Ask James Caan – Issue 105
Talking about the current financial climate and the affect it’s having on the jobs market is something I’ve had to do a lot of recently. It is tough out there, and with recent government statistics revealing a 0.7% fall in GPD, it doesn’t look set to significantly improve any time soon.
However, and I say this vehemently, it doesn’t all have to be doom and gloom. Recessions can provide us with an opportunity to identify new and exciting career paths.
I also believe that positivity and a healthy dose of fighting spirit is the recipe for career success in these hard times. To help foster this, webrecruit has teamed up with Aimee Bateman, of Careercake.TV, to bring you CareerCamLive.
CareerCamLive – a monthly live careers show – will see Aimee answer questions from those seeking careers advice. The first show – Using Social Media to Job Hunt – is on 7th August, 18:30, and is available here: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/careercamlive#
Aimee is incredibly knowledgeable and fantastic to watch, so please ensure to tune in.
Now, back to the column. This week I’d like to discuss the issues facing public sector workers seeking employment in the private sector.
For instance, I received an email from Alex, a finance officer within local government looking to move into the private sector due to a lack of progression in his current role.
Having worked in local government for the last four and a half years, he is now seeking his next step up as a finance analyst or manager. However, he fears that prospective employers may be put off by his public sector background.
He asks me:
‘Is there anything that I can do to show them that I am capable of translating the skills I have and continue to learn into the private sector?’
Alex, I can see you’re in a frustrating position. Whilst there are many benefits of working in the public sector, career progression isn’t necessarily one at present.
Transitioning from the public to private sector can be a challenge; this is because they are often seen as two different worlds.
As you mentioned, Alex, progression prospects within local government can be limited. Whilst the public sector can offer flexibility in terms of working hours and holiday, the workspace can be regimented and includes a lot of red tape.
The private sector can also prove to be a very challenging working climate too – it’s incredibly target-driven, with longer working hours and shorter holidays. Yet, the rewards, both personally and financially, can be fantastic.
To make the move, you must consider the type of company you are interested in working for. Whilst I appreciate you’re open to any industry, it’s important to target your job seeking efforts in order to transfer your skills and demonstrate your value effectively.
In your case, Alex, with your lack of private sector experience I’d try adopting a different approach to your CV. We know that the private sector keeps a firm eye on costs, so emphasise what value you will deliver; for example, your budget management skills.
You mentioned you were studying towards your CIMA. This is an excellent example of going the extra mile to gain new expertise. Make sure to communicate the qualification’s value and how you are able to transfer this to a new commercial setting.
It may also be worth mentioning the importance of an online profile. Why not harness LinkedIn’s potential to market yourself? Private sector employers check candidates’ profiles online and it can be a strong networking tool.
Overall, your challenge, Alex, is to present your experience in such a way that a prospective employer can ‘slot’ you into their company. If you can do this, you’ll be well on your way to finding your next opportunity.