There’s no getting around this: it’s a challenging market out there right now – for everyone. Anyone who tells you otherwise I suspect may have chosen to be a little economical with the truth. Thing is, that kind of slowdown brings with it challenges for our clients, our candidates and, naturally, also for us as recruitment partners. So, what can you do as a contractor to maximise your chances in a more competitive market?
Be More Jack
When building your career, there is obviously huge stock in building specialisation. But in a squeezed environment, making yourself a generalist can also be hugely valuable. For practitioners, your currency is your skills and the more of those you have to offer, the more indisposable you will become to almost any organisation. Take every opportunity to expand your repertoire, continue professional training & consider embarking on contracts that might be outside your comfort zone. Increasingly, clients are honing in on interim talent with multiple strings to their bow.
Clean Up Your Shop Window
Even in a digital world, your CV still remains your most immediate selling tool so make sure it’s spick-and-span. Consider carefully tailoring it for particular roles, keep things ultra-current and ensure your copy is punchy, modern and to-the-point: we’re professional communicators, after all. Don’t forget to apply the same rigour to your LinkedIn profile. Get the basics right and the rest will always follow.
Everyone has a baseline. We all have mortgages, rents, sky-rocketing bills and - yes, heavens above – a personal life to pay for. And the last thing we would advocate – especially as recruiters – would be for you to undersell yourself. But it’s also worth considering some fluidity with your rates. So flip-reverse things a bit: if you’re out of contract and need to get back on the ladder, consider roles that may be out of your normal range - in one direction or another. Look first at the scope of the position and whether you have the skills & experience to succeed in it. If you think you do, then take a moment to consider whether it is financially or professionally viable.
(Don’t) Stay In Your Lane
Here at VMA GROUP, we are huge advocates for taking a sector-agnostic approach and regularly petition organisations to look at talent from other industries - naturally, we’re a multi-disciplinary agency with clients in almost every corner of professional life. But it’s not just sales talk. I can vouch personally for that because in my own lengthy comms career, most of the very best practitioners with whom I crossed paths had built their expertise in a range of industries. It’s an approach that breeds diversity in every sense, quality and range. Candidates should consider a similar approach. Yes, it’s important to find your USP but don’t be constrained by it. Your skills carry huge currency in a bigger span of sectors than you might think.
Now is the time to reap the dividends of your investment in relationships with recruiters. I know we can be a frustrating bunch from time to time – heck, I was a hiring manager and a candidate once, too! But remember, we are here to help. It’s wise to spend time building those networks in good times as well as bad. Don’t just wait until you're out of contract to get in touch. There’s never a bad time for a chat so engage with your network now – including VMA GROUP, of course!
A Break in the Clouds?
Nothing ever lasts forever. We’ve all read more gloomy headlines than we’d like over the last few months and it can be much harder to stay optimistic when the jobs market stalls, especially as a contractor who rolls from one assignment to the next without the security of a permanent position. But things will improve and even the Bank of England was more positive recently on the economic outlook for the next few months, a stark contrast from its earlier verdict six months before warning the UK would enter the longest recession on record. "Modest but positive growth," is now expected to be the order of the day.
Written by: Ben Mitchell, Senior Recruitment Consultant, Interim & Contract, External Communications
VMA GROUP is a leading international interim, contract, temporary and permanent recruitment and executive search specialist. We are specifically focused on providing support to the communications, marketing, digital and change communities.
Our specialist practice areas cover: communications, corporate communications, internal communications, change communications, PR, media relations, financial communications, CSR, public affairs, investor relations, marketing, brand, digital marketing and agency services.
We have a reputation for providing expert consultancy services and advice, supported by in-depth knowledge of the professions we recruit for. Our thought leadership and benchmarking studies have become go-to resources for the communications, marketing, digital and change industries, supporting planning and decision-making for organisations of all shapes and sizes.
In the UK, VMA GROUP has offices in London, Bristol and Manchester and in Europe, VMA GROUP has offices in Amsterdam and Brussels, but we work with organisations and individuals on a global basis.
VMA GROUP is committed to equal opportunities and is a Diversity Pledged Recruiter.