career that you might not have been considering actually looks a lot more interesting when you get the opportunity to take a look at what really happens. Facilities management is a good example, as people often don't really understand what it is, until they get talking to someone doing it.

Sometimes, you can just tell that a company culture is going to suit you - it just feels right. Equally, you can also sometimes tell that you are never going to fit into a certain type of organisation.

4. More information, more quickly than you get on the internet

Web pages and social media entries don't give a huge amount of information and a lot of the information they do give is very general. You can get exactly the information you want by talking to an employer at a career fair.

5. You can flatter them into giving you lots of useful advice

Don't be afraid to ask the experts on the stand to give you advice - normally they will be flattered to be asked and very willing to help out. So if you're not sure if, say, facilities management is for you, it's fine to say, “If you were me, is this something you would consider?” This kind of advice is hard to get anywhere else, so it’s another reason why a careers fair is a must if you’re starting to look at your career and apprenticeship options.