New year new career – how to beat the competition

It’s no surprise that the number of people thinking about a career change and actively looking for jobs increases significantly in January compared to the rest of the year. The good news is, should landing that dream job be at the top of your New Year’s resolution list, then January is one of the best times to start.

Despite the uncertainty facing the UK labour marketing towards the end of 2019, January notoriously sees more job postings than any other month and we’ve certainly noticed a spike at Wallace Hind. Following the Christmas break candidates and employers come back reinvigorated, focused and passionate about finding that next role or perfect fit for their organisation and so you need to make sure you’re ahead of the game.

Now if you found the time and motivation to start this process in between the endless mince pie eating and re-runs of Love Actually then well done, you’re already in a great position.

For anyone else, don’t fear there’s some simple tips you can follow to accelerate your job hunt this January.

The job search 

Before you even start your job search take some serious time out to really think about what you want to achieve and where you want to be in the next three to five years and then apply for jobs that could get you there.

Don’t rely on just a few job boards to find vacancies, use a variety of channels including LinkedIn, Facebook, company pages and even specific job websites depending on the industry you’re looking to get in to. Not every company can afford to advertise across multiple sites, making it possible to miss potential opportunities.

Reach out to your friends and networks and make them aware you’re looking for work and the areas you’re passionate about.  Word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools there is and speaking to those you trust and respect could open up opportunities you weren’t aware were there, it’s also a great way to get feedback on how others see you and your strengths.

Better still if you know the types of companies you’d like to work for, make a list and look at your network to see if you have anyone that connects you that could get you an introduction.

Create a killer CV 

Rule number one, tailor your CV to the role and make it specific to what the company is looking for. Include key achievements, outcomes and the impact you had on the organisation. With company culture and values becoming much more important to employers, try and include examples or even hobbies and experiences that could reinforce how you relate to the company’s values.

Although not a necessity, a well written and thought-through summary can help you stand out from the competition and encourage the reader to pay more attention to your CV. The ‘two-page’ rule is a myth, if your CV is relevant and showcases your experiences and skills, there’s no need to edit this down, although we would suggest trying to keep it to around four pages.

The interview 

The work you put into your interview preparation is just as important as how you act in the interview itself and the internet provides endless information on a company’s current and past activities, key priorities and culture. Revising the basics will no longer let you stand out from the crowd – so do your research.

The types of questions you get asked on the day could vary greatly, with some employers favouring the more traditional competency-based options and others choosing a more informal getting to know you approach.

We have seen scenario-based questioning becoming popular over recent years however and so it’s worthwhile thinking of a couple of examples to illustrate how you’d respond in different situations. Also don’t be surprised if you get a few ‘quirky’ questions thrown in, such as “Where would you keep a pet elephant?” The best thing to do in this situation is stay calm and take your time in answering, think methodically as the company is interested in seeing your thought process.

So, you’ve got through the interview, and despite the fact you might be desperate to run out of the door as quickly as possible, try and have some questions of your own to ask. Good ones to use which show you’re interested in the role could be around the working environment and the culture of the company as well as any specifics about the job that you would like clarifying.


Whatever your motivations for wanting to leave your current role, it can be easy to get carried away when offered a new opportunity but remember this is a two-way process and if it doesn’t feel right then the chances are it’s probably not. Remind yourself of what you’re looking for in a role and what is important to you ask the recruitment consultant or company to clarify any questions you have along the way so you can make an informed decision.

Ready to start your job search now? Head over to the Wallace Hind job search page to view our live vacancies.

Still need some prep time? Check out our easy to use free resource downloads covering basic interview tips and getting your CV noticed. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed