“The success of remote working has opened up previously unavailable talent pools, with 64% of hiring managers now more willing to consider remote workers.”
This finding, from a survey conducted by Cielo, represents both good and bad news for job candidates. Good, because it suggests greater opportunities to find work outside traditional limits of geography or personal circumstances. Bad, because it also indicates greater competition for whatever jobs are available. And in the post-COVID era, as business struggles to recover, the level of unemployment is set to rise and the volume of opening to fall.
The Market for CCM
Right now, the situation for the Commercial and Contract Management community appears mixed. Those at the top of their game, who can demonstrate a creative, can-do attitude and approach, are definitely in demand. Business and government need highly talented experts who offer inspiration and innovation, who move fast and get things done. For those whose record is rather more mundane, perhaps focused on control and compliance, or on performing important but repetitive activities, the situation may be rather more bleak. So if you are serious about making yourself ready for a tough and demanding market, what should you do?
The next program in the IACCM TASK series, starting on July 13th, is on Job Opportunities and Online Interviewing. It features a range of experts and invaluable hints and tips to help candidates prepare. In anticipation, here are some thoughts.
Build Your Network
Finding a job has always been helped by who you know – and in a virtual world, that is likely to be even more true. If an employer cannot physically meet with you (or you with them), recommendations and information from people you or they respect will offer a tremendous advantage. Today, as indicated by the opening quote in this article, the virtual world has expanded the size and diversity of the network you can build. Many people are surprisingly willing to help, especially if they have had a chance to connect beyond a purely superficial level. While social media should certainly be an element of your outreach, professional bodies and associations are likely to be even more helpful in offering opportunities to participate in working groups, roundtable discussions, message boards with the sort of people who could be fundamental to your career. Make sure to take advantage of IACCM’s networking opportunities from July 27- August 27, as part of our next TASK topic “Keeping Your Network Alive”.
What do you know?
Recent articles in Chief Learning Office magazine have highlighted the surge in individuals building their qualifications and their resume, especially through short courses which offer certificates. It goes without saying that employers typically expect a professional qualification relevant to your discipline (and many in Commercial and Contract Management still don’t have that). The supplementary options are then numerous – and you need to be able to answer the question: “What did you do during lockdown?” Throughout that period, thousands of IACCM members have been undertaking programs such as Managing Contracts Virtually, as well as many embarking on CCM or SRM certification, at either Practitioner or Advanced level. The numbers undertaking CPD (Continuing Professional Development) have also rocketed.
Others may be focusing on adjacent areas or complementary skills – for example, in digital technology, or project management or analytics, or leadership. The key point is that now is the time for any serious candidate to polish their credentials and demonstrate that they are committed to their career and serious about self-improvement.
What Sets You Apart?
Last week, I spoke with a friend who had just completed an interview on Zoom. It was a group interview – and included team breakout sessions where the interviewers were observing the effectiveness of the candidates in a virtual setting.
The need to demonstrate ‘Why me?’ is not new, but it is now different. Serious candidates will be busy using their network and social media to do their homework – for example, discovering as much as they can about their interviewers, about organizational culture, about the state of the employer’s market and key commercial challenges. This information will guide how they dress, the nature of the questions they plan, the background setting they create in their home or office. More than anything, they will have practised their video techniques and persona. Virtual interviews offer a massive opportunity when compared to the face-to-face version – you can perfect your technique by recording and watching yourself in advance. Have a friend ask you questions. Teach yourself about eye contact, variations in tone, elimination of the ‘disfluencies’ (you know, like, well, um ….) that diminish our credibility and distract from our message (see HBR, August 2018 ‘How to stop saying “Um”, “Ah” and “You Know”). Better yet, benefit from “communication coaching” offered by IACCM.