Professional Development

First impressions An interviewer makes their mind up within the first seven minutes of an interview. Most of us will be well versed in how to make a good first impression in a face-to-face interview (strong handshake, confident smile), but video interviews are a different ball game. In March 2020 there was a *67% increase in the use of video interviews, and that figure has been rising ever since (*source: Monster). Whilst not always a great experience for candidates, video interviews do work and are here to stay, at least for early-stage interviews. They are COVID-secure, cost-effective, overcome geographical boundaries, and are often easier to manage in busy calendars. Here’s a summary of what we have learnt over the last year from candidates and clients about what to do and what to avoid with video interviews. Be prepared, do your research The content and structure are likely to be the same as a face-to-face interview...

Looking for a new role is challenging at the best of times. But during a pandemic, how do you stand out from the crowd in such a competitive field? In our last blog we looked at perfecting your CV. In this article we are going to dive into networking during a pandemic – specifically how to get the most out of online networking. Why bother? The majority of job seekers will get their next job through a referral by someone in their network. Whether you’re currently actively looking for a new position or thinking ahead to your next big move, keeping in touch with your network is an essential part of your professional development. Networking during a pandemic At the time of writing, the UK is in lockdown. The opportunities to catch up over coffee or meet new people at industry events are either on hold or have gone online. With location no longer being...

Searching for a job during a pandemic As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to impact our economy, searching for a new job has never been more challenging. We’ve pooled our collective knowledge in a series of blogs to help you navigate your way through your job search. Our first focuses on CV advice. Articles on how to prepare for an interview and how to promote yourself will follow. Your CV is the key to unlocking opportunities Your CV is often the only way you can showcase yourself to a hiring manager. So you need to ensure it showcases your achievements, that you know it inside out and can confidently expand on anything you have included. Focus your efforts on tailoring your CV to match each role you apply for. In the digital world of jobs boards and LinkedIn, or where an in-house recruiter might not be familiar with your area of expertise, it has never been...

By Andrew Holland A version of this blog post was written for the Institute of Internal Communications (IoIC) #IChoseIC series, where internal communications professionals share how their IC careers started and have evolved. Seize the opportunity I remember the day I discovered Internal Communications like it was yesterday. It was 7pm and I’d been at work for about 12 hours having started on the early shift. This was in a call centre for a well-known utility and I’d recently been promoted to call centre team leader. I read the job advert for an Internal Communications Assistant and it jumped out at me. It described everything I wanted to do. I successfully applied and started a 25-year career in Internal Communications, which has been rewarding at every turn! In that first IC role, I had two inspirational leaders who really helped me establish my IC credentials. The first was my manager, who was incredibly supportive, extremely...

Don't sweat the small stuff This week I’ve been interviewing candidates on Zoom. So far, so normal. I’ve worked from home for five years and although I’d rather be out and about meeting people face to face, location and schedules often necessitate video calls. However, like most people in the communications community, I’m now juggling the multiple responsibilities of home-working, home-schooling and feeding four people instead of one. Whereas before I would have been able to talk to you from a quiet home office, that space is in high demand, so instead I will be in my kitchen. Look closely and you’ll see a pile of washing up in the background, a dog scratching at the back door, and despite my best efforts to keep them away, one or more hungry boys/men tiptoeing around behind me. The point is I understand what it’s like. Job hunting is stressful at the best of times...

These are unusual times. Yesterday the Prime Minister announced unprecedented measures to keep us all safe and to keep the NHS running. I hope that your employer has taken the responsible step of sending you home. In which case, many of you will be busy managing Coronovirus communications for your stakeholders and colleagues. You may also be juggling the joint challenges of working remotely, and home-schooling or entertaining your kids. Comms Leaders has always been an agile business, so although we’d rather be out and about meeting people, we are completely set up for home-working, with or without pets, kids, partners in self-isolation etc. Like everyone, we are concerned about the effect this virus will have on the health and finances of our families, friends and all our clients and candidates. We are here if you need us. Whether you would like a review of your CV or LinkedIn profile, to benchmark...

By Belinda Gannaway, Strategy Director at FathomXP The rise of EX - Employee Experience It's 30 years since the experience economy started to gain attention. But it’s taken a while for the thinking around experience and employees to collide. EX only really arrived on the scene as a way of thinking about people in the business about five years ago. But collided they have. Some 84% of HR and business leaders say EX is important or very important – but only 9% say they are ready to address this issue (Deloitte 2019 Human Capital Trends Report). What is the role of internal comms in EX? To answer that, I’m borrowing a framework from the world of service design. Imagine a theatre: The stage is where the action is happening. Internal comms has a lot of front of stage action – channels, content, campaigns, events etc. Backstage are the support processes that produce the front stage experience: the...

By Mark McMahon, Senior Communications Manager at HSBC. A change of direction "Man is disturbed not by things, but the views he takes of them." Would that sentence change your life? It did for me. Ancient Stoic philosophy might not be top of everyone's reading list, but I came across this quote by Epictetus in a brilliant book called 'Happy' by Derren Brown and it had a profound effect on me. It's another way of saying, it's not the events all around us that cause us to feel a certain way, but how we choose to respond to them. Why am I telling you this? When I read it a few years ago it made me stop and think long and hard, especially about my career. It made me choose to feel differently about my role, my career path, and my potential. It made me consider the choices that were possible. It eventually made me switch...

By Belinda Gannaway, Strategy Director, Fathom XP If there’s one place to dance, it’s Plaza Garibaldi in Mexico City. The music, the moonlight, the people. It’s pure bucket list. Sadly, not for me. Because I can’t dance – not really dance. So I didn’t. I sat it out and laid down a different memory. A memory of stopping myself doing something. Why? Ego. The protective cloak Dr Herbert Schofield from Loughborough University describes ego as the anaesthetic that nature gives us to deaden the pain of being a fool. I like this. But it doesn’t capture the self-limiting aspect of ego. For that I prefer the definition I’ve borrowed from our partner Hazel Lowndes at Ginger Dog. She describes ego as a protective cloak we wear in public so people don’t see the real, always-learning, never-perfect version of ourselves. Back in Mexico I wore this protective cloak to ensure I didn’t expose my incompetence to the world. It serves...

Vicki featured in The Communications Agency's 'Who's Who Wednesday' article in November: a weekly profile about who's who in internal communication. Here is a taster: Tell us a bit about your role: I’m one of the four partners at Comms Leaders. We’re a specialist recruiter for the corporate communications industry. We connect exceptional talent with our clients the old fashioned way, through building relationships. What’s on your internal comms agenda right now? I’ll answer this from the point of view of a third party - as we don’t have our own internal comms agenda, but can see what’s important to the industry. Internal comms professionals need to be all-rounders these days. They need to understand business and the impact of good (and bad) communications on the bottom line; they need to be at the forefront of the digital revolution; and they need to be strong relationship builders and influencers. The market demands really strong...

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