candidates – career advice
Candidates: Career Advice
As recruitment experts we’re here to help both candidate and client. Sometimes that help can just be a bit of advice, guidance or insight into the market. Other times you might want something a little more thorough or bespoke. We’ve noted some areas of career advice here, but feel free to get in touch for a confidential chat about your specific circumstances; we’d be happy to help.
Do your research
Looking for a new role can be a full time job in itself. Part of this is because you really do need to do your groundwork on each organisation that you apply to. Think about what sort of business issues they will be going through, what sort of plans and goals they have and what kinds of risks they will be facing. Read widely and consider what is happening in the sector, or what their competitors may be up to. Try to understand how the organisation works, what it’s culture and ethos is – an inside track can be very useful!
If what you learn makes you feel it’s exactly the sort of place you really want to be, take time to ensure you bring out your most relevant achievements and most appropriate skills on your CV / application and throughout the recruitment process. Make it clear how what you’ve done and who you are as a person make you just right for them and their needs.
Good research and a little reflection will help make sure you present yourself in the most attractive light.
Highlight your achievements not your responsibilities
Taking that next step on the career ladder requires you to sell yourself a little. Whilst it’s ever so easy to prepare a CV based around what you do on a daily basis, most employers are more interested in what you’ve achieved in your role. For example, if you work as a Management Accountant, you might want to highlight what commercial benefits your reporting and insights have delivered. If you run a team of ledger clerks, you might want to stress the impact of they way you’ve managed your team on the relationship with business leadership and the better outcomes this has produced. If you’re involved in change programmes, focus on the deliverables and the commercial benefit they have brought.
Concentrating on your achievements like this will help differentiate your CV, showcase your relevant successes… and help ensure you get to interview.
Your CV is a means to an end; it’s at interview where you’re most able to differentiate yourself. Having done your research on the business and the people, take time to build rapport with your interviewer. Hopefully they’ll be taking time to build rapport with you, too! Like any new relationship, the one with your potential boss is built on first impressions. Whilst you may be confident about your abilities, keen to put across why you’re a great hire, or eager to jump in with some probing questions of your own, don’t forget to put in the groundwork with your interviewer to try to understand them as a person first. Demonstrate too that you have done your research on the business – beyond a scan of their website’s homepage! – and you’ll be off to a good start.
Be on top of your game… always
Doing your research, crafting a CV that highlights your most relevant experience and achievements, and building rapport with your interviewer are all key foundations. Get this wrong and you’re fighting against the tide. Get it right and it’s the base from which you can deliver a great performance at interview.
Your interview performance is key, so ensure you’re helping yourself by taking some steps to prepare. Make sure you’re ready with strong answers to the sort of questions you’d expect. If part of the role is managing people, have a few good examples to evidence how well you can manage and what that good management means in terms of outcomes; it’s not sufficient to say, ‘yes, I’ve managed before’… your interviewer will want to know how effectively.
Make sure you’re also prepared to answers those questions you might not expect – so having some great stock examples / anecdotes to hand that you can draw out to support a range of core competencies, or to back up some of the points you’re wanting to make. Think about those examples that highlight how you work, what you did and what’s different about you… don’t just focus on how things turned out.
Always answer clearly, concisely and with impact. How you say what you say is important. Haven’t interviewed for some time? There’s nothing wrong with practising – better to take some time to do this beforehand than try to wing it!
Finally, to help make sure you’re on top of your game you’ll want to be confident. It may sound obvious but make sure you are well rested, allow plenty of time for your journey, arrive well presented and with a clear head. With today’s busy lives it’s easy to overload yourself and end up feeling things are rushed or unfocused – whilst you might get by and do OK anyway, the ‘you on a good day’ has a much better chance!