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How to create a marketable product – yourself

According to recent surveys, there are a lot of unhappy workers in the UK. It therefore follows that many of them will see 2011 as a year of change.

Recruitment consultancies and prospective employers will become inundated with CVs and many of these will not impress. If you want to stand out from the crowd, now is the time to do some serious CV revamping. Just tacking your current experience on is not the right way to go about it. The best approach is to review the entire document and make it directly relevant to the role you want to apply for.

The first thing you need to do is make a note of the transferable skills you have gained in your current position. Consider what is unique about you, what benefits can you offer a potential employer? These could come in the form of specialist knowledge and experience, and your CV needs to detail what, when and where. Remember that when you apply for a new job, you are selling yourself to a potential employer so you must specify the way your skills will benefit the organisation.

Once you have determined your marketable skills, you should think about your work preferences. What type of environment do you want to work in? What sort of people do you want to work with? What role do you want to apply for? It’s essential to have more than just a plan A.

Identifying what you have to offer and what you want is a critical part of job seeking. If you concentrate on applying for roles that fit your accomplishments, experience, skills and goals you have a much better chance of convincing an employer to hire you.

As well as a well written CV and cover letter, you also need to approach job hunting with a proactive attitude. You must be persuasive and persistent. Possessing the right mind-set and a well planned strategy will increase your chances of success in the jobs market.

If you’re stuck in a rut and looking for change, use the above tips to give your CV an early spring clean. You can also contact one of our consultants who will be more than happy to help you!

Do you have any CV horror stories to tell? Or any tips for our readers? As always we’d love to hear them…

The key to successful decision making

Decision making is an important element in any job. Two Swiss academics have just published a new book entitled ‘The Decision Book’ which outlines 50 models to help tone up your strategic thinking. I thought readers might find some, or all, of the following four techniques useful.

Working out the right order in which to sort out all the things that need to be done can be a nightmare. One way around this is to draw up an ‘importance matrix’ to rank the tasks. Tackle the ones that are both important and urgent first then delegate those which are not important but are urgent. You can then decide when to tackle things that whilst important, are not urgent and the remainder get shelved.

Don’t veer away from what the management expects of you. Before starting any new project draw up a clear list of objectives. Outline the strengths and weaknesses in the team and the opportunities and threats that will be met along the way. You’ll then have a road map of what must be done, and when.

If you’re looking for a new job consider the pros and cons of your current situation and the alternative. Then simply decide which has the strongest appeal.

Providing somebody with feedback is difficult and often fraught with emotion. None of us like to be criticised and it can often be hard to see how to remedy the situation. In order to deal with feedback, categorise it as advice, compliment, criticism and suggestion. This will help you decide what action is necessary and what can be ignored.

Do you have your own special tips to impart to our readers? If so, we’d love to hear them…

The Worshipful Company of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators

The Worshipful Company of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (WCCSA) is a modern livery company of the City of London. While Livery Companies had their origins in the trade guilds of medieval times, they now represent many modern professions and trades.

The Company aims to enhance the Chartered Secretary profession governed, since 1902, by the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA), by fostering fellowship amongst its members, and by educational and charitable activities. In my short time in the Corporate Secretarial Arena, I have heard many a whispering of this association; however it wasn’t until this week that I fully came to understand how the organisation operates.

At the recent ICSA Event on the new CSQC Scheme a representative from the association (Steve to be precise!) came along and finally filled in the blanks explaining both the Apprenticeship scheme and consequent succession through the company. In a career as diverse as CoSec the livery company provides the opportunity to not just meet people in the same industry, but a support network for those who want it. Through a range of socials, lectures and charitable events it allows people to engage, learn, grow and eventually pass on their knowledge and experience to other generations. From what I can gather, it’s not just about what you can get from it, but what you give back as well. The livery company is the perfect opportunity to engage with the corporate secretarial arena, furthermore their apprenticeship scheme provides a brilliant stepping stone for all those embarking on a career within the industry.

As someone who has just embarked on a new career myself I can fully understand and appreciate how useful a support network of experienced hands is and as such, it would be wonderful to see a greater number of trainees and CoSec Assistants participating and making use of everything the WCCSA offer.

Employer Reputation Management

With one week to go till our Social Media breakfast seminar, spaces are filling up quickly.

The aim of the seminar is to educate employers that their reputations are now being defined in the social space. It will outline where these conversations are talking place and the steps that can be taken to monitor and influence them.

For a snapshot of what Carve Consulting plan to address, please see the presentation below.

If you would like to register your interest, email me,, quoting the subject line “BLT Breakfast Seminar”. If you are unable to attend, be sure to follow the #BLTlive hashtag on twitter for updates on the points discussed.

Women, Money and Management Consultancy

It didn’t take long for the women and earnings topic to appear again … …the first week of the New Year saw a controversial article which claimed women wanted to marry a man who earned more than they did. Dr Catherine Hakim who is a senior research fellow at the London School of Economics has asserted that women want to marry men who earned more than they do. The feminist camp was outraged whereas others felt she spoke the truth. She believes that women make their own choices about work and home life and this is what leads to women earning less.

So what do I see in the world of management consultancy recruitment?. I can honestly say in seven years at BLT, I have never seen a situation where I felt a job offer to a woman was less than it would have been to a man. Similarly, women at the same grades as men earn the same as they do. We see lots of bright female graduates coming in to management consultancy with plenty of women with two to eight years experience coming to us to look for a new role.

It’s no great surprise that after this, we see fewer women competing for the more senior roles – these are the years when family responsibilities are coming to the fore. As a woman in consulting you can continue to climb the career ladder and the opportunities are there but many women choose that the sacrifices are too great. The formal maternity leave and flexible working policies are in place but some decide “It’s just not worth it “on all fronts. Most women in consulting I know have partners in equally demanding jobs, so the simple fact is that one of you has to be the main “available” parent………or alternatively subcontract out all areas of your life, including your children, and have no salary left at the end of it!

In addition, even for women remaining in the labour market I think you move jobs less frequently – if you’ve negotiated a flexible working week with some informal flexibility thrown in, why move elsewhere and start again? Does that mean your career prospects and subsequently, earnings are compromised? Well, yes it may do partly because you don’t benefit from the incremental pay rises that often occur when candidates move jobs or because you don’t knock on the door for promotion.
Shout me down if you like, but it’s not all bad news – if you have a job you enjoy on a part time basis and have reached a stage where you have an informal flexibility to cater for some of the other commitments in life …then maybe that’s a deal worth making. The office will always be there but the school gate passes in a flash!

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