What Covid-19 graduates should look for and remember when job hunting

5 Oct 2020

Sydney office worker - KMJPhotography Sydney office worker - KMJPhotography

Sitting at a computer and filling out job application after job application can be a little soul-destroying, especially at a time when fewer roles are being advertised.

In the midst of what can sometimes feel like an increasingly frustrating job search, it’s easy to forget that the employee needs to find an employer and a position that fits what they want.

The Irish Times recently put together an expert panel of recruiters, careers advisers, postgraduate course providers and trade-union officials to provide some expert job search tips.

Here’s what Ictu’s Social Policy and Employment Affairs Officer, Dr Laura Bambrick advises:
1. “Having graduated at the height of the financial crisis, I know first-hand how bruising an experience it is to be job hunting in a recession. If you are struggling to get a job, don’t take it personal. The world is experiencing the largest economic shock ever recorded. An unprecedented number of Irish workers are unemployed and young people are disproportionately impacted. Postings on jobs websites are down 60 - 40 per cent on last year. Put any job search knockbacks in context and look after your mental health.

2. Don’t work for free. The national minimum wage legislation applies to work trials and internships. It is not enough for a business to claim that you are ‘just’ an intern or only on trail nor can they require you to sign anything saying you have no right to be paid - you cannot sign away your right to be paid at least the €10.10ph minimum wage.

3. “Don’t fall for the gig economy hype. The reality of on-demand, pay-per-project freelancing for fresh graduates is insecure work and uncertain hours. It takes time to build a reputation, contacts, and experience. Go with the employer offering a permanent contract and the security of a steady pay cheque when starting out.

4. “Many job adverts don’t give details of the pay, at most they will contain a vague statement on offering a competitive package. Transparency around pay grades and pay scales will protect you against bias and discrimination. Nothing stings like the realisation a junior colleague is paid more than you!

5. “In-house barista, gym membership, bottomless snacks, and funky office furniture are all well and good, but when company perks are not matched with good employment conditions the novelty grows old quick.

6. “Extended periods of working from home are likely until a C-19 vaccine is found. Research shows remote working creates particular challenges for new hire younger workers. All employers have a legal duty of care to their staff. Good employers will have protocols for monitoring your workload and fostering a sense of belonging while working remotely.

7. “There will always be something more urgent to spend your money on over saving for retirement. If your employer has a pension scheme do not opt out. While you are only starting out on your career today, the decades to retirement pass by quicker than you think.

8. “HR is there to protect the interests of the company, not you. Join a union. Your union has got your back. If there isn’t a trade union in your workplace you can sign up online www.unionconnect.ie