How to approach searching for a new finance role in 2023

It’s fair to say that directly after the pandemic, we saw a busy few years for hiring, with firms taking on record numbers of new staff. But in the past six months, deal volumes have continued to fall as the market braces for more choppy waters ahead, and the industry is seeing the payback for some of that post-pandemic over-hiring. Companies are not only putting the breaks on recruitment but in many cases, letting people go.  With fewer roles available and a general sense of anxiety pervading the market, it’s a challenging time to think about finding a new job.

But if you are looking for a new role this year - whether that’s because you’ve been made redundant or it’s simply that you want to make a move - there’s plenty to stay upbeat about and lots that pro-active candidates can be doing to keep skin in the game. Ross Tacey heads up our Private Equity and Investment Banking team. He says:

‘If you’ve been made redundant, the first and most important thing I want to say is: don’t panic. Bumps in the road are all part of the game so don’t immediately assume your career is over. Keep your wits about you and stay calm - this could be an amazing opportunity if you handle it the right way.

The second thing I want to say is: put any shame or embarrassment to one side. Redundancy can often come with stigma attached to it, but the current wave of lay-offs is something else. This is industry-wide and affects many people,  so there is no need to hide what has happened. It’s a talking point on your CV, sure, but not something you need to worry about trying to justify. In fact, the way you handle it and move on to your next role, will be a marker of your character and what you are capable of. So wear it with a level of professionalism and use it for your benefit.”

Ross also points out that being between jobs offers a rare opportunity to research and upskill for your next move: 

“Usually when people are looking for a new job, they are already working an existing job and don’t have the time for the diligence and deep research that should come with such a significant move. They’re also often exhausted and worn out, so if they’re asked to do a modelling test for a new job they might go into it after a 12-hour day rather than on a fresh mind. If you’ve been made redundant, you have the edge here on others who might be more prone to dropping the ball. Embrace it!”

I tell my candidates in real estate that upgrading your professional qualifications and training is also worth doing while you’re between jobs. Courses like the programmes offered by Bayfield Training, can really help to keep you at the leading edge of your field and show potential employers you are grasping the opportunity that redundancy offers you.

And there’s nothing to stop you from up-skilling and refreshing your CV, even if you are haven’t been made redundant.

If you are thinking of moving it goes without saying that your CV needs to be bang up-to-date - with more competition in the field there is no room for a sloppy CV or a lacklustre deal sheet.  Get your most recent successes and achievements in there, and always check in with your references. Something that happens surprisingly often is candidates listing referees, only to find they have moved on and are no longer available to comment.

Most important for those seeking to move in the current climate, is to avoid jumping into the first new role that comes along. And be especially careful about funds without capital. Outfits without any dry powder are less likely to survive an economic downturn, so while they might have a shiny new job offer for you right now, ask yourself if they are going to be around in 12 months' time. Firms without capital are simply not competitive and won't be able to close the deals you’ll be working on. Knee-jerk reactions are obvious from a mile off, so be measured about the moves you make.

And finally, I think sometimes it’s worth sitting tight if you can.  I wrote in my last post about how having plenty of people looking for work might sound like the ideal conditions for those of us in recruitment. But for us at Novus, the opposite is true. We always try to encourage candidates to stay focused on the long term - on the career and not the job. New hires might mean quick financial wins for us, but it’s the candidates who come back to us throughout their careers who keep the wheels of our business turning. This approach is never more relevant than when the job market is contracting, as it is now.

As always, Novus is here to help with confidential advice and insight at every stage.




How to contact us at Novus Executives

For Real Estate enquiries contact:

Jamie McCord


For Private Equity and Investment Banking contact:

Ross Tacey

Posted by Jamie McCord

Jamie joined Novus Executives in 2011 after graduating from the University of Manchester with a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics with Finance. During this time, he developed a well-rounded knowledge of business and investment practices. Jamie exclusively recruits for Real Estate across EMEA, focusing on PE Funds, Investment Managers, Real Estate Lenders, Hedge Funds, Sovereign Wealth Funds and Advisory firms.