I’m a member of a national business support group for SMEs
run by a clever chap called Nigel Botterill. In his latest communication, he
talked about business goals for 2018 and controversially said that over 80% of
his group will fail to achieve their goals. In fact, we probably share the same
belief that over 80% of people in general won’t achieve their 2018 goals
including Executive Job Seekers, Interim Managers and Contractors.
Why? Well there are two reasons: firstly, people don’t write
their goals down and plan how they are going to achieve them; and secondly,
most people struggle with change! If we all do the same things we did in 2017
then the chances are that we will achieve about the same in 2018. Nevertheless,
most people will start back at work in January and do all the same things they did
Mark Zuckerberg famously said that “the biggest risk is
taking no risk” and we can apply that to our lives, our business and our
careers. If we carry on doing the same things week in week out, then the
results we achieve will be the same week in week out.
So! what can we do differently?! Here are my suggestions:
Dust down your CV!
Most people are still using the same style of CV they have
been using for years. At the end of each job or contract, it gets updated, but
nothing fundamentally changes. The requirements of CVs have changed though, and
in a tough and competitive market, recruiters and hiring managers are making
shortlisting decisions based on the contents of your CV. If the content is weak
or underwhelming, then you won’t be shortlisted.
I still review people’s CVs and almost every time I ask the
person how anyone can tell if they are good at their job? The response is
nearly always the same – they can’t!! Your CV must sell you and your
accomplishments – talk about outcomes and business benefits not just tasks and
A 2018 CV should be aligned with your personal brand and it
should include a value proposition statement i.e. what is the value that lies
within your skills and experience and how will that benefit a future client. It
should include a selection of key strengths and key skills that are aligned
with the position that you are applying for and incorporate some case studies
(or at the very least, some examples of your work). It should also be optimised
for recruitment software and include social proofing.
If your CV remains the same as it was in 2017 then expect
the same if not less interviews in the tightening 2018 market.
Don’t ignore your
Over 500 million people have a LinkedIn account so that
effectively means your profile is there for the world at large to scrutinise.
And they do! In fact, over 85% of head-hunters and hiring managers check out
shortlisted candidates on LinkedIn and that doesn’t factor in the many
candidates who were found through LinkedIn in the first place.
None of us would buy from a company with a shoddy website
and no decent reviews, so why would anyone hire a contractor with a shoddy
LinkedIn profile and no decent recommendations?
What you write in your profile, who you are connected to and
what posts you send out into the world matter.
Why not make 2018 the year that you embrace LinkedIn – get
your profile communicating the right message, start building your network of
contacts (being well-connected is a good thing right?), and start posting some
interesting content – your only a few written articles, blogs and webinars away
from being a thought-leader in your sector and LinkedIn is the perfect platform
for embarking on this journey.
Those people who are using thought-leadership as part of
their self-promotion and personal branding strategy are reaping tremendous
results. If you have some knowledge or expertise that someone would benefit
from then get that out into the world and raise your profile. There are people
out there making significant money from selling e-books on everything from how
to create corn dollies to the secrets of tiddlywinks. People are hungry for
knowledge and if you have some expertise that someone else is looking for then
use that as a tool for building relationships with useful people (in your case
- clients, recruiters and hiring managers).
Still with the same
Let’s not get too bogged down with IR35 issues but there are
many Interims and Contractors who have been with the same client for multiple
years who might be due a change. If we are suggesting 2018 should be the year
to make that leap, then there are some things to consider.
Firstly, let’s go back to the CV; does it look better to put
your 3-year stint with one client as one entry or would it be better to split
each individual project out? We have to judge each situation on its merit, but
I would default to the latter and create a new Position for each individual
project / contract extension.
The alternative is to opt for a case study style CV which
drops the career history in its traditional sense and replaces it with a
portfolio of case studies. This style of CV is much more ‘IR35 friendly’ and
works great for direct approaches. Amongst recruiters it gets a mixed reception
with some loving and wanting it and some being tied to the chronological
format. My advice is to have both!
If you are looking to move clients, you’ll need contacts, so
start working on that now! Seek out the key companies, decision makers and
recruiters in your world and actively reach out to them so they become
connections. You are then visible to them, they will see your activity and you
can contact each other directly through inmail. I’m a big fan of the Celestine
Prophecy with the key message being ‘the more people you interact with, the
more likely it is that opportunities will come your way’.
If your curious about how good or otherwise your CV / LinkedIn
profile is, then feel free to email it over to firstname.lastname@example.org
and we’ll take a look and get back to you with some feedback.
We will keep working on your CV until you are 100% happy and if at the end you are not, we will refund your money.
Matthew Craven, Managing Director
Colin is an Executive Lead Coach/Trainer and Career Transition/Communicat...
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