So how do interim leaders make the most of the notoriously slow summer months? Anna Jacobs, Associate Director for Morgan Philips Group Technology, Change and Transformation offers her thoughts...
1. Don’t panic!
The summer is always a quieter time for both interim and permanent senior recruitment. This year in particular we’re meeting far more candidates than the number of quality vacancies currently available.
My advice to those currently looking for a new contract is not to panic. While the city is noticeably quieter at present (I use the number of available seats on the tube heading into London each morning as a yardstick!), once the school holidays draw to a close I’m confident it’ll be a very different landscape.
Those serious about landing their next engagement need to invest time in preparing for applications now. There are hundreds of candidates applying for each vacancy, so you need to be ready to stand out from the crowd.
2. Don’t be afraid to be visible
We can all be terribly British at parading our achievements. I’m not recommending shameless PR or pompous CVs written in the third person, but I do encourage ensuring your online presence is searchable and working hard for you.
Start by joining some specialist LinkedIn groups. I recommend the Chief Information Officer (CIO) Network and Digital Transformation Leaders. Follow companies of interest and alumni groups. Become visible by liking and sharing posts that resonate with you.
As you build your online footprint, comment on posts of relevance. It’s all about being active, building credibility, and raising awareness of your profile with your peer group, potential employers and specialist recruiters so that you’re front of mind as suitable vacancies arise.
3. Get networking
Networking doesn’t come naturally to everyone, but it is important and gets easier with increased exposure. Eventbrite is a great source for finding industry events, whether it’s for networking, seminars or conferences. Businesses and leaders serious about their space will ring-fence time to host and attend an array of events.
4. Rethink your CV
One of the most common mistakes I see are CVs which haven’t been adapted to the senior interim market.
Forget what you’ve heard about the ‘traditional’ CV. Skills based CVs are out! Make your CV focused on achievement and results. Keep it in chronological order, include dates and highlight extensions, promotions and conversions from interim to permanent employee.
Be sure to list achievements including cost savings and the significant positive impact you delivered to the business. Think punchy sentences and bullet points rather than verbose paragraphs.
5. Keep an open mind
Employers aren’t particularly flexible with day rates, so it’s worth being flexible yourself – especially if it’s a longer term contract or a particularly interesting engagement. It’s always worth weighing up the value of exposure to a new industry or technology which may prove beneficial for future career moves.
I have seen a bit of a shift towards Fixed Term Contract (FTC) engagements in the senior space, particularly where the company has headcount or budgetary restrictions. Personally, I’m more of an advocate of interim to permanent positions and believe these are always worth exploring.
Clients increasingly feel it’s a buyers market and want a lot of bang for their buck. It can be difficult to get your day rate up once you’ve started (unless you can substantiate how the role has changed) so make sure that the arrangement is sustainable before you’re onsite.
6. Stay positive!
While it can be hard to stay motivated if you’ve been searching for a while, it’s important to remember that there are many factors at play when applying for roles. A rejection is not necessarily a reflection of your abilities.
Always ask for detailed feedback, positive and negative, which can increase your chance of succeeding at future interviews. Set up job alerts, so the effort of the daily trawl of jobs boards is done for you.
Finally, be sure to take some time to enjoy the summer! You’ll want to go into your next role refreshed and ready to roll up your sleeves rejuvenated.