Newcastle University Business School

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A round-up of alumnus Sam Waterfall’s top tips from his ‘Enhance your career’ webinar series

International Career Coach and Business School alumnus, Sam Waterfall, joined us to host a series of insightful webinars exclusive for Business School graduates to help enhance their career.

Sam graduated in 1998 with a BA in Financial and Business Economics and is currently the Founder and Expert Coach at Obvious Candidate. He is a trusted career advisor and coach to CEOs, Fortune500 Senior Leaders, and FTSE100 Directors, and has served clients in over 60 countries. He is the author of three books including Amazon Kindle Bestseller “The 7 Essential CV Upgrades.” Sam really is an expert when it comes to knowing how to help you enhance your career. Here is a round-up of the career advice Sam shared with us during his webinar series.

Session 1: Job search acceleration

The series kickstarted with a ‘Job search acceleration’ webinar aimed at those considering a job or career change and who are finding their job search is taking too long to provide steps to cut their job search in half. The biggest takeaway from this session included advice on four job search methods.

 

Method One: Applying for jobs via job sites

Vacancies advertised on these sites have specific instructions for how candidates should apply known as the ‘front door’ application. However, using this method encounters the most competition, therefore ‘side door’ approaches should be taken in the form of networking to get to know people within the organisation.

 

Method Two: Using recruitment professionals

A search should be made for specific agencies who are experts in the job seekers niche. They should provide specific details about what they are looking for to the recruiter and avoid informing them that they are open to anything.

 

Method Three: Networking

Using weak ties is the most efficient way to find out about opportunities, they are a job seeker’s ‘window to the world’. Weak ties are your distant network of acquaintances and can range from ex-colleagues to those met at conferences. However, help should be mutual, not one-sided.

 

Method Four: Direct outreach

This method is used when the job seeker knows what organisation they want to work for. Avoid randomly sending a CV when there are no vacancies advertised as it will likely be ignored, instead check the organisations website daily for new job advertisements. Being creative is particularly important to get noticed.

 

Session Two: The Hypnotic CV

This webinar addressed how to master the CV, in which Sam shared with us the following top tips:

In order to avoid be being filtered out by Applicant Tracking Systems, used by many organisations, it is important to avoid using: templates, graphics, colours, and shading blocks. Additionally, avoid using words that recruiters dislike, such as: best, motivated, dedicated, proven, reliable, passionate, enthusiastic, great, and hardworking.

You should talk about your achievements and ideas, not your duties and responsibilities. Employers are interested in the results that you made happen.

Use ‘borrowed cool’ by sharing where you did these things and with whom to wow the reader. Sources of ‘borrowed cool’ include: people, leaders, universities, schools, companies, organisations, brands, clubs, and products.

When producing a CV follow a two-page modular layout. This differs from the usual approach by providing the reader with the most important information on the first page so that by the second page they already know that they want you, they are simply checking for facts. The first page is a summary of your best bits and should include a header and headline zone, three-paragraph profile, areas of expertise, and selected highlight and achievements sections. The second page is reserved for your career and job history and your education and training. The ‘other section’ is mostly not needed – ask yourself “will this make me more likely to get interviewed?”.

 

Session Three: How to network to advance your career

The series concluded with a webinar regarding how to network for anyone who loves networking and wants to do it better, hates networking but knows they should do it, or anyone who finds networking is not working.

Before you begin to network, it is important to know what you want to get out of the networking in order for it to be successful. Arrange a zoom call with your connection and be specific about what help it is that you are looking to seek. However, the most important rule of networking is to remember that connections are people and you must also serve your network. Networking is all about living your life with an attitude of seeking to give, help and serve other people.

Many people start networking when it is too late, usually when things go wrong e.g. redundancy. You must build and nurture your network before you need it.

Sam shared with us five simple, but effective, approaches to networking that everyone can do, even if they’re shy, by using the power of LinkedIn to build their network.

  1. If it is a new connection, visit their LinkedIn profile to get noticed (you’ll appear in their “who’s viewed your profile” statistics) – often they will view your profile back.
  2. For existing connections that you wish to reconnect with, endorse them on LinkedIn to grab their attention.
  3. Similarly, you could write them an unsolicited recommendation on LinkedIn.
  4. To build rapport with your weak ties, send them an “I saw this and thought of you” message to let them know that you’re thinking of them
  5. Get noticed by asking an intelligent question in response to something they’ve shared, created or posted

 

Watch the webinars in full here.

 

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Sam Waterfall - Alumni webinar series
Sam Waterfall

published on: 5 October 2020