We give some advice on entering and managing the recruitment process when you are a longstanding employee in a company.
How do I approach my job hunt if I have been with one company for a long time?
We frequently have candidates who are moving on from a role they have been in for 10+ years or worse, have been made redundant. Taking on a job search after that length of time can be startling, especially with how much the market has changed in terms of technology in the past decade.
We’re not going to give patronising advice like “Did you know job ads are online now!” but we have a few tips for how your approach might differ from someone who changes jobs every few years.
The guidelines in our previous blog in writing up your CV still apply – focus on achievements, not duties and ideally, tailor your CV to each position you apply to.
Highlight your best projects
If you’ve held the same job title throughout your time in your company, outline your main duties – just 3 – 4 bullet points. Then select some major projects you are proud of and write about those. You don’t need to go into detail – describe your involvement in each project with 2 or 3 sentences and outline the technologies used. Consider the vital information you would want to know if someone was describing the project to you! If you held multiple job titles, you can list each title and achievements as normal.
Ensure you are mobile-ready
A point we forgot to add in our CV blog. When you’ve finished writing your CV, save it, and then open it on your mobile. The statistical likelihood is that someone along your job hunt journey is going to open your CV on their phone and you want to make sure it looks good on the smaller screen too.
Demonstrate your work ethic
The important thing that employers will want to see is that you haven’t been resting on your laurels while staying with the same company! Perhaps unfairly, some employers are under the impression that a person who does not move jobs for a long time may have been taking it easy. We know that isn’t the case! You need your CV to express all the things you have been doing. Have you taken part in any additional projects in work that are not directly related to your day to day job? Mentoring juniors, charity work, outreach programs. Anything like that is hugely valuable!
Prepare for interviews
Interviewing is going to be a new challenge – you might not have been on that side of the desk for a while. It’s likely you have been in the position of interviewing someone, so you might think you’re familiar with the process. However, you’ll feel differently when it’s you in the hot seat! If you’re working with a recruitment consultant, use their resources. They’ll have lots of interview guides, helpful information on their clients, and lots of advice to assist you. If not, Google will be your friend. Take the time to practice the common Competency style questions.
Practice your interview coding skills
If you’re going for jobs with a software element, you’ll need to brush up on your software development competencies. I’ve seen many experienced and really good senior engineers tripped up by common engineering questions purely because it’s been several years since they’ve needed to think about the core concepts of Object Oriented Programming. There’s loads of websites that can help you to practice! Hackerrank is probably the most well-known.
Know your worth
Check out some salary guides. If you have been with the same company for a long time, your salary may be either behind the market or ahead of the market. If you’re being paid less than your worth – it’s great to know this so you can target a higher salary! If it turns out you are being paid a higher salary than the market is paying, you have the choice of adapting to the market (i.e. taking a lower salary in order to get another job) or accepting that it may take longer to find a job that has the budget to pay a higher salary.
Be ready for the counter-offer!
Long-term employees hold huge value. You know everything about the company, you know how everything works. You probably built half of the product. It’s possible you hired most of the team. Unless you’re leaving due to redundancy, it’s likely that you’ll receive a counter-offer. Think about what you will do in this circumstance. Are you committed to leaving? Most people that accept counter-offers leave within 6 months anyway. If there are major reasons for you to leave, are you sure they can be fixed so easily, just when you have a job offer? Before you start on a job hunt, it might be worth raising the issues that are making you unhappy with your manager. Make sure that you’re leaving your job for the right reasons, so you can go to your new job with a light heart!
The recruitment process is unique for everyone but for candidates who have been in a role a long time, it can be daunting starting out. The above tips will set you on the right path and in addition to working with a recruitment consultant can help find you that next challenge in your career.