Ready for lift-off?

Jan 12, 2018
Planning your route to market is a critical part of your career development journey. Here are six ways to set yourself up for success.

Great careers don’t happen by accident. They are the result of many, many strategic moves over the course of one’s working life and just one bad decision – being lured by an attractive salary rather than longer-term career benefits, for example – can derail this process in an instant. In this article, we will help you find the best route to market for you. This process begins the moment you know you want a career change and ends at the CV submission stage. So, first things first…

Do your research

A career change doesn’t necessarily require a move to a new company, so explore internal and external career opportunities in tandem. At this early stage, it’s a good idea to re-draft your CV and have a trusted friend critique it. A good recruiter will also help you perfect your CV, but you can get a head-start by reading some great CV preparation tips here.

Work with recruiters

Seek out one or two specialist recruiters, ideally through referrals from people you know and trust. Sitting down with an experienced recruiter who knows your industry will help shape your thoughts and provide some useful insight into the current market.

Tap your network

While working directly with recruiters will greatly increase your chances of being discovered, don’t forget the potential in your existing network. Check in with past managers or partners in your target firms to seek their advice – they may even make a direct connection on your behalf. But don’t contact your network only when you want something – you need to give before you take. To build your brand throughout your career, read these tips.

Tailor your CV

At this stage, you will be in a strong position to apply for suitable roles. For each application, tailor the bullet points at the top of your CV or cover letter to outline why you should be interviewed for the role. Weave in the language used on the job specification and give some context as to why you are a suitable candidate. This could include your current industry, the size of your team, the nature of your current activity, the scale of your organisation, or its revenues or budgets for example.

Keep a record

You need to play an active role in the application process, so keep a record of the firms to which you have applied and when you expect to hear back from them. Follow up with the hiring manager or recruiter if you don’t hear back within your expected time-frame, and share responsibility for communication – hundreds of applications could be submitted for a given role, so bear this in mind!

Give yourself time

When you begin the search process, you should begin with a very narrow focus which can broaden over time. This strategy will maximise your chances of landing the best role for the next stage of your career. If your search criteria changes at any stage, however, you should keep the relevant people informed (recruiters, hiring managers, your network etc.)


While the route to market is a very personal journey, it’s sadly a very impersonal process in many instances – be prepared for that. Experience shows that you will get out what you put in so do your research, reach out to the right people, work on your CV and cover letter, and take responsibility for the journey. If you get that right, you’ll already be ahead of the pack.

The hard truth...

Companies aren’t always great at giving feedback or keeping in touch – even with the candidates they want to hire!

Expect delays. Expect the hiring manager to promise that he’ll get back to you tomorrow, and then fail to do so. Expect weak feedback, or none at all.

The hard truth is that, once you are not the person they’re going to hire, you fall off the priority list and recruiters rarely have time to look after the “must do that later” list.

If you manage your expectations in this way, you’ll end up pleasantly surprised rather than sorely disappointed.