Securing that job in a difficult time

Bonuses… One could easily keep writing about this issue but I think I’ve written enough about that recently.  Now I’d like to share some insights about searching for a job in these hard time, picked up by my colleague Aidan Hetherington at a recent presentation by Previsor.

One message is that graduate recruitment is chiefly unaffected by the credit crunch, which may come as a surprise to many. At the same time jobs are becoming less generalist and more specific. The message is also that companies now are looking for future talent rather than demanding that specialist insight here and now. Not surprising, is it absolutely vital that applicants have researched the company well so make sure you know the company you are targeting, especially in terms of the company’s mission and culture. If you do that then you are likely to benefit from the fact that many organisations scan applications electronically, looking for key words. Your company research as well as the job description will give you valuable pointers in this direction. Extra curricular activities has become even more important and especially those that relate to leadership roles. Finally, many companies especially banks now very much into this whole web 2.0 thing and use social networking sites etc for recruitment.

On a different note, one thing that I found particularly interesting was the story about the ‘bionic eye’ on the BBC website. Developed by the company Second Sight in the US, it is a simple yet amazing concept: a camera + video processor mounted on sunglasses send images wirelessly to a miniscule receiver on the outside of the eye. Through tiny but complicated means this signal is passed on to the optic nerve to the brain. Brilliant! This is of course is not the same as eyesight and patients will have learn to interpret these signals and make sense of them. But it is definitely an interesting step forward.

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Welcome back

Pupils from the nearby school pass by my window as I write this, proving that they were back in the harness before the MBA class this year. We only recommence on Monday. Many are already back though and it’s nice to catch up and hear what they have all been up to in their three-week break. Some display angst over their exam results but this is of course very understandable. The current climate makes the job prospects look a bit shaky. The thing is that the jobs are out there – more than 50% of the MBA class the just graduated in December has jobs – but it takes more legwork to find the right job and to secure it. But you knew that didn’t you?

But doesn’t the current climate also open for opportunities? If you have been laid off, why not take this opportunity to “top-up” your knowledge? Take a year out and do the MBA, or another course that will be the right choice for your CV, and then join the job search a year down the line when things have calmed down again. You may even have been given a redundancy package that can help pay for it. And what about businesses investing in talent instead of laying off good people? Wouldn’t it be a good idea to call it study leave? Then you can welcome back you improved talent in a year’s time. Full or part sponsoring of the course fee for your most talented employees could be a very good investment in the future.

As amazing as it seems…

This is the last week of MBA classes this semester.  A hectic nine weeks of core courses come to an end.  Next week the students take on the Integrative Project before moving on to exams.  And then, before we know it, it’s Christmas and time for a break.  As always some will overdo it in the preparation and some will find that they are much better than they think.

As always we have, throughout the semester, attempted to keep a focus on career planning but in the current climate it is difficult to advise.  Just think of the 50,000+ jobs to go at Citigroup and many other jobs have been or are to be axed, making this a time for networking extraordinaire to secure that job.  Many formal recruitment schemes will have shrunk so how do you present yourself as someone essential to take on right now?  It really will be all about networking now.

As mentioned briefly, I lost my mother recently and I am grateful for all the support that has been offered by my colleagues and especially the MBA students.  They have so much on the agenda that it is very touching that they can also find time to ask how I’m doing.

Getting the hang of studying again

First week down and a fair number to go – most of ‘my’ new MBA class seem to have settled in OK and most realise that the first week is not a fair representation of what to expect.  It is only this week, week 2 of classes, that will show exactly what to expect from this semester.  It is now that the effects of studying and taking classes really set in.  Yes, a fair number of weeks to go but it is amazing how fast a one-year MBA passes.  Come the Christmas break it seems like only yesterday that you arrived and by then you will be ‘old hands’ at studying.  Merri and I are still having individual sessions with the new students and it is remarkable how many different directions people want to go after the MBA, either geographical or in industry terms but that is what makes it all so exciting.  So much knowledge in the class and it keeps building. 

On a personal note I, together with our Assessment Co-ordinator, am now getting the information together for the Exam Board for last year’s class.  The dissertation marks are coming in in a steady stream and then that class will leave.  Sad but also reassuring that the students we turn out are wanted by the market.  Some have already taken on their new jobs while others are still looking.  The current economic climate means that this will take a bit of extra legwork and this is where networking comes in.  Networking cannot be underestimated in finding THE job when it comes to MBA level.  This is where the saying comes true, the one about it also being about who you know.  But not just networking but also an active assessment of the value you can add to your target organisation.