By Rupa Datta
This time last year, I wrote a similar piece about interviews. As life is cyclical, an opportunity has come around again and it is that time of year anyway where many of us are making decisions about the future and career direction.
A couple of months ago, I was asked to consider a role for next year. Part of the process of course is doing some research into what that may entail, be it through looking things up or through conversations with people who would know better or have been there before. It also gives you the opportunity to think about what your perceptions are of a given situation, what you can bring to the role and your ‘why’.
Last week, I took myself through the first part of the process which involved formal paperwork. Here are my key takeaways:
The Application Form - These come in different shapes and sizes, and are often cumbersome, but they do serve a purpose. They are highly generic and to me, a test of the applicant’s attention to detail. You may be requested to remember dates of roles previously held and sign that you understand what your declaring is true. It may also serve as a checklist to ensure you have collated all the information required for the entire application. I think back to my 7 years in recruitment. The form was about 4 pages long, but I had the eyes of a hawk on two particular sections.
The photo - A few years ago, a wonderful chap Bob Harvey-Jenner used the statement ‘a great headshot is an investment, not an expense’ at a networking event. It took a while for me to fully understand this but when I did, not only did I commission Bob to do me a shoot, he also became a partner to Portfolio People. https://www.lifethroughalense.com/
More recently, we’ve been doing a lot of work as a business on things like your digital footprint and visual voice. For more on this, I’d recommend checking out www.kirti168.com In a nutshell, it is more important than ever to have a current photo of yourself when going for roles so if possible, do spend some time with subject matter experts on this and ensure you are expressing your most authentic self as part of the process.
The bio - This sometimes comes as part of the application form but worse, many people default to sending the link to their Linkedin profile or a resume or CV. That’s fine if that is what is being asked for but often that isn’t the case. And that is where you fail.
For said application, the bio did indeed ask for elements of what you may find on above such as education information and previous roles. The bulk of it however was competency based, asking me to reflect on skills and experience I have in certain areas. Much of it was generic but the trick here is to be specific as far as possible.
So what has this experience taught me?
I’ve not yet decided whether or not I will hit ‘send’ yet, but going through the process so far has been powerful enough in itself. I’ve been able to reflect on where my gaps and limitations may be as well as what I have achieved to date.