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.
One of my main goals on this trip, in addition to finding the space to reflect, was also to write and to get back into a certain rhythm doing so. Once again, I reflect on this past year being one where I try to write a little every day if only to get some bullet points down about the hours before and after. It's not as much as I would like.
A number of people have been privy to the knowledge that I'm working on a book on networking and finding the flow for it here was also an intention. Whilst I've made progress, the output won't be the finished product when the time related goal comes around. I know those that are to hold me accountable will raise it, and that's ok. I'm comfortable things are going at the pace they should.
So what types of writing have I experienced of late?
Written by Rupa Datta, Lead Agent, Portfolio People
For me the last week or so has been about slowing life down to the sort of pace that really allows one to reflect on time gone by and plan for the next year, something that most of us do to varying degrees each year. This first post of a small series is a little bit of a cheat as this year I have managed to read a fair bit, mainly on trains and planes, but also try to do so for a little bit ahead of going to sleep each night.
Those that know me will already know that I truly believe certain books appear just at the write time or call to you just when you need them. To that end, I'd like to share with you what I'm reading during this period and why.
1. The MBA Day by Day by Chris Dalton - this is the 2nd iteration of 'The Everyday MBA' by one of my old business school professors. Even if I pack books when travelling, there's something about having a look at airport book stores that may yield a gem. For me this is a slow read, but also a reference one. So far, its taken me right back to some of my learnings during that period, but with refreshed content also speaking to me in terms of where I am now both in a corporate capacity and as a leader.
2. Be Free where you are by Thich Nhat Hanh - This book was in my brother's apartment and he suggested I may like to read it. He's a psychiatrist and it was given to all delegates of a conference he attended a few years ago. A short, succinct read that I read in a morning and could revisit in the future with some core mindfulness leanings that one can put into practice should they choose immediately.
3. Pre-suasion by Robert Cialdini - This book was suggested by a relatively new team member who joined the company I work for last year. As a result, it was purchased and gifted by the MD to the entire sales team. I've since moved teams and asked if I could borrow a copy for my holiday read. At the time of writing, I'd started it, however suspect it will be a slow read and one I can continue whilst travelling and back on the road.
4. Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath - a book I vaguely recall reading whilst writing my final project at business school. As with point 1, the content has been updated however re-reading this now has reminded me a few gems whilst learning new ones. As with point 2, my brother left it on the table for me as he thought it may be my cup of tea. It was gifted to him by a friend of his and he hasn't gotten around to reading it yet.
5. How to work like a CAT by Karen Wormald - my brother is a self-confessed cat lover and over the last week, I've been spending time with his cat. I'm pretty sure I even bought him this book but don't remember! I've read it before and a nice easy read that can be finished over a cup of coffee. A funny little book to use some cat characteristic to navigate organisations!
So those are my 5 main reads at the minute. I'll update above accordingly. What books are speaking to you at the moment?