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How to upgrade your job search in 2021

The past 12 months has delivered some huge changes to the modern workplace, and employer attitudes towards remote working have shifted massively in response. In early 2020, it would have seemed ridiculous to question the working pattern of 9-5 Monday to Friday in the office – but now we are seeing numerous global companies shedding office space in major cities across the world, with plans to increase the amount of remote work available.

With some element of remote working looking set to stay with us for the foreseeable future, what effects will this have on today’s job seekers, and how can you adapt to ensure you’re still able to land the best jobs available to you?

Broaden your options

With employers allowing more roles to be carried out remotely, one considerable negative effect for job seekers is that many vacancies will face more competition. For example, if a job that once required a full-time city-based employee, could now be done remotely (or at least part remotely) then that will widen the pool of candidates who are attracted to, and suitable for the position – this automatically reduces your chances of being selected.

However, this also widens the number of jobs that are potentially available to you. Let’s say you normally ruled out employers who were based more than 10 miles away from your home because the commute was too long. If those firms are now allowing employees to work from home two or three days per week, then the reduced amount of commute time and costs could make them a viable option for you.

So take time to reassess what you really want in your work-life balance and work out what would be best for you. We are often driven by salary and other tangible benefits, but taking a role with a slightly lower pay rate than usual could have a net positive effect, if you are saving money on travel costs and getting back precious hours every week by cutting out the commute.

By looking further afield you may also be able to find regions or countries where your skills are in greater demand. By removing geographical location as a factor, you will be more likely to find the employers who value your skillset the most, and are willing to increase remuneration accordingly.

If remote work isn’t specifically mentioned in the job description, don’t be afraid to suggest it, if you are a good fit for the role. In the current climate, many employers are willing to be flexible to obtain the best staff.

Prepare for video interviews

With an increasing number of meetings being carried out via video-conferencing and a number of large companies operating fully remotely – it’s no surprise that video interviews have become standard practice in the modern hiring process.

While video interviews are efficient and convenient, they can throw a number of challenges for job seekers. In 2021, you should expect to be video-interviewed for your next role and prepare accordingly.

Crucially, you must have an adequate tech setup to carry out a video interview. Without a decent internet connection and microphone, you risk awkward frozen-screen moments and the possibility of the interviewer not being able to hear you clearly,  either of which could be catastrophic for your interview performance. Run a test video-call to a friend or family member to ensure that everything is working as it should be prior to any interviews you have scheduled.

It also helps to ensure that the room you are calling from is clean, tidy, presentable and well-lit. A dim, messy room does not give the impression that you care about the job, and won't reflect well on you as a candidate.

Polish your online presence

With 91% of all employers incorporating social media into their recruitment process, it’s becoming vital to consider your online presence when job searching. Some recruiters will used LinkedIn to search for candidates or scan Twitter to see if you are actively involved in industry discussion; others may even poke around on Facebook to see what kind of material you post. While you don’t have to be active on every platform, it pays to be mindful of how employers are using social media.

At the very least, you should have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile that is packed with the type of key-words your target recruiters will be searching for. You should also keep any public profiles positive and free from anything offensive; if you have social accounts that you want to keep private, make sure you adjust the privacy settings accordingly.

But to make the best use of social media in your job search, choose a platform that is popular with your industry and use it to document and promote your contributions. Whether it’s something as simple as commenting and sharing relevant articles on Twitter, or making video guides on YouTube – do something constructive that will really wow recruiters if they Google your name.

The basics of job search remain the same; attract and impress the right employers. But new technology and shifts in ways of working mean that how we achieve this has changed slightly. Remote work and online presence are the biggest drivers of change in job hunting, so be sure to embrace them and continually find better ways of connecting with potential employers.


This article was written by Andrew Fennell from Forbes and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

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