As the summer winds down, it can be tempting to get in every last bit of relaxation before the cooler weather begins. If you are a financial services professional contemplating a career move, however, this is not the time to take a step back from your search.
“The change of seasons signals the final hiring surge in the financial services sector before the end of the year,” says Mitchell Peskin, Executive Vice President of The Execu|Search Group’s Financial Services division. “To maintain their hiring budgets for next year, many companies are determined to fill their open positions in the fall. Although this makes it one of the busiest times for hiring, we often see job seekers lose momentum in the weeks leading up to—and after—Labor Day.”
Whether you’re looking forward to an end-of-year bonus or taking a vacation, it’s important to stay focused on your professional goals during this critical time. “Many employers are aware of these concerns and are offering incentives for candidates to make the switch,” explains Mitchell. “These incentives can range from a sign on bonus to a delayed start date.”
As a result, now is the time to start setting goals and getting organized. By taking these steps over the next couple of weeks, you will be prepared to take advantage of the post-Labor Day hiring surge:
Update your resume: Ensuring your resume is current before you start searching allows you to keep your goals top of mind. Whether this involves developing a new skill or gaining experience in a different industry, this refreshed resume can help guide your search. While you are updating your resume, it’s important to focus on your specific expertise. “Hiring managers are most interested in your product knowledge, including your day-to-day tasks and responsibilities that highlight the specifics of what you know,” advises Mitchell. “You also need to be prepared to speak to everything that is included on your resume. If you can’t discuss a technology or product that you claimed you had experience with, this can raise some major red flags for hiring managers.”
Improve your personal brand: Social networking sites like LinkedIn have changed the way we connect after networking events, meetings, and interviews. As a result, evaluating and improving the way your brand is portrayed on these sites is a vital step in preparing for your job search. Your brand can be what others—employers, clients, and network connections—identify you as an expert in, so these social networking platforms are some of the best ways to market your skills, achievements, and industry expertise.
Be flexible: If you are serious about taking advantage of this hot hiring period, it’s important that you remain flexible in the types of roles you’re looking for. “Keep an open mind about all opportunities that are aligned with your expertise,” says Mitchell. “If you’re unwilling to look past specific titles, for example, you could be limiting yourself in regards to the different types of firms you could potentially work for. Although firms may use the same titles to distinguish certain roles, the internal structures and responsibilities can differ drastically from firm to firm.”
Get involved: Attending industry events is another great way to prepare for your job search. Not only do they allow you to meet and connect with likeminded professionals in your field, but also help you stay abreast of industry trends and keep your skills up-to-date. Some professionals even take their industry involvement a step further by volunteering for a relevant charitable organization such as Hedge Funds Care. “Doing so allows you to demonstrate an interest in your field outside of your job,” explains Mitchell. “This is something that can look very impressive to a hiring manager.”