With most of the population, indeed most of the world now spending the majority of time at home during lockdown, are we spending more time searching for goods and services online? I think the answer is yes, but I do not think it is a case of spending more, but instead looking for alternate options.

I know that within our industry, the level of searches has increased, our phones are busier and the number of review requests we are receiving have all but doubled in recent weeks and this is due to the very uncertain, unsettling and sad times we are currently in with Covid-19. With business uncertainty comes a natural reaction to protect ourselves and that means looking at our career options, and the first hurdle is to make sure our job search documentation is in tip top condition.

So, what do you look for when searching for a service?

There are a number of fundamental aspects to consider when you are looking online, especially with a service – so how do you know to trust an online service provider. There is no 100% fool proof answer, however you can look for key basic details to give you a good level of protection – some checks to consider are:

• Is there an address, telephone number and a company registration number?
If not, then why not – these are very basic details that any business should have on their site

• Are the Terms and Conditions of Business easily found and are they helpful?
Always make sure you read the conditions of sale, cancellation and refund policies, and check they are fair to the consumer

• Are the reviews genuine?
Are the reviews that are shown on the site from a trusted source, for instance Trustpilot, with a link to the review site, or are they self-published

• Do you know exactly what the service you are buying includes?
Service levels differ from company to company, and price does not necessarily reflect this; if the service requires a level of input from you, does the service include a telephone based consultation, or is it held by email; are there any restrictions imposed on call length/number of calls/number of revisions; do you have direct access to your consultant or do you communicate via a dashboard?

Check what you are to receive for your money, and make sure it fits your purpose and expectation, if you have any doubt about service level, or if a company is genuine and trustworthy then call them directly, sometimes speaking with the company can confirm everything you need to know and can help you to decide.

Keep safe and well, keep positive and remain ever hopeful