Make a fresh start to your career this February

By Fiona Todd - Principal Consultant: Marketing & Communications at Search Consultancy

Whether you are actively on the market, passively keeping an eye out for opportunities, or even looking for a promotion within your current organisation – it's time you use this month to plan properly, and get ahead! Since Dry January is now over (and we’re all thinking clearly again), here are a few tips to help you get a fresh start to your career this February!

Top 5 tips for active job-seekers

For you it’s about being just that - active! I know that job-hunting can sometimes be demoralising, but you have to keep plugging away. If you’re not covering all bases, somebody else will be, and they could end up with your dream job. Your steps to ensure you have a Fresh Start are as follows:

Step 1. Polish up your CV - statistics show that it only takes six seconds to decide on a person’s CV – you need to make sure that yours makes the cut.

  • Speak to recruiters in your market and get feedback on the layout, tone and content of your CV.
  • What makes a good Office Administrator CV will undoubtedly be different to what makes a good HR Business Partner CV – so speak to the experts, and ensure you’re selling yourself effectively.
  • Have your CV ready to go in both MS Word and PDF format as some online CV portals will only take a certain type

Step 2. Create and maintain good agency relationships - you may want to speak to any and every recruiter out there; or perhaps you’d prefer to nurture strong relationships with one or two. However, you need to be speaking to specialist recruiters operating within your market.

  • Good recruiters know who is currently looking for staff, and who is likely to be soon. You’ll want to be at the forefront of their mind(s) whenever roles come up.
  • Specialist recruiters will know their sectors well enough to be able to predict when it’s going to be busier or quieter, so you can be ready with the best version of your CV to send on.
  • Dedicated recruitment consultants will be happy for you to check-in with them regularly - be it over the phone, by email or IM, or over a coffee. You may be enquiring about a job you’ve spotted online, asking for advice about the market or a particular employer, or just looking for a chin-wag. Here at Search we’re taught that “candidate is king” – we know you’re valuable and we want to hear from you!

Step 3. Job alerts - this should be a no-brainer. Sign up for them all!

  • Job boards, recruitment agencies and direct employers all have mailing lists that you can sign up so that you are alerted whenever a relevant role comes up.
  • Set up alerts on Google too , so that you don’t miss a beat!

Step 4. Follow up on previous applications and interviews

  • If you applied directly to a job, and their advert didn’t specifically state that “only successful candidates will be contacted” and you haven’t heard from them weeks after the closing date, put a call in. Make sure they received your application and answer any questions they may have on you.
  • If you had an interview and were “pipped to the post”, but the business stated that they’d be happy for you to keep in touch…do it! You never know when things might change! 

Step 5. Prepare for interviews - read tips online, speak to recruiters , ask them to conduct a mock-interview if you feel you’d benefit, and practise in the mirror. You’ll want to give the best account of yourself possible. (Check out my interview hints and tips post, coming soon!).   

Passive market -observers

The latest survey shows that here in the UK we tend not to stay with an employer d for any longer than five years, so it’s no surprise that there is a growing number of passive job-seekers on the market. To get your “fresh start” this February:

  • Keep in touch with recruiters – meet them once every couple of months for coffee or lunch and keep tabs on the recruitment market.
    • If you maintain a strong relationship with a couple of select recruiters, it’s likely that they’ll bring relevant and interesting jobs to you as soon as they come up – you’ll be one of the first people they contact.
    • If your circumstances change, and you end up active on the market, or even actively pursuing a particular role – a recruiter you’ve spent time with will be more likely to place you if they know you well and can really “sell you” into their clients.
  • Network – whether it’s online via social channels, or at events/seminars/trade shows, increase the number of names in your ‘little black book’…you never know when they could come in handy!

Those looking for a promotion or pay rise

Lets face it, we’d all like more money, or increased benefits such as flexible working or more responsibility within our field. But how you ask for it will determine the outcome. For a fresh start, you need to:


  • Justify – you CANNOT just ask and expect to be given. You need to explain why!
    • Market rates – speak to recruiters and look at salary surveys to find out what the average person earns (in terms of salary or benefits) at your level
    • Length of experience/service with the company – are you leaned upon for guidance by your peer group because of the depth of your understanding of your company or remit/role?
    • Education/Qualifications – what certificates, training or professional memberships do you have?
    • Stepping up – have you been ‘acting’ in a more senior capacity, mentoring junior employees, taking on more than normal?
  • Paint an accurate picture – if you want to work flexibly, your output can’t suffer.
    • Condensed hours – showcase case studies into the effectiveness of compressed working weeks
    • Explain your circumstances. Would you be more productive working from home (less distractions, shorter commute, more positive attitude about work)? What would suffer (losing touch with business, not being ‘on-hand’ at any moment)? and how would you compensate for this (splitting time between home and office, planning days/weeks in advance)?

I hope you use these tips to make the most of the month. Let’s make sure this really is Fresh Start February.

About the author

Fiona Todd


Fiona comes from a strong background in marketing, and offers unparalleled understanding of the types of positions required to increase brand exposure and grow a business. She is passionate about creativity and innovation in the workplace. She recruits for the many positions required to make a marketing and communications team successful including: product & brand development, public and media relations, event management, digital, eCommerce, social, communications, and design.

Fancy a career in marketing and communications?

At Search, we’ve been placing marketing professionals in quality roles for a long time. Whether you're looking for a new career as marketing director, communications manager or design assistant, our consultants can provide you with the guidance you need at all stages of the recruitment process. So don't delay, and contact Fiona Todd on [email protected] to help you through the application process. You can find our full list of vacancies here!


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