One of the most common questions we get asked by recent graduates or people looking to alter their career is about working in Digital Marketing. It is the Holy Grail for a lot of people coming out of a business/marketing qualification and is one of the mostly highly competitive spaces to go into when searching for work. It is difficult to get these positions but not impossible. First of all why do you want to work as a Digital Marketer? Are you techie, a nerd or a geek? To be successful in this space you need to be passionate about the tools you are using to reach the people you are trying to target. This is a space that moves so fast that knowledge gained can be redundant within 6 months and if you don’t have the desire to keep pace you will get left behind. Keep embracing new technologies, be an early adopter and don’t fall by the wayside. Now that we know you really want this career let’s see how you can gain an edge against your competition: 1. Get a qualification. You are going to need a qualification in marketing with a strong focus on digital in it. If it’s not in the title then mention the digital courses in your education. Any additional courses you can do for free in your spare time should be mentioned – Companies want you to be good with software packages like Hubspot – download it and play around! 2. Build an online presence! You are applying for a digital role so you need to have a digital presence – Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter – all should be up to date and active (especially Linkedin as this is the first place a recruiter or hiring manager will look). Blogs, digital portfolios or anything that shows contribution or activity online can be an effective tool. You want to stand out so blog about something you are passionate about! 3. Specialise in something. Social Media, Digital Content and e-Marketing are probably the 3 biggest areas within Digital Marketing and if you can show that this niche is your gig then you will fare better in applying to those roles. 4. Work experience This is the tricky bit. Most employers want to see some experience on your CV so where possible do internships and ask for work while there. Also look at volunteering to improve the online presence of local clubs or businesses – do they have a Facebook page and can you increase the amount of likes they get? 5. Mention all of this on your CV! As a recruiter I don’t have time to read a cover letter from every applicant so if the info isn’t on your CV then I won’t see it. Be clear and concise but make sure I see – education, digital experience, and digital skills. The key thing about getting work in digital is to realise that the person you apply to will immediately check out your online presence and level of activity. If I am looking for someone to publish content online and you can show that you do that on a regular basis you should be a step or two ahead of some of your rivals. None of the above will guarantee you a job in digital marketing, but it will certainly set you on the right path!
Contracting work is certainly becoming more and more common in Ireland today, and it’s not just in IT. In Financial Services we are seeing a growing demand for contract employees, particularly in the fund servicing industry. Below are several pros and cons to contracting to help jobseekers make an educated decision on their next appointment. Many individuals are open to the idea of more short term, project based work but it depends on whether or not this would be a suitable option for them. Sigmar recruits for a wide range of contracts for a number of clients nationwide ranging from project manager/business analyst implementation roles to operational positions so the sky is the limit in terms of finding a contract positions that would suit you. The premise of this article is not to persuade people to adopt contract work, but to weigh up the pros and cons of contracting and hopefully open up a few minds in the process. Mostly geared towards the fund servicing industry, professionals from other sectors can take some value from this. Looking at the table we see some good arguments on both sides of the coin. What it really comes down to however, is the individual. Depending on your situation certain points will carry more or less weight. Like, for example, if you’re planning a family or looking for a mortgage, job security and benefits (maternity leave in this case) contract working would not be your best option. Before considering contract employment in your sector though, it’s important to understand the market first. Research trends, and identify the skills that are in demand. A good starting point is checking out salary surveys which are published annually by credible recruitment agencies. Sigmar's Salary Survey 2017 gives expert insights into the market, reviewing trends and offering insight into how things are likely to unfold over the year ahead.
As an old saying goes you cannot fit a square peg in a round hole so before you take that job offer, ask yourself- ‘Is this company somewhere I can truly picture myself?’ You need to work in an environment that you look forward to being in everyday, an environment that inspires you to do the very best you can do. A positive company culture that suits you will drive your passion to succeed whilst fueling your ambition and determination to climb to the top of whatever cooperate ladder you belong to. Otherwise, it will be the cause of you wishing with every bone of your body as the 7am alarm buzzes on dark winter mornings, that you could go back to sleep. Here’s some things to do see if you are aligned with the culture of a company you may be looking to work for: 1. Do Your Research Find out as much about the company as you possibly can. Have a creep around their website, LinkedIn and Facebook accounts. Accounts or threads on boards.ie or Glassdoor can also be very useful for behind the scenes gossip but be very wary of them and take them with a pinch of salt as they are anonymous comments and we have no idea as to the honesty, profile or past experiences of the commentator. 2. Values & Goals Values determine behaviour and decisions so it is important that an employer’s and an employee’s values match. If you do not agree with the values the company complies by, the work load and even minute tasks will prove to be difficult for you. When we as employees cannot comprehend or agree with the values of a company the decisions we make will be out of alignment with the company’s current practices and that will cause a whole lot of extra work and stress, which nobody needs. Your vision for the future should also match where the company aims to go. There is no point accepting a job when you have no interest in what the company itself is aiming to build. 3. Work Environment If you are not fortunate enough to know someone already working there, use your interview to assess the work environment and way in which the company works. Some of you may be social butterflies who can work in an open plan office chatting the day away whilst still meeting your goals and deadlines. More of you may prefer a quiet space where you can put your head down, get your work done and scurry off before having to interact with anyone. Also do not forget that in your interview the employers are also assessing whether you would be a good cultural fit for their company or not. Some questions you could take the opportunity to ask the interviewers may include: If you could describe the company’s culture in three words what would you say? Are the work hours strict or do you offer flexibility? If lucky enough to get this position what type of office environment would I be in? Is there reward structures or incentives in place? How would you describe the work culture on this team? 4. Social Does the company’s present culture fit in with your lifestyle? Perhaps everyone in the office is an avid sports fan but you cannot tell a football from a tennis racket, or maybe the only out of work activity on offer is drinks in the local bar on a Friday night when you need to be at home with the kids. If social activities are important to you to get to know your colleagues and to also help you meet that work life balance that is congruent with positive mental health you need to make sure the social benefits and activities the company works around suit you and at the very least appeal to you! Finally let me tell you to listen to your gut! You more than likely got a feeling from the interviewers, present employees you passed in the hallway or even the receptionist at the front door as to what the atmosphere in the company is like and if you received warm, welcoming vibes that’s usually a good sign. Think about what you want, what type of workplace will work for you and just go find it! Maybe you are looking for flexible hours, need incentives to reach targets or seek a social club to build relationships with your colleagues, either way the company with the perfect culture for you does exist. You just have to relax and take the time to find it. So now, when offered your next position instead of accepting it right away based off its six figure salary (hey we can dream) take the time to consider is it really a good fit for you?
This article is written by Eithne Dunne, edited from the Ireland edition of The Times, 10.11.2016. View original article. While not a prerequisite for every job, having some international experience on your CV will almost always gain you brownie points with employers. This is particularly true now that Ireland has become home to an increasing number of multinationals, for whom experience beyond the Irish market is desirable if not essential among new hires. Frank Farrelly, chief operating officer of Sigmar Recruitment, said Ireland has a strong reputation for having an adaptable and mobile workforce, many of whom have worked abroad at some point. This, he said, will stand to us. “A lot of US and Asian companies are coming to Ireland, and they assume that international experience is here due to the mobility of the Irish in general and the influx of European talent,” he said. “With the exception of London, we have probably got one of the best mixes of international experience.” There are some roles for which international experience will not just give you a leg up — you simply won’t be considered without it. Farrelly said his company deals with a lot of international accountant roles, for example; for these, experience abroad is a non-negotiable prerequisite. Janis Heather, recruitment manager at KPMG, said that while it’s not essential for candidates to have lived or worked abroad to work, it is looked on favourably. “International experience can broaden a candidate’s skill set. If they are in a professional services role abroad, they get to work with international clients while navigating the different jurisdictions they operate in. They also tend to be more easily adaptable to different cultures and environments.” Rather than waiting for applicants with the right overseas experience, some companies take their strongest applicants and provide them with that experience. The Jameson international graduate programme, run by parent company Pernod Ricard, is a good example. The global drinks giant wants its new hires to have international experience. After three years, graduates from its international programme could be dispatched to any corner of the globe. There are currently 75 graduates dotted across 42 countries as part of this programme. The company’s biggest market is the US, so there are 10 graduates based there, but the rest are scattered around the world. “This programme is for people who want to build an international career,” said programme manager Sinéad D’Arcy. According to Farrelly, the value of international experience will only increase in the coming years, particularly post-Brexit. “More and more, Ireland is becoming a global economy, so international skills and languages are important,” he said. “Also, after Brexit, we will need more international skills and skills in business development. Exporters and financial service companies will demand these skill sets.” He said the many multinationals that have set up global and EMEA headquarters here already pay a premium for international experience. “We get a lot of queries from international employers as to whether Ireland really has access to a global talent pool,” said Farrelly. Heather said KPMG’s clients seek people with this experience. “With many of our clients operating in international markets, it’s increasingly important for our people to have a global mindset,” he said. “Ireland is a hub for many EMEA headquarters, and with that comes a requirement to be culturally flexible.” Those who gain their experience in a non English-speaking country can reap even bigger benefits. D’Arcy said language skills — often acquired in university but only honed living abroad — are highly valued by employers. “Graduates don’t always realise what a selling point languages are with employers, especially a global brand like us.” Of Pernod Ricard’s employees, 70% speak at least one non-native language. Whatever about how much you learn about your job while away, you pick up plenty in the way of soft skills. D’Arcy said Pernod Ricard places an equal premium on its graduates’ personal development as their professional development. “They learn a lot of competencies when they move abroad,” she said. “Employers look for graduates who have persistence and are self-starters.” International experience is rarely a negative. “A company that is only looking at the Irish market might not put a premium on it,” said Farrelly. “For example, if you are applying for a job as a sales person selling into the Munster market and you have been abroad for six years, your competitors will have contacts you don’t have. Having said that, some employers will pay a premium if you have experience in opening up international sales channels.”
In a busy jobs market where opportunities are bountiful and your choices unlimited, it is of vital importance that as a candidate who is open to looking at new positions, you know precisely what it is that you’re looking for before you begin your search for a new job. You will be courted by many in a buoyant jobseekers’ market so deciding what roles are suited to you and what potential interviews you should be going for, is something that, as a candidate, you need to evaluate very clearly. Your time is precious so you cannot afford to be wasting it interviewing for jobs to which you are not suited. Below are some useful tips to consider prior to deciding what roles you should be applying for, in addition to the thought process you should go through before deciding with whom you would like to engage. Motivational Fit You must ascertain very early in the process if the role is at the right level for you and therefore if the trajectory in terms of career is correct also. If you do not do this and then move into a role where you are carrying out the same duties as before there will be issues. This is because there will be no real prospects for you to move upwards within the company, meaning a bad move for you on a personal level. If your immediate supervisor is unlikely to be moving elsewhere soon, the move for you then, from a career point of view, will have been a bad one. Think about what is important for you to gain in the next few years’ experience wise. Look into what positions would help to achieve this and put your energy into submitting the best possible CV and cover letters to these companies. Cultural Fit You must know the culture of the company you are interviewing with and know that this is a culture to which you are suited. Think about previous positions you have held and map out the pros and cons of the culture. What did you like/dislike and what other companies have similar cultures to this? If you move to an organisation where the environment is formal for instance, with this being an environment that you are neither comfortable with nor even like, then you don’t want to find this out when you start in the company on your first day. It is vital that you find this out from the company themselves, prior to agreeing to meet with them through asking the question or researching the company online through the likes of social media and news. If you are availing of a professional recruitment company make sure to include this information when speaking with them and ask for help on doing research so that you are confident in your knowledge that this is the right company for you. Competency Fit Before you decide to go for an interview for a job, you must be 100% certain that you have the capabilities to be able to perform the tasks in question. Once again, your time is precious, so if you don’t have the skills required to carry out the role, please don’t waste your time by going forward for an interview for a position to which you are not suited. Also make sure that the job is on your level and not below it. Every job you move to should broaden your horizons and challenge you. Ensure that you are provided with a comprehensive job specification for the role in question. Make sure to ask questions of either the company or the agency if any aspects of it seem ambiguous to you. It’s far better to know that you can actually do the job prior to the interview, rather than finding this out on the day of the meeting itself. Clarity regarding the nature of the role is of key importance, prior to interviewing with any company for any job.
Performance reviews can be slightly nerve wrecking especially if it’s your first one in a new company or with a new manager. These meetings are used to set future targets, review ongoing or past projects, and discuss career progression. Employees can use these meetings to their advantage by bringing up issues they have in their roles, discuss ideas that could improve the company’s processes and explain the outcome of different projects that they have done. Here’s our guide on what to focus on and how to get the most out of your time with your manager. Performance: You need to have an open mind when speaking with your manager regarding your performance and understand that all feedback, good or bad, is delivered to ensure you improve. This is not an exercise in shaming you or making you feel inferior – if your manager expresses concern or gives you advice on poor performance in an area, ask them what you need to do to improve. If you have a genuine reason in response to their concern express it, but don’t get defensive. This could show your inability to take criticism which is a very important trait if you want to become successful. If you get good reviews, be gracious and don’t do the Irish thing and brush it off! Take it on board and move on. Career Progression: Don’t run before you can walk. The key thing to remember is to not start your review by asking for a step up. If you want to ask whether you’re up for promotion, first hear what your manager has to say. Your manager is the one who will know if you are ready for a jump so listen and listen well, if you have more work to do, ask what needs to be done and get the head down. Salary: This is always a question that makes people nervous to ask their boss. While you may be in line for a raise, if you haven’t got the guts to ask you most likely won’t get one. A salary increase should reflect your increased performance against a target or a general overall improvement in your work or increase in responsibilities. Go in with a positive attitude and make sure you to back up your request with success stories or good figures and ask with good grace. Be prepared: Remember to give yourself plenty of time to prepare your figure, accomplishments and a list of what you want to discuss. If you have been sitting on a problem for a while, this is a good time to get it off your chest but make sure you have things straight in your head. A good manager is always willing to listen to your concerns but if you waffle on and have no real information, chances are your point will be missed. Clear your diary beforehand so you are fully prepared and no late nights the night before. You need to have your game face on and be ready to wow and impress and tackle any questions you’re faced with Finally, a review is an important part of a role and it’s good for building relationships with your manager so if they are particularly busy, try to gently remind them that you are due a catch up and you feel it’s important to you and your role. Take on board what your manager has to say and stay positive! Most reviews end well so chin up!
1. Use your commute to become an expert in your field. Instead of listening to music on your morning commute start listening to podcasts related to your job and industry. Download an app such as Stitcher or Podcast Addict for Android or iTunes for podcasts on any topic. Give lots of different shows a listen until you find a few that are both informative and entertaining. On my phone I have 10 different shows covering different marketing topics so I always have something to listen to each day. Also many shows will have a large archive of material so you won’t run out of things to listen to. 2. Read every day Read 10-15 pages of a book related to your field each night before you head to bed or over your lunch break- whatever works better for you. For just minutes a day you can get through a book a month – that’s 12 books a year on your job or industry that you weren’t reading before. If this doesn’t work for you read an industry blog or two while sipping your morning coffee at your desk. 3. Get better at presenting There are many statistics on the internet citing that more people are afraid of public speaking than death. So if you can get comfortable presenting and talking in front of a group you’re giving yourself a massive advantage over many other people. Most jobs require some presentation skills whether it is to your team internally, to clients, or at an interview. If you have a fear of public speaking you should join a local Toastmasters group where you can practice public speaking in a supportive environment with others in the same situation. The organisation has over 15,000 clubs in 135 countries.
In order for you to put your best foot forward at interview you should always be prepared to answer questions in relation to gaps on your CV in a truthful and accurate manner. In my opinion, having a gap makes very little difference in obtaining an interview. What matters more is how you explain a gap, be it in your CV, cover letter or at interview. The best advice I can give is to simply tell the truth. Recruiters and hiring managers want to understand what you did during that time away and how you stayed connected to the business or sector that you are interviewing for a job in. Make sure to incorporate into your CV any volunteer work you did, any classes or courses you attended, and any qualifications you earned. Include skills you learned and experience you obtained during this time, to help demonstrate why you’re qualified for the job you’re seeking. There may be some gaps in employment that you feel you don’t need to bother explaining – those that lasted only a month or two, or gaps in employment that happened a long time ago. If you are confident that these gaps don’t need to be addressed then the easiest way to avoid these sorts of gaps being highlighted is to only give the years for your employment on your CV rather than the months. If you have taken some time off in the past to go away and travel, then it’s more than likely that there will be a gap on your CV that needs addressing. This does not have to be considered as a disadvantage by any means. In fact many employers believe time spent travelling abroad bring a sense of cultural awareness and independence that will prove invaluable to you in your future career. Perhaps you were able to acquire another language during this time or learn a new skill and, if so, these should also be included in your CV. Never be tempted to extend the length of time you were in employment to cover any of these gaps because an employer is more than likely going to take references from your previous employers and you don’t want to come across as dishonest. Whatever the situation is, just be positive and try to incorporate it all into your experience as opposed to avoiding it. Very often these gaps on CVs can become the elephant in the room and this is not what you want in order to make sure you are coming across enthusiastic and ready for work. Make sure never to underestimate the importance of interview preparation. Know your strengths and weaknesses and apply them to the job on offer. Do more research than your competition, know more about the company and the job than anyone else and always, always, always use an interview as an opportunity to show your passion and enthusiasm!
1. Self Awareness Do a SWOT Analysis. This will focus on your own personal strengths and weaknesses and then will also identify external opportunities you could use or threats to avoid. Firstly look internally, the most important point to note is that career planning is a process and we can break it up into 4 individual questions; a) What are your interests? b) Is there a career in it? c) What is the potential for progression? d) How do you get there with what’s at your disposal? Of course we must take our own situation and environment into consideration; this can be done through self-assessment. Initially looking at where you have come from, the present challenge and where you want to go will give a good starting point. Now it is a matter of using what you’ve got to get there – qualifications, training, experience, and references are all potential methods of getting you to the next level. Then look externally. Opportunity starts with current labour demand – research opportunities on job boards and social media platforms. If you find you aren’t qualified you need to consider ups-killing or taking a conversion course such as Springboard. If you don’t have the required industry experience you need to consider acquiring relevant experience and skills through internships such as Job Bridge. Look in the mirror and identify your unique strengths. These will become your value proposition. 2. Plan Take a structured approach to your job search. Treat is like a job and give it the time it needs. Apply for jobs you feel you are qualified for and understanding were you can add value. Record all application details for future reference. Take it one step at a time. 3. Become Socially Networked Research, connect and engage. Build a LinkedIn profile and actively connect with your professional network. Connect with ex colleagues and with contacts in your industry. This will give you some clues as to where similar skills sets are being sought. Seek recommendations and join relevant groups. Identify your target audience and contribute to relevant conversations. Connect with employers you have applied to. 4. Sell Yourself Understand that a job search is a competition and you need to compete on your unique value proposition. Consider yourself a commodity that needs to be sold on unique features and benefits based on demand and a price point. 5. Apply & Control Consider a broad range of relevant opportunities and be flexible in terms of position and compensation. Control the elements of the process that are within your control. Finally apply and follow up on applications with a LinkedIn request or phone call.