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New year, new job: What you should think about before you start a job search

I can tell by the speed that emails are arriving in my inbox that a new job is certainly high on the list of New Year’s resolutions. Thinking back to when I first started in recruitment 17 years ago on 4th February (I don’t feel that old!), I was one of those new year job seekers myself! Clichéd as it may be, it’s the reality: January/February are always a busy time of year in recruitment.  Reinvigorated by the feeling of opportunity the New Year brings, candidates have renewed energy to make a move and after the normal recruitment slow-down in the run up to Christmas, clients are keen to push forward and fill their roles. 

A New Year dawns full of expectation and anticipation of what the next 12 months will bring.  A new job may be on your list, alongside going to the gym more, eating healthier and a number of well-meaning intentions.  An idea (or a goal) is one thing, however, that same idea or goal in reality can require much more, time, energy and commitment.  As the weeks progress the gym feels quieter, the takeaway becomes more appealing and getting a new job can seem like a whole lot of effort.

So if you really want to focus on a new job, you probably need a bit of a plan or at least a considered approach to get you started. You don’t need me to tell you that the reason so many New Year’s resolutions fail is that although we’re great at coming up with things we need and want to improve, real life often gets in the way.  If you are currently working, for instance, it can be hard to find the time to look for another job - it can seem daunting (albeit exciting too!?) and be a time consuming process. 


If you think that 2019 is the year that you will make a move in your career, now is a good time to get the ball rolling. A good place to start is asking yourself what you are looking for from a new role: better work/life balance, change in location, career progression/a new challenge, a salary increase or better benefits. You are probably looking for at least one of these and in an ideal world all of them - but what do you really want?  What is it that is making you think that the grass is greener on the other side?  It’s important to know what you are looking for from a new job. Not only will potential employers ask you this, but most importantly the reason becomes your driving force, your motivation for applying. 

Up to date CV

Next step…do you have an up to date CV? Is it an accurate portrayal of your career and something you are proud of? It’s probably the first thing your potential employer will read about you and first impressions do count! Even if an imminent career move isn’t on your agenda it’s good to always have an up to date CV.  There is lots of CV information available online about what to include, what not to include and what does/doesn’t work and realistically there isn’t a one size fits all solution.  My very generic CV advice is that it should be a clear, concise, well-presented, professional document that outlines your education and career history—what have you done, what can you do, what can you offer and what do you want next? For a deeper discussion about your personal CV, please don’t hesitate to reach out for a confidential discussion.

The Search

After you have identified your motivation(s) and your CV is brought up to date, the fun (and slightly tougher) bit comes. You need to come up with a short list of places you’d like to work, the type of work you’d like to take on, and then begin the search of who is actually hiring - or who you think will be hiring in the near future. Obviously this is where an established recruitment agency can help, updating you on the market, current roles and even forthcoming roles that haven’t hit the jobsites as of yet.  Do also read up on firms and their recent moves, hires and news to stay aware of what is happening in the market. 

When you find roles you want to apply to, keep a record of where you apply and when, including details of the job and salary on offer. The hiring process can sometimes take a little bit of time, so you want to remember the different applications you’ve sent so you aren’t caught off guard if a hiring manager contacts you.

As mentioned above an agency like Chadwick Nott can really help with the entire process. They have in-depth market knowledge, know about team moves and will offer personalised career advice including advice on CVs, interview preparation and can negotiate with an employer on your behalf.

The Job Market for Paralegals

I am currently recruiting for paralegal roles both in-house and within private practice. Our five-strong paralegal team has open opportunities within financial services, securitisation, tax, immigration and a range of practice areas both in London and further afield across the UK. Please get in touch if you want additional insight into the market and who is hiring and where. 

With a clear vision of what you want from a new job and an up to date CV, you are well prepared to start your search and enter the job market whether this be now or when you decide the time is right – good luck!

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