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How to enter the job market during an economic downturn

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In many parts of the UK, finding a job is increasingly difficult. While the cost-of-living crisis continues to put pressure on businesses and suppliers, the economy is suffering.

And as wages stay low despite ever-increasing prices, consumer spending power is crippled too.

It’s not the best time to be looking for work, but there are still jobs available. And no matter your qualifications or levels of experience, it’s still possible to learn about new routes to employment. Whether you’re looking for work for yourself or for a loved one, it’s always worth knowing the best ways to navigate a stagnant market.

Entering the labour market in 2023: Our top tips

  1. Gain some experience

Many career advisors suggest following your passion to find a job. However, when the market is already jam-packed, sometimes it can be more sensible to start working and find your niche within the working environment.

If you can afford to, gaining some experience before you start applying to positions could be incredibly valuable. Along with exposing you to different fields and industries, it should give you an idea of the type of work you think you’d be most suited to. And if you impress the staff while you’re working an unpaid position, they could offer you a job afterwards.

  • Manage your expectations

While you’re looking for a job, you need to be realistic about your current and future spending. This might mean cutting back in the short-term but could help you land the job in a better position with some funds to get you on your feet too.

Many prospective employers ask if you drive since many roles require you to have your own transport. If you need to get a car, going for a used vehicle instead of a brand-new high-end car would make more sense.

Buying the car outright would be more plausible than facing high monthly repayments every month – especially if it wasn’t guaranteed that you could afford them. For example, buying a used Peugeot 3008 might make more sense than leasing a new Audi Q5.

  • Nail your interview skills

Only a small percentage of applicants will get invited to an interview, so it’s vital to make the best impression possible. An interview is a brilliant opportunity for an employer to see if you’ll be a good fit for the role – so if you think you’ll come across better in person than on paper, you should try to give it your best shot.

Get organised by researching the role and company as much as possible. The more you know about the business, the more you’ll impress your interviewer. Practise holding eye contact while speaking, because this will help to show the employer that you’re a strong communicator.

You might choose to use recommended techniques like the STAR method – but being authentic matters more than anything else. Try to be honest, original, and stay true to yourself throughout the interview stages.

Even through harder economic times, it’s still possible to make the most of opportunities. You might need to make some initial compromises, but showing integrity and perseverance should reward you in the long run.

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