In recruitment circles, this time of year heralds the customary flow of clichés loosely based on the theory that the average employee wakes up on January 1st hating their job and rushing headlong into the new year hell bent on finding a new employer. But even if there’s a degree of truth in this, it’s often not the way our candidates successfully move on.

A year round endeavour

We undoubtedly see an increased flow of new candidate inquiries in early January. Our clients also jump on the ‘new year, new challenge’ band-wagon and contact us with renewed hope that the vacancy that has been live for six months or more will finally be filled by an influx of great people that had previously been lying low.

Interestingly, however, our anecdotal evidence suggests that a very large number of people who end up moving jobs had no express desire to change employers at the beginning of the year. They were essentially happy with their lot. However, for one reason or another, an opportunity came their way. They pursued it, went through the process, were offered the role and started their new job.

Our view is that ambitious, career-minded people should always be ‘on the market’ to some degree because one simply never knows when the ideal, career-enhancing, remunerative role may become available. And given the ever-changing legal services market, where mergers, and new entrants and start-up businesses abound, you don’t want to miss that great opportunity that may come around.

Your mission

This does not mean that you should be scouring the trade press and bombarding recruiters and potential employers with unsolicited applications. But there are some fundamentals that every person should be doing to ensure that the best opportunities can find their way to you, regardless of whether you’re proactively seeking a move.

The days when a new role would come about following either a written application in response to an advertisement or following a telephone call from a headhunter are long gone.

Taking time to keep yourself on the radar for that game-changing role does not take too much time and has little or no risk attached. For the ambitious amongst us, it is a must.

  1. Keep the CV up to date – you never know when you’ll need it; make sure that when your new product launch busts its budgeted turnover that you document it in your CV. If your new initiative has tangible and measurable results, document it. Keep it fresh, change the opening positioning statement to reflect your new profile and make sure it reflects what the market is saying it wants. People who say, “I haven’t written a CV for ten years”, are bordering on the negligent vis-a-vis their career management. You never know when you’ll need it, so always have your CV to hand.
  2. Update your Linked In profile – if you have one of course. If you don’t then get into the modern world and build one quickly. And make sure your profile is 100% completed. Get recommendations, endorsements, tick the box saying you are interested in career opportunities (remember – everyone is on the market), and display your wares. If someone contacts you about a role and you’re not interested that’s fine – but you can’t say no to something you don’t know about.
  3. Use Twitter too. This still remains the more overlooked social media channel but it can be a fantastic networking tool for professionals. Use it to follow industry/legal experts, build a following, and make a point of posting regular updates – whether thoughts on topical articles, links to relevant news, or your take on latest industry updates. You’ll soon be engaging with a growing community of like-minded people who can be a great source of good ideas and fresh opportunities.
  4. Keep in contact with recruiters in your market – I have a quarterly meeting with a candidate who wants to be kept up to speed with the market and how it is developing, what roles are being recruited for, and which firms are hiring. Each time I see this person he seems to be happier in his role than he was previously. But if that dream role comes about he knows I’ll tell him, and then he can form a view as to whether he should take it further.
  5. Manage your personal brand – this takes many forms, not least ensuring that you attend events, write articles and network in the correct circles. Don’t take this to the extent that people react to your appearance on a conference podium by saying “not him or her again”. But do it so that people get to know that X at Y firm is good. Word gets around.
  6. Resolve to keep an open mind and accept the fact that the opportunity of a lifetime may be around the corner. And if you are at all ambitious you owe it to yourself to do what you can to make sure it does not pass you by.

At Totum we are pleased to hear from people hell bent on finding a new home. So too are we pleased to hear from people who want to keep an ear to the ground and to just keep tabs. You’ll get no pressure from us but you might just find that dream job that you never knew existed.

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