Tag Archives: job search

So why are weekly commutes so scary, again?

When job hunting you come across the oddest reasons for being turned down, one of the oddest is geographic proximity. If I look for a job in the London area, a likely scenario, what is the big deal with me doing a weekly commute? On my dime and time, might I add. As long as I’m in the office 8.30 Monday morning isn’t that all that counts?

Is is this purely a UK issue? It being an island and all?

I frankly don’t understand, which is why this BBC article is so strange for me. While we’re not all property tycoons living in South of France I still don’t see the big thing about weekly commutes.

On the contrary, I see it as a possibility to personal growth and professional development.

http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20141118-the-worlds-longest-commutes

Networking yourself [to a new job]

I’m following this Coursera MOOC on “International Leadership and Organizational Behaviour”, #ILOB and I quite enjoy it. Although I don’t really know about the academic endeavour and value with these classes new learning is always positive.

Today’s lecture is about the Impact of Social Networks on Organizations and Groups, it speaks about different types of networks – strong vs. weak, closed vs. open etc. But I wonder, does it (= networking) work? And if you find yourself in a surrounding aka network and you’re the odd man out what good will a network be to you? In my own situation e.g. it is no secret that I’m looking for a new job and that I come with a good experience and competencies to execute in the jobs I apply for. Only I seem to exist in some Boy zone, that is Brussels public affairs in IT, and even if I turn over backwards I will never be male so I literally don’t fit in. This is not a criticism, it is stating facts of human nature, I believe that the correct academic term is Homophily, i.e. we bond easier with people whom are similar to ourselves. But with result is that unless we dare to go outside the famous box our network will look as ourselves. From a sheer business point of view that while a closed network like this will offer good ways to collaborate, higher trust etc., closed networks like these will also see lack of innovation, high redundancy in competencies and so on. Of course, I understand that there are two in any connection and I am entirely open to the fact that I’m the weak spot in any [future] relationship. Then the question is – what does that say about me? Maybe I haven’t invested enough in my network? Possibly. Like so much in our lives networks are earned, it could be that I haven’t earned my network. On the other hand none of “my” contacts have just landed in my lap.

I’ve always been a firm believer in “keeping shut and getting the work done” and that this will eventually pay off in more interesting jobs, tasks and better remuneration. Yes, I admit there are limits to my altruism and both the landlord and myself like the concept of paying the monthly bills in full, every month. An old-fashion concept I know, but one that I like because well, it works. But no, not so. Apparently I have to look at my wide network as a strategic asset. Dear me, these a people I’ve passed a good time with having coffee or so, but now they are suddenly an asset. I find it all a bit disconcerting, because while I don’t mind helping out as much as I can myself when someone asks for help I dislike the notion of being an asset. And if I dislike this it is easy to assume that so does my counterparts.

So while I understand that No Man is an Island I’m remain a bit uneasy of the concept of regarding my fellow human beings as assets. And to balance the giving and taking. Or am I maybe over thinking the art of networking?

“It’s nothing personal” – “Please don’t take it as a reflection of your competencies” ‑ so they say

When applying for jobs one must grow rhinoceros hide and learn to accept rejection after rejection. Of course I get disappointed when I get a no, I mean I applied for the job. At the same time, it goes without saying that in a hiring process the company should identify and hire the person they feel can do the job. Identifying the right candidate is after all the goal with any hiring exercise, no question about it. And in a hiring situation there are more concerns to take into account than I can being to understand.

However, the thing I find hardest to handle are the comments that comes with the rejections, the ones going along the line of “It’s nothing personal and please don’t take it as a reflection of your competencies.”

You know what? With the risk of sounding like Donna Corleone, this IS personal. We are talking about my competencies, my experiences. It is me, myself and I that is weighed and found too light. I am the one rejected, not the competition. Of course I accept the message. There is after all not much else to do.

You do not meet the minimum qualifications for this position – LONG

Dear Sara,
Thank you very much for your recent application to the EMEA Corporate Communications Director position at XXX Corporation. We have reviewed your application and we are sorry to inform you that you do not meet the minimum qualifications for this position. We invite you to continue to look for opportunities that meet your interests.

We wish you all the best in your career search.

XXX Corporation

—————-
This is an automated, slightly badly written answer I just received to an application. It is the “minimum qualifications“ that ire me. Because on paper I have everything it takes for this job. Of course, it is on paper and with an outsider’s view so there are naturally corporate considerations into which I have no insight.

But if you take the time to read the ad and compare to my first entries in my CV – can anyone please explain? You have to admit it’s a wonderful challenge…

XXX’s Corporate Communications Director will be responsible for communications efforts in Europe, Middle East and Asia (EMEA), working in tandem with corporate communications colleagues in California and XXX’s marketing group, business units, human resources, public policy and investor relations teams around the globe, as well as XXX’s New Energies Group.

This role requires an organized, hands-on team player who instinctively works in a collaborative manner, has the judgement to prioritize busy days and competing demands and can speak up with sound communications counsel. Flexibility based on workload and demands is important. Position is based in TBD, reporting to the Vice President of Global Corporate Communications.

Job Description

The Corporate Communications Director focusing on work in EMEA countries will be responsible for:

  • Development, coordination and execution of strategic, comprehensive communications plans; corporate, product, service and system announcements; events, and speaking engagements including the development of talking points and decks;
  • Alignment of communications, public policy and marketing efforts with business priorities;
  • Prioritization and focus for communications efforts;
  • Development of key messages that resonate with targeted audiences;
  • Media relations, proactive and reactive; and
  • Media pitching for key trade shows and booth staffing
  • Experience with media events and trade show execution, reserving stand space, placing show services, on-site logistical support, event planning, contract negotiations with hotels, catering and audio-visual companies
  • Experience with creating booth graphics, promotional pieces, and booth stand layouts Critical competencies include:
  • Exceptional written and verbal communications skills;
  • Ability to address inbound opportunities and threats;
  • Flexibility to learn and grow with a growing company and evolving sector;
  • Curiosity and competency to package technical and business information for general audiences; and
  • Intuition on messaging adjustments, channel selection and resource deployment based on external news/events.
  • Minimum Requirements: Minimum 10 years in Communications-related field

Preferred Requirements:

  • BS in communications or journalism or equivalent work experience
  • Minimum 10 years in Communications-related field
  • Multi-lingual with strong written and verbal English skills in addition to French and other languages
  • Hands-on experience as a media trainer and with crisis communications
  • Experience in a fast-paced, competitive environment
  • Experience in a global publicly listed company, preferably in both the headquarters and regional offices
  • Outstanding strategic, communications, interpersonal and team-oriented skills
  • Motivated self-starter
  • Travel
  • Occasional early morning, late evening and weekend work.
  • The ideal candidate would have global experience at a public company with technology and/or energy expertise as well as in a heavily regulated, policy-driven environment.

——–

And so my CV:

International corporate communications and public affairs professional with 12+ years experience in private sector, government, and non-profits concentrating on: corporate affairs (government relations, PR, CSR, communications strategy), partnership development, and strategic marketing. Deep sector knowledge within IT, high-tech and engineering. Coached senior executives in media and press relations. Experience in press and media relations, leadership and executive communications strategy development, speech writing, public affairs, stakeholder relations, multi-national communications, on-line communications. Agency review, procurement and management. Internal communications and staff engagement. Stakeholder outreach and management. Strong generalist with long experience from a broad spectrum of Corporate Communications, Public Affairs, Investor Relations and Public Relations.

Proven track record of building strong and trusting relationships with internal and external stakeholders that generate innovative and effective solutions to complex issues. Moderator and academic presenter with a substantial number of followers on Social Media.

Vertical team management with up to 20 reports.

European Parliament,www.europarl.europa.eu

Outreach Manager and Senior Political Advisor – e-commerce , cloud computing, telecommunication, cyber security
January
2012 – Present, Brussels, Belgium
Responsible for policy development within e-commerce, cloud computing, telecommunication and cyber security for the Swedish PirateParty in the European Parliament. Analysis based on technical and policy developments in EU28 and outside
the Union.

Key Achievements

  • Secured speaking engagements for Member of Parliament
  • Secured a recurring column in international press on ”The Digital Citizen”
  • Curate column content to several events in Brussels and Sweden in co-operation with the world largest PR agency Edelman
  • Analyse legislation
  • Develop Party political standpoints
  • Draft legislation
  • Negotiate with other parties and decision makers to achieve consensus on EU policy
  • Interact with policy media commentators and journalists to educate them on party policy vision
  • Research and analyse issues, identify solutions, advice policy actions
  • Monitor legislative developments
  • Monitor technical developments

Dexia, www.dexia.com,

International Public Relations Manager, April 2008 – August 2011, Paris, France
Responsible for raising Dexia’s image with key audiences across core markets globally; mostly public sector on sub-national level. Developed Forum for Habitat to bring together global public decisions makers. Event was scheduled to every 18 months with a new subject each time. Audience: mayors, researchers, decision makers and internal. Established co-operation with Financial Times. Set in place and managed the first procurement process for global agency services. Secured a budget of €2 million per event. Internal support, starting at CEO level, was gained through extensive internal information and communication efforts. This was a first for Dexia, it had never worked on a truly global basis, never worked with FT, never set in place a global PR and communications plan, rarely worked with academia etc…

The European Prize with the European Council in Strasbourg, promoted developments spear-headed by regional governments. Managed and organised high-level meetings with Council, wrote and developed promotion material, oversaw translations, coordinated press and media contacts, organised the event.

Communications manager for an industry group for public sector banks.

Key Achievements

  • Programme Director, Forum for Urban Strategies. Budget € seven figures

  • Programme Director, Regional European Prize together with the European Council. Budget € five figures

  • Developed the brief for global agency support purchasing

  • Identified and purchased global agency support

  • Managed communication for the industry group for public sector banks

  • Internal communications and engagement

  • Supported VP of International Relations with formulation of global communications policies and processes

  • Identified, selected and managed strategic partners, agencies and external resources; NGOs, influencers, journalists etc…

  • Liaise with communications managers within Dexia to ensure integration of programmes and strategies

  • Speech writer

  • Account and Budget management

Philips International, www.philips.com

Interim Senior Communications Manager Global IT infrastructure

January – March 2008, Eindhoven, Netherlands
Developed a one year internal communication plan for Philips’ biggest global IT change management project ever. Audience: 120,000 employees globally. Programme consisted of 5 world-wide internal change projects. The company went from proprietary to off the shelf software. This required change management and explanations what it would mean for Philips’ staff globally. Devised the communications plan, messaging and slogans. Developed briefs and script for all communications tools. Planned and coordinated agency interventions. Worked with global IT teams to identify hurdles and find solutions. Coached IT managers in communication. Tools for change communicating was video, on- and off-line help, posters and brochures.

Key Achievements

  • Supported Head of Communications to Manage the formulation of communications policies and process that meet the information needs of different global audiences

  • Selected and managed agencies and resources of the communications team and ensured that the most appropriate and efficient of these were available to Philips IT

  • Liaise with communications managers within Philips IT to ensure integration of programmes and strategies

  • Managed the programme and planned every intervention for the year ahead

  • Devised slogans and messaging

  • Developed internal engagement and communications material for all five projects

  • Developed new channels for communicating with global desk-based and remote employees (Audience 120,000 employees across the globe)

  • coordinated content creation and agency contacts

Recruiters – a Thank You letter to copy

Yep, I applied for a position with Levi Strauss & Co. and got a letter back. True, in reality, I am none the wiser if my background is what they are looking for, but at least they communicate in a nice way. It isn’t so difficult to write something kind to an eager applicant. Like they say in the end of the letter “We try to treat other like we like to be treated ourselves” so simple and so difficult. Finally, they acknowledge something that so many seem to forget – any applicant is also a customer and stakeholder.

While the style of writing might not suit all companies/organisations in all industries, the approach certainly does and I personally would love it if more could take heed. Or maybe this is standard and I have just been unlucky with the companies I have applied to.

We were in your situation once, wondering if our online application made it to the right folks at Levi Strauss & Co. – or ended up in a digital black hole, never to be seen again.

 Rest assured, this email means we received it. And we thank you for letting us know that you want to join our team.

 As you can imagine, we receive lots of applications and resumes every day, from applicants around the world. As a result, we’ve had to automate the process. For instance, if you reply to this email, no one will see it. Sorry.

Here’s what we promise, though. Our team of talent scouts will review your credentials. If your background and skills match the qualifications for one of our open positions, including any particular position you’ve applied for, we’ll contact you. If there’s not a current match, your resume remains in our database. And we regularly check that database against new open positions.

We love our fans – be they consumers or applicants like you. And we want to treat you the way we’d want to be treated.

Thank you,

Your Friends at Levi Strauss & Co.

Moving on – Flytta

Moving%20on.

This is a very surprising blog post, in particular taking into account that it is written by a recruiter. No wonder so many of us have trouble finding jobs if this approach is prevalent in the industry. Narrow minded comes to mind.

No, I don’t in anyway want to minimise the difficulties with relocation, national or international. On the contrary, having gone through the process five times and am possibly looking at a sixth time. And do even consider it with a family it tow – you people whom have managed – I take off my hat for you!

But this post confirms my suspicion  – part of the problem finding the right person for the right job is due to inflexibility from the recruiter…

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Med tanke på att detta är ett inlägg från en rekryterare är detta ett mycket förbryllande inlägg. Inte undra på att så många av oss har svårigheter med att hitta jobb om detta är den gängse inställningen hos rekryterare. Trångsynt, beskriver sakernas tillstånd.

Nej, jag minimerar inte på något vis svårigheterna med att flytta till ett jobb, vare sig det är nationellt eller internatinellt. Och ni som har gjort så med en familj i släptåg – jag lyfter på hatten för er! Beundrandsvärt är bara första ordet.

Men det här inlägget bekräftar min misstanke – en del av problemet med att hitta rätt person för rätt jobb är det faktum att rekryteraren är oflexibel…

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