Checklist For Finding A New Job
(Last updated 17/10/2020)


IntroductionRaise Your Industry ProfilePrepare For The Job Search Early | Change Of Industry Or Location | Freelancing Or A Temporary Position | Multiple Employment Channels | Your Brag List | Keep Working On Your Skills | Step Outside Of Your Comfort Zone | Keep A Positive Mental Attitude | Build A Feedback LoopFurther Reading


You may have lost your job and the threat of a lengthy recession may be looming, but know that finding a new job in a recession is not impossible. Some industries actually do well during recessions and there will always be a need to replace staff who have retired or who have moved on for some other reason. However there will be a lot more competition and you will need to be a lot more prepared.

It is easy to get lost in the detail when preparing and conducting a job search, so it pays to also have a high-level view to ensure you keep on track.

AKEPB has prepared this comprehensive checklist for finding a new job and is offering 1-to-1 assistance with your CV, cover letter or interview preparation. Please contact us on [email protected] and we’ll be happy to help.

Raise Your Industry Profile

Raise your industry profile by being proactive about sharing your ideas and useful knowledge. This may take the form of a LinkedIn, Medium or personal blog article, or an industry webinar or conference talk, YouTube video or even just answering questions on various sites such as StackOverflow. Over time, your message will get in front of the right person who is hiring and you may be just what they need.

Start networking early and often. Reestablish connections with former colleagues and connect with new people. Friends, family and even neighbours also have their place in building out your network. Again, LinkedIn is a very valuable place to manage this process, but be sure to add value to the other party and try to engage with more than just an email or text message - a phone or Zoom call goes a long way to helping you stand out:

AKEPB: LinkedIn Best Practice Guide - Building Your Profile
AKEPB: LinkedIn Best Practice Guide - Building Your Network
AKEPB: LinkedIn Best Practice Guide - Building Your Brand

Prepare For The Job Search Early

Prepare your CV and practice for interviews early and work hard on your cover letter. A CV can easily take two weeks to get into shape and preparing for interviews can take another two weeks of hard work. This can and should be done before you have even started applying for jobs, as most of your preparation can be re-used for an actual job application. When the time comes, your diligent preparation will enable you to focus on the interview at hand and ensure you have done everything to make your cover letter, CV and interview answers unique and targeted to that company alone. Remember to learn from each job application and interview and use that knowledge to refine your approach. Use our best practice guides to assist in your preparation:

AKEPB: Cover Letter Guide Best Practice Guide
AKEPB: Interview Preparation Best Practice Guide

...or speak to us for specific help

Consider A Change Of Industry Or Location

It may be that your industry or location is particularly hard-hit by a recession or long term industry trends. In this case you should be honest and carefully consider if you think the prospects for this industry or location are positive at all. You and your family need to be courageous and creative about where your next move could be. Think outside the box. Take stock of your skills, knowledge and experience and think how they can be applied in another industry. Often this will require changing how you perceive yourself and your sense of identity. It may well help to speak to others in a target industry to try and dispel any myths you have and to help you see that “yes, I can do this, it really isn’t rocket science after all!”. Now may be a good time to refocus your career on a growth industry that is able to offer greater job security and perhaps even better job satisfaction.Technology is one such industry, although it actually touches on many other industries as well. Consider these:

• IbisWorld: The 10 Fastest Growing Industries in the UK - 2020 
• MoneyMagpie: The fastest growing industries for 2020
• Open Business Council: Working In The UK: The Top 5 Fastest-Growing Sectors

Consider Freelancing Or A Temporary Position

Many companies switch to using freelancers and temps during a recession as it avoids the complexities and commitment that come with full-time and permanent employees, allowing the company to remain flexible. Use this to your advantage, as when the right time comes and the company begins hiring permanent employees again, you will be first in line. A temporary or part time position also allows you to spread yourself across multiple firms, thereby increasing your presence for when the return to growth happens.

Explore Multiple Employment Channels, Not Just Job Boards

Most people go straight to the large job boards when seeking a new job. While this shouldn’t be discounted, it pays to be more creative about your approach. Consider job fairs, working directly with a recruiter, contacting your old university careers office or even cold calling/emailing. Check if a target company hires mainly through a particular recruiter. Let your personal network of friends, family and acquaintances know you are looking, to multiply your reach. A direct approach to smaller companies that are often overlooked can pay dividends. Networking and raising your industry profile as outlined above are also excellent ways for your new job to come to you.

BBC: Coronavirus: How do I find a new job and which sectors are hiring?

Where’s Your Brag List?

Keep an ‘achievements list’, also known as a ‘brag list’, a running list of what you have achieved and when as well as the impact of the work. Not only does this add to your confidence, this is very useful when looking for a new job and you need to customise your application materials and interview preparation. The ‘achievement list’ concept is used in very competitive industries such as investment banking and is recommended for other fields like software engineering, where employees are typically less forward in highlighting their achievements:

• M&A: The Investment Banking Deal Sheet: How to Win Job Offers
• JVNS: Get your work recognized: write a brag document

Keep Working On Your Skills

You may be out of work for some time. Even if it is only a few weeks, use this time to re-skill or upskill. There are now plenty of online resources for free or very low cost that can keep your skills set fresh and up to date. Make sure your new skills are relevant and applicable to your job search and if possible, try and gain certification. Be prepared to discuss your re-skilling experience at the interview and mention it in your cover letter.This will show you are a proactive, growth -oriented potential employee and will help you stand out from the crowd.

• AKEPB: Skills Workshops - Online Learning Resources

Step Outside Of Your Comfort Zone

For those used to the corporate sector, it pays to consider previously overlooked alternatives such as nonprofits, startups or government. It may be scary making the leap, but you could end up with a job that you love. It pays also to be flexible in your potential job role and wear multiple hats or take on added responsibility.

Consider temporarily making a ‘downward’ step. While this shouldn't be your first choice, it may well open up possibilities for you, especially if you were previously in a senior position. You may need to water-down your experience on your CV and during interviews a bit or it may require a pay cut, so be prepared mentally for this.
These changes can be scary, but they could also open up opportunities in new growth fields such as technology or healthcare and from there, a whole new career that will allow you to flex the corporate experience you have built up over time. It may require taking one step back to move three steps forward.

• WGU: How To Find A Job During A Recession

Keep A Positive Mental Attitude

The shock of redundancy and the constant grind of job applications as well as uncertainty in the future can all conspire to make you feel very anxious and even depressed. While it is easy to say, it is critically important that you keep a positive attitude. A good routine, communication with friends and family, exercise, meditation and good food can all help. Positive self-talk is also very powerful and often overlooked: repeat to yourself a positive, self-affirming sentence throughout the day, especially when things are not going so well. This can help to shut out negative, self-fulfilling ruminations. Know and believe that even in a recession, new jobs are opening up every day.

• AKEPB video: Employment Related Anxiety
• AKEPB: Working From Home Guide - Mental Health

Build A Feedback Loop

The process of finding a new job is a skill, just like any other. Because it’s a skill we don’t practice everyday it inevitably gets rusty. If you find yourself unexpectedly thrust into the job market, not only is this a big shock, but you will find that it takes time and patience to re-learn the job-finding skills that you had before. Don’t let that get you down; instead adopt a disciplined, structured, systematic approach, with the aim of improving your job hunting skills first and actually getting a job second. Record the outcome of every job application and especially every job interview. Write down the reasons for being turned down, if that is the outcome. Request honest feedback from companies you apply to, even if they don’t initially offer feedback. Each bit of feedback is a golden nugget of data to help you improve. Reflect on these reasons for not getting the job and importantly, think about what you can do to overcome these objections next time. Keep improving your CV and cover letter technique and keep practicing for interviews. Keep improving your industry profile, keep expanding your network of contacts and keep up-skilling.

Trust the process and yourself and you will eventually achieve your goal.

Further Reading


  1. All resources
  2. LinkedIn Best Practice Guide - Building Your Profile
  3. LinkedIn Best Practice Guide - Building Your Network
  4. LinkedIn Best Practice Guide - Building Your Brand
  5. CV Writing Best Practice Guide
  6. Cover Letter Writing Best Practice Guide
  7. Interview Preparation Best Practice Guide
  8. Skills Workshops - Online Skille Learning Resources
  9. Employment Related Anxiety Video
  10. Working From Home Guide - Mental Health

The 10 Fastest Growing Industries in the UK - 2020

The fastest growing industries for 2020

Open Business Council
Working In The UK: The Top 5 Fastest-Growing Sectors

The Investment Banking Deal Sheet: How to Win Job Offers

Get your work recognized: write a brag document
Searching for a Job During a Recession: Eight Job Hunting Tips
How To Find A Job During A Recession

How To Find A Job During A Recession

How to Find a Job During a Recession

Why Every Woman Should Keep a 'Brag List'

Positive Psychology
What is Positive Self-Talk? (Incl. Examples)

Psychology Today
The Power of Positive Self-Talk

Coronavirus: How do I find a new job and which sectors are hiring?

The Essentials Of Salary Discussions