As part of our Meet MERJE interviews, we asked what advice they give to job seekers in their Discipline.
Kirstie Burn, Director, Compliance
"I always tailor my advice to the individual with whom I am dealing, whether they are looking for a career move, wanting to further skills and strengths, or wanting to position themselves based on where they want to be in five years. My advice is often about where their gaps sit and what they need to secure in skills and experience to make sure they are a credible Candidate at that stage in their career and can secure the role they want.
"If they are looking to go into a more senior role then it is often the breadth of stakeholder management experience that is significant, as well as the opportunities that they have had to work at Executive and Board-level, such as working with C-Suite and sitting on committees which is important to highlight.
"The Compliance market is generally looking for people who are more commercially minded than the old-school police-style, focused purely on tick box checking. It's now important to have a person in Compliance who enables business success and growth."
Neil John, Director, Customer Contact
"Treat ‘getting a job’ as a job in itself. While you may have a relationship with the likes of myself and two or three reciprocal agreements with other companies, make sure you use your own network as well, so be pro-active – you can’t go in to find a job in a half-hearted way. It is also useful to put yourself through the paces in terms of interview preparation before you go for your dream job. In the 13 years I have been a recruiter, one of the best pieces of advice I’ve given is to go for a job you don’t want and clear out your interview cobwebs, so that when you go for your dream job you are ready for the process."
Stephen Fletcher, Managing Consultant, Procurement
"Expect the unexpected! No two Procurement teams are the same and the expectations and openness of stakeholders in different organisations varies greatly. Ensure that you explore the business and its intentions, and how much they value Procurement as well as how much the stakeholders will be open to having you in their business.
"There’s plenty of questions that you can take to an interview to get a good picture of this, but it’s also worth doing your due diligence on what Procurement has been like at that business, how successful it has been, and how well it has been integrated into the wider company."
Andy Hodson, Managing Consultant, Financial Crime & Fraud
"I would always recommend being patient with your job search. You have a very niche skillset which is in demand but you need to be patient in finding the right role as they aren’t going to come up every day. Mid-to-senior level roles are available, but more often than not it takes people moving on for new positions to come up. Think about your career progression rather than taking the first role that comes up. If you are open to contract roles within Financial Crime it is certainly something to consider and can be quite lucrative."
Eleanore Sykes, Managing Consultant, Credit Risk & Analytics
"Really think about where you want to take your career. Someone who has a couple of years’ experience in Credit Risk or Analytics will have multiple different routes they can take, but going down certain avenues can make it harder to come back the other way. So think very carefully about each move as you don’t necessarily need to go for the first thing that goes your way because you’ve got a skillset that is low in supply and high in demand.
"Also, think quite carefully about your technical knowledge and where you can get experience and exposure to different technical skills, for example SAS is something that the vast majority of my Clients would need but certain roles could involve you relying more heavily on SQL or Excel."
James Flood, Senior Consultant, Compliance
"Keep an open mind about the role you apply for and what experience you can gain from going into a new role even if it’s not in your traditional area. Take on board further qualifications where you can, and stay updated with hot topics, such as SMR and GDPR, and also if you are in Payment Services you have PSD and PSD2 that have come out too. It’s constantly evolving – the biggest thing for you to do is to make sure you evolve as changes come through to understand the new regulations. And get that experience on your CV to put you in a much stronger position when applying for new roles."
Darragh Lee, Senior Consultant, Customer Contact (Telecoms, Utilities & Retail)
"I believe there is an increasing need to bring out your transformation experience. You need to show that the service your team provides for the customer is strong, but to stand out you also should highlight what strategies you have introduced and the technology you have embraced that has improved how your team operates and improved the customer experience."
Kate Watt, Senior Consultant, Finance & Audit
"Be clear on what the opportunity that you want looks like, whether it’s new experience or progression that you are searching for. Be clear on your salary expectations and any training that you want to do.
"I always like to meet all the Candidates that I represent to make sure we’re really clear on both sides about what the current opportunities are and what we should be working towards. Doing so always helps to manage the process as sometimes a Client wants to move quickly so it helps to already have that trust and relationship with the Candidate. I can be sure that I fully understand their situation and needs and there is less chance of a misunderstanding."
Tany Yunos, Senior Consultant, Finance & Audit (Part-qualified Accountancy)
"At the part-qualified Accountancy level, it’s more about drive and ambition. The main advice I would give is to be true to yourself, and if you are after progression, don’t be afraid to pursue that progression and study support when searching for a role."
Anna Desouza, Office Manager
"Keep it as simple as possible. Focus on quality over quantity, and maybe highlight what you want people to notice first, whether it is specific job experience or skills. Also, tailor your CV to the job you are applying for to help you get a better chance of being considered."