Wednesday, 29 August 2012

The Benefits Of Good Career Management

Careers advice is what you get at school or university  after someone has given you a questionnaire test, chatted to you and then they tell you what job you should do. Or something similar.
But career management? What is that? In this rapidly changing world with organisations and sectors making huge changes and adjustments.. how can you mange a career? And  why should you bother?
I work in the field of career management and coaching so obviously I do believe that people can manage their careers but sadly not enough people do that. They drift, they hop, they jump in what they perceive to be an upwards direction. Sometimes they are pulled by the attractiveness of a new opportunity, sometimes they are pushed by unhappiness in the role or organisation they are in. Few people plan strategically.
Career management is a process by which individuals develop, implement and monitor career goals and strategies. It may be art or it may be a science;  in my book it needs to be a bit of both. Whichever, it delivers huge benefits.  Research shows
·         Having career goals means people outperform those  who do not have goals or who only have a weak commitment to their goals.
·         Those with goals are more optimistic, they are more resilient,
·         Those with goals are more focused , they work harder at job search, are engaged and are more successful at finding new roles.
·         People who engage in career management generate more job interviews and more offers.
·         They obtain higher salary offers and are more realistic about their job expectations.
·         They are more effective in job interviews.
In other words their careers are more successful.
The cornerstone of good career management  is research: research about yourself and research about the world of work. That’s the science part. It is making the decision once you have got the information that leads into the world of art and metaphysics.
Career management is not a one off activity; it is on going throughout life. It is an adaptive process. But it is particularly important to engage in active carer management when you are at career crossroads, when facing the decision on whether to move from a technical to general management role, when your family circumstances change, if you are facing job loss, when you face a set back in your career , when you are offered a dramatic job move, when you feel the dissatisfaction of boredom or frustration with a difficult boss. These are critical time to make the right decision rather jumping into something because of the expectations of others, the opportunity is there or because  you feel  you have no choice.
What does it take to be good at career management?

  1. There a six key elements of this iterative, messy process:
  2. ·         Know thyself
  3. ·         Understand the environment
  4. ·         Develop realistic goals
  5. ·         Adopt strategies that can deliver your goals
  6. ·         Be prepared to adjust those strategies when new information comes to light
  7. ·         Learn the skills of finding opportunities and of succeeding in selection exercises

Are you doing all you need to in order to manage your career well?
For a reality check on your approach to career management visit (
Mary Hope supports people to manage their careers more effectively and get paid more, promoted faster and feel more satisfied. She has over 30 years of experience in business, teaching, HR, headhunting and coaching. She believes passionately that people need to understand their own drivers and needs to find fulfilling careers.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Fast changing job search world

Our world is changing faster than we can realise it is. No sooner have we learned new skills and new ways of doing things than some new idea comes along.
I spent a lot of time last year learning about social media and starting to use it.. twelve months later I find that things have moved on.. and not always in a way that is helpful! Google keep altering their algorithms, Linked In have stopped putting my Twitter feeds through to their site  ... And the challenge is that the recruitment market is changing all the time too. Employers and recruitment agencies are constantly looking for new and more cost effective ways of attracting the candidates they need. And whilst lots of that effort is targeted at attracting passive job hunters, it also means that those who are actively job hunting need to shift how you do it.
Major employers, including those in the public sector no longer spend their recruitment budgets on print but on social media. In 2005 UPS spent 90% of their budget on print and now they spend 97% on social media. Deloittes have a dedicated career website which is populated with blogs from their staff and has three distinct sections targeted at graduates, young professions and professionals. The site is content rich and attract traffic through well managed twitter streams, facebook pages, and Linked In company pages. Employers seek to build long term relationships with people who have common interests with them rather  than waiting until they have a specific job to advertise. They want to hook your interest before they recruit you by building communities of interest, what is known as 'crowdsourcing' (I think!)
The recruiters placing a single advert in a magazine or newspaper are in the minority and nowadays on line advertising is much more common. So if you are looking for a job you need to be on line as well. NB yesterday's Telegraph had a single page of jobs! But where to start?
To make life easy there is a brilliant tool called '' This is a web crawler, you set your search parameters and then let it do the work. By 'crawling the web' it will bring you the jobs that you have specified by salary, location and title.
You need to sign up to major jobs boards and post your CV, CV Library, Monster, Total Jobs, JobsGoPublic. And whatever professional Boards apply to your work. Again set your parameters, search, press email alerts and wait for the vacancies to drop into your in box. Job Boards are the second largest source of hires.  And don't forget Linked In. For professionals it is the 'go to' source of candidates for head hunters. It is also increasingly a place where vacancies are advertsied. get into the Groups and see what is happening and what openings you can spot.  At least 90% of recruiters are already using social media to find, source and connect with talented candidates.
English: Infographic on how Social Media are b...
English: Infographic on how Social Media are being used, and how everything is changed by them. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
What you do need to do is to ensure that you have your target list of employers and that you have a routine of checking their job sites and if you can register for alerts from them. See if you can register your CV. Follow them on Twitter and on Linked In.
Sadly, the public sector seems to be lagging behind the other sectors in embracing all this technology. When I checked half a dozen County Council's in the South East, only one was posting vacancies on Linked In. However there are new products around that are designed to catch your attention even when you are not job hunting. JGP have developed 'smart search' which uses digital marketing to place a vacancy in front of  people who are looking for information and not just for jobs.
I can remember laughing when they told me that people would use their phones to job search,  (well I also laughed at the idea of mobile phones back in the 1980s) but there are now Apps which will help you search and bring alerts to your door. eg,   this free international jobs board has launched on the Android and iPhone platforms with more than 3,500 employment opportunities in universities, research institutions and commercial organisations.
It s not all bad news for the job hunter.. as long as you are looking where today's vacancies are to be found and not using the tricks from twenty years ago.

The rise of social recruiting

  • 66% of recruiters have used Facebook to find new talent
  • 54% of recruiters use Twitter
  • 93% use LinkedIn
  • 71% of HR and recruiting professionals consider themselves moderate to exceptional social recruiters
Source:2012 Social Recruiting Survey, Jobvite (base: 1,000 HR professionals)
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Thursday, 23 August 2012

CV Keyword Savvy

When it comes to putting together your CV, you need  (as with all communication) to think about who will receive and read it. Of course in this day and  age the 'reader' may well be a machine!

When you send your Cv to an agency or potential employer, they will likely put it into a database (Applicant tracking system). If you are applying for a specific role they should look at it and screen it for suitability. Then it will sit in the data base... you need your name to come up the next time there is a similar role. Your name will come up if you have the right keywords.

You need to understand which keywords are most sought by people hiring for the positions you want, ensuring that your CV uses them effectively.Think as they would think. If you were looking for someone like you, how would you search. If you have had generic job titles then this is really important.(sales would not search on that too broad)  If you are trying to get back into something you worked in a awhile back, this is really important.(when did induction become  'onboarding')  If you are trying to change sectors (outturn and year end???)
Do think about the keywords and get found more easily.

Here are some tips to help you get started:
  • Make a list of keywords that commonly appear in adverts and job descriptions for the kinds of roles you are seeking. Look beyond only roles you are actively applying for – the aim is simply to gather relevant terms.

  • Look at the websites of companies and associations related to your target industry to identify other ‘buzzwords’.

  • Identify industry experts, via professional associations for example, and check out the language they use to represent themselves in online profiles.

  • Subscribe to industry publications and find relevant recent articles online to keep up to date with what that people are talking about in your sector.

  • Keep in mind that keywords can cover many areas such as position titles, industries, skills, name-brand companies, conferences, software, certifications and training, products, technologies and affiliations.
  • Make sure you use all the relevant synonyms, people in HR can also be in personnel or people management or talent management or human capital. Try to use each one once in your CV in case the searcher does not use the same one as you.
You obviously want your CV to stand out, but it's also important that it shows your reader how you fit in. Deploying the right keywords can allow you to do this, showing employers that you are speaking their language. 

For more tips and techniques get your FREE book  from and to understand more about my coaching products and services

Thanks to 'The Ladders' for additional info.