New Year, new career

With an increase in competition, job seekers must work hard to stand out from the crowd, but how?

We asked hiring managers to offer their top tips on getting noticed in a busy job market.

The beginning of every New Year is filled with the promise of the positive change to come and, for many; this means the prospect of finding a new job.

The number of job and recruiter applications spike during the first week in January when the notion of another full working year sets in. However, unfortunately for candidates, the job market competition is set to rise further in 2019.

Major Players – digital, creative and technology recruitment agency – received a 28% increase in CV applications during the first week of January 2019 compared to the first week of January in 2018.

When speaking to Richard Robinson, Managing Partner at Econsultancy, he explained that candidates must face the idea that this year competition is likely to rise and it’s even more imperative to stand out from the crowd. 

He said: “2018 will be remembered as a year of business as usual, as, all-too-often, blind attempts were made to prepare for Brexit. For candidates and employers facing 2019, it’s time to embrace the new reality that this will be a year of business unusual where every candidate – and every company – needs to value competence and confidence in equal measure to survive and thrive.”

The startup industry space is another area in which we can expect to see an increase in job competition. According to Ben Aronsten, the CMO of Seedrs, this year will, “see the startup ecosystem in London continue to thrive, which makes working at a startup more appealing and attractive. As a result, we'll probably see heightened competition of talent applying for startup roles

So how can you stay ahead of the game and stand out from the crowd this January?

According to Robinson, candidates need to be more visible and vocal to stand out. He believes they need to be “more distinctive and different than ever before” if they hope to make it in a market that will value innovation, ideas and making an impact above all else. Shout about what makes your CV different; just make sure you have the evidence to back it up.

Sarah Warman, the VP of Brand Strategy at BrewDog, explained that for her, candidates that have a passion beyond their industry will help them to stand out. “I always ask people what they do when they’re not working as it’s much more interesting to find out what makes someone tick when they’re not engrossed in work”, she revealed. “This exposure to creativity and stimulation beyond your working life can really lead to value in candidates, who are inspired by things beyond the realm of their desk.”

She went on to elaborate that creativity is what shouts through a noisy crowd adding: “Gone are the days when a plain-text email and a CV all in Calibri will cut it. Bring some life to your application in order to get noticed.”

However, for a candidate applying for a role, it’s not just their attributes on paper that will help them stand out from the crowd. Aronsten explained that, “while relevant skills and experience is very important, ensuring candidates have a company culture fit and are suited to the fluid environment in a startup is crucial. It doesn't suit all people.”

He went on to add that candidates need to, “be able to concisely summarise what can be a quite detailed employment history with both quantitative and qualitative illustrations of performance. It shows great ability on a number of fronts.”

Top five tips to help you in your job search

1. Sign up to job boards and the most specialist agencies in your sector. Ensure you are signed up to job alerts and emails when new jobs are added

2. Build a relationship with your recruiter. Make sure you stay in contact and explain exactly where you would like to work and what you can offer to a future employer

3. Keep your CV short and simple (max two A4 pages) but highlight your key achievements in your last role and keep them at the top. Ensure you keep multiple copies of your CV which are tailored to specific roles rather than a one-size-fits-all approach

4. Bring your application to life and show what makes you tick including hobbies beyond your industry

5. Be prepared to give specific examples of your achievements and talk about your approach and results. Being able to bring your expertise to life is crucial.