Where am I going wrong - help finding a new contract Where am I going wrong - help finding a new contract
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  1. #1

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    Default Where am I going wrong - help finding a new contract

    Hello all,

    I would appreciate any advice as to how I can improve my chances of securing a new contract. I am unsure where I am going wrong with what I am doing. I have been out of contract for nearly 6 months and now open to permanent work as well. My experience is roughly 9 years working on central government programmes of work (i.e. planning, PM, project delivery focused roles) and I am looking for PMO/project management roles. I have been contracting for 8 years and have never had this type of problem securing a contract before.

    So here is what am I doing:
    1. I search relevant jobsites for my next role (i.e. jobserve, jobsite, cwjobs, etc). However before I just apply I call the agency and speak to the recruiter further clarifying the position, my fit and essentially 'selling' myself for the role. If it is a good fit then end the call with the recruiter sending me the job spec and I tailor specific parts of my CV to the role.

    2. I then either apply via the job advert or more than likely get the recruiters direct e-mail address and send my CV directly. I then chase this up once sent and usually get an idea on timeframes and keep track of when my CV will be submitted to the client. I regularly chase the agencies and push for quicker progress.

    3. I also regularly update my linkein profile, add new connections, actively 'like' and comment on relevant articles, etc and am subscribed to relevant groups/bodies (although I am skeptical of how much this will really help find a new role). I have been told I need to use the social networking sites more to sell myself to the market better and to use the 'hidden job market'! I use linkedin to search for new opportunities via agency contacts or other vacancies.

    4. I have a rapport with particular agencies built up over the last few months. I proactively call them every so often and refresh their memories I'm still looking, etc.

    5. As time goes on I am becoming more flexible with location, rates and type of roles too (i.e. I dont want to but seem to have to start applying for perm roles too)

    6. I quite regularly keep in touch with former colleagues, with some hope of another route to finding a new role. there have been occasions where this has developed but for one reason or another the roles have not materialised

    Here are the problems I am finding:
    1. Even though my skills set are very transferable many of the roles I see are those asking for specific investment banking, retail banking, card payments or other type of banking/specific experience. Many of these also clearly note in the job spec CV's without this experience will not be considered. I used to apply but don't anymore as frankly it seems highly unlikely they will even consider my details. I have no banking experience whatsoever

    2. Roles for public sector clients died down alot leading up to the May elections (understandably) and have now picked up. However even with this I apply for roles via the Capita framework which is something most government roles go through nowadays. Basically Capita further shortlist the CV's based on keywords/knowledge of the skills set and whatever other process they may use before final 3-4 CV's I sent to the line manager. I find this process highly irritating and cumbersome. There have been roles where I have not been shortlisted although a very good fit to the role. This makes me feel like this process is pretty useless and baffles me at times as to why I havent been shortlisted.

    3. In the nearly 6 months of searching I have had just two interviews. One for RBS (they decided to offer someone with banking exp instead) and the other with a government body (they decided to offer someone with more programme management exp, my experience on this is limited at that level and more suited to project management level roles so I kind of understand this. the position was a bit of a hybrid project/programme roles). I have revamped my CV so more descriptive and explaining my achievements as I began to think it must be my CV that isn't working anymore. Although when asking agencies view it is generally positive although I dont hold this to great merit nowadays from the majority of agencies

    n.b. My last contract finished in Dec 2014. This was after 4 years and 2 months. Is the length of this contract a problem when reviewing my CV/does this work against me?

    Does anyone have any advice on where I am going wrong? What am I not doing and what should I do differently? Is this normal nowadays and should I just stop whining and get on with it!? Does anyone else have similar issues when searching for new work? The process is different to when I was last out of contract (for 2 months) and I seemed to get more calls from agencies then too. Albeit this was over 4 years ago. Plus there was no mention of a Captia framework working as a 'gateway' for the process.

    Any advice will be much appreciated.

    Regards,

  2. #2

    Banned


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    Get a perm position in bank then for a year and get back to contracting with relevant experience , I would say
    Also why aren't you applying thinking "I wont get it anyway". What kind of attitude is this? If you donty have some experience then learn it, or say you can learn it quickly..
    Last edited by diseasex; 19th June 2015 at 15:34.

  3. #3

    Nervous Newbie


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    Quote Originally Posted by diseasex View Post
    Get a perm position in bank then for a year and get back to contracting with relevant experience , I would say
    Also why aren't you applying thinking "I wont get it anyway". What kind of attitude is this? If you donty have some experience then learn it, or say you can learn it quickly..
    Understood, but how do you learn experience in the first place. Also where it comes to saying I am a quick learner or I can pick up the skills/experience in the role I have tried this many times and it still seems to fall at the point that they are looking for someone with the experience. Especially where another candidate has it.

    Thanks

    regards

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by jas View Post
    Understood, but how do you learn experience in the first place. Also where it comes to saying I am a quick learner or I can pick up the skills/experience in the role I have tried this many times and it still seems to fall at the point that they are looking for someone with the experience. Especially where another candidate has it.

    Thanks

    regards
    Even graduates get jobs without the experience , *for the right rate*
    And you seem to have very low self esteem now, probably its clear on the interviews or even while conversating with agents and they wouldn't put you forward for that reason.
    Last edited by diseasex; 19th June 2015 at 16:01.

  5. #5

    Should post faster


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    Transferable skills don't count for much in this market as there is plenty of choice for buyers. I presume you have more than one version of your CV? Are they focused and specific in terms of the skills/offer? Don't fudge or be ambiguous. Agents and hiring manager's are risk averse so they will generally go with the least risk option. CV's need to specifically address the requirements, have all the right keywords, etc. You need to tick 12 out of 10 boxes (without being overqualified). The CV needs to be close to perfect. Have you tried to develop a working relationship with a few choice agents? Availability and rate are important too. I don't think the gap is a major problem if you fit the role, but it might help to have a story. Against another similar candidate though, the least risk option is...

    Plain vanilla project management is having a tough time at the moment. Try to elaborate what value you can bring to a role in through leadership and in terms that will appeal to the business. Do keep in mind that job boards are often a last resort and are routinely used to collect CV's. Have you uploaded your CV to TAS for companies you are interested in? Try to balance applications via job boards with LinkedIn, direct approaches to companies, etc.

    Best of luck.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by diseasex View Post
    Get a perm position in bank then for a year and get back to contracting with relevant experience , I would say
    Also why aren't you applying thinking "I wont get it anyway". What kind of attitude is this? If you donty have some experience then learn it, or say you can learn it quickly..
    This is just rubbish....

  7. #7

    Contractor Among Contractors

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    Quote Originally Posted by jas View Post
    Hello all,

    I would appreciate any advice as to how I can improve my chances of securing a new contract. I am unsure where I am going wrong with what I am doing. I have been out of contract for nearly 6 months and now open to permanent work as well. My experience is roughly 9 years working on central government programmes of work (i.e. planning, PM, project delivery focused roles) and I am looking for PMO/project management roles. I have been contracting for 8 years and have never had this type of problem securing a contract before.

    So here is what am I doing:
    1. I search relevant jobsites for my next role (i.e. jobserve, jobsite, cwjobs, etc). However before I just apply I call the agency and speak to the recruiter further clarifying the position, my fit and essentially 'selling' myself for the role. If it is a good fit then end the call with the recruiter sending me the job spec and I tailor specific parts of my CV to the role.

    2. I then either apply via the job advert or more than likely get the recruiters direct e-mail address and send my CV directly. I then chase this up once sent and usually get an idea on timeframes and keep track of when my CV will be submitted to the client. I regularly chase the agencies and push for quicker progress.

    3. I also regularly update my linkein profile, add new connections, actively 'like' and comment on relevant articles, etc and am subscribed to relevant groups/bodies (although I am skeptical of how much this will really help find a new role). I have been told I need to use the social networking sites more to sell myself to the market better and to use the 'hidden job market'! I use linkedin to search for new opportunities via agency contacts or other vacancies.

    4. I have a rapport with particular agencies built up over the last few months. I proactively call them every so often and refresh their memories I'm still looking, etc.

    5. As time goes on I am becoming more flexible with location, rates and type of roles too (i.e. I dont want to but seem to have to start applying for perm roles too)

    6. I quite regularly keep in touch with former colleagues, with some hope of another route to finding a new role. there have been occasions where this has developed but for one reason or another the roles have not materialised

    Here are the problems I am finding:
    1. Even though my skills set are very transferable many of the roles I see are those asking for specific investment banking, retail banking, card payments or other type of banking/specific experience. Many of these also clearly note in the job spec CV's without this experience will not be considered. I used to apply but don't anymore as frankly it seems highly unlikely they will even consider my details. I have no banking experience whatsoever

    2. Roles for public sector clients died down alot leading up to the May elections (understandably) and have now picked up. However even with this I apply for roles via the Capita framework which is something most government roles go through nowadays. Basically Capita further shortlist the CV's based on keywords/knowledge of the skills set and whatever other process they may use before final 3-4 CV's I sent to the line manager. I find this process highly irritating and cumbersome. There have been roles where I have not been shortlisted although a very good fit to the role. This makes me feel like this process is pretty useless and baffles me at times as to why I havent been shortlisted.

    3. In the nearly 6 months of searching I have had just two interviews. One for RBS (they decided to offer someone with banking exp instead) and the other with a government body (they decided to offer someone with more programme management exp, my experience on this is limited at that level and more suited to project management level roles so I kind of understand this. the position was a bit of a hybrid project/programme roles). I have revamped my CV so more descriptive and explaining my achievements as I began to think it must be my CV that isn't working anymore. Although when asking agencies view it is generally positive although I dont hold this to great merit nowadays from the majority of agencies

    n.b. My last contract finished in Dec 2014. This was after 4 years and 2 months. Is the length of this contract a problem when reviewing my CV/does this work against me?

    Does anyone have any advice on where I am going wrong? What am I not doing and what should I do differently? Is this normal nowadays and should I just stop whining and get on with it!? Does anyone else have similar issues when searching for new work? The process is different to when I was last out of contract (for 2 months) and I seemed to get more calls from agencies then too. Albeit this was over 4 years ago. Plus there was no mention of a Captia framework working as a 'gateway' for the process.

    Any advice will be much appreciated.

    Regards,
    You have been contracting for 8 years but your last contract was over 4 years, you are a pseudo permie not a contractor. Do you have a lot of big names on your CV or does it look like a permies CV?

  8. #8

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    I stopped reading at the point you said PMO / Project Management. Probably the time the agent bins your CV. If you honestly don't know why then go permie. HTH BIDI
    'CUK forum personality of 2011 - Winner - Yes really!!!!

  9. #9

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    Hi Jas, I can sympathise with you. I struggled to secure my second contract for 4 months now but eventually this week signed up for a 6 monther on my doorstep. I will not ask for my bananas until I am at my desk though.

    I found it very difficult initially but found that after following the advice from the good souls on this forum about the importance of the presentation of your CV things defo changed and I started getting more interviews. I found that the agents only responded positively when my experience matched more or less the job spec so it really is important to tailor your CV exactly to fit the role, provided you have the experience obviously.

    Out of interest was your last contract direct with the client co or was it through an agency ?

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by northernladuk View Post
    I stopped reading at the point you said PMO / Project Management. Probably the time the agent bins your CV. If you honestly don't know why then go permie. HTH BIDI
    Ouch!!
    I couldn't give two fornicators! Yes, really!

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