Paul Gallagher is director – professional services for the finance & accountancy, HR and legal divisions at Kelly Services Hong Kong.
Will my unsolicited job applications have any chance of succeeding?
I am currently on the lookout for a move to another job in Hong Kong but I am not finding a lot of advertised opportunities in my field (taxation accountancy). Though I am not in any rush to leave my current job, I am considering sending out some unsolicited applications.
Is there any likelihood of a HR department paying any attention to an application out of the blue? If so, do you have any good tips for sending an unsolicited application that might land a job interview? I have nine years’ experience and I am a Hong Kong native.
There is no need to worry. I believe you have some excellent accountancy skills within a niche area that would make you stand out. You should also target the companies and industries that you have had experience with and where you would like to work. If I were your consultant, I would be curious to know if you are working in a professional services firm or as a tax accountant in the tax team of a commercial company?
The reason being is if you are working in tax for one of the Big Four professional services firms, you would be in a niche area and would likely have an easier time than your auditing colleagues in securing a role within a tax team of a commercial company.
On the other hand, if you are already working in a tax team of a commercial company, you will be in an even more sought-after position. I believe plenty of big multinational companies, as long as they have an in-house tax team based in Hong Kong, would welcome your unsolicited CV.
Senior tax professionals with Chinese tax experience have plenty of options these days as more and more companies are moving their entities to China for economic reasons. Also, there is a growing demand for tax professionals with experience working with tax teams and regulations from Asia-Pacific countries in general, as large regionally headquartered companies have their tax teams established here.
In terms of the application itself, I would ensure you do two things. Firstly, when making an unsolicited application to a certain role, you should make sure you research into whether the company’s tax team is based in Hong Kong and find out who Is the most senior tax professional in their Hong Kong office. Secondly, it is worth finding out who the head of HR or talent acquisition is.
You can make an informed application to the head of talent acquisition and mention your interest in possible headcount openings for the tax team. A personally addressed application is a lot more likely to be read than the generic address of “dear sir or madam”.
You possess great niche skills. To move forward, just make sure you do your necessary research and build on your domain experience and knowledge.