3 Jun, 2020

Reviewing CV’s and applications



If you are recruiting in the current climate you are very likely to receive a lot of great applications.  Wading through all these CV’s can be tough! Whether you are working with a Recruitment Consultant or reviewing advert responses, deciding who to meet and who to reject can be a difficult decision.

One of the key things to have in place is a strong idea of exactly what criteria you are focussed on:

  • What educational level do they need to be?
  • What work experience do they need to have?
  • How many years’ experience do they need?
  • What skills do they need to have?

Try not to judge someone on the presentation of their CV. Drill down on what it tells you about them. Do they have the right background for the role? Do they meet the education requirement? Do they have the skills you need? Making quick judgements might mean you miss out on the right person for you!

On the first review of the applications create 3 folders:

  • Yes
  • No
  • Maybe

Then review the yes folder and arrange telephone or virtual interviews.  You need to move quickly to make sure that you do not miss out on the ideal candidate.

Follow this up by reviewing the maybe folder and getting back to the no’s to let them know.  When you are reviewing the maybe’s always bear in mind that a CV is only a piece of paper and no matter how well laid out it is it cannot represent the whole person. My suggestion would be: if in doubt, interview them!

Be aware of unconscious bias which occurs when people favour others who look like them and/or share their values or hold social stereotypes about certain groups of people. Everyone has unconscious biases and it is crucial for you to be aware of yours.  Having someone else to review the applicants with you is a good idea to eliminate unconscious bias.  This will help to ensure that the candidates you select for interview are the best ones for the job and come from diverse backgrounds; as this will add to the diversity of your team and hence widen ideas and performance.

Be systematic and view them as they come in. Do not let the CV’s build up as then it will seem to be a real project and you may not take the time to give each CV the attention it deserves.

Ask questions. Just because something isn’t on someone’s CV it doesn’t mean they haven’t done it. For example, if you need someone who has first time passes in the ACA exams and that is not mentioned then pop the candidate an e-mail back to ask them.

The key approach to reviewing CV’s is open mindedness. Do not make snap judgements and take the time to find out more – do not assume.

If you are feeling overwhelmed and would like any further tips on selecting applicants for interview and beyond please do get in touch by emailing philip@alan-mitchell.co.uk.  We are offering a free half an hour with our qualified and experienced careers advisor who has over 20 years’ experience in recruitment and has reviewed thousands of CV’s for short lists.  This is an excellent opportunity to ask for ideas on any recruitment or career related issue.

Also please follow Alan Mitchell on LinkedIn for regular updates and insights.

Reviewing CV’s and applications2020-06-03T11:22:22+00:00
2 Jun, 2020

What should I put on my LinkedIn profile?



LinkedIn is an amazing professional networking tool which is used extensively by recruitment consultants and in-house recruiters to advertise and to source relevant talent for vacancies. You can use it to search for:

  • Jobs
  • Recruiters in your market
  • Companies you would like to work for
  • Contacts at those companies

It is a massively useful tool in your job search. You must also bear in mind that your LinkedIn profile is an extension of your CV that is on public view. It is an opportunity to represent yourself in the best light – even sell yourself. Not only will potential employers look at your profile – so will clients, colleagues, competitors and many more!


Key points to apply when setting up or reviewing your profile:

  • Keep it accurate and true
  • Make sure you have a professional head shot profile picture
  • Ensure your job title accurately depicts what you do – make sure it isn’t vague – for example, put M&A Analyst in FIG team rather than just analyst
  • Put some time into drafting a concise, easy to understand summary of what you do and your achievements
  • Add a brief description of what you do or did in each role – include achievements again
  • Add any extras you can – for example, all languages you have
  • Education – put in detail including your degree classification and A Level results – if they are impressive
  • Actively ask people you have worked with and clients to add recommendations for you
  • Keep it simple, professional and accurate!
  • Review your settings and privacy – How others see your profile and network information, How others see your LinkedIn activity, How LinkedIn uses your data, Job seeking preferences, Blocking and hiding. This can make a big difference to searches you appear in – for example, ensure you are open to recruiters contacting you and that they know you are actively looking at opportunities.

Please do get in touch if you would like support in reviewing your LinkedIn profile by emailing philip@alan-mitchell.co.uk.  We are offering a free half an hour with our qualified and experienced careers advisor which would be an excellent opportunity to review your profile.  Also please follow Alan Mitchell on LinkedIn for regular updates and insights.

What should I put on my LinkedIn profile?2020-06-02T11:28:59+00:00
1 Jun, 2020

Market update 1st June 2020 – THE RALLY CONTINUES


The last week of the month saw more gains for stock markets globally, resulting in every major
index recording a positive month and in some markets the lows of March seem a distant
memory. This rebound has been strongest in the US where, after a monthly gain of 4.26%, the
Dow Jones index is now 2.27% higher than it was this time last year. Remarkable though this
figure may be, it pales into insignificance when compared to the NASDAQ 100 which is up by
36.94% in the same time frame. The returns from the NASDAQ are perhaps easier to
understand. The index is dominated by technology firms set to benefit from changes to the
way we work and live post COVID, with increased use of payment systems, online shopping,
remote working and so on likely. However, it is harder to see how the broader Dow Jones
index is reflecting the situation most Americans find themselves in. When the US
unemployment figures were announced for April they showed that 20.5m jobs were lost in a
month and that the jobless rate had spiked to 14.7%, in the face of such devastating numbers
the Dow Jones rose by 455 points. The question seems to be what has caused this disconnect
between markets and everyday life and any longer term implications there might be to it ?

Since the crisis started the Federal Reserve has pumped over $1trn into financial markets and
the speed and size of this intervention encouraged investors to think that they would do

whatever it took to keep the economy afloat. This money has flowed into markets and with
bond yields at low levels (see previous article) the temptation has been to invest in the more
speculative stock market in an attempt to get a higher return. Furthermore, although not as
tech heavy as the NASDAQ, the Dow Jones is weighted towards Apple, Amazon, Google and
Facebook, companies that seem best suited to benefit in the post COVID environment.
According to Jeremy Siegel, who teaches finance at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton
School, over 90% of a stocks value is on predicted earnings over 1 year ahead, in other words
markets are forward looking to see who will thrive in the long run and few would argue about
the likelihood of the tech firms continuing to grow.

While the tech giants and other big names have the fire power to ride out the storm and look to
be in decent shape as and when the wider economy recovers, the same is sadly not true for
small and medium sized businesses. This is the area that has been, and will continue to be,
hardest hit by the virus and this is not reflected in the indices. Furthermore, as these smaller
companies fail the bigger players often benefit, every small coffee shop that fails is one less
competitor for the likes of Starbucks. Perhaps this goes some way to explain why Amazon’s
stock price is up 45% since 18th March and is now at an all time high.

If the above in part explains the rise of the Dow Jones it also highlights the potential future
issues. In 1997 there were around 7500 publicly traded companies in the US but this number
now stands at around 3600. In the same time the economy has more than doubled in size.
While there has been a shift in how many companies raise funds, often preferring the less
regulatory heavy private equity market, this would still suggest that more money is flowing into
fewer hands. As of 2016 the wealthiest 10% of Americans owned 84% of all stock held by US
households, and it would seem extremely likely that this concentration will have increased in
the interim. It has long been said in the US that there is a big gap between Wall St and Main St
and it seems this is widening with only the already wealthy benefitting.

The second part of the question above is far harder to answer. No one really knows what the
wider implications for the disconnect between Wall St and the real life of millions will be. You
can speculate that eventually some balance would have to return as the inequality increases,
potentially through a change in political direction. But against this the American dream still
holds for many people who are protective of the idea of anyone being able to make it, even
though the evidence suggests a diminishing number ever do.

From an investors point of view, while it may seem counterintuitive for markets to be as high
while we are still in the middle of a crisis, the outcome of which is far from certain, it would
probably be prudent to think hard before betting against the wall of money that is being
injected each month.

The situation remains extremely fluid, however, and sentiment would change quickly were
there to be a significant second wave of the virus in the near term. This, together with an
increase in China/US tensions alongside the Presidential election scheduled for November,
mean it is likely that there will continue to be volatility going forward.

Author Trevor Hubner

Market update 1st June 2020 – THE RALLY CONTINUES2020-06-01T14:23:48+00:00
21 May, 2020

Mid-cap investment banking firms busy with fund raisings



We are regularly keeping in touch with all our clients to keep up to date with how they are doing and get an idea of when they think recruitment might be back on the agenda.  A few are recruiting, which is great, but they are all very busy.

All of our mid cap investment banking clients are being kept very busy doing secondary fund raisings and other advisory work for their corporate clients. A few are also starting to look at potential IPO’s for Quarter 4 which is very positive news for transactional activity levels which will directly impact on recruitment needs into their teams.

On the whole, our clients corporate finance teams are operating at a workload capacity of between 70% and 90%, meaning that many of them haven’t had to use the government furlough scheme at all. This bodes well for low redundancy levels in the sector and with the level of transactions predicted to rise the teams will need to start hiring new talent again soon.

This confidence and activity is a great sign for the hopes of a quick bounce back in the market and we are working hard to make sure we are ready for that.

If you are keen to:

  • Find out more about how the market is responding to the lock down and Covid-19 restrictions
  • Talk to one of our consultants about recruiting into your team
  • Considering a career move

Please get in touch. philip@alan-mitchell.co.uk.  Also please follow Alan Mitchell on LinkedIn for regular updates and insights.


























Mid-cap investment banking firms busy with fund raisings2020-05-21T11:58:10+00:00
19 May, 2020

Demand for Northern European Languages – German and Scandinavian



We are very pleased that a number of our clients are currently recruiting for analysts and associates to join their teams on both the sell and buy side.

As well as relevant experience either in M&A or as a fund analyst a few of the roles are specifically looking for applicants with fluent Northern European language skills.

These are excellent career opportunities at boutique M&A houses and an infrastructure fund which offer:

  • Global and Europe wide exposure
  • Opportunity to specialise in a sector – including infrastructure and consumer products
  • Boutique environments which offer you the opportunity to work closely with very senior colleagues, get involved in all the aspects of a transaction and direct client interaction

Other skill sets our clients are interested in include:

  • Having a minimum of 2 years M&A experience in any sector
  • Very strong project finance modelling skills
  • Specific Infrastructure fund analysis experience

If you are interested in finding out more about these opportunities please get in touch with Philip Seager – philip@alan-mitchell.co.uk.

Demand for Northern European Languages – German and Scandinavian2020-05-19T14:47:16+00:00
14 May, 2020

What skills are employers looking for?


If you are considering upskilling during lockdown to help you secure your career goals in the future, then the big question is – what skills should I work on?  We surveyed hundreds of financial services firms across the City to ask them that very question and the responses were very interesting:



56% of respondents suggested that the skills that would be useful to develop are financial analysis and financial modelling with merger modelling being the most mentioned specific modelling skill.

The other skills that are highly prized is communication and presentation.  Ways to work on these include:

  • Consider developing your knowledge and use of presentation software such as PowerPoint
  • Written communication is as important as verbal and in person communication so consider courses that develop your marketing and writing skills
  • Everyone is using MS Teams, Zoom and other platforms for virtual communication and presentations. Courses and practice on these would also be a good idea.

Overall, as one of the respondents to our survey commented, “Technical foundation is the most important. You can learn the rest. So, ensuring these foundations are very strong will always help.”  Any technical analysis, modelling or communications you can develop will add to your CV and open up opportunities.

Make sure you follow Alan Mitchell on LinkedIn for updates on any live roles as well as ideas on how to up-skill (there is a recent article published on this topic), improve your LinkedIn profile and your CV, courses to do and lots more.

If you would like to discuss your individual skill set and get ideas of what to focus on then please do get in touch with Philip Seager – philip@alan-mitchell.co.uk.


What skills are employers looking for?2020-05-14T15:19:11+00:00
12 May, 2020

Tips and ideas to focus on if you are job hunting


Looking at the results of our survey across financial services firms last week, we have which established that it is worthwhile job hunting in the current market – using a more all-encompassing approach.  Networking is one approach and the survey results showed that 42% of those surveyed would be happy to hear from anyone who is job hunting – even when they are not actively hiring!

We also asked the question: What do you think job seekers should focus on at the moment? Once again, networking scored very highly; as well as reviewing your CV and LinkedIn profile:

Most interestingly, only 7% of respondents suggested that job seekers should focus on actually applying for jobs, whilst 46% suggested reviewing your CV and LinkedIn profile with 13% suggesting up-skilling.  This really shows that the general take in the market is that there is not much recruitment going on, so the best use of a job seekers time would be to improve their online presence and their skillset.

Many of the respondents also had ideas on what they thought those who have been made redundant could be focussing on at the moment.  These included:

“Assess the best fit for their career rather than applying everywhere”.  So, researching the sector or market you are keen to work in is key.  This will ensure you know it is where you would like to be in the future but also enable you to demonstrate your passion and focus when you apply.

Think through “How they can generate revenue for an employer or, if more junior, add value”.  This is an excellent idea as it will help you make the most of each opportunity.  You will be able to “sell” yourself confidently.

If you are keen to work on your CV, LinkedIn profile, career goals or anything else career related please do bear in mind that we are offering a half an hour free telephone consultation with our qualified and experience careers consultant.  If you are keen to arrange a session please complete this simple MS Form – it will take 1 minute.

Make sure you follow Alan Mitchell on LinkedIn for updates on any live roles as well as ideas on how to up-skill (there is a recent article published on this topic), improve your LinkedIn profile and your CV, courses to do and lots more.

Tips and ideas to focus on if you are job hunting2020-05-12T14:42:23+00:00
11 May, 2020

Is anyone really recruiting at the moment?


For anyone who has been made redundant or is feeling unsure about their future career prospects Covid-19 and lockdown have made job hunting a daunting task.  Uncertainty is prevalent and many firms have halted their recruitment plans.  However, there are still opportunities out there in front office investment banking.

Last week we surveyed hundreds of financial services companies in the City, including investment banks, specialist boutiques, broking firms and investment houses asking them if they are hiring or if they know of anyone who is. The results were encouraging:

The opportunities may be few and far between, but they are out there so it really is worthwhile job hunting.

However, job hunting at the moment requires a very different and more complex approach than the classic applying for live job vacancies.  You need to plan and organise yourself so that you are ready to grab an opportunity when it comes along.  Think long term and use this opportunity to polish up and improve how you present yourself to the market as well as focusing on what you want your next career step to be and where you want to be in the future.

Another focus area should be to network with the companies and individuals you are keen to work with and the recruiters who recruit into your interest area.  As part of our survey we asked recruitment decision makers if they would be happy to hear from job seekers and again the response was positive:

So, with 25% of those surveyed willing to look at applications and 42% happy to network there is a real opportunity to make contacts and be considered for career opportunities.

If you would like to discuss the current market and get an idea of any opportunities that might suit you, please do get in touch with Philip Seager – philip@alan-mitchell.co.uk.

Make sure you follow Alan Mitchell on LinkedIn for updates on any live roles as well as ideas on courses to do, ways to develop your CV and lots more.

Is anyone really recruiting at the moment?2020-05-12T10:09:39+00:00
7 May, 2020



April saw stock markets stage a significant comeback from the lows of March. The FTSE rose 5.5%, the DAX 9.3% and the French and Italian bourses around 3.7%. However, it was the numbers in the US which were quite startling. The Dow Jones was up by 11.4% in its best month since June 2000 and the S+P 500 was up by an incredible 12.7%, its best month since 1987. There was a sharp sell off on the last day of the month, which lowered the monthly returns, but last Wednesday (29th April) the FTSE closed at 6115, something that seemed extremely unlikely a little over a month earlier on 23rd March, when the index hit a low of 4993. The question is what caused this bounce back and is it sustainable ? Furthermore, can this be considered any indication of how the broader economy will emerge from the COVID crisis ?

There seems to be several factors that have driven markets higher. Firstly Governments around the world responded quickly to the pandemic and on an unprecedented scale, far outgunning the support offered during the Great Financial Crisis of 2008 onwards. This degree of assistance led to market optimism that the authorities had a handle on the situation and would do use all available measures to try limit economic damage. As with the support given during the GFC this intervention has tended to flow towards assets and is supportive of prices.

A second factor, which is particularly relevant to US markets, is that President Trump is very keen to end the lockdown as rapidly as possible, seemingly intent on a far less measured return to normality. This is despite the fact that the US has suffered the most deaths from the virus of any nation. While it is clearly possible to argue with the ethical nature and timing of this decision, with more than a suspicion that the impending US election may be playing too large a part, it is also true that the earlier an economy restarts, the sooner the recovery process will happen. While this theory excludes the damage of a second wave of infection that may be caused by relaxation of lockdown too soon, it seems US markets in particular are taking this as a positive signal. Some commentators are still bullish about the chances of a relatively sharp, V shaped recovery (although most now seem to be more inclined to hope for “a narrow U shape) and an earlier restart to the economy would likely encourage this.

A further potential influence is that as the selloff was both sharp and all encompassing, a large number of stocks have been oversold, resulting in a lot of bargain hunters looking for underpriced assets. This, together with the classic “ fear of missing out” has attracted buyers in the belief that this might prove to be a once in a cycle buying opportunity. To urge caution in this respect, while it is very true that the fall left very few sectors untouched, it could be argued that the disruption has just exaggerated existing structural trends and that there were a large number of companies/sectors that were previously overpriced and are now closer to their true value. In a reversal of the March sell off, the adage that a rising tide lifts all boats might well be seen in action and not all bargains will be as meets the eye. There will certainly be opportunities to buy quality assets at a significant discount to their price in January, but these will likely be specific, well run companies in non cyclical sectors. As an aside, one would normally expect “value” stocks (or companies out of favour with the market) to do well in a bear market, at the expense of “growth” companies (those that have predictable future earning capacity). This rotation has not happened and value remains very much out of fashion.

The question is, are the above factors sufficient to justify the rise in markets we saw in April ? Remember the month also saw some quite disastrous economic numbers, with huge falls in GDP and rises in unemployment across the globe. Furthermore, there is no sign of the much awaited news concerning either herd immunity or a potential vaccine, neither is data yet available on infection rates on those countries that have begun to ease restrictions. Without the positive news we are all hoping to hear, the strength of the rally is perhaps surprising.

There are exceptions and it is clear why some markets will have jumped. The S+P 500, for example, is heavily weighted to technology companies, many of which offer products such as video conferencing, that have risen in popularity in this crisis. Looking forward it seems likely that some of the changes we are seeing in business practice are irreversible, giving a positive outlook to the tech companies that provide these services. Together with the over selling of such stocks in March, the rise here would seem justified, but in the broader market the case is less clear.

The main stream media, certainly in the UK, is taking a very different view to that of the markets, steadfastly refusing to display even the slightest suggestion of optimism and generally delivering a bleak picture of the post COVID landscape. There is therefore a vast difference in outlook between what we are being told by the media and the reaction of the markets at this time, and one of them will be wrong, perhaps even both will be. In most circumstances I would take the view of money men over the that of the media, believing that their vested interests are very different. Markets want to make money and are forward looking while the media seems firmly to believe that bad news sells. I hope that the positivity shown by markets proves to be correct and economies do return to some degree of normality in the not too distant future, albeit with a colossal amount of fresh debt to repay. However, I suspect that the truth will probably fall somewhere between the two, differing view points.

Author Trevor Hubner

WHY DID APRIL SEE SUCH A BOUNCE ?2020-05-07T15:11:57+00:00
6 May, 2020

What do you get when you work with consultants at Alan Mitchell?


A recent testimonial from one of our candidates said it all about our approach:

“Philip is a fantastic specialist who is trustworthy and provides tailored insights and advice. He engages with you regularly, provides feedback and really tries to help. It’s been a great pleasure working with Philip.”

We provide professional, informed advice regarding the best way to conduct each individual job search or career change.

All our consultants are experienced market experts and will work with you as a consultant – preparing you, advising you and honestly supporting you.

Get in touch with us for real, straight forward, up to date and honest advice about recruitment in the front office banking sector during this difficult time. 

We are recruiting for a few clients so do have active opportunities to talk to you about.  We are also continuously speaking to and contacting firms in the front office investment banking sector.  We are gathering insights and thoughts on the current situation, our way out of it and what the recruitment market and work environment will look like once we are out on the other side.

Whatever your situation is we would be very happy to hear from you and talk through what recruitment is active as well as ideas on how you can make the most of your individual situation.

Please follow us on LinkedIn to keep up to date with insights, live vacancies and other support.

What do you get when you work with consultants at Alan Mitchell?2020-05-06T10:00:05+00:00