Finding work during COVID-19 – Interviewing an Aussie in London
Most have a story of how COVID-19 has affected their life in one way or another with many being furloughed or left unemployed. You would have heard stories from your friends of very bad timing, maybe having to move back home from London or a story with a happy ending. If you are one of the many who has been impacted career wise, you’ll know that one of the hardest things to do is stay motivated.
We came across the story of an Aussie in London whose timing wasn’t great to say the least.
We met Morgan at a digital agency on the Gold Coast in Australia just before she moved over to London. As recruiters we see thousands of CV’s and by now, we know how to pick a good candidate, so after our encounter with Morgan we offered for her to implement our digital strategy in-house. Morgan started when she landed in the UK a year ago and it has been a pleasure having her work with us since.
We thought we would let her share her insights from the past year and how she has stayed motivated throughout a global pandemic living on the other side of the world.
How does your story in London start?
“I was thrilled to be asked to join the Australasian team temporarily to implement their strategy in-house after an encounter at a digital agency with the co-founder of ARC on the Gold Coast.
A three-week project turned into three months where I became a part of the team and helped rebrand and launch the ARC digital campaign.
Once the campaign was successfully launched it was actually ARC that placed me in an amazing company for a 6-month interim contract. During my time there I gained some of the best experience in my career to date, getting to see major household company names in my inbox on a daily basis and pushing my digital knowledge even further.
In my first eight months in London I had made an amazing group of friends and created a community, I was enjoying the fast-paced life that London has to offer, and it was going extremely well.”
What happened when COVID-19 affected your everyday life in London?
“When we first heard the reports that coronavirus was affecting many countries, we tried not to be too alarmed. Before we knew it, people were returning from holidays, self-isolating and Australia was hoarding toilet paper leaving shelves empty.
To be honest when I saw everyone at home beginning to stress and seeing shelves bare that is when I became very concerned, because if Australians aren’t very ‘chill’ about something there is reason to be alarmed.
Two weeks later the same thing was happening in London and I found myself feeling very far from home. Boris called it time for everyone to work from home (that didn’t sound terrible at the time) and then quickly we were in lockdown, and only able to leave the house for exercise or medical reasons.
I couldn’t see my colleagues or my friends, and I was worried about my family being so far away. It was stressful but I managed to focus and stay calm with regular bubble baths.
We faced losing a housemate returning to New Zealand and I was suddenly asking myself whether it was best I do the same. Ultimately, I decided to ride it out in London and hope for the best.
Whilst working from home in lockdown I was told that unfortunately my contract could not be renewed as planned after a companywide hiring freeze was announced. My managers did their utmost best to keep me onboard which I was incredibly grateful for. In the end it came down to bad luck and even worse timing.”
So you were in lockdown with unemployment quickly approaching, where did you go from there?
“Financially this was an extremely scary time, however I am naturally an optimistic and adaptable person who has faith in her skills and career.
Fortunately for me, I had continued consulting with Australasian whilst working a full time job elsewhere. As I began my search with unemployment looking me dead in the eye, I let the team at Australasian know. Fortunately for me, they are one of very few companies who understood this was not the time to stop all marketing efforts but instead to invest carefully and to make the most of my availability. They reengaged me to manage two digital projects in response to COVID-19, keeping the company’s future in mind.
For the last three months I have been back working with Australasian in London as well as supporting their sister company HOME Recruitment in Auckland. I have had the opportunity to support their digital campaigns and take them to the next level. Looking back on this now, I have been able to see the fruits of my labour and truly believe this has been beneficial for all parties and is something I am extremely grateful for.”
How have you stayed motivated during COVID-19?
“Having been in London about eight months before COVID-19 hit us, I had developed a great support network that I knew I could rely on during these tough times and I think that has been key for me.
I found that for me personally there were some things that helped better than others, the first being keep calm! A tidy house means a tidy mind and listing goals for each day taking it one day at a time is the best way to tackle this. I also found lowering expectations definitely had to happen in terms of when we expected ‘normality’ and expectations of myself as well.
Staying motivated with finding employment came through speaking to contacts and getting feedback about the market as we patiently waited out the initial hit of COVID-19. Listening to podcasts kept my marketing passion alive and I was lucky enough to have projects to keep my mind in the game.”
So what’s next for you in London?
“While I am still searching for my next permanent role in London, I am continuing to assist Australasian and HOME with their marketing efforts. For now, I am happy to be keeping my mind in marketing whilst on the lookout for my next opportunity and am grateful that I did not have to stray from this.”
What are your best tips for those job searching in London during COVID-19?
“As I wrap up my consulting work with Australasian and HOME, I have done a few things to keep my job search moving:
- Fine-tuned my CV and updated my experience and referee details
- Had colleagues and professional friends review my CV
- Updated my LinkedIn profile and my photo
- Asked colleagues to leave recommendations on my LinkedIn profile
- Shared my situation throughout my LinkedIn network
- Reached out to all contacts letting them know I am on the lookout (always stay in touch as now is very much about being recommended)
- Keep your brain in the game with podcasts and study in your field
- Asking for market insight from recruiters every few weeks on the job market
- Keep applying!
The important thing to know is that things are getting better in the job market as life begins to return to some normality and I am healthy.”
If you are a candidate looking for your next temporary or permanent office support role in London, contact our team so we can help you with your job search email@example.com
Take care, stay safe and stay positive and we hope to see you soon!
Australasian Recruitment Company