Candidate Tips

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What to focus on when writing your CV

Careers in IT are about specialism, so when you write your CV, if you have had many roles, you need to focus on one core area as your job function. Trying to say that you do everything can mean you are relevant for everything but suitable for nothing. So think about which of these to focus on:

•Project Management

•Application Support
•Sales and New Business
•Account Management
For PM’s and Implementation Consultants you should explain how many projects you work on and what you do on these projects, what sort of functionality they cover and what software they have involved. If you are functional, talk about the requirements and business processes and also whether you do the customisations and the post implementation training. PM’s should most definitely mention whether you work on concurrent projects and the average man days and size of them.
For Support positions it is key to know all of the application software that you support, the team size (or whether you are the sole support person) and what type of business the company and its clients’ are involved in. Also whether you help with training and whether you ever go out on client site.
For Pre-Sales, Sales and Account Management…only one thing matters…what software did you sell? What products? How much did you achieve on sales vs target? You should also talk about whether you find your own leads, what the values are of the products you’re selling and what sales increases you have achieved.

Worst CV mistakes

  • Using PDF instead of Word
  • Not putting your phone number, address or email details and, these days, your LinkedIn address
  • Not listing your technical skills by name (which ERP Product? Which CRM product?)
  • Expecting “fast learner” to be unique……..
  • Not spell checking? Surely everyone has that technology at their fingertips
  • A thoughtless email address – fairydonkeys@, lazysod@ etc etc
  • Not mentioning what business area each of your employers were involved in
  • Using the job title your company gives you rather than an appropriate job title for your actual role
added on 22.09.2015

Stop! Look! Ask for a pay rise!

Before you start looking for a new job think about whether you can change what you do where you work now.

Can you get new project experience? Switch onto new software? Change your job role? Get a pay rise?
Just about everyone is going to get offered more money to stay with their current employer if they resign, but the act of resigning and then staying after being offered a better salary, can be a damaging thing to do to the employer / employee relationship. 
If you feel you have been doing a great job that has not been recognised at work, then prepare for a pay rise discussion by having a list of different things that you would like to be involved with at your current company.

Shine the light on what skills you have gained since your last pay review, how hard you have worked, extra hours you have put in and what you have accomplished and try to avoid threatening your employer with leaving.

added on 22.09.2015

Question time at the end of your interview

The right and wrong questions at the end of an interview

At the end of an interview you will be more often than not be asked if you have any questions.

Here are some of the wrong things to say:
“What are the working hours?”
“What is your sick pay policy?”
“What is your maternity leave policy?”
“Nope no questions” (this is only ever acceptable if you genuinely have no interest in the job whatsoever)
And here are some options of the right types of things to say:
“What has happened to the careers of people who have previously worked in this role?”
“What about you (the interviewer) have you had a good career at this company?”
“How would you describe the general culture of the company and the workplace?”
“What do you think distinguishes your company from its competitors?”
“I really like this job and this company, can I come and work here?”

Job Board Tip

The number one and two job boards in the UK are, and based on our market knowledge. If you are looking for a new job, you should set up an alert on these two boards to get the job adverts that fit your search sent to you. Then whenever a relevant job matches you will get an email and you can consider it.
added on 22.09.2015

What is your CV missing?

I was thinking about what experience people need on their CV’s to make them more employable and I have broken it into 3 areas:

Implementation Consultant CV’s

SQL - the better your SQL skills the more jobs there will be available to you. If you can write SQL Scripts, Queries, Statements and Views then it should be clearly marked on your CV
Variety of projects - whether you have worked on 5 man day projects or 300 man day monster multi-national implementations, it should be obvious on your CV. You can quantify projects by consulting days, project value or the number of users. The more variety of knowledge you have in these areas, the more jobs there will be for you.
Sectors - if you are a complete expert in manufacturing or you have worked in 10 different industries, it should be clearly laid out on your CV.

Application Support CV’s

SQL Server - your CV must show the level of SQL Server experience you have and what you can do with it. If you don’t know SQL Server at all, then try to get experience of it as soon as possible – it is a valuable skill.
How many users per application - If you supported 5 people on Sage 200 or 50 people on Dynamics NAV etc. there is a big difference, so put these details on your CV
How many users or clients you support and how big the team is - 1,000 clients and a support team of 10 people, is a different job to 100 clients supported by 2 people. Neither of these are better than the other, it just means you will fit in to different types of roles and different sized companies

Sales CV’s

Your deal sizes absolutely must be on your CV - if you are happy selling £10K solutions, but have previously done £100K deals then make this clear on your CV – also remember to make your targets and achievements clear
The type of clients you sold you - if you sold software to shops that is fine, if you have sold software to multi-national oil companies that is fine too; this type of information will get you in the door for the right interview at the right company
What products you sold and what these products are all about - if you work for Sqillion Software assume that the person reading your CV doesn’t know what that company does. If you have sold “Bytebarfer 2001” software assume that the reader of the CV doesn’t know what this software does. If you explain these 2 things properly it will dramatically increase your interview rate.
added on 22.09.2015

Why you should approach your Manager before Resigning

You have probably never thought about it, but it will probably cost your employer about one third of your annual salary to replace you, because they will have to pay:

  • Current 'market rates' to their new hire
  • A recruitment fee
  • A contractor to cover you in the interim period
  • Training for your replacement
  • The cost of disruption will be significant

So, if you are thinking of changing jobs because you are unhappy about your role or your salary, you are at your most valuable to your current employer.

Think about your reasons for leaving and what is making you unhappy (and sometimes they are things that cannot be changed).

But it is much better to have a frank discussion with your manager about your career prospects or your package than threaten to resign. You do not need another job offer in your hand to ask for a pay rise or a promotion.

However, if after that discussion they cannot put firm plans in place and you cannot fulfil your potential where you are, then it is a good time to look at other job options, knowing you are certain it is the right thing to do.

added on 22.09.2015
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