As technology improves at pace and trends come and go, the recruitment landscape seems to alter with the launch of the next social media channel or change in general working practices. But at its heart, recruitment has always been a people business, and as such, networking has been and always will be a constant. It is estimated that as much as 80% of jobs are never advertised, but are filled by a contact in someone’s network, so whether it’s face-to-face, one-on-one or online, networking is a vital tool for every recruiter.

Networking in person

It’s often said that everyone you meet and engage with outside of your own workplace counts as networking – you never know who that person might be or know or work for. However, treating every single encounter as a networking opportunity would be exhausting, so we use events or conferences to ensure we connect with the right people. There are a number of excellent reasons to network offline, as opposed to online:

Such has been the rise of social media, that online networking has become commonplace and often the preferred method for some candidates. Some of the benefits of online networking are:

Networking online

Both methods have advantages, but balancing both is the best policy to maximise your networking reach. 

Industry experience became a useful buzzword term in the days before a candidate-driven market, when employers had so many applicants they had to narrow down their long list somehow. When opportunities are thin on the ground, good candidates are plentiful and so a lack of industry experience is an easy eliminator for a hiring manager. In a candidate-driven market however, where employers may not find exactly what they are looking for so easily, is relevant industry experience as important or do employers look further down a candidate’s CV?

While it’s still true of course that with two identical candidates in front of an employer, the one with previous experience of a similar role in finance in the same industry sector would most likely receive an offer first, transferable skills now play a major role in securing a new position. Aside from the power shifting to candidates, the current Generation Z workforce is also much more likely than previous demographic groups to move sectors during their professional careers, meaning transferable skills are certainly more important to them.

The attributes that employers will look for beyond relevant industry experience can be grouped into two sets of skills: soft and technical. Soft skills that hiring managers value include:

Technical experience that can be gained in a number of sectors might include:

While someone with previous experience in a sector may be able to hit the ground running and transition more smoothly, understanding the role of finance to that industry already, there is also an argument that welcoming someone from outside the industry has different advantages. New ideas and innovative methods from another sector could have a longer-term impact than someone swapping like for like. A candidate facing a new challenge, changing industries, is often keener to make an impression and develop their skills in a new direction.

As a candidate looking to move to a finance role in a different sector, it’s vital that you tailor your CV to show how your strengths would translate into another industry. And as an employer, it’s worth looking beyond the experience section of a CV to uncover talented individuals who can make a difference.

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