Career Development is not just about the Next Position (sponsored contribution)

25th August 2009, Comments 0 comments

As the fallout from the financial crisis continues, there could be cause for pessimism about graduates from business schools finding the “right” position after they graduate. However, the definition of “right” has changed dramatically in the past two years, as has the way in which business schools and their students target them.

Overtly, recruitment in many major companies has ceased completely, or been severely curtailed. However, there are some positives that are coming out of the present situation, as long as schools and students go about the process correctly.

The major features of today’s MBA employment market are:
  • Most major companies have ceased to recruit publicly and are relying more on targeted recruitment through executive search agencies and headhunters.
  • The positions offered tend to be strategic and much tailored to the present and future needs of the companies.
  • CV-matching is now a critical part of the recruitment process, in which only those who fit the profile will be considered.
  • Small and medium-sized companies are demanding more MBA graduates than previously, again with very careful CV-to-profile matching.

These conditions apply not just to the MBA graduate market, but the principles of being successful in the job-search extends right across those who are looking for a new position or, less frequently, career change in the present climate.

So what are the principles that increase the opportunities? They are simple, but will require sometimes significant work to implement:
  • Develop a CV that gives a good overview of your education, training, skills and abilities using key words that will allow potential employers and search agencies to identify your strengths easily.
  • Research companies in your target industry or sector to see what their needs are, and how you might legitimately tailor your CV to highlight how you can meet those needs.
  • Network. Use business websites such as LinkedIn, and others to find groups of people in your areas of expertise, and join their groups.
  • If you are not already, actively engage your university or educational institution for networking opportunities, and any assistance they may be able to give.
  • Engage with an educational organisation or search company to ensure that you have the latest market information and advice on how to search successfully.
This, of course, is primarily about the next position, although it is the basis for a longer term plan that can help you achieve your major goals. Knowledge, presentation and matching are the key elements.

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University has an MBA Career Development service that supports students in all of these areas. By responding to the changing market conditions, going the step further, and guiding the students (and some alumni) to present themselves in the best possible way, MBA Career Development is building the basis for a very strong future, both for the School and for the individuals with whom they work:

  • To provide the “Knowledge” base, RSM MBA Career Development now has three career coaches who work one on one with individual students, each within a small set of industries.
  • These are supported by Industry Panels made up of alumni from the major employing industries, which provide networking, knowledge and a support network that often involves companies from those industries.
  • Ongoing work on personal and CV development to improve the on-paper and interview presentation in terms of the fit between applicant and position.
  • Exposure to recruiters and companies in a variety of settings in which both parties are able to see not just the CV or position profile, but also the individual and the companies in a much more comprehensive way.

The employment market has changed, and will continue to change even during the inevitable upturn that will come. However, the lessons of the present situation will not be lost, and many companies have found new and more effective ways to recruit the right people for them, for whatever level or position. Even when major companies are recruiting in numbers, and small to medium enterprises perhaps become less attractive as a career option, there will still be a sizeable pool of positions that can only be accessed by those who are connected, knowledgeable and flexible. Each of these is a strong basis for a successful career development plan that looks beyond the next position, and includes a lifelong journey of improvement and discovery.

Every success in your search!

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