Friday, 8 December 2017

How to Leave a Job Gracefully

Many people can be put off leaving a job because they find it difficult. Handing in your notice can be tricky and there is definitely a right way and a wrong way to do it. So once you've definitely made up your mind it's time to go, how should you leave your current role?
Like Richard Branson says, "You should build bridges, not burn them", and if you've worked hard to build professional relationships you need to be smart about how you manage those - you never know whose path you'll cross later down the line!

You must remain professional and think about your future. So nurture those relationships, think ahead and try and leave that door open.

Try to be flexible about your notice and willing to work a bit longer if necessary, especially if you've not got a firm start date yet for your next role. You don't want to hang around, but handing in your notice also doesn't mean to have to exit the building immediately. Be as reasonable and as helpful as possible.

On the other hand, your employer shouldn't make you feel disloyal because you've decided to make a move. You don't have to fall out with your current employer because you've handed in your notice. Be polite and professional. And if they do try to make you feel bad, rise above it, keep your dignity and work out your notice with your head held high.

You should have a good resignation letter and give it to the right people, in the right order. Put it in writing and deliver it personally. Don't let your Manager hear you're leaving from someone else within the organisation. Obviously, you'll have a discussion about how you're going to work out your notice, but you also can have input into how this is going to be communicated within the organisation, so don't forget to think about this before you hand on your notice.

Be transparent and open about where you are moving on to. Don't tell one person one thing and someone another. It will all come out in the wash, especially if you're no longer there. And you don't want people thinking you were dishonest or secretive.

If you have an exit interview, don't vent every last detail about what you didn't like about your firm. Although it's technically the time to be totally open about your time at the company, you probably don't want to be brutally honest about everything. You need to be diplomatic. Being uncensored about the firm's downsides are going to do very little for you at this point - you're leaving anyway, and you're also not obliged to do this. You want to leave on an amicable note, not dwelling on all the things about the business that didn't work for you.

Victoria Capsey

Thursday, 23 November 2017

How to Write a Great CV

As the first opportunity to tell an employer what you can do, your CV is a vital part of your job search.

The professional services sector specifically is a highly specialised and competitive sector and the following are a few tips on how to present yourself on paper:

• Format - the majority of professional services firms now use extranets to accept and review applications.  A large part of our role at Leighton Taylor is to effectively manage these systems and processes.  In order to ensure accuracy, we recommend that CVs are produced in Word format as PDFs are not accepted.

• Length – the recommended length of your CV will really vary depending on your level of seniority.  As an Executive or below, we advise a CV of no more than 2 pages, at Manager or above try not to exceed 4 pages.

• Layout – this is a marketing document about yourself so as a marketer, it's got to shine!
  • List everything in reverse chronological order.
  • Keep it concise and easy to read by using clear spacing and bullet points. This allows employers to skim your CV and quickly pick out the important information.
  • Always use a professional font, such as size-10 Arial.
    Attention to detail is key with these types of firms, there should be no spelling or grammatical mistakes.
• Integrity - never lie on your CV. Professional services firms now outsource much of the post offer checks so any in discrepancies will be discovered.  Omit anything that could be seen as controversial or isn't relevant.

What to include:
• Contact details - Include your full name, home address, mobile number and email address (we need all of this information in order to make your applications), however, please note that when your application is sent to each client, your contact details will be omitted so that all future correspondence is managed through us.  You do not need to include your date of birth or a photograph! 

• Profile - Placed at the beginning of the CV, a profile is a concise statement that highlights your key attributes. Pick out a few relevant achievements and skills, while clearly articulating your career aims within the Professional Services sector.  Keep it short and snappy.

• Education - Professional services firms are extremely academic environments so prospective employers will be very interested in seeing a good education and training. It is important to list these with the most recent first and generally, you would include this towards the end of your CV (after your work experience), unless you are a graduate looking for your first job.

• Work experience - List your experience in reverse chronological order, clearly bullet pointing your experience. If you have plenty of relevant work experience, this section should come before education.
  • Begin with the most important elements of your experience such as strategy, planning and budget/team management. Work your way down to broader responsibilities.
  • Highlight anything you feel could distinguish you from other candidates. For example if you are a business development specialist, point out proven bid management or key account responsibilities.
  • Repeat this process for your different roles and make a judgement on the detail you need to go into. It is likely that your most recent roles will be the most relevant to your application. If you are a senior candidate you will not need to go into detail about your first marketing assistant role but make sure it is in your CV so there are no gaps.
• Skills and achievements - This is where you can talk about the foreign languages you speak and the IT packages you can competently use. Whatever you list should not be over-exaggerated, as you'll need to back up your claims at interview!

• Interests - Simply writing 'socialising, going to the cinema and reading' isn't going to catch the Hiring Manager's attention. However, when relevant to the job, your interests can provide a more rounded picture of you and give you something to talk about at interview. Examples include writing your own blog.

Writing your CV is always a daunting task but if you follow these tips preparing your CV can be a hugely beneficial journey as it will remind you of specific skills, experience and examples that you had forgotten or take for granted. It will illustrate why you are particularly suitable for a role and will provide you with the confidence and mind-set for success during your future interviews.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Leighton Taylor Summer Report 2017


As we reflect upon a busy year so far, the market remains buoyant.

At Leighton Taylor we like keep our clients as up to date as possible with current market trends, so here are our key points from both a client perspective that we feel would be very useful to take into account moving forward to the latter half of 2017.  

1. How has the recruitment market within the professional services sector been so far this year?
Despite the turbulent political landscape of first half of the year, fortunately the market still remains very strong. Vacancies of all levels are coming in on a regular basis and candidates are still very active in the market. Director level vacancies are fewer, but indeed there are fewer Directors within the marketplace. Firms are recruiting successfully but it is always increasingly competitive for them to source good quality candidates. The market remains very 'Candidate led' – meaning there are more opportunities out there than available, relevant candidates. Very strong candidates may have a number of options to choose from so we would always encourage clients to be quick, flexible & efficient throughout their recruitment processes. Time is always of the essence.

2. What specific candidate or skill shortages have we seen when recruiting in the past 6 months?
We are seeing an increase of broader/hybrid roles particularly in the legal sector. Resource, Programme and Business Manager Positions which often spread across different BD, HR, Finance and IT departments are becoming more common and candidates will often need to be found from other sectors.  Focused roles such as pitch, PR or Digital continue to be difficult to source, purely due to a sheer lack of candidates with these specialist skills. If you can consider candidates with a broader skillset who are looking to move into a specialist role, you'll have a stronger chance of filling the role quickly. Due to the growth of CRM (Account Management) teams in firms over the last few years, in contrast to previous years, we've noticed that there are a lot more CRM (account management) candidates who are looking for their next role.

3. How can firms secure the best candidates?
The million dollar question. Be quick! The firms that have longer recruitment processes and take longer to come to a decision, lose out on the best candidates. We see it happen time and time again, and both firms and candidates are disappointed. Firms shouldn't expect a long shortlist of candidates but should move quickly on strong/relevant candidates as they present themselves. It really is the key to firms securing the better candidates. Also:
• If you are using agencies, think carefully about who you using, and how experienced the consultants are in the sector. The more experienced consultants will be able navigate the recruitment campaign more effectively and are more likely to have access to those few outstanding candidates.
• Provide as much information on the roles as possible and as much feedback on candidates. It helps to keep the candidates positive about your firm and helps the agencies to pinpoint the right people.
• Provide as much notice and availability as possible for interviews. Candidates can afford to be selective so those firms that make it easier for them by providing interview timings that suit, are most likely to be top of their list. We are still getting firms that are expecting candidates to make themselves available for interviews in the middle of the working day and with 24-48 hours' notice. Candidates have to be flexible but they are often having to navigate full-times roles and suspicious line-managers.
• Sell the role during the interview process. Yes it is the time to really find out about a person and that can mean in-depth questioning and a challenging format, but also the applicant needs to come away thinking this is a firm and culture that they want to work in.
• If you are recruiting directly, don’t make the fundamental mistake of not controlling the response. We speak to many good candidates who have had bad experiences in the past with certain firms where they have been left up in the air with no response and feedback. They are unlikely to reconsider that firm.

4. Other market trends
• Over the past 6 months, we have definitely seen hiring managers wanting more for their money. They have higher expectations on a candidate's experience but often will not offer the requisite increase on the financial side. Despite advice from agencies, it can create false starts in the recruitment process often until candidates have been interviewed and there is then a realisation that there needs to be flexibility on salaries. By that point it may be too late!
• We have highlighted previously the necessity for flexibility in the work place and it is good to see some professional services firms really take this on board by offering agile/flexible working practices. There are still far too many however who miss out on very strong candidates because they can't offer the flexibility required from Day 1. The firms who do embrace it, stand to get highly loyal and motivated people who actually end up putting in more time to make up for the flexibility. Those organisations are seen in the market place as forward-thinking businesses that people actually want to work for. You undoubtedly get back what you put in.
• The Counter Offer! Something again we have talked about previously and it seems that these situations are being handled more effectively as potential employers and their recruiters are more aware of this issue. It is still happening though, so it still essential to keep in close contact with new joiners throughout their notice periods.

5. How is the market looking for the next 6 – 12 months and why?
The hope is that politically the next 6 months will be much calmer than the previous 12. Given that the market has remained strong (despite what has been going on), we don’t envisage any major changes in demands or access to talent in the near future. Apart from at the most senior levels (Director/Head of roles), the volume of roles will continue to outnumber strong candidates. Hopefully though professional services clients will continue to adapt and work with a 'candidate led' market.