The kbbreview Unlockdown Diaries: The jobseeker

As retail officially reopened on June 15, kbbreview asked key industry figures to keep a diary of the week as a snapshot of the post-lockdown market. Next up is Peter Thompson, an installation manager recently made redundant due to the coronavirus…

Monday, June 15, 2020

This is week one into my search for new employment. After 18 months with my employer I was made redundant with no warning. I think what hurts the most, in my situation, was the pure lack of information leading up to the news. I appreciate the position employers are in in these unprecedented times, but information is key and to be dropped with no notice has been a huge blow for me and my family. Obviously now my focus is on securing suitable employment in an incredibly competitive and reduced job market.

In the previous week I have registered with numerous agencies and applied for all relevant vacancies within my skill set, but with many companies still finding their feet after the lockdown, the majority of previous vacancies advertised have either been removed or have numerous applications pending. The waiting is always the worst part. When you apply for a position there is always that nervous wait to hear if you have been shortlisted. Most of the time there is no response, so adding to the uncertainty.

It is encouraging that the kbb ‘family’ is looking out for each other so let’s see how the week progresses.

Day One Score: 6/10

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Today has been a day of mixed emotions. I have trawled the job pages again looking for anything new and have made a lot more contacts via LinkedIn which is increasing my circle of opportunity. I have had a couple of tentative enquiries from employers who I have canvassed and they’d like an informal chat, but none of these are offering any positions at present. Although this is encouraging, it hasn’t born fruit as yet.

I have now exhausted all of the vacancies within my region that match my job description and am now having to think a bit more outside the box as far as roles which I feel I can do. This obviously dilutes my chances as employers may not take my applications very far as I am not ticking all of the boxes. There are a few new positions appearing on the job pages but unfortunately not in my region. I have been in this position before where it seems that there are no promising openings, so this is where it starts to sting a bit. Hopefully I will receive some calls soon!

Day Two Score: 5/10

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Day two and things aren’t getting much better. I know that I may have to play the long game, but you start to wonder if there will be any suitable positions coming up. The most frustrating thing to me is that there is an inherent lack of information back from agencies. The ones who I have managed to speak to are struggling to get hold of the decision makers which makes the information stream extremely slow and the ones who I have registered with online have not acknowledged any kind of receipt of my details or attempted to discuss my search criteria .

The other issue I have is that when you do apply directly to an employer that, again, it is extremely difficult to get a reply as to whether they are interested. One particular vacancy I applied for a couple of weeks back has not returned any of my calls or emails. If I was an employer and a candidate was chasing me for an update I would be thinking “wow, this guy is keen, maybe I need to get him in for a chat” or “I don’t have the vacancy any more, but I’ll let him know to put his mind at rest”. Am I the only one who thinks this?

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Day Three Score: 3/10

Thursday, June 18, 2020

So, another day trawling the job ads and to be honest I’m getting increasingly frustrated with the lack of options. I am now in the position where I may need to be looking at alternative positions just to secure any kind of income over the coming months. As I said before, it’s going to be a long game finding anything that ticks all of the boxes so I have resigned myself to the fact that, come next month, I will probably be working in warehouse somewhere, or driving a van (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s really not my forte!)

I have spent most of the day widening my search area and emailing a lot more businesses within the kbb sector just to see if there is any interest anywhere. To my surprise, I have had a couple of ‘promising’ leads. One is possibly looking for a kitchen designer, although this will be on a low basic salary with a commission scheme (not ideal when you are the sole breadwinner and have a mortgage and family to support) and the other is an interiors company who ‘may’ be looking for someone for future projects.

Well, it’s more interest than I have had all month, so let’s see where this goes…

Day Four Score: 5/10

Friday, June 19, 2020

Well this is the end of my week’s diary and end of week three of actively searching for employment. Surprisingly, I have had a bit of interest. I’ve spent a lot of time cold emailing kitchen/interiors companies with a generic covering letter and my CV.

I must say, this has produced quite a few responses.

Most of them have been a very encouraging ‘no, but many thanks for the enquiry’ and two have produced a tentative ‘maybe, let’s talk’. Considering there are so few actual vacancies advertised, I would highly recommend this method of putting yourself out there. Even if there are no immediate vacancies it’s good to know that people are looking at your CV and some of the comments have solidified my approach.

I have been in contact with one particular company who were, prior to lockdown, actively looking for a candidate. I have had an initial chat over the phone and am looking forward to a Zoom interview on Thursday next week. In a time of such uncertainty and with so little advertised vacancies, I am fairly positive that I will find a suitable position within a month or so.

So there it is. A week in my life, trawling the internet and making as many enquiries as possible. Let hope for some good news!

Day Five Score: 8/10

Peter is one of our Save Our Skills candidates and you can read his details here.

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