One of the first hurdles that many people encounter when embarking on their job search is defining exactly what they want from a new job.
Although there are exceptions, many roles in professional services can often offer similar responsibilities, salaries and job titles from firm to firm.
On the flip side, when it comes to hiring candidates with sector experience, hiring managers are often left with a similar dilemma when receiving the CV of candidate, A vs candidate B. This is because many jobseekers rely on mirroring the job advert and state the experience they have of performing the duties outlined in the job advert. Whilst this can be a good format to follow, if everyone follows the same format, it doesn’t make it easy for you to stand out from the crowd.
In this article I will outline a few fundamentals that can be helpful in enabling you to plan your next job move and stand out from the competition.
Define your requirements
Think about the following:
What do you enjoy most about your current role?
What are the frustrations you face in your current position?
What size of firm or team do you feel most comfortable in?
Which sectors or practice areas are of interest?
What other tangibles are most important to you (salary, culture, responsibility, work/life balance, location)?
Are there any firms you have a particular interest in?
Writing down the answers to these questions will help you define exactly what you are looking for from your next career move so you can be more targeted in your search.
Sell yourself on your CV
First impressions really do count. You may be one of the most competent professionals out there but if this doesn’t come across on your CV you run the risk of not even getting your foot in the door. After all, the hiring manager has never spoken to you and only has that piece of white paper to judge you on.
Once of the mistakes I have frequently seen candidates make is having a CV that simply describes the tasks you carry out in their current job. Rather than telling people what you do (they generally already know most of this from the job title) focus instead on telling people how good you are at doing these tasks and what you can bring to the table.
Think of some key achievements from your current role that you can highlight to make you really stand out from the other candidates who invariably perform similar duties to you.
This will really help to increase your chances of being shortlisted for an interview.
Preparation is key
Having defined the role you are looking for and sold yourself well enough on your CV to be invited for an interview, you should now focus on the following points to give you the best shot at landing the job.
Firstly, ensure you have researched the firm and the role thoroughly. This might sound obvious but I have seen candidates slip up on this time and time again. Nobody is expecting you to know the firm inside out but an idea of the practice area, size of team, firm news and background of the person who’s interviewing you is a minimum requirement.
Have a minimum of 2 or 3 clear examples of previous work you are confident of talking about during the interview, ideally achievements that relate to the requirements of the role you are applying for. Your aim should be to leave the interviewer impressed with your ability and enthusiastic about what you could bring to their firm.
Why do you want the role, what further information do you need?
Hiring managers don’t want to see a jobseeker who’s ‘just looking for a new job’they want a candidate to have shown a specific interest in their vacancy. Therefore, you need to show a passion and desire for putting yourself forward for this particular role.
Define why you thought this role was a good fit for you and be clear on your expectations from a new employer and the reasons why you are looking to move away from your current job.
Last but not least make sure you have some questions to ask at interview. After all it’s as much your opportunity to find out if the firm and role is the right fit for you as it is for the firm to decide if you are the right future employee for them.
These are a few key areas that will undoubtedly stand you in good stead when you decide to make that leap and look for your next career move.