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Looking for a new job? From tips on writing the perfect CV to expert comment and latestrecruitment news, each week our experts offer guidance to help you move up the career ladder in the mortgage market.

No interview? What you can do next

Mark Witcomb is senior consultant at Venatus Business Intlligence
You have been told you will not be called for an interview. So what do you do now?

Begin by reviewing what you have done. Did you follow last week’s CV tips? Advertisements generally attract a vast number of applicants who will display comparable skill sets and experience relevant to the requirements. Would your CV have stood out among a pile?

Have you differentiated your details in any way? You had one crucial opportunity to produce a CV that would create an impact on those reviewing it. Did you submit a quality piece of work, positioning you appropriately so that the interviewer would be desperate for you to join their organisation before even interviewing you? It is important to remember that at this stage the only thing the employer can judge you on is your CV.

How have you presented yourself? If you have agreed for an employment agency to represent you, and so counting on it to send across your details, has it presented you visually in the best light? Would the agency have gathered together a number of individuals matching the job requirements and presented a stack of CVs in one go? And would this represent you in the best light?

If you have forwarded your details straight to human resources, would your CV have stood out among high volumes of applicants?

Sometimes you simply might not be suitable for the position, or there could be another applicant who on paper is more suited to the position than you are.

So what you could have done differently? Sometimes you may have to accept that there may be better qualified applicants, who on paper appear to be more suited to the position. You could have asked a well-connected consultancy to represent you. Specialist consultancies in the financial services and mortgage industries will have privileged access to the ears of decision-makers within businesses that might interest you.

Perhaps you could have telephoned in advance and sold yourself before submitting a paper document. Using your initiative and calling directly to announce your credentials can help you differentiate yourself from the competition.

It may well be that you are trying to put yourself up for roles that are going to prove difficult for you to get, which can cause uncertainty, frustration and self doubt to creep in.

Significantly, it can also mean that a prospective employer has seen your CV four times previously in relation to other roles that you were genuinely unsuitable for, and this discourages them from actually recognising that you fit the role that you would be ideal for – a little like the impact of the boy who cried wolf too many times.

There are consultancies that will offer you a no-obligation review of your skills and attitudes and provide you with advice on how to optimise your desire for change and therefore realise your career ambitions.

Regulation has made exams tougher

Colin Lloyd is head of operations at Reed Insurance
There have been a number of important changes to the mortgage industry over the past 12 months. Recruitment has certainly been affected by IFA regulation and has adapted since Mortgage Day arrived just over a month ago. It is easy to be confused by the market at the moment. Qualification criteria have developed, leaving some advisers out of the loop.

However, understanding developments in the market is crucial in developing your own career.

So what is the confusion about? In brief, there was a time when candidates could have FPC and take a bridging paper to become fully CeMAP qualified. The benefit to a candidate was the ability to move from tied or IFA markets, complete an exam paper and be fully qualified and able to advise on mortgages relatively quickly. So what did that mean? The advantage of this to organisations was in the knowledge that candidates would be recruited and could sit the exam paper, pass the exam and be qualified in the same day. A real time-effective system.

What is different now, whether positive or negative, is a clear reduction in the ease at which candidates are able to move between markets. Furthermore, the exams have become more difficult. Many in the industry will welcome stricter exams in the hope that industry professionals will become exactly that – professional. On the other hand, it is foreseen that fewer candidates will move into the mortgage market. Will organisations be prepared to gamble on FPC candidates as there is no guarantee of them becoming fully qualified?

Changes have affected IFAs too. Pre-Mortgage Day, IFAs who had FPC could sell pensions, mortgages and investments. However, if an IFA is not CeMAP qualified, only FPC, they are not qualified to give mortgage advice. Those who have not put in for the bridging paper as yet will have to complete and pass two further exams. Professionalism is the key to these changes. It is clear that regulations and standards have been put in place to give the paying customer an improved quality of service, while organisations can be safe in the knowledge that staff are fully qualified to the job.

The Financial Services Skills Council has reviewed qualifications in the industry which has resulted in the withdrawal of the bridging paper. Those who registered to take the paper in September will continue down that avenue. However, an equally exciting path lies ahead for those who did not register. Instead of the bridging paper, candidates are to take CeMAP 2 and 3 papers, which can be completed on the same day. What that means in real terms for those who are directly affected by qualification regulation is having to do more study.

It is going to be an exciting time for the industry. From a recruitment perspective the quality of candidates, in terms of qualifications accrued, will increase. In turn, organisations recruiting will see a noticeable rise in candidates who are fully qualified and have gained professional status.


Has your network delivered the goods?

It is nearly Christmas and as brokers start to settle into the regulatory regime, many who chose to take appointed representative status must surely be wondering whether they made the right choice of network.

Industry rules out housing market crash

The majority of the industry believe there will be a soft landing to the housing market and not the crash that some have predicted. Delegates at the Council of Mortgage Lenders’ annual conference today voted in favour of a soft landing.This came after David Smith, economics editor of The Sunday Times, spoke for the motion […]

mortgageforce extends the use of Dashboard

mortgageforce has revealed that Dashboard will now be piloted within the other core processing division of the business.mortgageforce has been using the web-based solution, Dashboard Software manufactured by Nereus Infotek, since January 2004 within its packaging division.Following on from this successful implementation and a subsequent strategic assessment of future technology requirements to compliment existing back […]

OFM appoints new director

The OFM Group has promoted Scott Laughlin to board director from January 1, 2005. Laughlin has been at the centre of the Southend firms’ growth over the last six years, starting OFM’s flagship mortgage update centre in 1999. Since then, Laughlin and his team has processed almost 10,000 mortgage applications making the group one of […]


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