Keeping your profile up to date

As we talk to candidates about new roles or approach candidates we believe are suitable for opportunities one of the most common themes we come across is that the candidate doesn’t have an up to date CV or in some cases no CV at all. In addition you mustn’t think about your CV in isolation, your LinkedIn profile and the story it tells goes hand in hand. For many individuals the thought of having to write a CV or doing a major update brings a sense of dread. Some candidates we have approached may even dismiss a role because it involves this exercise. This could result in you missing out on your next big opportunity and career progression.

Once you have the core structure in place (please see previous blog) keeping your CV up to date and relevant shouldn’t be that arduous a task and if an opportunity suddenly arises you can address quickly without the need to go back to the drawing board.

Appraisal Preparation = CV Refresh

One recommendation is to take a look at your CV every six months and coincide when you have your annual and mid-year reviews. As part of the preparation for this you will be making a note of all your key achievements whether that be projects delivered, cost savings, team development etc as well as new skills harnessed. Simply fold these key achievements and skills into your CV as a series of bullets. This is the first and most relevant thing a recruiter and interviewer will look at – tangible deliverables which have resulted in greater efficiencies for the business or improvements to the bottom line. By folding in your CV review with your appraisals you are achieving two things at once and won’t need to rack your brain again as you are already in the reviewing mindset. 

The new additions which go in at the top of your CV then provide you with an opportunity to condense the bottom. The additions will have likely taken the CV over two pages therefore to return it to just being double sided it is important to remove more historical information which may no longer be relevant or simply superseded by recent achievements. As time goes on you can also reduce the size of the educational attainment section almost exclusively focusing on your last qualification.

Review of Personal Profile

Don’t forget to refresh the personal profile at the top. Using the same techniques as your mid/annual reviews which is effectively a sales pitch to your line manager you can achieve the same objective to your potential new employer. This should only be a paragraph, therefore remove or demote less relevant points.

Give it the once over

The number of times I have looked back at an old document and seen a typo or a misconstructed sentence which could have been worded better (there is probably one in this blog). Even though you are not rewriting the whole document have a quick scan through everything and do a little bit of housekeeping.

Design Refresh

I am certainly not suggesting doing this every six months but every now and again it is worth googling or looking at some of the latest templates in MS Word or Google Docs to bring your layout and design to current thinking. Without going crazy some design enhancements with a neater layout can catch the eye making you stand out from the crowd.

Keep it to hand

No one really wants to rebuild a CV from scratch but with laptops being replaced every few years it may well be lost in the relics of an old c drive or memory stick.  Save everything to your personal cloud therefore no matter where you are or what device you are using you will always have key documents like your CV to hand. 

Don’t forget LinkedIn.

If you are on LinkedIn keeping this profile up to date is just as important as your CV. The first port of call is if you don’t have a photograph, add one. It is said that your profile and network is half as effective if you don’t have a picture. Having a picture creates a greater sense of connection than the default avatar. 

A significant proportion of people also do not have any responsibilities or achievements listed under their current employer. If you have been there a significant amount of time this could mean that whoever is viewing your profile may not have visibility of what you have achieved for x amount of years…. therefore you are instantly dismissed from a potential opportunity. The most common reason for this being blank is that no-one wants to state any company secrets, strategy etc and subsequently be in breach of their contract however you can still put a few key bullets without giving away anything commercially sensitive.

Like the CV some people can avoid updating LinkedIn. Taking a step back if you think about the time a week you spend on your smart phone what is 30 minutes giving your LinkedIn profile a quick tidy up? I don’t know a single employer or recruiter who hasn’t used LinkedIn as one of their first port of calls for identifying and reviewing prospective candidates.

Owning your personal profile in the digital age is more important than ever but these few simple techniques means it doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking and can simply become business as usual. As always here at Red Tiger Talent were are here to support you and your careers ambitions. We are more than happy to review your personal profile and provide some guidance whether you are looking for your next role or simply need to get everything up to date.

Images: Simple-Solutions

Leaving on a High

Congratulations, you have been successful and have accepted an offer for a new job!  However after the initial buzz you realise that you have to have a potentially uncomfortable conversation with your soon to be former employer, and more importantly your manager informing them that you have decided to leave. As you serve your notice period this can be a strange time with mixed emotions – excitement, anticipation and maybe a little anxiety as you look forward to starting your new role and then realising you still need to deliver and be professional in your current position. 

Deliver is a key word. No matter how your resignation is received and how challenging your manager may or may not be during your notice period its vitally important to leave on a high.  Never burn bridges, you never know in the future when you may come across your network, when you may need a favour or when you may be working with a former colleague again. 

Red Tiger Talent have put together Some tips for leaving on a high:

Remain professional

Some managers and colleagues may not be particularly happy and in some cases envious of your new opportunity. Don’t rise to any office politics which may be going on…. remember you probably only have 4 or 12 weeks to put on a brave face and it is not worth risking the rest of your career for a last minute dig. Similarly, enjoy your leaving drinks but don’t see this as an opportunity to let off steam and vent about certain colleagues. 

Be appreciative of those around you

Reconnect with people beyond your immediate team – appreciating and recognising all the great projects you have done with other people and how this collective effort achieved some great results. It’s important to celebrate successes again as you say farewell. Who knows you may be working with some of these people again as a future line manager or direct report. 

Stay connected after your departure

A natural follow on from the above is to maintain connections with those who you are likely come across, or contact again in the future, within your specialist field. Obviously, you don’t need to keep in touch with everyone but a handful of key people who you have thoroughly enjoyed working with. 

Do everything asked of you

You may be required to do some mundane tasks, admin and handover which isn’t glamourous but needs to be sorted. This is likely to be heightened if your departure isn’t well received by your manager. Take these tasks on the chin and crack on. Think about your successor and what they will be receiving on your departure…. would you like to inherit incomplete work, processes and missing information from your predecessor when you start your new role?  Do it right and leave a legacy. 

Don’t Kick Back

Don’t treat your notice period like a holiday, continue with business as usual and assume you are working on your objectives ready for your next appraisal. Even if you have been with a company a long time, people often take a short-term view and “you are only as good as your last project”. Continue to deliver projects to a high standard – you will be viewed in higher regard if you leave fully delivering and not having taken your foot off the gas. 

Maintain Integrity

Don’t feel pressured by your new employer to share anything, or into taking any company information and files with you. It goes without saying that you continue to be under a contractual obligation with your current employer after your departure to maintain confidentiality around sensitive company subject matter and data. There are some horror stories out there, particularly of individuals early in their careers, who have decided to try and take company data to a competitor. At the end of the day your new employer has employed you for your skills and experience, not for a spreadsheet of numbers. By not sharing anything you earn the trust and credibility of your new employer immediately and avoid the “well if they did it to them, they will do it to us” mentality. 

Request an exit interview

If offered always take the opportunity to have an exit interview and if not, it is worth asking for one. Share what you have enjoyed and the experience you have gained, but also provide some constructive feedback on the reasons for leaving whether this be a lack of growth and development opportunities, excessive hours resulting in a poor work/life balance, renumeration and benefits or simply for a new challenge. If you haven’t shared your reasons for leaving, then you cannot expect your former employer to understand and make improvements for your colleagues. 

The network of people that work within your field may be extensive, and any unprofessionalism in your last few weeks may come back to haunt you. Leaving on a high will give you a boost that you can carry on into your next position. 

If Red Tiger Talent have helped you to get your next job, part of our service is advice and help on your new role, but we can also help you negotiate the final few weeks of your current post. 

Look out in the coming weeks for a follow up blog through the lens of the line manager with some tips on how to successfully work through a notice period when someone tells you they are leaving your team. 

If you need any career advice, then please contact us on info@redtigerconsulting.co.uk.

The Morning Routine

Building on my pre-Christmas blog entitled Switching Off from Work, and achieving that objective in 2018, for 2019 I set myself a new year’s resolution to really plan my days better and more importantly develop a morning routine. We all know new year’s resolutions come and go but as we are nearly into March I can safely say that this new mindset is fully ingrained and I am more productive as a result.

Breaking old habits

morning routineOne of the first things I used to do as soon as I woke up was check my email on my phone – this was before going to the loo, brushing my teeth and making a brew. Those who know me well know I’m an early riser and stick to a rigid gym routine but by checking my emails before going out to exercise I was already in work mode before the day had even begun and it would be hours until my colleagues were getting started with work….this email check was counterproductive as instead of focusing on exercise and relaxation I was mulling over responses and ideas. That was a bad habit and one I could easily break. In the aforementioned blog I mentioned about setting up screen time on your iPhone and locking certain apps out at certain times of the day – the trick is not to select the “allow for 15 minutes” override and be disciplined.

Create a routine

In addition to the email quick win there are a series of strategies I have adopted to make my mornings more productive and overall make my day go better:

1. Set a brief plan the night before

Just before you switch off for the evening spend a few minutes identifying the quick wins and three things you wish to tick off before you open Outlook. These can be simple tasks or more lengthy activities but nothing more than half an hour per activity.  This will give you a sense of accomplishment early on which will help maintain momentum throughout the morning. Before you log off try to prioritise and clean up your inbox on the key things you need to respond to first thing, remembering to switch Outlook to “Work Offline” so when you look in the morning you are not seeing any new stuff.

2. Block time out in the diary

Whether it be for the next day or the week ahead, use Outlook to your advantage by blocking one and two hour slots for major reports or analysis that you need to get done without distractions from others. By doing this people will realise in MS Teams, Skype etc that you are not available and therefore you are not simply slotting the work in between calls and meetings (which results in the project taking longer anyway as you are constantly switching gears and focus).

3. Take a break

I learnt a great trick about productivity a few years ago from The Energy Project. Studies show on average 90 minutes is the most time we should spend on a single activity before we get distracted and productivity wanes. It highlights the importance of taking a quick break to reset and walk away from the screen – make a cup of tea, do some discrete deep breathing (without freaking out your colleagues) or a quick walk. I now do this three times in the morning where possible always at the same time. Use the stopwatch on your phone to get used to this, but over time your will go into autopilot and realise when you need to do a quick reset.

4. Keep a notepad to hand

This will enable you to quickly right down and key ideas you have that you may need to action later.  Don’t be tempted to action them straight away, focus on delivering the plan you set the night before, but by writing down you have downloaded so your brain isn’t worrying about forgetting it.

5. Get rid of notifications

Whether that be Skype, WhatsApp on your desktop, Facebook, Instagram, BBC breaking news etc – if people need something urgently, they will call you. Those constant notifications in the morning and that phone vibrating is a distraction whether you have taken a sneak peek or not….by hearing a ping or a vibrate you know something is going on and therefore it has already taken you attention and subsequent productivity.

Flexible afternoons

It is important to make time for others, and if you have boxed off your most pressing work early, then afternoons become more flexible. Personally (& somewhat selfishly) I am more focused on listening and supporting others when I know I have accomplished my own personal objectives in the morning. I admit I am not great at listening to someone at 9am if I know I have my list of things to do, from mid-morning as well as afternoons I am more attentive, and they get my undivided attention.

Not everyone is a morning person, some people love to burn the midnight oil and are most creative late at night. What is important, is to recognise and read those around you, and adapt your communication and working style to when you both operate at your best. It is easy to flip this routine to make it work for you. There will be days when this structure is not always possible but if you can achieve it more days than those days you don’t then you will find a heightened sense of accomplishment.

Photo: Viktor Hanacek

Vietnam: A nation of Shopkeepers Going Digital

It is fast approaching 10 years when I was heading to China as part of a market exploratory team for Sainsbury’s to see if the supermarket chain could create a sustainable & profitable proposition in the worlds second largest economy. Tesco, with an extensive footprint (at the time) in Asia, were reportedly about to do the same exercise but in Vietnam. Ten years is a long time in retail and market entry never came to realisation for either party.  Given what has materialised with bricks and mortar retail and the new digital world, I was intrigued on a recent holiday to see what had happened to the Vietnamese market in terms of the structure of retail, food to go and which internationals had ventured into this part of Indochina. With a population nearly 50% larger than the UK, an ever-growing middle class and rapid urbanisation particularly by younger cohorts Vietnam is an increasingly attractive market for domestic and international retailers to grow their physical and digital footprints.

Where traditional channels meet digital

Unlike the stories you hear right around the world around struggling physical retail particularly for the mass market operators it is safe to say that the “squeezed middle” in Vietnam just hasn’t come to fruition. Unlike China, due to Vietnam’s later, smaller and slower economic journey there hasn’t been the excessive mass mall developments and out of town supermarkets we have all become accustomed with in the US, Europe and the more advanced economies of Asia. Even in the largest Vietnamese cities commercial development has been modest – downtown areas do have a handful of new residential and retail developments, but they are limited and years in the making.

Everyone wants a bargain and instantly

Vietnamese retail has become very polarised between the traditional mum and pop shops, street food vendors and digital channels.  I am pleased to say the former two are in abundance, thriving and show no signs of slowing down, while the latter is seeing local start up’s capitalising where internationals have struggled (& sometimes failed).

Come noon or night the Vietnamese consumer still loves to shop and secure a bargain….the country is a nation of shop keepers with markets, people’s front rooms and stalls pilling onto the streets. At the other end when they are not physically shopping, they are on their smart phones digital shopping and gaming.

Failing to understand and adapt

International players in both the physical and digital channels have had mixed success. McDonalds is still relatively small scale and have focused on their safe haven of tourist honey pots rather than broadening their appeal. Despite price investment there is still a huge gap versus what is available just outside.  Why would you want to go there when you can instantly get hot, fresh food from a local vendor you know and trust. McDonald’s have tried to adapt their menu’s with more rice, noddle and chicken offerings to broaden the appeal but this doesn’t appear to be winning over consumers. Burger King are the same but have focused on airports – again where there is good tourist footfall and where the most affluence residents pass through. There isn’t a large national domestic fast food chain in Vietnam, probably because there isn’t a gap in the market for one.

When it comes to coffee and cake Starbucks have just a handful of outlets almost always located at the bottom of an international, normally American, branded hotel. They haven’t attempted to significantly adapt their menu or price points for the local consumer. However, in a country where coffee is seen as a premium / luxury treat local chain Highland Coffee is leaps and bounds ahead of Starbucks with a wide selection of bubble teas and macha cakes its clear they understand the local consumer and have adapted the menu as you travel up (or down) the country.

Local player triumphs

grab taxi digitalFor digital I was surprised to hear that Uber have been and gone in Vietnam. It appears that they just “cut and paste” the model from western markets. Car ownership is low in Vietnam due to the obvious price point but also the very high purchasing tax. It also takes a while to get around in larger vehicles due to the sheer volume of mopeds and scooters. Uber decided not to participate in the moped / scooter field instead focusing on a very niche premium service which clearly didn’t have scale or longevity. Instead a local player Grab have created their own version of Uber on two wheels – carrying a spare helmet in tow for their customers (a legal requirement). The app has been designed in various Asian languages as well as English.  With no Uber means no Uber Eats but VietDeliver has filled that gap partnering with local restaurants, some international chains but more importantly street vendors. VietDeliver appeared more prevalent in Ho Chi Minh city than Deliveroo does in London. Whether it be the green helmets of Grab or the bright Red of VietDeliver it is clear the younger Vietnamese consumer is welcoming these new purchasing channels with open arms whilst remaining exceptionally loyal to their traditional roots.

It was great to see traditional retail going hand in hand with digital. Hopefully this bodes well in the future for more traditional independent shops on the UK high street (if the government adopts a new approach to business rates) One thing is clear no matter which market I am travelling in it never fails to surprise me how international retailers continue to fail to adapt and adjust their propositions (without compromising the brand) for each market they operate in.  This is despite many carrying out extensive research prior to market entry.