How to target your next role and increase your chances of success

Candidates I speak to will often say, “I am looking for a new role – where should I start?”

There are several obvious answers that we can all point to – checking advertised roles, posting on online job boards, updating your LinkedIn Profile.

But there are some other things you can think about which will focus your efforts and increase your chances of success.

Here are some tips I often find myself giving when asked:


1. Research local businesses

Although the current pandemic will lead to a seismic shift on the office presence vs working from home balance, looking for roles within a 30-45 minute commuting radius from home will both limit potential commute time when you are required in the office, and will probably reveal some exciting start-ups and blue-chips with a regional office in your home area.

Not all good roles are based in the big city hubs – there are businesses everywhere who would benefit from your expertise.  I am currently working with a leading Electric Vehicle/Green company in rural Lincolnshire, for example, who are looking for talent.


2. Research competitors of your previous/current employer

I find that candidates are often subconscious experts; they have operated in a field for so long that they forget the real value they can bring to a new employer.

When looking for a new role, think of employers who operate in the same field as your most recent or current employer does.  This might include sector, by product, service type etc.  If you have directly transferable skills, your chance of securing an interview is much higher.


3. Research companies with synergies to your previous/current employer

You may be looking for a change, and you might want a fresh start in a new sector.  I think a pragmatic approach should be taken here.  At the moment, we are in a climate where fewer roles are being advertised externally, and there is a high number of very qualified candidates applying for them.

Consider your own role and skillset.  How transferable is it to a new business area? As a guide, traditional roles in the Project, Programme & Change Management & Business Analysis space and newer roles in the Data Science, Machine Learning & Security space will transfer well.

You can have obvious overlaps as functions in companies tend to mirror each other – Marketing, IT, Sales & HR are examples of this.

If you are techie, think about tech stacks that map well; cloud services, programming languages, architecture, security, etc. On a broader scale, infrastructure maps well across bigger companies – people often move between the Energy, Utility & Telecoms companies.

Whilst working recently in the Electric Vehicle industry, I have found there is a real similarity between the telecoms industry and electric charging point companies when it comes to securing sites and installing & commissioning equipment that then goes live onto a network. So think about and research what different companies might need that you can offer, and tailor your approach to show them how you can help.


4. Make the most of your network

It’s a very British trait to under-sell yourself, and to downplay the ability that you have. You have to overcome this, adopt a positive mindset, believe in what you can offer, be your own biggest advocate, and take advantage of the networks that you have built up over the length of your career.

Friends and business colleagues are very strong allies and might be able to give you the inside track on a role that is not yet live, persuade the Talent Acquisition team that now is a good time to acquire you, or simply act as a strong point of reference.

They can also provide insight into the culture of a prospective employer, the flexibility offered on a work/life balance and longer-term career prospects. Don’t be afraid to reach out – you have to let them know that you’re in the market and show off what you have.  People are much more willing to help than you think, and a personal endorsement or recommendation goes a long way in business.


5. Spread your bets

It seems a strange thing to say as a Recruiter but it will be difficult for any Recruitment Consultant to be able to make in-roads into all the target companies you identify as potential employers.  Recruiters typically do not have PSL status with hundreds of clients (and if they do, they are likely to be multi-sector & multinational firms).

Try and engage with a number of recommended and focussed recruiters to ensure your route to market is maximised.  Align this with your own leads and the knowledge of your area that your research has produced.


Finding a new role is rarely a straightforward process, and never more so than now.

Back yourself, adopt a positive mindset and be pro-active.  Keep trying.  Many companies are recruiting and planning for the future – and it’s entirely likely that one of them needs you.

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