Following up from a piece in 2016, while the economy has continued to improve and with positive expectation on the horizon, there has yet to be an abundance of attractive senior Finance positions. While 2017 has already seen a big lift, there is a still a way to go before there is anything like the level of opportunities on offer at junior to mid management level.
They say patience is a virtue. While a few months off is nice, the certainly of a new role is likely to make the experience more enjoyable.
Some factors that are in your control…
- Get your CV right.
The ‘perfect CV’ is a subject of much debate but in a nutshell, we would suggest that a 2 or 3-page document should suffice. A common trend with MBA graduates is to have a strong ‘one pager’ which I would recommend as being a useful document to share with relevant contacts and then to tailor your offering depending on the role you are applying for.
- Get out and network
A subject recently covered here in a blog. A useful point to add is to work on the message you are keen to send out to your contacts. A lot has been written on ‘Personal Branding’ and it is useful to keep in mind what you are hoping to be known for. Even close friends and former need reminding what your key strengths are in and the type of role that is most attractive to you. The Veronica Canning Book published by the Institute of Chartered Accountants is a recommended read.
- Who are the key Recruiters in your Sector?
Prioritise aligning yourself with a firm who you feel can represent you in a suitable manner. In most cases a Recruitment Professional will be interfacing with both the candidate (you) and the client (the hiring company). Bear in mind that a Recruiter’s ‘Desk’ can vary from being very busy in different areas from time to time. Your key focus should be to speak to your friends and colleagues to understand who they have had a good experience with before getting on that Recruiter’s radar. Even better, ask them your contact to introduce you. Be persistent and follow up.
At Engage People we welcome a clear email accompanied by a CV with a view to setting up a call to get a sense of the market in your area.
- Invest Time in Reviewing Live Roles That Are Advertised
In addition to spotting the role and job spec, do a little ‘background’ on the organisation, what is going on in their business and sector that might be relevant to mention. A useful metric to consider is how many first-round interviews are you achieving? If you are being invited for interviews but rarely progressing past first round, then your major focus should be on your approach at interview. Some useful reading here
If you are not getting to interview stage and you feel your CV sells your ability well, then it might be time to tailor your expectations depending on your need/appetite to get back into a suitable role.
One of the biggest sources of frustration appears when one feels particularly suited to a role only to be told that they don’t fit the criteria. This is understandable. In our experience, the hiring company almost always has a list of ‘must haves’ that should be fulfilled and there is usually a request that the Recruiter comments on this criteria on a cover note with each CV.
What can work best is a summary in the form of bullet points from the candidate side to display where they feel they specifically match the profile. Again, in a busier market with more opportunities, persistence pays off.
- Be Patient (and enjoy the time off if you have it!)
This is much easier said than done but I would say that almost every person I speak to who is back up and running in a busy role looks back and wishes they had been more relaxed during their time off. While career and self-worth are often intrinsically linked, look at the time as a period to work on your ‘whole life’ (family, sport, personal development, education, mindset, travel, fun) in addition to the pursuit of a new role. Consider ‘time blocking’ in the same way you would when meeting your team in work – have focussed period each day on different tasks.
Hopefully before you know it you will have an exciting selection of roles to consider.
For a more detailed discussion about your financial career, speak to Paul McClatchie, Engage People