The importance of keeping an up to date CV
The CV is a fundamental document that makes the difference between getting an interview or being put on the reject pile. Recruiters receive hundreds of CVs - making yours stand out is a skill that can be learned and dramatically improve your chances of being noticed at the start of the job application process. A professional, up to date CV that highlights your experiences and qualifications is the most essential tool you need when hunting for a new job, therefore it is worth investing time and effort in getting it right. Unfortunately, some candidates think that once they have a CV the same document can be used for all applications. In truth, your generic CV is a starting point, a snapshot of your career history, but remember the reader will be a recruiter looking to help you find the right role, so you need to immediately gain their attention and summarise why you are a preferred candidate above others. You stand a better chance of doing this successfully, if you tailor your CV for each job application.
Reasons to update your CV.
Change is inevitable. We are still in the middle of a pandemic – uncertain times for companies and individuals – nobody wants to think about downsizing or redundancies, but this is a possibility that no one is immune to and if the worst were to happen, having an up-to-date CV means you can jump straight in to looking for a new job without scrabbling around for details.
Seize the day. If you're happy in your role, and you're progressing, not immediately looking to change but then out of blue comes an unexpected offer that takes you by surprise, you'll be unprepared if you're not able to produce an up-to-date CV immediately. This could potentially mean the difference between a job offer and none. These scenarios do and can happen even during times of economic uncertainty. Therefore, being prepared and ready, is the best course of action.
Talent spotting. If you're given the opportunity to demonstrate your skills by working on a project or something out of the ordinary from your daily duties, you'll need a CV to demonstrate why you're being considered for this extra piece of work. A regular CV review ensures key accomplishments and experiences are included and the earlier out of date ones are superseded. This does not take long, and the best advice is to review and update your CV every 3 months.
Planned success. Even if your CV is never used to progress to a new position or firm, a regular review of your CV will give you the opportunity to focus on yourself - whether that's to reflect on if your career is going in the right direction, or whether you feel you could benefit from training or mentoring - a CV overhaul is the perfect opportunity to take stock of your career and take control of where you are heading.
In summary, your CV needs to showcase you and your experience in the best possible light; it is essential for successful, progressive career and sometimes life changes. In the fast-paced job market, competition remains stiff, but give yourself the best chance of success by regularly brushing up your CV to accurately reflect your full range of talents.
Our guide to a successful video interview
2020 was a year of huge change for everyone – the way we work and the way we interact have all had to change. Despite the unusual past 12 months, recruitment in taxation has remained buoyant, however we have all had to modify the way in which this has taken place. Not least when it comes to the interview.
Zoom / Teams meetings have become the much new and much used phrase in everyone's vocab and video interviews when clients are recruiting for candidates are now commonplace. We thought it would be useful to set out a few handy tips on how best to go about them to ensure they run as smoothly as possible.
Video interview hints and tips
Firstly, try not to worry too much. Employers recognise that this is an unusual situation and that things can go wrong! However, a few simple and practical tips will get you off on the right footing and allow you to appear as professionally as possible
· Make sure you are in an area where the wifi signal is good.
· Try to avoid sitting with your back to the window, as you will look dark and shadowy - face the light!
· If possible, keep the background plain - now might not be the time to display your questionable poster collection / political books etc – basically anything too distracting.
· Avoid the webcam looking up at you, it is not the most flattering angle, eye to eye is best. So pop some books under the lap top if you need height.
· Being at home has lots of distractions - pre warn the rest of the household, silence your mobile and use the mute button as and when you need too!
· Test your mic and video beforehand.
· Finally, smile, relax and treat it like any other interview ( and yes that does included dressing smartly !)
Just started out in tax? Here are our top 5 tips to help you on your way
Just started out in tax? Here are our top 5 tips to help you on your way.
Get a tax qualification.
If your employers offer you the chance to study for the ATT or CTA exams, go for it. Yes, they are challenging exams, and you will need to study hard to pass them but your future career prospects, and opportunities to do more interesting work, not to mention future earnings potential will be dramatically improved. Your studies will also give you exposure to other areas of tax that you might not get experience of which bring us on to the next tip.
Get a feel for different areas of tax.
Most people at the start of their career work mainly in one discipline (perhaps doing corporation tax compliance work for example). Try to sample as many other areas of tax as you can, ask for a secondment to a different team, or find out from colleagues working within different tax specialisms what their day-to-day work involves. Ultimately most tax professionals end up specialising to some degree. Try and find the one you will enjoy most; not only will that be more interesting, but you are more likely to shine working in a discipline you have chosen.
Tax is a technical discipline, but it is personality that counts.
Clearly you need to know your stuff, and if you are the sort of person who loves drilling down into the tax legislation to resolve a knotty problem, that is great. However, most of the high-flying tax professionals we know have become successful because of their personality traits and soft skills. As the National Head of Tax at one of the big 4 firms once said to us "we can teach people the tax rules, but we can't teach them to have a great attitude". As your career progresses, try to develop your networking and client relationship skills and go on as many soft skills courses as possible. Most importantly be as enthusiastic and positive as you can.
Don't overlook in-house tax jobs.
Whilst most tax specialists begin their careers in accounting firms (aside from those who work for HMRC) it is important to remember that there are many other interesting and remunerative career opportunities outside the profession. One popular option for many is to move into an in-house tax role. This can offer the chance to explore in detail the specific tax issues facing specific sectors and the chance to work closely with non-tax business leaders. Be aware though that there are certain points in your tax career where it is easier to achieve such a move e.g., when you have had a couple of year's PQE.
Plan your career (or at least think of the next step on the ladder).
Some people love to plan whilst others prefer to go with the flow and see what opportunities come their way. Neither approach is right or wrong and it's often a matter of personality. However, if you have a burning ambition to, say become a tax partner in ten years' time, talk to colleagues and if possible, get a mentor. This can help you set yourself a road map of the steps you need to take along the way to give you the best chance of achieving your goal. Over the years we have worked with many tax specialists starting in the early stages of their career and had regular dialogue for many years as their career develops. We can offer free advice and guidance on what you need to focus on as you advance you career.
Please contact us if you want any further advice on any of these points or would like to discuss your future career plans.
Searching for a new tax job? Why you should look to build a relationship with a trusted Tax recruiter
We recently conducted our annual tax career satisfaction survey, which was completed by over 135 tax professionals across the North of England and as always offered a unique insight into some interesting questions.
This year we included a question that asked, 'If you were thinking about making a making a career move, how would you typically go about learning about new job opportunities?'. We found the results quite surprising in that just over half said that they would look to build a relationship with a trusted recruiter if they were looking for a new tax job, with the remainder opting to search on google, tax job boards on respond to unsolicited messages on LinkedIn.
Why is this surprising? It says to us that there is a fairly large portion of tax professionals who don't necessarily appreciate what a good tax recruiter can bring to the table when thinking about making a career move. This may be because they have had a bad experience with a recruiter in the past but also we feel that it is all too easy as a tax professional, where your skills are highly sought after and in high demand, to simply expect the opportunities to come to you, rather than to be proactive and search out the right role that is going to propel your career in the direction you want.
So, what's the problem? If your approach is to simply wait for a recruiter to message you (or a direct approach from a client) on Linkedin about a role, how do you know that particular role is the very best and most suitable in the market for you? If you trawl the job boards and apply for roles, often many will be out of date or already filled and you will find yourself inundated with calls from lots of recruiters and before you know it your CV sent out to lots of firms often by more than one recruiter (which is never a good look)! Also, how do you know that all the opportunities in the market are being advertised online? In fact, the best ones often aren't.
For many tax professionals, making a career move is up there with the most important decisions they will make in their life, along with say for example buying a new house. When buying a house you would take the time to assess all properties on the market, view lots of them and do your research to make an informed decision. You wouldn't simply just jump at the first property that came your way because someone told you that you were the perfect person for that house! Also, a good estate agent will often present houses to you before they even make it to market – something a good tax recruiter will do as well.
Why invest the time in building a relationship with a tax recruiter?
A bad recruiter won't have much experience of the tax market, won't be well connected and most importantly won't really be interested in you. To put it bluntly most only care about filling their open jobs and earning their commission asap irrespective of whether the job is right for you.
In contrast a good tax recruiter will take the time to discuss with you in detail what type of role and organisation are going to be the best fit to meet your career goals and aspirations.
They will present suitable opportunities to you across the whole of the market and also make sure you hear about new roles before anybody else does. They will be proactive and often present new opportunities to you that aren't advertised online by using their contacts and expertise in the local market to open the right doors for you.
Aside from assisting with your job search, they should also act as a sounding board during your whole career and be able to offer independent and genuine career guidance and advice based on their market knowledge and expertise. In summary, and with acknowledgement to the excellent slogan coined by the Dogs Trust – a good tax recruiter is for life not just for Christmas!
The proof of the pudding
Here are just a few recent examples of people we have placed in tax jobs across the North that were never advertised on job boards or LinkedIn and purely from the result of our proactive approach to finding you the right tax job.
Assistant Tax Manager – Top 10 firm, Manchester
VAT Director – Large independent firm, Leeds
Technical Director - R&D Boutique, Liverpool
Private Client Senior Manager – Big 4 firm, Manchester
Transfer Pricing Associate – Top 10 firm, Manchester
Private Client Senior Manager – Independent firm, Leeds
Contact us if you would like a confidential discussion about your career and the tax market across the North of England, and one of our friendly and highly experienced tax recruitment consultants will be pleased to help!
5 tips for helping your career progress post lockdown.
At that the point that the country went into lockdown in late March there will, inevitably, have been a number of people who were thinking about the possibility of starting to look for a new job (there always are at any point in time). Since then many people have been WFH and have perhaps been less busy than normal so have had some more headspace and will have been reflecting on their current jobs and thinking that a career move might be a good idea. This is a phenomenon well known to recruiters who frequently find a rise in applicants after summer holidays and prolonged Christmas breaks.
So, it is certain that a good number of tax professionals will be keen to find their next job. However, whilst many businesses and professional service firms have put their recruitment plans on ice it may feel to prospective job seekers that their desire to move is going to be frustrated in the short term. Whilst that may be true there are still things that you can do so that you are well placed to move from a position of strength once the market picks up (and it certainly will at some stage).
So here are our five top tips of things you can currently focus so you can spring into action when the time is right.
1. Dust off your CV and bring it up to date. Think of new areas of expertise you have developed, interesting projects you have worked on, or new management or BD skills you have gained.
2. Analyse what you really like / do not like about your current role and your motivation for wanting to move jobs. Look at people in your team / firm doing the job that you would do if promoted – is that what you want and are aspiring towards?
3. Do, some blue sky thinking – if you could wave a magic wand what would your ideal job look like? List all the features that you would want in that dream job then prioritise the various aspects. This will help focus on the key drivers for you.
4. Take advantage of the many webinars that are currently available to keep up to date technically, broaden both your tax skills and other important soft skills.
5. Start / resume a dialogue with a trusted recruiter who can sense check your thoughts and plans and then, down the line, help you make the move you want at precisely the right time.