Managing your Career
It is important to periodically review your career development strategy. Roles are continually affected by such as technological and structural change, legislation, competition and the appointment of new Senior Executives.
Keep up to date with the politics and culture of your business, understand the dynamics and market yourself effectively. Avoid working in 'dead-end' situations or becoming involved with activities that have a high risk of failure. Constantly try and broaden your role to avoid becoming entrapped in something going no-where.
Keep learning and developing and trying new things. Keep appraising your own progress and take active steps to safeguard and protect your career.
View your career as an investment
You have invested significant time in your education and professional qualifications and in developing your career to date. Continue to control and develop that investment wisely
Review your own performance
Periodically undertake a self-analysis to determine your progress. What have you not achieved you set out to? How do you now compare to your peer group? Maintain an effective Personal Development Plan.
Keep your personal network healthy
Keep a note of all contacts no matter how obscure they may seem at the time. You never know when you may need them
Consider carefully the impact of any new boss
What does he/she want from you? How can you meet expectations? Is there a 'chemistry' fit? If you get the wrong answers to these questions it may be time to negotiate your exit.
Your career is your own responsibility
Preparing your CV
There is no perfect cv, and whilst we can create a model, the document must represent the individual, who they are and their character, and what they have and can deliver
Take considerable care and time in constructing your document.
To allow you to demonstrate the skills and the benefits you can bring to an organisation.
Your cv could be one of a hundred or more and thus may not get more than a 20 second glance. Remember an initial cv screen by a recruiter is to exclude not include - you need to make sure you are still in play after this first sift.
To open a door not close it
It is a selling document. If you do not package yourself attractively the employer may not recognise what is for sale - you could be passed over by someone who has a glossy front but not much in the ingredients.
The CV cannot
Get you a job - only you can do that
A good CV will be
Interesting - positive, relevant and information presented in short punchy sentences. Bullet points-not long sentences.
Attractive/Structured - well laid out, plenty of space and an attractive typeface in black ink. If hard copy use good quality paper. Definitely no photos or colour.
Informative - presenting achievements, skills and experience without the clutter of non essential information
Professional - revealing a clear thinking individual with an appropriate mix of achievements, skills, experience and personal attributes. Get your personality and positive attributes through to the reader.
Short/Concise - 2/3 pages. Every word or phrase must earn its place
Factual - accurate and specific. Quantify achievements-work and education. Be able to justify and demonstrate what is stated. Do not leave gaps in your career history - they only raise an unanswered question.
It is not necessary to include your reasons for leaving each job - but you must be prepared to answer these questions at interview.
Chronological cv's are the traditional approach to cv writing.
However, for some people they are not appropriate and a Functional or Competency based cv is more relevant .
For example if you have had a number of unrelated jobs it might be more important to emphasis key skills/competencies and achievements rather than a long list of unrelated jobs.
Similarly if you do not wish to emphasise a number of job changes, where you wish to de-emphasise age or where you have been doing the same job for a very long time .
The Chronological CV
This is not 'one size fits all' as we still have to remember the purpose of the document i.e. to market and sell. If some of the following headings detract from that we have to think of a different way to get the key messages across. However, research would indicate that employers favour the following style-
Personal details - name (exclude middle name or letter), address, email address, date of birth, contact details (home and mobile), marital status, nationality. Avoid wife's/children's names, religion etc
Personal Profile - a short profile can often act as an immediate differentiator and should be used in these circumstances. If the profile could apply to 500 other people then we should question what benefit it provides.
Professional Qualifications - State the qualification and date of membership. If you have 1st time passes you should say so.
Education - reverse order with university before school. List your achievements and grades. This information is more important if you have recently joined the job market and clearly less so if you have worked for 20 years.
Languages - highlight these only if you are at intermediate level or above. O Level French from 10 years ago is unlikely to impress
Career Summary - in reverse chronological order. This provides an overview of your career to date. It should include Dates, Company, Positions, and Sector. This can demonstrate real career progression.
Career History - or sometimes Recent Career History. This should be in reverse chronological order. Include a brief Company profile, key responsibilities, reporting lines and most importantly achievements and proje cts delivered. Achievements should not only be actions but the impact those actions had. It is also possible to demonstrate some of your key competencies through your achievements. Quantify as much as possible - this is much more powerful than qualitative information. The focus should be on the most recent jobs not those of 15 years ago
IT/IS Skills - record the key skills, not every single IS that you might have had some experience of
Training Courses - summary of the main and relevant courses attended
Hobbies and Interests - if they add real value and say something more about you include them but omit if of no value
Do not include:
Salary and Benefits
Think about your cv every time you apply for a job. Ask yourself whether it is relevant for that particular role/company. You should never have to completely rewrite your cv for every application but there may be some points that need more or less emphasis. Try to avoid 'just going through the motions' - think before acting.
Bringing the CV to life
Use action verbs - each of your achievements should start with an action word
Remember if page 1 of your cv is not punchy and attractive page 2 will not be read and you will end up in the 'no' pile. This is a dynamic document and you may need several drafts before you get to the final version. Test it on others and amend it where you feel the suggestions are relevant
Do not forget your USP - if you don't know what it is then it is unlikely that others will eitherFor an example CV click here
Using Personality Profiling
Such self-report questionnaires are not concerned with your abilities but how you perceive yourself in terms of your personality traits and behaviour. There are no right or wrong answers to the questions you are asked and you should always answer honestly and frankly.
Particular jobs may require a certain personality style, just as they need specific cognitive abilities. Research suggests that up to 70% of attributes associated with success at work are dimensions of personality rather than ability.
Questionnaires help candidates to:
We can administer and interpret the SHL Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ) for you in preparation for your client interview.
Preparing For Interview
Interviewers Main Concerns
Can you do the job?
Remember the only source of information is you and what you say. Never assume anything and make sure you prioritise those skills and experiences that are critical to the job.
Are you better than the rest?
Back up every skill with achievements. Quantitative measurements can be very powerful in supporting your claims.
Do you really want the job?
You must make your relevant strengths shine through and the interviewer must feel confident you are serious about your interest.
Will you fit into our business?
The cultural fit is important so it is key to gain some knowledge as to what it is like. You will then be able to align some of your own values to theirs.
Do I like you?
No matter how good you are if the interviewer does not like you will not get the job. All research suggests that the selection process is most strongly influenced by personality and cultural factors. The further you progress the more attention shifts to personality traits. This does not mean your skills and experience are not important. They are. However, one without the other will hinder your chances.
The client may explore the following specific areas:
Your Experience The focus will be on your experience that is relevant to this job, not about your life history .
Your technical capability Elaborate on your technical accounting and finance competence, particularly as it relates to this job.
Your integration into the business - if you were successful in taking a role
How you would approach establishing yourself in the business?
What would your approach be over the first three months?
-Consider what would impress you if you were interviewing
-Explain your approach to integration and what you would hope to achieve
-Demonstrate how you would contribute to business success
Your Future Career
What not to focus on
Sometimes individuals are feeling negative about their current/previous employer. They may not like the way a restructuring took place, how the culture is changing, new people being appointed etc. It is important that this negativity does not come over in the interview as it can often influence how the interviewer feels about you.
Concentrate on the good things, be positive and optimistic. Leave the positive flavour not the negative connotations.
Finally - If you are interested in the job you must show it!!