The Job Hunt
Of course, finding the right company and the right job at the right time isn’t easy. When Singh resigned from BP, she posted her CV on www.efinancialcareers.co.uk and www.cityjobs.com. Within days, she received up to 20 phone calls from recruiters and although she accepted a handful of interviews, she quickly became jaundiced. “If I had my way, I would prefer not to use recruiters because they’re not there to help me. They are there for their clients,” she says. Despite telling recruiters she wanted to move from product control to pursue analytical or client-facing work, she found herself accepting several interviews in product control, with unsatisfying results. “The recruiters look incompetent, I look like I haven’t properly articulated what I want and the client wonders if they’ve done the same,” says Singh. Yet she can’t rule out turning to recruiters again, especially since access to many vacancies is only possible through them.
Van der Smissen also had mixed experiences with recruiters. That’s why he’s heeding advice that an outplacement service offered him — use every job search channel available. As well as sending his CV to headhunters, he methodically scoured the jobs pages in newspapers, magazines, specialist publications and online job sites. He also began networking with friends, former colleagues and other business associates. “I made sure I talked to people I knew and asked whether they could help me to find a job or whether they had any ideas or suggestions on how to go about finding the job I was looking for,” he says.
What if you don’t have a network? That’s a problem Laine-Toner is discovering. “For me there’s a hole in the finance profession taking people to the next stage of their careers,” he says. “I don’t think there is very good careers advice available. How fantastic it would be if I could get a list of FDs in Leeds who want to be mentors, but the ACCA [the accountancy body through which Laine-Toner qualified] doesn’t offer that information.” He has taken matters into his own hands, building a network from scratch by attending ACCA events in Leeds.
Go Forth and Network
Stockmann has taken a different route. She’s been working with Karen Armon of MarketOne Executive, a coach she found through www.execunet.com. One of their first projects was to revamp Stockmann’s CV. “It became more narrative, with points of evidence of what I’d done and a chronology of past companies at the back,” says Stockmann. “When I issued the CV it got a lot of interest as it made clear who I am — and the risk of the wrong job was significantly reduced.” Stockmann also began working with Armon to publish articles on various websites in order to build an electronic presence and get picked up on Google. “That’s the future, I think,” says Stockmann. “Even if you’re not looking for a job, it’s certainly good in terms of reputation — people can see who you are and what you do and what you think.”