Yes being a nice person, a loyal employee and great parent are all attractive attributes but in the end you will be hired and promoted solely on the perceived value that you can add to the person interviewing you……that is an absolute fact.
Focus on building value into your CV through the acquisition of attractive skills, competencies and experiences. My Top 5 tips on how to fast track your career are detailed below:
TIP 1 – Network Hard
You are busy – I get it. But, continuously networking is one of the most valuable career enhancing tools. You simply have to listen to offers and be open to building connections. Don’t just start looking at the market or attending industry events when you decide to move roles but instead put time in to building your personal brand and network every single week.
TIP 2 – Be Famous
Regardless of your industry, the world wants specialism. Becoming “famous for something” and building in depth niche skills within a particular system, process or category will ensure that you are in demand and valued both internally and externally. Build an impressive knowledge base and reputation in a specialist area and you will never have to find a job again – they will come to you……all the time.
TIP 3 – Take on Additional Projects
As Steve Jobs famously advised during his speech to Stanford University – “Join the dots backwards”. By taking the time now to acquire new skills outside of your current scope, you may find that it will be to your advantage in the future. Be open to opportunities internally and externally even if they are not directly related to your current day job.
TIP 4 – Choose to Have a Great Attitude
Be hardworking, be consistent, be positive, be ethical and most of all deliver. When things go wrong take accountability, have an internal locus of control, be resilient and self-reflect. Be a mentor, show humility, lead by example (not title) and be compassionate to all the people you encounter. Executing this every day is entirely within your control and more important than any training course or qualification you will undertake. It is also the toughest to maintain whilst under pressure (and where the majority of employees fail) so is you can nail it then not only will you will acquire self-worth but you will genuinely stand out.
TIP 5 – Record your Achievements
I recently had to write a CV for an industry award nomination – it was excruciating and no doubt some details were missed. But trying to remember all the key achievements and milestones from the last 10 years was no small feat. My advice is to consistently update your CV and document key achievements throughout your career.
To find out more about how you can fast-track your career contact our Andrew MacAskill at The Source
By far the highlight of the fantastic London Olympic Games for me was the 4 x 100m relay won by the superb Jamaican team in world record time. The reason I love the event so much is because it demonstrates what can be achieved when great talent meets great process.
The Australian team overachieved by making the final without having any standout individuals demonstrating how teamwork and slick process can drive efficiency. The Canadians’ process fell down costing them a medal and ultimately resulting in disqualification. But…..the real differentiator came down to talent. The best talent deployed correctly will always deliver optimum results and the Jamaicans had talent in abundance.
Below are my top 5 questions to ask procurement athletes during interview to identify the best talent in order to help you carry the baton for procurement around your organisation. I hope they help you to achieve a podium finish, and like the Jamaican team, empower you to have fun whilst achieving it!
QUESTION 1 – What are you reading at the moment?
Any coach will tell you that the top athletes differentiate themselves by how they mentally prepare and develop. Recent studies have proven that we are what we read and those who search for self-improvement in literature perform better. Discussing what the candidate has taken from their most recent read can also lead to open discussion that helps you assess cultural value alignment and moral compass.
QUESTION 2 – If you could change one thing in how procurement is perceived, what would it be?
I would look for a big, hairy answer to this. The candidate’s passion for the profession should be on display as well as some awareness of the challenges that a modern procurement professional faces. The right response for most roles will be one that proves that the candidate is proactive and someone who really wants to go out there, make a difference and set new records.
QUESTION 3 – What would you hope to achieve in the first 100 days?
Powering out of the blocks and obtaining a fast start is vital to setting procurement professionals up for success. We are currently undertaking significant research in this subject and invite you to contribute using the following survey link:http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/thesource100days. The way the candidate answers this question will give you a great insight into both technical and cultural alignment.
QUESTION 4 – Scenario based: Say I am a disgruntled stakeholder who has previously had a bad experience with procurement. How would you talk me around?
Olympic athletes need sponsors to succeed…..this is no different for procurement specialists! Category management is, of course, as much about selling as buying and so the candidate’s ability to influence key stakeholders will ultimately determine whether they get to the line quickly. Look for candidates who prioritise listening over speaking, can demonstrate empathy and consult.
QUESTION 5 – Can you talk me through the differences between the tactical and strategic work you have undertaken?
Very important this one. With role harmonisation still high on the CIPSA agenda job titles can be deceiving. Every week we meet people with “strategic” as the first word in their job title who appear to be running the race but in actual fact are merely acting as a support function standing on the side of the track. Really drill down on the answer to this question to find out the exact role that the potential hire played in the strategic procurement processes and ensure that it dovetails with your requirement.