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Depressing job search

#1 Depressing job search
26/11/2010 14:16

Job hunter

I'm trying to get a job either in or outside MC and am finding the process so depressing it's unreal.

My experience has consisted mainly of HR departments that just refer you to their website (I guess they think I never thought of checking that...) or agencies that just take your CV perhaps after discussing a particular advert you saw and then start talking to you about other roles that you know aren't suitable and/or for which you just know there will be about 500 other applicants.

I like the idea of applying to employers directly but am finding that they have such specific requirements that you would be surprised if there was even 1 person on earth that meets all the essential criteria. Additionally, they just seem impenetrable... no human contact and no way of working out whether there is anything on offer that you could actually do. I'm 14 years experienced in MC/IT strategy type work so pretty flexible but the industry roles seem to want really, REALLY specialised skill sets such as peculiar little architecture design methodologies that I'm sure aren't difficult but which at the present time I don't have a clue about, simply because they're so obscure.

This is all just depressing and very, VERY hard work.

So guys, can you share any constructive tips please? Please be gentle... I'm not in a good place right now so would appreciate real help.

Many thanks in advance.

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#2 RE: Depressing job search
26/11/2010 14:28

mac to Job hunter (#1)

In your 14 years of experience, who did you meet who might now be in a hiring position?

Might be worth a 'catch-up'!

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#3 RE: Depressing job search
26/11/2010 14:35

Mr Cool to Job hunter (#1)

I know a number of proper headhunters who are actively recruiting for big4 and big4-like firms.

However I am keen to maintain my anonimity on this forum.

If you are happy to send your CV to an e-mail address that I will set up, then I will pass on your CV to these agents and let you know whether they feel you are right for their clients.

It will be a straight Yes/No. Yes = interview. No = indication of a more fundamental problem, such as you're not as good as you hoped.

Let me know, and if you wish to go down this route, I'll set up an e-mail and post it on this site in the next few days.

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#4 RE: Depressing job search
26/11/2010 14:45

Tony Restell ( to Job hunter (#1)

Job hunter - the market now is very different to how it was 3 years ago. But it's also picked up tremendously from where it was even at the start of this year, with significant amounts of hiring genuinely taking place. So the good news is there are lots of consulting roles out there to be filled; the less good news is that you need to adapt your job search efforts in all likelihood to stand a chance of securing one of these...

The key thing to understand is the change from 3 years ago as this has major implications for a successful job hunt strategy.

Back in the boom years firms were recruiting right across practice areas and in many cases right across the firms full stop. The types of campaigns we would be discussing with firms were along the lines of "we want to grow this practice by 20 consultants over the next X months"; so firms were generically recruiting people of the right calibre for the firm and with the right broad sector experience, in the expectation that they would have no trouble finding billable work for those new hires once they were on board. This was driven by strong client demand, high utilisation rates and fee rates that were higher than they are today.

Fast forward to 2010 and the situation is quite different. Firms are looking to fill very specific gaps in their organisation and are very wary of hiring anyone without knowing in advance exactly which project they are going to be assigned to such that the hire is more or less immediately a billable resource. In many cases recruitment firms are being engaged to find hires in the expectation that a particular piece of client work is won - with the actual hiring outcome then dependent on the firm's success in winning that project.

The upshot of this is that firms ARE as you rightly say looking for very specific and exacting skillsets, because they have very specific gaps within their organisations that they are trying to fill. I would imagine that a lot of your desperation comes from rushing to apply to lots of roles which are not a really strong match to your skillset and experience profile - and where you subsequently find yourself in a black hole or being summarily rejected.

The key to jobhunting today is therefore to invest your time not in making lots of applications, but rather to tracking down the handful of roles for which you really are the ideal candidate. This may mean turning to your network, undertaking internet research to uncover niche firms and identifying recruitment consultants who specialise in your particular niche area in order to uncover openings that really are a perfect match for what you can offer. There are a whole host of reasons why firms don't advertise here all the roles they are looking to fill - and so keeping tabs on our job board should only ever be part of your job search strategy.

I think if you can embrace the idea that your efforts should be centred on researching and tracking down roles rather than in submitting large volumes of applications, you will be much better placed to succeed.

Hope this is helpful advice and good luck.

Tony Restell

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#5 RE: Depressing job search
26/11/2010 15:24

another jobhunter to Tony Restell ( (#4)

I have had very similar experience and I think it is probably the market rather than you.

Tony - great advice for someone with focused experience in an area that has started recruiting again.

However what if you are a generalist; or in a specialism that is not recruiting. You may have good experience in several areas but apparently none where you are "number 1" out of the 500 applicants.

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#6 RE: Depressing job search
26/11/2010 15:54

A success story to another jobhunter (#5)

Don't forget to stay positive. if that means taking a couple of weeks off job hunting to recoup energy then so be it.

There are jobs around, I've luckily just managed to make the leap from IT consulting to industry, but I do think I was lucky with the timings of my decision to go, and a role coming up that appears a really good fit. I applied to an advertised job (via Monster IIRC), via the firm's recruitment portal. Whilst this is more effort than just emailing in a CV it does give the recruiters something more targeted to base their decision on.

Keep positive, and don't forget that if you've been 14 years in consulting you have picked up a lot of valuable experience, war stories and probably a strong ability to analyse problems and structure responses.

As an alternative have you tried using LinkedIn? That site seemed to be a source of recruiter calls for me. Not often well targetted but you might be lucky.

Good luck!

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#7 RE: Depressing job search
26/11/2010 16:02

Mars A Day to Job hunter (#1)

Job hunter I've read and re-read your post and can't help but suspect your problem is as much psychological and experiential. You do come across with a very real sense of hopelessness, perhaps created by optimism fatigue, and lacking in energy. I suggest you need to look at yourself and self-evaluate first, before expending energy in a job search which you feel is pointless (but which isn't).

A good place to start is with a complete re-write of your CV - start with a blank sheet of paper and just get all your points of experience, transferable skills etc down in whatever order they come to you. You can re-order them and make sense of them later. Look at what you are good at, what you have proved you can DO - and a little research on the net about methodologies you dont recognise to familiarise yourself with their core principles and applications - chances are you could easily pick them up if you can explain how your current experience effectively overlaps on to them anyway. Rise above the trends in methodologies and build the case from scratch about where you add value.

Also when looking at ads take a liberal view - they often describe a perfect fit as a way to try and minimise the amount of utterly unsuitable/purely aspirational responses. Yes there may be 500 other applicants, but boil out the ones which are simpy wasting time and you are probably down to maybe 30 or so credible applications. Believe it or not the 'perfect' candidate rarely gets the job - it is usually the one who is strong enough in enough areas, perfect in none particularly, but who can bring energy, vision, a can do attitude and who people want to work with who get the job.

Set yourself achieveble targets to help - such as number of jobs identified and applied to each week, number of catch up conversations with contacts/recruiters etc. Break it down into stages - rather than one target of 'get job'. And realise you have VALUE too - as an expert in your field and a human being. You want the right job, not just any job. Maybe you just haven't found that one yet.

Do try and get away from job hunting too - do something you enjoy and when you are not job hunting dont think about it, but enjoy whatever it is you are doing. Immerse yourself in each activity. If you feel yourself slipping into depression see a doc - can make a huge difference.

And remember there is always this forum to get some advice, blow off steam, or just share frustrations and progress.

Keep us up to date with how you get on.

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#8 RE: Depressing job search
29/11/2010 15:15

Tony Restell ( to another jobhunter (#5)

It is true that things are a lot tougher for those in areas of consulting that are shrinking rather than where recruitment has picked back up again. However I would say the single biggest failing of consulting candidates I have come across is writing a "one size fits all" CV. Even a generalist or someone with experience in the 'wrong' practice areas can write a CV that puts them in a favourable light for practice areas that are recruiting - but only if the time is invested in a tailored CV for each application. This comes back to my point about investing time in tracking down and applying to a smaller number of vacancies but doing a really good job with those you do find.

Also don't allow the negative talk to gain hold that there is no-one recruiting in your space right now. Even in the public sector space I can think of practices that are looking to grow and take advantage of the current malaise in the sector. So yes whilst the public sector market as a whole is not a net recruiter right now, if you look hard enough you'll find firms bucking the trend. The same will be true in other sectors...

Lastly remember that the sole purpose of a CV is to get you an interview (not a job) - so your crafting of your CV should have as its sole aim getting you an interview. Once there it'll be your interview performance that determines whether you get the job...

Good luck

Tony Restell

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#9 RE: Depressing job search
29/11/2010 16:05

anon to Tony Restell ( (#8)

Agree with the above..

only yesterday someone told me of a firm looking to hire a sr consultant/sales lead in the public sector space.

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#10 RE: Depressing job search
29/11/2010 17:44

Mr Swift to Mr Cool (#3)

It wasn't me who posted the original thread 69200, however I am in the same situation.

Any help would me much appreciated. Thx.

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#11 RE: Depressing job search
30/11/2010 15:10

me too to Mr Swift (#10)

The Mars and Tony advice is good. However I have already done pretty much all that. Rewritten the CV endlessly and focused strongly on the ads for which I am a close fit.

There seems to be plenty of recruiting going on. But I find even when I feel I am a very close fit for the job advertised, I am still not even getting to first interview stage. And I have not even had a chance to show any negativity yet!

I have even started applying for jobs at a lower level. Salary is fairly unimportant to me. This is not really getting me anywhere.

Where do you go from here?

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