5 Things NOT to do when Looking for a Finance Role

Career moves need careful, and tight, planning, right from the start. Yet, it’s so tempting when you feel that ‘itch’ to look at other opportunities to jump right in, but the reality is that career moves don’t come easy. You need the right advice, at the right time, and from the right person. To help, we’ve listed some top ‘don’ts’ to help you steer away from some all too common mistakes.

Don’t ‘test the water’

Like anything, lack of preparation is the root cause of failure. Starting to apply for jobs without a plan can open up a can of worms. Firstly, you need advice from somebody who knows on what your best options are –and if you don’t know this, you’re likely to get frustrated applying for roles that might not be right for you. Secondly, this can lead to a situation where you saturate the market. It’s understandable that if you’re unsure of your exact career direction, over a period of time, you could apply for tens and tens of roles. At best this lack of direction might get unnoticed, but at worst, – you’ll get noticed. And not in a good way. As a job seeker, you want to maintain the upper hand – appearing ‘unsuccessful’ or too ‘try hard’ in your job hunt will affect your reputation. Your best first option is to seek advice, from a recruiter you know and have history with, or a trusted mentor.

Don’t be flaky

In a similar manner, if you’re only half committed, you could annoy the very people you might need to provide you with the next opportunity. Aside from recruiters, if you meet with companies regarding roles you’re not ‘serious’ about, this will affect your brand in the market. It’s absolutely OK to decline a job opportunity for a valid reason, but not “being ready to leave” your current organisation will not only rub people up the wrong way, it could give you a bad name.

Don’t take calls when you’re busy, or even worse, at a social event

If you’re in it to win it, it’ll take your full commitment. When you’re in ‘job search mode’, you need to be on 24/7 – recognising that any point, anyone could call you. Think about it – you’ve applied to numerous recruiters, in-house talent acquisition departments and hiring managers, all of which could be based anywhere around the world. Applied to a US company? Expect a call in the evening. Either be prepared to chat, or set up a professional voicemail that asks for a return call number and email.

Don’t become complacent

It’s a fairly obvious one, but when you’re nearly close to securing the job of your dreams, it might be easy to sit back in your chair and relax a little bit. Sure, what’s the point? However, as you’ll well know from the other side of the table, an employee who is about to leave can be easy to spot in terms of a change in attitude, and even if you’re leaving, it won’t do you any favours to create a negative exit impression. Not to mention a ‘leaves something to be desired’ reference!

Don’t use a new job as a bargaining tool

Likewise, when you’ve got a new role up your sleeve, it might be tempting to ‘test your weight’ as well as the waters, by using a new job opportunity as a bargaining tool to get a promotion or pay rise. But think about it – even if it does serve as a genuine wake-up call for your employers, think about what they might think of you after the event? You’ll always be regarded at best as a potential flight risk, and at worse, as potentially disloyal.

Above all, don’t forget that you’re only human. The phrase, ‘be nice to people on the way up because you’ll meet them on the way down’ is applicable here – never use a new job opportunity as a game of ‘one-up’, and always remember to make these transitions with respect and integrity.

Good luck!

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