My next move

Q January is the busiest time of year for recruitment – there certainly seem to be more roles advertised. No doubt the amount of applications increase and, subsequently, so does the competition. I am keen to pursue new opportunities this year, but am not desperate for a new role immediately. Should I hold off looking now? Or, if not, how should I approach recruitment agencies to ensure my credentials stand out?

A There is always an increase in activity at the start of the year. This is largely due to projects and business objectives that are started (or overdue) in January, and candidates returning from their Christmas break, reassessing their options. Employers and recruiters are of course aware of this, and subsequently look to recruit – it is a self-feeding scenario of more people looking, and more companies hiring.

While you are right in assuming there is more competition for each role, this is countered by the fact that there are more opportunities available. Employers don’t tend to hire just because you are the best they can get at the time, and you must have the confidence that you will secure an opportunity on merit, despite the competition.

Standing out from the plethora of paper applications is difficult. Try to be patient and follow the requested application procedure. Laying out your CV clearly and succinctly, with your salary, availability and desired location, will help your recruiter identify the most suitable opportunity for you.
Be specific about what you are looking for. If you are registering generically, consider your priorities before speaking to an agency – even knowing what you won’t consider is useful. Do keep your options open, but it is important to have preferences so the recruiter can find the most relevant opportunities for you.

Show willingness and professionalism at all stages of the process. In a candidate-buoyant market, competition to be included on the shortlist is fierce. Being late or getting lost for the meeting with your recruiter will make them nervous about forwarding you to their client. Earning a reputation as an unpredictable candidate will not positively  separate you from the competition.

Finally, when you have found that perfect opportunity, remember the relationships you have built up during your job search. Even the recruiters or employers that didn’t help to secure your new role could prove useful the next time you’re looking for a job.

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Also in association with: Hudson, Hays and Interim Performers

By Alex Raubitschek, managing director, Ortus

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