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EDITOR’S TAKE: Six steps to a new job in the new year

Welcome back. We trust you all had a good time and weren’t too afflicted with the lurgies that emerged over the break. We’re starting the working year on a cheering note, with the following advice on how to inveigle your way into a new position before Christmas comes around again.

1) Swallow your pride So you used to be something big in the bulge bracket? Get over it. If you hold out for a new role at a comparable institution, offering comparable status and comparable cash, you could find yourself hanging on until Father Christmas manifests himself to Kylie Minogue. Although some boutiques are clearly struggling, 2009 will remain all about smaller players picking up the castoffs from bigger competitors. Go there, or go nowhere fast.

2). Open your mind Jobs are not going to be easy to come by in the next 12 months. In order to find a new one you will need to be creative. Think very laterally about how you can apply your talents. Unearth roles and business opportunities that others out of the market won’t have thought of. For example, you could be helping redundant hedge fund managers to trade from home, or looking at growth areas like derivatives valuation. Failing that, you could always switch to stand up comedy.

3). Cut your costs Needless to say, it will be a lot harder to be flexible about your career aspirations if your outgoings are predicated on a six figure net income. Be strict with yourself. According to this month’s Tatler magazine, trophy wives are having their allowances cut. Less disruptively, the cost of schooling can be reduced by choosing institutions like Christ’s Hospital, which charge fees in line with income.

4). Remember your friends As we noted at the end of last year, some people out of the market appear to be being reemployed on a contract basis at quite acceptable daily rates. These jobs are not advertised. Their existence is transmitted by word of mouth amongst acquaintances.

5). Do your due diligence When you haven’t worked for several months, it’s easy to clutch at whatever comes your way. However, if the role you’re applying for hasn’t actually been signed off, you could waste a lot of time for no good reason. The same applies if you join a non-core team which is being downsized. One unfortunate reader last year lost three jobs in a row.

6). Keep your chin up You may not yet have the job you aspire to, but you still have your health/family/sanity/Ferrari. Failing that, there’s always the 2012 Olympics to look forward to.

Comments (7)

  1. Alas I won the redundo lotto at the end of December and now in the strange purgatory of working my final 30 days. On the upside on Sunday I found my new home office, its the Westfield Centre in Shepherd’s Bush: bright, warm, comfortable seating, free of shoppers and free wifi.

  2. And look outside the Financial Services industry, Q1 2009 is going to be a blood bath. The industry only has one default setting to most problems – redundancy – and it ain’t over yet. The next big shock will be the reaction of our political masters when it reaches the greater public that some folks are actually getting bonuses. If you think things are nasty now and that Bankers are less popular than used car salesmen or estate agents, just wait the the “bonus backlash”. We are indebted to the politicians and they react to newspaper headlines, so we have introduced an incredibly unstable element to the industry – the Politician that thinks we owe them.

  3. All sound advice Sarah, however I believe it casts too light a gloss on what may well come to pass. For those still at their desks…dont dream of comparable bonuses …as the wizard has said above…the politicians will not allow bonuses to further infuriate the great british public….whetehr personally guilty or not..we will all be painted the same and bonuses will be low or even non existent at the new Publically owned Banks…and as there are few alternatives the employers will not have a problem instigating that.
    As to the jobs market..it will be a long time before many are employed in comparable roles and for some they will have to look a long way outside the Wharf/The City

  4. 2008 was a rollercoaster ride – I left Citi and the industry, travelled and did some volunteering. Then moved in my parent’s house and struggled for 7 months to find a job, eventually landing temp xmas work. Now it’s 2009 and I’ve gone ‘back to basics’ firstly, going back to my roots in retail consulting then abandoning the recruitment agencies, middle men and useless websites. Instead applying directly to employers, cold calling and networking – maintaining a spreadsheet for contacts and job progress. I have 2 confirmed interviews from networking and possibly another lined up for this week alone. Where there is chaos, confusion and uncertainty there is also opportunity. You just find your own way and that’s what I’ve learnt.

  5. Hoping for a better 2009. . Did some volunteering, ignoring the recruitment agencies for now and applying directly to the employers themselves, keepiing a record of all letters and emails. Although no interview yet but I am keeping my fingers crossed

  6. The curent signs indicate that the downturn in the financial sector would continue for sometime now (read thru the whole 2009) so for people who are now in the job market they should cast their nets wide. You can look at the sectors where govt spending would continue to grow NHS is a prome example so think of your transferable skills and match them to suitabe roles open in these sectors.

  7. RE 1) Swallowing pride
    I worked as an ABS quant at about 75k base until H2’08, when the knife fell. I had no job for 6 months, and it felt awful. Having searched very hard, I now have an offer paying 50k base with a broker/dealer who enables bespoke structured credit trades. The work and people are worth it, given the tough times we all face. The money is surely not. I have never taken a pay-cut in life. Should I accept or re-skill to something else. Please guide.

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