Looking for a new role?

Heather Townsend
The Excedia Group
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Last year, the Recruitment & Employment Confederation published its April report on jobs.  (www.rec.uk.com/press/news/645)

It makes for fairly gloomy reading...

...Recruitment consultancies reported another drop in vacancies during April...

...Average salaries for people placed in permanent jobs continued to fall in April, albeit at the slowest rate in three months...

...Hourly rates of pay for staff in temporary/contract employment also declined at the least marked pace since January...

...The gap between job vacancy supply and demand widened further in April, driven by high levels of redundancies, coupled with fewer job opportunities....

Unfortunately, this isn’t another case of ‘lies, lies & damn statistics’, as this report validates what I have been hearing on the grapevine & from the recruitment consultants in my network . Whilst there is some movement on the lower paid roles, there is a currently a dearth of £50k+ vacancies. (And a herd of recruitment consultants chasing every prospect!)

 So, let’s reflect on what this report is saying  - at the moment we have the lowest level of vacancies for 11 years (particularly at the top end of the labour market), lower salaries when you do get a job and loads more people chasing each job vacancy. Mmmm, definitely not great, particularly if you have been unfortunate enough to get laid off in the last 6 months. But, seeing the positive side, it is a very good time to be hiring!

So, how do you get yourself noticed? And, are there any jobs out there?

The answer is yes, there are jobs out there – and it is possible to find one that matches your salary expectations. The two questions that every job hunter are asking, currently, ‘how do you find that job?’ – and make yourself stand out from the big pile of CVs on the recruiting manager’s desk?

Read on for The Efficiency Coach’s top tips to help you stand out from the crowd and quickly find your next job.

1. Write down your career goals in 1-2 short sentences

Lots of people (including recruitment consultants) are going to be asking how they can help you, or what you are looking for from your next role. By articulating simply your career goals, e.g. “I am looking for an in-house finance manager role in local government or the not-for-profit sector”, you will achieve more through your network & well-meaning offers of help.

 2. Think creatively about your skills and experiences & how you can use them

In my experience, most people’s first reaction, (after the shock has subsided), to learning they are going to be job hunting is to brush up their CV, and then look for a similar role in a similar industry. But, what happens if there are no vacancies in a similar role in a similar industry – for example investment banking or corporate finance at the moment? Or you want to do something completely different! This is when you have to think creatively about what you can do (rather than what you think you are qualified to do), and who could help you achieve your career goals.

 3. Be systematic in your networking

Set up an excel spreadsheet detailing all your personal and business contacts. Rank (High, medium, low) them by the probability that they will be help you find your next role. Aim to personally speak (not just a round robin e-mail) with the high priority contacts fortnightly, medium priority contacts monthly and low priority contacts every six weeks. On your spreadsheet, record when you speak to people, and always ask them the question – ‘who do you know that I should speak to help me achieve my career aims’. Don’t write any contact off – your Auntie’s sister Sarah, may not on first sight be your best prospect to help you, but she may live next to a director of a company needing your skills.

4. Focus on the unpublished job market

At least 80% of all vacancies are never published. It’s true! The more senior a role, the more likely that the role will never be advertised externally. In the job seeking world, it is more who you know, than what you know.  Plus, over 80% of candidates predominantly focus their efforts on the 20% of vacancies that form the published job market

 5. Print out your CV on high quality paper, and send it through the post to the hiring manager.

Employers receive 90%+ CVs through e-mail. Consequently, your CV is more likely to be read if you send it through the post to the hiring manager, rather than e-mail it. Do take the time to find out the correct details for the hiring manager’s name, job title and business address.

6. Promote yourself to boss of your own business

Then, only you can make yourself redundant! The rewards and the risks are significantly higher when you become your own boss, but now is actually a good time to start up a business. Why? Well, if you can succeed in a recession you will excel when the economy picks up... If you have had the luxury of some redundancy money, this nicely bridges the gap between your last pay check and your business actually earning money.

 8. Work together with other job hunters

The highest probability of success for job hunters is to work together and focus on the unpublished job market. It’s the power (and the support) of a team that once again makes a difference.

 9. Do the basics well

By this I mean all the stuff that other job-hunting articles will tell you to do... i.e. prepare for your interviews, have a well written, error-free CV...

10. Work with a career coach

Research has shown that most coaching relationships yield between 5-7 times a return on the initial investment. A career coach, such as one from The Efficiency Coach, will help you identify your career goals, identify and implement an effective job strategy, and most importantly support you all the way to your next career move.

The Efficiency Coach specialises in working with professionals who need a new career challenge – either through necessity (i.e. redundancy) or personal choice. If you need help to achieve your career goals, give us a call (01234 48 0123) we would love to hear from you – you’ve nothing to lose, as the first coaching session is free. If you've enjoyed reading this blog, take a look at our website -


About Heather Townsend

Heather Townsend is a brand ambassador for the Practice Excellence Programme, and the Founder of ‘The Accountants Millionaires’ Club’. In 2015 the ICAEW decided she was the number one online influencer for the accountancy profession. She is the author of 4 books, including The Go-To Expert, and ‘How to make partner and still have a life’ (co-authored with Jo Larbie).

Heather is always up for a challenge. Perhaps that is why she has built a track record of helping accountants grow the size of their practice by 50-200%, often in under two years. Often helping them make partner or equity partner in the process.

Heather is a high profile member of the accountancy profession in the UK. She has worked with over 300 partners, coached, trained and mentored over 2000 professionals at every level of the UK’s most ambitious professional practices. Heather's clients have included: 7 out of the Top 10 UK practices, including all the Big 4 firms. 

In 2016 her and her team of coaches have coached:

1) 7 people successfully to partner

2) Professionals from all of the Big 4, from every major continent in the world


As well as helping accountants make partner, she still spends 40% of her time helping small firms, typically under £1m GRF:

1) Create profitable revenue streams from advisory services and reduce their reliance on revenue from compliance services

2) Radically increase their profitability, even if they are a cloud based practice, often helping them achieve a net profit margin of 40%+

3) Double or even triple the size of their practice within 3 years

4) Win bigger and better clients

5) Grow the right team around them so they stop working stupidly high hours and spend quality time with the people they care about


Her articles appear regularly in the UK national and trade press, including The Financial Times, Accountancy Age, The Sunday Times and The Guardian. Heather is also in-demand for her speaking and has recently returned from the South African Accountancy Academy conference.


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