Given the current environment how should candidates set about job searching for a new role?

Looking for a job in this current economic environment can be seen quite daunting, however the first advice I would give to candidates is not to panic. I would advise candidates to plan effectively on how they are going to move forward in their job search. In your plan, you should assess your existing skills and research what jobs are a good fit for you in the current market place.

The most important step in your job search is to find some good insights in the job market. You can do your own research or engage with an agency you feel is a true specialist in the particular area you want to work in. For example, we are specialists in Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategy and Finance Leadership, and our knowledgeable consultants can give you helpful insights in those particular markets. For a clearer understanding on what’s happening in the market, it is also good to speak to people in your network. If they do a job you’re interested in, then find out what their position involves and ask whether there are hiring opportunities by the organisation. Here are some questions you might want to find answers to whilst doing your market research:

  • Is there a pattern or trend out there?
  • Are there particular industries that are hiring?
  • Is there a particular skill businesses are looking for?

Remember to be realistic in your job search and set the right parameters in what you’re doing. Your parameters will be a helpful guidance in your job search and keep you focused. Keep asking yourself: What role do you want? Is there much opportunity in that industry? Are there different types of roles I can target?

In this current environment, you should be open to temporary and contract work in order to keep up with your current skills and experience. Be open to doing other roles if you have transferable skills. Being flexible and open-minded is important in your job search. I will talk about this more later on in the interview.

Should candidates tailor their CV to every job they apply for?

It’s important to seek specialist advice on what you need to do in order to stand out. Present your key differentiators such as your skills, knowledge, personality and achievements clearly on your CV. It’s very important you get everything aligned with your LinkedIn profile as well. Your CV should sync with your LinkedIn profile and should present yourself interpersonally. Everything should be coordinated and clear.

A CV should be 2-3 pages long with strong concise content of your skills and achievements. To answer your question directly, I think you should have 2 or 3 CVs that are tailored to different job opportunities depending on the industry. We’ve noticed an increase in applications, therefore in order to stand out you need to be as relevant as possible to get the best chance in getting a job. Apply directly but also use an agency that can help you articulate your skills and experience in a professional manner. It’s important that the candidate and agency work collaboratively.

How can recruitment agencies help candidates in their job search?
A good agency provides constructive feedback to increase your chances of getting a job. They should be able to present you in the best possible way and help you focus on the right positions. We have built rapport with a number of candidates and offered strong impartial advice. Feedback is very difficult to get from organisations because they don’t have the time.

How flexible should people be in getting their ideal job? 

Like I said previously, candidates should be flexible and open to other roles in different industries. The most successful people I’ve seen have been open to new ideas and different approaches. It seems difficult to get jobs at the moment, but sometimes organisations are open to creating positions especially as many are going through change and transformation. The more flexible you are the more opportunities you’re creating for yourself.

Working from home has also created opportunities. Candidates can now apply to jobs in different parts of the country without having to physically relocate as more employees work from home.

What are the current trends that you are seeing at the moment?

There are clear trends happening at the moment, some are positive and others are challenging. We have seen growth in Mergers & Acquisition roles in private equity firms. Large organisations that are going through change and transformation have created new opportunities, particularly in pharmaceutical and consumer health care.  Whereas retail has been negatively impacted due to COVID-19. Overall, there are interesting trends driving some good recruitment at the moment.

What do you do once you’ve been offered a job? Can I still negotiate my salary in a pandemic? 

Some companies are facing financial pressure, so it’s really down to the individual choice. We’ve just completed an employee benefit survey and candidates say that salary is really important but it’s not the overriding factor. I would recommend to look at the total benefit packages, the training and development programme and career progression the company offers. Consider speaking to your friends, family and your agency to give you an honest assessment about the job role and salary.