ADVICE

Looking for a job? Read our below advise on how to get started.

Skills that matter: don’t underestimate the value these skills add to your CV

Do you pass the 7 second test?

Building your digital network

Five Questions That Will Help Describe Your Personal Brand


Skills that matter: don’t underestimate the value these skills add to your CV

Not only will they add substantial value to your CV, they’ll also help your application stand out to potential employers. And the good news is that you might already possess some of the skills, without even realising. All you need to do is find out which ones work for you.

Essential attributes for anyone working in an office, or in any other type of clerical role are some of the skills you may have developed over time and some you may have had training in. More than basic office skills, don’t overlook or assume these don’t add huge value to your CV. Most jobs want you to have a degree of essential clerical skills and often, they are seen as an absolute necessity when you apply.

But even if the position you’re applying for isn’t specifically in a named or obvious clerical field, knowing how to make the most of these skills is always recommended to add value to your CV.

Organisational-based skills 

Having excellent organisational skills is key for many clerical roles. Not only to ensure employees manage their own schedules effectively, but also to potentially manage their boss’ schedule too. 

In a practical sense, these could come through in your CV as anything from diary management and delivering mail, through to setting up efficient filing systems

Other examples include delegating tasksprioritisation and planning.

Communication-based skills 

Being able to communicate effectively is always vitally important in helping an office run smoothly. No matter what size the team is. 

This often comes under verbal and written communication skills on a CV – but there are many more tangible ways to demonstrate it. 

An excellent telephone manner, proficiency in using internal comms channels, and even great customer service skills could all come under this particular clerical skill set. 

Tech-based skills

Ok, so you don’t necessarily need to be a tech wizard to work in a clerical role. But knowing how to use certain software will always be valuable for employers. 

Being proficient in Microsoft Office programmes (e.g. Word and Excel) is a good start, as well as possessing some knowledge of Google Sheets/Docs.

However, if you want to take it up a step further, other great computer-based clerical skills to add to your CV could include typing speeddata entry, and experience in using/building databases.

Problem solving skills

Clerical roles can often be fast-paced. Unfortunately, that means things don’t always go to plan.

As a result, analytical thinking and problem solving skills are always in-demand for employers. Resolving issues with suppliershandling customer complaints and carrying out risk assessments all fit within this category. 

There are also a number of other soft skills, such as active listening and creative thinking, which are great problem solving skills to add to your CV. Especially if you can think of examples of when you put them into practice.

Attention to detail

Lastly, as many clerical jobs come with a fair amount of paperwork, attention to detail should never be overlooked. 

This could mean proofreading and checking for typos – both in your own work, and for other members of the team. It could mean displaying your numerical skills, allowing you to minimise mistakes in any number-based tasks you undertake. 

Knowing any company policies and procedures is also a good way to display your attention to detail. That way you can ensure no mistakes are made in terms of process as you go about your working day.

Why are clerical skills important?

Clerical skills are essential in a number of different industries – allowing us to work quickly and efficiently, even if our jobs aren’t strictly clerical.

In fact, almost all roles have some sort of clerical element. Even if it’s just completing paperwork, making orders, or using the same software on a daily basis. 

What’s more, because many clerical skills are transferable it means that they’ll always be useful for any role you undertake. So even if you don’t have experience in a similar position, your clerical skills could help set you apart.

(Adapted from advice via Reed.co.uk)


Do you pass the 7 second test?

When it comes to applying for new roles, you don’t have long to impress. In fact, studies show that recruiters spend somewhere between five and seven seconds on average looking at a candidate’s CV. That’s less than the time it takes to boil a kettle (think about that the next time you make a cup of tea).

So how can you ensure your application lands in the ‘yes’ pile with such little time to impress? Here’s our guide on passing the seven second CV test:

Keep it short

CVs are never one-size-fits all.

Most recruiters say two pages is about right but it all depends on how much information you have to share. However, any more than three will be a definite turn-off.

The key is to ‘cut the fat’. Ask yourself the question, ‘is this sentence relevant to the role that I’m applying for?’ If you find yourself saying no, then it shouldn’t make the final cut.

And when it comes to your qualifications – be specific. Add start and end dates, qualification types and grades. You don’t need to add all of your qualifications either. At least two or three will usually suffice. For example, if you have an MBA, a business degree, A Levels and GCSES, you may find that you can exclude GCSEs and A Levels from your CV.

Capture the reader’s attention

No matter what job you’re applying for, always tailor your CV to include relevant examples showing the recruiter that you’re right for the role.

If you have a specific job in mind, then even better. Use your CV to match up with the job spec and show the recruiter that you’re a good match – not to mention dedicated enough to really work on your application.

And if you find that your experience doesn’t exactly marry up with the job description, don’t panic. Take some time to think transferable skills and show that you’re willing, able and equipped to handle the duties at hand.

Follow a logical, easy to navigate layout

A good use of formatting is vital to a successful CV.

Choose an easy-to-read structure, with clear headings, and highlight key points by using bullet points to display the information. Place emphasis on the information you want employers to see first, and always use a logical order throughout.

For example, if you haven’t got a lot of previous experience, focus on your personal statement, qualifications and skills instead. If you have done a similar role, leave your education details to later on.

This will allow recruiters to find what they’re looking for quickly, and help make the most of the precious seconds that a recruiter takes to comb through your CV.

Don’t bury your key points in layers of waffle.

Ditch the clichés

Nothing’s more likely to make a recruiter switch off than a generic application.

And, even though you might think phrases like ‘excellent team player’ and ‘good communication skills’ are essential, all they end up doing is make your CV look like everyone else’s – something which could have dire consequences when a recruiter scans your CV.

Instead, keep things positive, and always back up your attributes with real examples. After all, ‘increased revenue by X’ sounds a lot better than simply saying you’re a hard worker.

Recruiters are just as bored of reading the same old stock phrases as you are of writing them.

Be succinct

It takes an employer just seven seconds to save or reject a job applicant’s CV. This means creating a succinct CV is absolutely vital if you want to land that all-important interview.


Building your digital network

The art of building a professional network in a digital age

As digital interaction increasingly influences how businesses operate and succeed, making connections in a digital networking has taken on much greater importance.

Building a strong network

A leader’s journey is not one travelled alone. Just as there are critical junctures in a career, there are crucial relationships that help along the way. Whether this help comes in the form of assistance in acquiring new roles, recommendations for leadership positions, or internal associates who provide a needed push or connections with others who can provide business insight, the need for a strong network is paramount.

Networking at its best can be uncomfortable and difficult for some, but its impact can be immeasurable. Research shows networking can lead to more job and business opportunities, along with better performance. Building and strengthening connections, exchanging ideas and broadening knowledge, and nurturing mutually beneficial relationships helps professionals increase their capacity to innovate and improve overall quality of work and job satisfaction. Many successful in their networking endeavours also understand the importance of developing and consistently maintaining these networks long before they need to call upon them.

Build your network before you need it

Successful networkers understand the importance of developing and consistently maintaining relationships long before a specific need arises. While networking is crucial for finding jobs, it also presents prime opportunities to collaborate on important issues, team up to author new research, tap into new markets, or uncover unseen insights. Don’t wait for connections to happen. Be the first to reach out, ask a question, or offer to help others. Make sure you have the right network in place before you need it. Nurture relationships along the way so you feel confident asking for help when the time comes. The act of building rapport over time makes the deed of reaching out less strenuous and opens the door for opportunities that might not have been there by just flying solo.

Networking in changing times

Our evolving business landscape has demonstrated that our world is becoming more global and increasingly digital. Opportunities to develop new relationships in an ever-evolving virtual backdrop is giving way to creative new digital networking approaches. While this may be charting new territory for some, the premise of digital networking is rooted in the foundational elements of traditional practices. By embracing this new atmosphere, leaders can open themselves up to innumerable prospects.

Begin with the end in mind

Approach networking with a mindset of mutual benefit: How can we help each other, and what value can I bring to this relationship? Know your personal value proposition and who you are as a leader, so you are clear about how you can add value and assist others. Strong relationships are a two-way street that requires balance and reciprocity. Build your network with others before you expect anything in return.

Develop your personal digital brand

Often when people search you, your online profiles are the first thing they come across, so establish yourself and be sure to update your information on a regular basis. Conduct a web search of yourself and see where you show up in the results. The better presence you have online and the more strategic you are in building your profiles, the closer to the top of the search results you will likely be. You can attract others and build your online influence through blogging, posting to social media, commenting on posts, and tagging those with whom you wish to connect. Use social listening tools to help you join relevant online communities and stay on top of relevant discussions your audience is talking about. Sharing your views on business and industry topics can help you to increase your influence in the space and engage others in a meaningful way.

Diversify your digital connections

When building your network, don’t just add everyone. Be thoughtful and curate your list of connections based on your long-term goals.

Staying connected and involved in the latest industry information can be enriched though online communities such as LinkedIn, Slack, community forums, or blogs. Getting involved with the conversations and connections through these groups can allow you to make connections with people at different levels both inside and outside your industry. You never know where a connection could lead or an idea could come from, so be sure to diversify your outreach.

More and more organisations are offering their traditional conferences and events in online formats. Opportunities such as these can allow you to connect with others, expand your knowledge base, and gain new business acumen, all from the comfort of your own office. Find elements of each event that resonate with you as a jumping-off point to begin conversations with others to learn and form connections.

Gain introductions through email

While the latest video and technology trends may be enticing, sometimes the simplest forms of connection can generate the most impactful results. Look for mutual connections with future contacts and ask for a simple email connection between you both. That common connection can help generate conversation and form a connection built on the trust of a mutual relation. From there, scheduling a 30-minute video conference can open the door to develop more meaningful, engaging connections with visual body language and facial communication cues.

Use all the technology at your fingertips

Video conferencing, messaging platforms, and social media have created many new opportunities to connect with others on a more personal level. These tools were intentionally developed to bring connection in a disconnected and impersonal environment. Online platforms enable you to connect with others in novel ways that can be very engaging—posting videos, attending live-streaming events, and virtual coffee chats, just for starters.

Determine what method suits your current needs and properly prepare for each situation. With visual recognition memory outpacing effectiveness of auditory recognition memory alone, video conferencing can help reinforce your personal brand and make a real impact.

Building your professional and personal network still holds to tried-and-true practices, but don’t shy away from using all instruments at your disposal. The online digital revolution will continue to present new and exciting ways to make connections and build relationships. Take advantage of them to strengthen your network—and your career.

(Adapted from advice via Deloitte)


Five Questions That Will Help Describe Your Personal Brand

We spend many hours contemplating and refining the brand strategy for our business, while our personal brands go unconsidered. Cultivating your personal brand is no mere act of vanity; when executive-level employees were surveyed by 69% of them believed that having a CEO who is active in social media increases their business’s credibility in the marketplace and makes their company a more attractive place to work.

Reputation experts like Don Sorensen of Big Blue Robot caution that it is more important than ever for executives to manage their online reputation to “establish credibility and trust with shareholders, the media, and customers.” As a highly visible representative of your company, your reputation may affect everything from consumer purchase intent to shareholder investments and analyst ratings.

Building a dynamic and engaging executive brand requires more than just a killer headshot. Here are some questions to consider as you craft your personal brand strategy:

1. Who are you? (No, really.)

It seems like a simple question, but it’s one that can be a challenge to distil. Think about how your friends and family might describe you in just three words. Would that differ if you asked the same questions of your colleagues? If there’s a gap between how others describe you and how you wish to be perceived, think about ways you can close that gap, both in social media and in your work life. A strong personal brand is not only driven by your words, but by your actions. Take steps every day to narrow the gulf between who you are in each area of your life.

2. Who do I admire online?

It’s worth thinking about what these people are doing that keeps you engaged and paying attention. It might be because they share great content and provide thoughtful responses. Or you might follow them because your expectations are consistently met—or because they’re always doing something unexpected. Think about which of these characteristics you’d like to apply to yourself.

3. Who do you want in your tribe?

Creating authentic, engaging content targeted towards key audience groups takes time and resources and some prioritisation is necessary. Knowing which circles (say, three or four audiences) you want to associate with, helps to focus resources and prevents spreading yourself too thin. Secondary audiences are important to keep in mind, but they should not require custom content creation. Strong content will serve multiple audiences; when developing content pillars, look for topics that will overlap between primary and secondary audiences.

4. How often do you want to post?

Think about what’s more important to you: To be known as a consistent source of content or to provide more thoughtful, high-quality content less frequently. As you start to develop a content mix, think about your desired ratio of original content to curate third party content. Make a conscious decision about whether your channels tell your personal story or the story of others.

5. What’s your goal?

Surprise! It’s impossible to gauge your success without developing specific goals. Think through some quantitative and qualitative ways to measure your progress. It probably sounds a little like your day job, but goals can help you make progress and use your social networks to build your brand and your career.

Developing a thoughtful personal brand is a key component of cultivating an online presence that delivers against your personal and professional goals. Your personal brand should be the guiding principle over your audience, channel, and content strategies. All four pieces taken together can ladder up to cohesive master strategy worthy of any large consumer brand.

(Adapted from advice via Deloitte)