Top tips for FCAs seeking a role during the Coronavirus pandemic

Apr 01, 2020
The job market for all candidates including FCAs has changed significantly in recent weeks. The first few months of 2020 had started off positively with a strong flow of senior level roles coming to the market. With the increasing uncertainty of recent times the level of recruitment activity has decreased. However, if you are actively seeking a new role and are available immediately here are some tips for you to consider:

Networking is the key to success

Research has proven time and time again that the more senior and experienced you are the more likely it is that you will source your next career opportunity via your network. Senior level roles often don’t make it on to the live job market as they are filled through word of mouth. It stands to reason then that as a FCA you will need to focus your efforts on networking activity. In the current environment this will need to take place on-line and virtually.


Your focus should be on enhancing your personal brand and improving the impact of your LinkedIn profile. For example, check your LI ‘Account Settings’to ensure that you have ticked the box “Open to new opportunities”. Look to join LinkedIn groups that are relevant such as the Chartered Accountants Ireland groups. You can use LI to re-establish old connections and to create new ones by reaching out to people with a polite message. Be sure to activate ‘job alerts’on LI and other websites so that you are aware of new roles that do arise. 
Don’t forget to include details of charity and voluntary work that you have been involved with as it really helps to give an insight into you as a person too.

Virtual events/coffees

Now is also an opportune time to attend virtual events and to upskills on-line. There are an increasing number of resources available in this area including free webinars available from Chartered Accountants Ireland. Take the opportunity to arrange to have a virtual coffee with some of you contacts. It is a really great way to reach out and connect with people.

Research the market

Take the time to research the market to see what is happening in your sector, area of expertise or locality. Reach out to people and contact them to gather market intelligence and insights. No doubt people will welcome some social interaction and a conversation.

Map out the market in a systematic way for example using a spreadsheet to track activity in the market. Look at sectors that are still operating and are potentially doing well currently such as FMCG, distribution etc. Consider how your skills and expertise may provide a solution to them.

Check in regularly with the recruiters that you have an established relationship with to be sure that you remain on their radar. They will also be well placed to update you in relation to the market and keep you informed of any emerging trends.

Keep all your options open and consider contract and interim roles as well as permanent roles. During these uncertain times you are generally more likely to secure a contract role. However who knows where that might lead to down the line.

Tailor your CV

Take the time to tailor your CV for each role which will allow you to showcase your specific skills and experience that are relevant to each role. This is worth doing as it will significantly increase your chances of being shortlisted for interview. Seek professional advice in relation to your CV to ensure that it is doing your justice and that it will serve to secure interviews for you.

Be interview-ready

Interview preparation is key. Start this now so that when you do get a call to attend interview you are ready other than to research the specific role and organisation. When you are preparing keep in mind that it will be a virtual interview that you will be doing and there are some particular aspects to this that you will need to be ready for. (See our website for top tips).

Be patient and set realistic expectations

We are unfortunately in uncharted territory and in reality we are not yet sure what the impact will be on the job market. We will have to see how the situation unfolds in the coming weeks and months. Keep that in mind and if there is limited interview activity at the moment it is mostly as a result of the market as opposed to your suitability for roles. Given time the market will improve but in the meantime there are numerous activities as listed above that can help to position your more strongly as roles do arise.

Structure to your day

Having a structure to your day will help to keep you focused and motivated. There is no need to spend the entire day job searching but it will help if you decide that each day you are going to allocate a certain amount of time to this activity. Indeed, you may also decide that every other day is sufficient. Whatever you do decide it is best if you put a structure to your day and to stick to that. Map out your day and week and set yourself some key goals to work towards. For example, you might decide to reconnect with two new connections each day.

Well-being and self-care

As part of a structured approach to your day and week build in some time for activities that you enjoy and that will help you to maintain your mental health and well-being in general. To sustain the momentum of your job search, which can have it’s set-backs and challenges, it is essential that you have a support structure in place that will see you through this uncertain time. Ask for advice and support from trusted contacts and family. CA Support also have services available should you need additional help.

Karin Lanigan
Karin is the Head of Member Experience and Manager of the Career and Recruitment Service