So you find yourself without a job, perhaps through redundancy, relocation, or a return to work from maternity leave, what are the next steps?

In these uncertain times, it is important to think objectively with self-awareness and look after your mental health.

Do you have clarity around your strengths? If you have been in a role for a while, you may be unaware of the competencies and skills that you have developed, and it is worth making a list of your “selling points”. If you find this difficult, sitting down with a key stakeholder, peer, or manager whom you have a good relationship with can kick start this and be quite helpful in getting you on the right track.

Things to consider would be – building relationships with non-financial people, dealing with difficult situations, building remote relationships, problem solving, influencing, taking responsibility, decision making, improving processes, keeping organised, and commercial awareness.

For every strength, give some evidence to prove it is true. Consider how you measure success with quite subjective subjects. When you go for interviews, you must be able to paint a picture of yourself as someone the interviewer would like to have in their team.

Consider temporary or contract work. Why?

You will be in a more confident mindset for permanent interviews; it equalises the “balance of power” between you and the interviewer and give you more to talk about. And if you felt in any way impacted by how you exited your previous company, contracting is fantastic for creating a buffer between that event and your future career, replenishing your focus and helping to flush any lingering negativity out of your thought process.

New industry – you will likely have less competition for a contract role therefore the normal barriers to entry into a sector are removed. Your ability to deliver a project or task is more important to the employer than whether you have the industry experience, so you gain the opportunity to experience new sectors and ways of working that you were unable to access previously.

New skills – on most occasions you will be hired into an interim contract to complete a task that you have at least some experience of performing previously, whether that be preparing management accounts, assisting with year-end, or implementing an ERP system. But inevitably you will have to learn a new system or way of working in a very short space of time and deliver a project or piece of work to an agreed timeframe. This is often very different from trying to fit the task in as part of your day job, and you will gain project management, stakeholder management, and IT skills that will make you more attractive to a future employer – you will also have demonstrated that you can understand new businesses quickly and have a great story/project to talk about during your next permanent interview (unless you decide to remain a contractor as you enjoy the flexibility so much!)

Pressure – removes the urgency from having to find that perfect or any permanent position quickly, as you have a current cashflow coming in and on a weekly basis. You are less likely to accept the “wrong” permanent post as you can take your time. It can be 3 – 6 months before you realise you are in the wrong permanent position, and then you’ll naturally feel the need to stay in the role for at least 1-year so it doesn’t impact on your CV, decisions made without a clear head can have longer term implications for the career you have invested your time in.

Opportunity: when working on an interim basis in a company, other opportunities often present themselves due to restructuring, acquisitions or maternity leaves not returning full-time. You may have access to the new role without the company running an external recruitment process. The employer has already seen you performing on a day-to-day basis, so you now represent a risk-free hire.

Essentially a contract position can be a much better platform for future opportunities than trawling through the job boards looking for that perfect permanent position. Any you will always learn new skills, gain a different perspective, some insight into a company or sector, and meet and learn from new people.

If you are interested in looking at the interim market or just generally want to gain a greater understanding of how contracting can work for you, then please do get in touch with Lucy Edgar on either 07850423373 or [email protected]

Amplifi Talent specialise in finance and business intelligence recruitment.