The job market has changed more in the last 10 years than the prior 30 - 40 years. People rarely stay at one company for their entire career - few companies last that long. One of the key factors in the change has been the widespread adoption of the internet and all the digital platforms it has spawned. Despite the proliferation of online job boards, it is estimated that around 70 per cent of vacancies are never advertised and are filled by direct referral via the employer’s network through or recruiters – both in-house and agency. Andy Gooday drills down.

Andy Gooday runs executive search agency Round Peg Search. He specializes in matching managers and executives into the right roles. Here he draws on his expertise in the recruitment sector to offer some job hunting tips for those looking for a move in 2018,

“I’m often surprised by smart intelligent senior people who still approach a job search by filling their day ‘working’ the job boards, despite the lack of results. You may have noticed that some mediocre people seem to regularly get great jobs at great companies for big salaries? Often these people are not the best in their field or even close. What they are doing is matching what they offer to someone who is hungry for it.

Here are five steps you can follow to do the same:

  1. Figure out what you offer: take a blank bit of paper and brainstorm all the challenges, projects, crises’ and big things you have been involved in over the last 10 years.
Think big and consider the context of these challenges. For example: growing a business through merger and acquisitions uses different skills and knowledge to growing a business in new geographical territories.

When you have completed your list then think about how much experience you have in that role. Also think about widely experienced challenges that you have zero or limited experience of. This will form the basis of ….

  1. Deciding what you really want: It’s very difficult to get to a good place if you don’t know what that good place looks like. You need to think carefully and be really honest about what you want to do next. Often people try to define their next role by writing out a huge list of their previous employer’s competitors.
This approach is wrong for several reasons.
  • The culture and challenges of those businesses can be very different
  • Hiring Managers too often have prejudices or bias against employees of direct competitors and see them as ‘the enemy’
  • By going outside the group of direct competitors you can often find opportunities where your experience is more valuable to the employer
Instead, try and define the attributes and culture of an organisation you know you can impact. Think in terms of the challenges you’ve identified and that you have solid experience of. Add experience on the commercial model you have experience of, the life-cycle stage you enjoy most when working for an organization - start-up, growth, evergreen, renovate or rescue, the size of business in people and revenue, the commute distance you are comfortable with and so on.
  1. Sort your CV out: Really, properly sort it out, not just squeezing the latest job in at the top and tidying up the formatting. Some rules for modern CV’s:
  • Maximum 2 pages
  • Plan it like a web page. Interesting stuff at the top and dull stuff such as contact details and qualifications at the bottom or the end
  • Break up blocks of text to maximum 3 lines
  • Use bullets under each role to highlight results not responsibilities
  • Use good but not flashy typography. Create a hierarchy to the page by changing the size of the text or putting it in bold
  • Drop the clichés. There are enough ‘passionate thought leaders’ in the world. Describe the things that can only go on your CV and no-one else’s.
  1. Alert Recruiters you are looking: There is a feature on LinkedIn that allows you to make yourself as an ‘open candidate’. This allows you to notify recruiters that you are open to new opportunities and allows you to give some context to what you will consider (title, location, permanent, interim etc). As well as letting recruiters know this it also promotes your profile to appear higher up the rankings in the searches performed in LinkedIn’s professional recruiter accounts - significantly improving your chances of getting found.
  2. Don’t wait for opportunities. Create opportunities. Use industry directories, shortlists on Awards sites, exhibitor lists from trade shows and any other lists you can think of to draw up a list of target employers. Research them on,, and search for them on, and so on. Follow their key employees on Linkedin and interact with their activity.
Go to new networking events, trade shows, conferences and exhibitions and interact with people from your target businesses. Some people will not be open to networking in this way but don’t let this put you off. Take the opportunity to do some more research. What is the culture? what sort of people do they like? what sort of experience do they need? If you can help them with a supplier contact or candidate referral then do that - it is a good way to showcase your credibility, network and understanding of what they told you.

You’re unlikely to capture anyone’s interest in week one, but if you are doing good work and have a positive tone online, then awareness of you will grow and opportunities will come your way.

If you commit to the effort it takes to work through these steps you are going to stand-out when networking or meeting with recruiters. You will stand out simply because you know what you offer, when most people don’t. It will also help you to focus your time on roles that are a good match for you. Good luck!