2018 - Where do you want to be? Let us help you

Vinai Kongara 12.02.2018

Job search can be a difficult process; having been in your shoes, I understand it can be a frustrating process applying for roles you know you could easily do and not seeing results.

Job search can be a difficult process, even for a serial contractor to constantly be searching for the next role and to be interviewing. It is difficult to get the immediate feedback you want and there’s always the awkward phone call where you are trying to convince both yourself and the consultant on the phone that you are right for this position.

In a quieter start to the year compared to what the industry and candidates might be used to, alongside the inevitable resource cull that is heading our way from the well resourced and delivered MiFID II programmes from 2017, the market will inevitably be flooded with highly experienced and capable change professionals. As a result, it is worth noting that clients are a lot more selective when it comes to their hiring. As such, so are the recruiters when it comes to short listing and presenting candidates. 

I see it from both perspectives, and there are a few things you can do to make sure you get yourself back into a suitable position as soon as possible.

Your CV:

Your CV speaks volumes about you before you even have any direct interaction with the recruiter or the hiring managers. Therefore, it is absolutely vital that you keep it concise and to the point. 

As recruitment consultants, we spend longer on CVs to understand your experience before we pick up the phone to find out more. It is important to note that hiring mangers simply won’t give your CV this time. On average, a hiring manger spends around 6-10 seconds reviewing a CV before an irreversible impression is made.  


  • Keep it simple and to the point
  • Avoid overselling your achievements – this undermines your credibility in those roles, and therefore the hiring manager won’t spend any longer on your CV
  • Describe your achievements in the role and focus on these – this is exactly what the hiring mangers want to see on a CV
  • Check, check and check again for any errors or formatting issues – keeping in mind, this is a reflection of your approach to documenting and presenting information. If this isn’t spot on – you are severely underselling yourself 
  • Avoid using generic phrases such as “The role involves...” and certainly avoid talking about yourself in the third person
  • Always have your most current role on the first page as this is one of the things the manages want to see first
  • Avoid photographs of yourself or logos of the places you have worked at
  • Finally, if you have any questions, ask your friends, colleagues or even your recruiter to see if there is anything they would change


Wherever possible, we would always give you feedback on your profile and suggest ways of making it stand out. However, at the initial application phase and due to the sheer volumes of CV’s, it is sometimes difficult to give a reason on why you have not been shortlisted for the position. More often than not, it comes down to having stronger candidates competing for that particular role.

Although there is always a grey area when it comes to considering applications, it is important to note that we have a specific brief.  Below are some of the criteria that apply:

  • The client outlines exactly what they are looking for
  • Where they are willing to compromise - 'nice to haves' and 'must haves'
  • Organisational fit – are they used to the scale/scope? Will they be able to cope? 
  • Finally “Are they right for the team/organisation?” – culture fit
  • This comes down to your relationship with your consultant – we’ll come back to that

My Advice: If you are having to fill in the gaps and reach far afield to convince both yourself and the consultant why you might be good for the role, this probably isn’t the right position for you. Wait it out, the right roles will come along. Even better, candidates who are upfront about their strengths and weaknesses in comparison to the job brief are often the ones who see a higher hit rate on getting interviews.

Know your strengths:

  • Firstly, for any contracting position, the client is bringing this resource in because it is usually a quicker process and they can come in and hit the ground running. Therefore, they will be looking for previous experience in a similar role to the one you are applying for. Although you might have a lot of transferable skills, if your profile does not tick the boxes, it is often difficult to pitch your details across on a role where we are already a step behind. 

Advice: If you are comparing your profile to the job specification and it doesn’t align by 60%-70% at least, this will be a difficult sell, so ask your consultant for advice on whether this is the right role or not before you proceed. 

Applying for Jobs:

Speaking specifically from a Projects and Change perspective, on average I receive over 200 responses for any regulatory job advert I post. Of which around 10% will be spot on for the position. It’s a tough market and there is a higher supply than demand for candidates right now. Hiring managers can be very selective when it comes to progressing candidates, and as a result, we have to be as well. Of course, this does mean many are left frustrated or wondering why they haven’t been shortlisted for the role.

Advice: Focus your search on roles with relevant experience to yours. This shows you as a credible candidate. Although your name might be out there and you might be getting a lot of calls, it might have a negative effect on your profile as the name that pops up against every job. 

Be Selective:

Be selective when it comes to choosing the recruitment agencies you work with. It’s good having your CV going across on several roles or accepting the first one that comes might seem financially viable – however, take into account the impact that role might have on positions going forward.

A short term contract with a higher rate might sound incredibly appealing in the heat of the moment, but a longer term position at a lower rate might just make the difference between you and another candidate later down the line when looking for a new role. Hiring managers are very hot on longevity in positions on a candidate's CV.

The role, number of renewals and longevity within those roles are the types of qualities hiring managers look for in a good CV.

Given the opportunity:

  • Avoid jumping ship too soon; stay within your role for at least 12-18 months as a contractor before considering a move
  • Take into account the type of organisation you step into and its impact on your career
  • If you have had a few short term contracts on your CV, be selective and think about the bigger picture; choose a role that offers you the longevity rather than a higher contract rate


As much as I dislike picking the phone up to a candidate and letting them know I have no live jobs for them, I appreciate a call that comes from a candidate I know. It is important to note that your relationship with your consultant goes a long way when it comes to finding your next position.

  • Stay in regular contact with them, drop them an email every few weeks if you haven’t heard much from them - when something relevant comes up, you’ll be the first person to come to mind
  • Although it isn’t always easy, try and make time to meet your consultant as it gives both the chance to see what they are like in person. The majority of the candidates I have placed into roles recently, I have had long standing relationships with – it genuinely does help to know each other well

Hopefully that has provided you with a few tips and tricks on how you can find more success from the jobs you’re applying for. On the Projects and Change desk, we are starting to see demand for candidates from a Front Office Regulatory Change, Compliance Change and Custody and Asset Servicing background. Please get in touch if you’re interested in exploring these positions, one of our team will be happy to have a chat. 

Vinai Kongara's picture
Consultant | Project & Change Management Recruitment


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