How to avoid your CV falling into a recruiter’s black hole

My first blog article ‘How to get approached about your dream job’ can be found here.

It highlights several ways in which you can ensure that when a recruiter is conducting a candidate search on LinkedIn, for what could be your next job move and ideal opportunity, your profile catches their eye for all the right reasons.

As Senior Research Consultant at Edbury Daley, I not only encounter hundreds of LinkedIn profiles every day, but I also receive and review numerous CVs for the executive vacancies that we advertise.

The most attractive have the following:

  • The candidate’s most marketable skills and experience somewhere near the beginning. Be sure to position at the start the experience which you believe you want to use in your next role and that could really add value to an employer.
  • Not too much detail under each position you have undertaken. Big blocks of text are off-putting and make it difficult to understand the key responsibilities that you had during your role. Saying this, too little detail about your achievements and contribution make your profile easier for a recruiter to dismiss, so try to get the balance right.
  • A clearly defined job title, company name and time frame for each section on your CV, starting with the most recent and finishing with your education.
  • A simple and visually appealing layout. An overly complicated layout and format style makes your strongest and most relevant experience difficult to pinpoint. This could be the difference between a recruiter or employer dismissing your application as they can’t quickly and easily identify the relevant skills you have for this particular vacancy.
  • Points about the difference you made whilst in your role at the company and your specific contribution, not points about what the company or team did during the time that you were employed.

If you need some guidance or further information, then please do get in touch via georgia@edburydaley.com.

Client Audit – what our clients want from a specialist recruiter

At Edbury Daley we take enormous pride in what we do. We are truly invested in the success of the businesses we recruit for and the job satisfaction and career development of the people we help them hire.

Our personal and company reputations, along with our commitment to winning repeat business through service excellence, are all vital factors in the culture of our organisation.

With this in mind, we regularly review what our clients think about the service we offer to them, what’s important to them and what we could do better. We want to understand the problems we solve for them, the outcomes our clients are buying and how our services might be adapted to ensure continued success.

In our recent client audit, we received some vital feedback that will help you understand what our customers value about us. While there are some examples of the feedback below, what became clear to us during this audit is that the things our clients really value about Edbury Daley are:

  • The depth of market knowledge we have and how our visible commitment to the procurement technology world enables us to act as a Talent Magnet for our customers.
  • The breadth of our international network allied to our strong personal reputations.
  • An intimate understanding of the supply and demand equation for the skills and experience required for success in this market.
  • This enables a speed to market and a targeted approach that other recruiters just can’t match.

We call this collection of vital knowledge and skills Talent Intelligence. We’ll be telling the market more about the benefits of this in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, here are some examples of the feedback we received from our clients.

Member of the Senior Leadership Team at a Global Procurement Software Business:

What business problem did filling your position solve?

We are expanding and accelerating a go to market strategy in an area where we lacked internal expertise to support our goals or objectives. We were hiring to accelerate the growth and sales (revenue) of the company.

Apart from filling the vacancy was there any other aspect of our service you found valuable?

The network or relationships within the space you have and the quality of candidates that are actually pre-qualified and have a demonstrated interest in moving for the right opportunity saved a tremendous amount of time and resources that we don’t have available internally.

HR Leader at the same business:

You know how much we value you, your expertise and our long term relationship with you. I have nothing to say but positive things. 

EMEA GM Global Procurement Software Business:

What business problem did filling your position solve?

Filling a business critical Exec to lead a fast growing Top Growth Region for our business.

How has the candidate we placed impacted your business?

He’s a strong leader infusing best practices to our business…no doubt about his direct performance/impact on our business in his region.

Apart from filling the vacancy was there any other aspect of our service you found valuable? Please specify.

Your commitment to the result, strong candidates (three of them could have done the job). The people to people relationship resulting in us understanding and trusting each other.

What could we have done better?

Overall was a great experience.

If a trusted friend or colleague asked what you thought of us what would you say to them?

Strong recommendation.

CTO Procurement Solutions Business:

What business problem did filling your position solve?

Skills and experience to lead our data function. He has implemented a data warehouse and taken all business reporting in hand.

How has the candidate we placed impacted your business?

He has had a hugely positive impact on the business and brought order to chaos in our data function. He has now been promoted to Head of Technology.

Apart from filling the vacancy was there any other aspect of our service you found valuable? Please specify.

Andrew helped me scope the must have and nice to have elements of the role so that we were able to find the right candidate. We had to flex on location. This has worked out well.

If a trusted friend or colleague asked what you thought of us what would you say to them?

Andrew has always provided me with an excellent service. His consultative approach, knowledge of the procurement technology marketplace and his network are in my view the keys to his success.

If these messages are relevant to your current business needs and you want more information now then please get in touch.

How to get approached about your dream job

As Senior Research Consultant at Edbury Daley, I find that LinkedIn is a very valuable resource for identifying potential candidates through searches for executive vacancies. In fact, I use it every day.

So if you’re in the job market and are looking for your next position, then in my experience keeping your LinkedIn profile up-to-date and current is vital. This is true even if you’re not looking for a move as it could make the difference between a recruiter shortlisting you for your dream job, or not.

So when conducting a search on LinkedIn, I am attracted to profiles that have the following:

  • When the location defined on the profile is representative of where the candidate is actually carrying out their current role. Often the location is not up-to-date and causes confusion for the recruiter about where a candidate may be seeking a new position, so ensuring it is accurate avoids confusion and can limit the chance of you being approached about unsuitable and irrelevant opportunities.
  •  Clearly defined job titles that convey the candidate’s level of seniority within the company, and profiles that avoid more than one current job title which creates the impression the candidate is carrying out both at the present moment.
  • A precise summary of your exact responsibilities and achievements under each position.
  • A professional, relatively up-to-date photo of you and not something else. It shouldn’t be of something that relates to your hobbies, personal life or be non-work related. Profiles that don’t have a photo give the impression to the recruiter that the candidate isn’t perhaps very tech-savvy or an avid LinkedIn user.
  • Clear and accurate details of your education history with the relevant qualifications.
  • Profiles that avoid clear gaps in a candidate’s experience without a reason. Any detail about why you may have had a career break is useful and creates an honest impression. Each new position should follow on from the last one in terms of timing. Despite the fact that the experience that is on the profile may look great for the role in question, missing out a block of time in your career on your profile will confuse a recruiter.

If you need some guidance or further information, then please do get in touch via georgia@edburydaley.com.

The Trusted Badge of Quality

Following a rigorous external referencing procedure Edbury Daley has been awarded full accreditation by the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo).

In order to qualify for the accreditation and APSCo membership, Edbury Daley agreed to a strict code of conduct and passed an external quality audit with clients and candidates.

APSCo accreditation and membership “gives candidates and employers a trusted badge of quality” to reference and peace of mind that Edbury Daley is committed to excellence in recruitment.

As part of the external quality audit, numerous Edbury Daley clients and candidates were contacted. Questions asked covered the nature of the relationship with the company, awareness of any unethical dealings and any reasons why APSCo should not accept the company’s application for accreditation and membership.

Additional feedback from clients and candidates alike was unanimously positive and key to Edbury Daley securing accreditation, with the most frequent comments including ‘professional’, ‘great values’ and ‘reliable’ through to ‘honest’, ‘trustworthy’ and ‘integrity’.

Simon Edbury, director at Edbury Daley comments: “It’s fantastic to have the recognition for the quality of our conduct and for all our clients and candidates to see via the APSCo logo. We are always looking for ways to improve the experience of interacting with our business and our membership of APSCo is an important milestone on this journey.”

The Future of Procurement – Skills, Development, Recruitment & Retention

The Future of Procurement is a subject that has attracted a lot of column inches from thought leaders in the past couple of years, but the debate has picked up some real momentum in the past few months resulting in it being a central theme at several of this autumn’s procurement events.

Following on from our feature on The Future of Procurement in the last report where we examined the opportunities that exist for the function to evolve from a savings dominated agenda, Andrew Daley was asked to speak at two such industry events. He was fortunate enough to see some great input from several respected procurement leaders and offer a recruiter’s perspective to the debate. The discussions centred around the future skill set, the use of technology as a catalyst for change and the implications for professional development, staff retention and talent attraction.

Starting at the SAP Ariba Procurement Summit which was sponsored by Deloitte, there were excellent presentations from Guy Hubball (ex CPO of BP), Marcell Vollmer (SAP Ariba’s Chief Digital Officer) and Graham Wright of IBM, all of whom touched upon the skills debate to some extent.

Taking the various points raised and seeking out areas of agreement, we are able to offer the following summary of what these leaders told the audience:

Technology is already offering a step change in procurement capability. Early adopters are working on their data strategy with the objective of embracing spend analytics capability. Such data will also drive machine learning and the use of artificial intelligence to automate tactical activities and provide a platform for better decision making and insights.

A key challenge for procurement leaders is to map out their future vision of what procurement will offer to their organisation and develop a plan to recruit, retain and develop the people who will be able to focus on the strategic value-added activities that will be enabled by the current and next generation of software tools.

Common themes in the vision for these strategic value-added activities include a Consultative Sourcing model along the lines of the trusted advisor approach. This will include greater business partnering, collaboration both within the organisation and externally with suppliers, opening opportunities for supplier led innovation.

The challenge for procurement leaders is this area is twofold:

Firstly, identifying the skills required to deliver these services, for example, better relationship management skills to facilitate improved business partnering, an entrepreneurial mindset for supplier collaboration, whether that be through existing staff development, external talent attract or a combination of the two.

Secondly, embarking on a change programme to educate the business stakeholders about what this new iteration of the procurement profession can offer the organisation and creating a fertile environment for their teams to deliver on this.

One of the many upsides for the leaders who embrace this challenge is that it gives them a huge advantage in both existing staff retention and external talent attraction.

Aside from the focus on data and the debate about the future procurement skill set, it’s clear from the discussions at this event that the use of procurement bots is now becoming more common and will see significant growth in the near future. It’s widely expected that this will evolve into greater use of voice recognition technology along the lines of Amazon’s Alexa.

Companies seeking to create their own bespoke solutions are at risk of missing out on the investment and development in the cloud-based solutions from the major vendors that will be regularly updated and improved as the vendors learn from their broad customer base.

AI driven tools like IBM’s Watson can be deployed to support functional leaders and Group HR to streamline and improve internal career development capability, digital skills development and recruitment from both internal and external sources. This is a potential game-changer for organisations who are serious about hiring the best available talent in a market characterised by skills shortages.

SAP Ariba is incredibly passionate about CSR. Its “Procurement with Purpose” mantra was a strong theme throughout and it’s a subject that we talked about in some detail in our last report.

Again the technology exists to dig deep into the supply chain for visibility. Justin Sadler-Smith talked about an automotive client who has visibility into seven tiers of their supply chain, so there’s some exciting potential there for organisations who need to think very carefully about this area. It’s also a capability that will prove very valuable in a post Brexit UK.

For all this talk about the potential for technology to be the catalyst for procurement to evolve, to offer more to its stakeholders and become a truly strategic function, the fact remains that the people who are able to talk about this from a position of strength and experience, rather than a future desire to achieve it, are in the minority as outlined above with the figures from the Deloitte CPO Study.

We estimate less than 10% of functions are making real headway on this digital transformation journey and as Andrew Daley ]told the audience at the SAP Ariba event: “Procurement leaders should be inspired by what they’ve seen from the profession’s leaders, inspired to go and develop their future vision for their procurement function in their organisation.”

All the technology tools are there, all the learning resources are available, all the thought leadership is fairly consistent in its vision for the future. It’s up to procurement leaders and the emerging stars who seek to emulate them in future to go out there and make it happen.

The good news for our clients is that we are mapping out the innovators and early adopters, tracking the people who have these skills, and working with the people are who are passionate about hiring them.

A week later Basare Connect offered a slightly different emphasis but an equally enjoyable range of topics to consider. The common theme was as you would expect – the opportunities that exist for procurement and finance professionals to embrace the digital transformation opportunities as outlined above.

UK&I Country Manager Louis Fernandes spoke about the meeting of mind and machine, the opportunities and the limitations that exist when humans work with the latest technology to embrace “Superfinance” as he put it.

This teed the audience up nicely for what followed and something that Basware do very well – their events have speakers from outside the immediate procurement and finance world to give a different perspective from many of the other technology vendors. They give the attendees something of an education and a great deal of food for thought. They are also a lot more interesting than a detailed walk through of the challenges of a P2P implementation project!

Last year it was Matthew Syed (The Times journalist and “Ping-pong guy” from the BBC podcast) who gave the audience a fascinating presentation entitle “Black Box Thinking.” This time it was Rohit Talwar, noted Futurist, Author & Advisor.

His presentation “AI and the Next Frontiers of Business” outlined a vision of some mind boggling possibilities underpinned by the development of AI that are potentially closer than we think. He also explained several examples where AI is already infiltrating our lives in many ways we don’t realise.

His work as an advisor to some major corporations enabled him to outline how the best organisations are typically looking 10 years ahead to what they might achieve with technology and explained how that enables planning now which in turn develops ideas we can act on now.

This might seem like an obvious concept but it’s one that few organisations have truly embraced.

Another point of interest that he raised was about how leadership skills will need to evolve, particularly for hybrid organisations that truly combine the power of humans with the potential of Artificial Intelligence. These organisations will present unique challenges that are still very rare now.

This observation about leadership was part of the presentation where he touched on the challenge of developing new skill sets for the new world, a subject regular readers will know we are passionate about and one that we’ll explore further below. It’s clear from what Rohit was saying that like procurement and finance, other professions clearly have their own challenges to reinvent themselves in a digital world.

Much as we’d like to cover the subjects Rohit talked about in more detail, we wouldn’t be able to do them justice in this report. So our advice is this: if you are interested in understanding more about where the technology might be heading in the next 5-10 years then you could do much worse that read one or more of Rohit’s books as part of your own personal development. We certainly intend to.

Amongst the breakout sessions later in the day was Peter Smith of Spend Matters talking about “What’s Left For Procurement.” Regular readers of Spend Matters will know that Pater and his colleagues have already devoted a lot of coverage to the future of procurement in an automated world. Their thought leadership on the subject is largely in line with what was debated at the SAP Ariba event and you can read more about it here.

Our own Andrew Daley followed Peter at the Basware event with his presentation entitled Climbing the Career Ladder in an Automated World. Picking up on the rather concerning data from the Deloitte CPO report mentioned above, Andrew’s message was to take responsibility for your own personal development and not wait for. He told the audience to embrace the new way of thinking before the opportunity passes them by, as the job market is likely to approach a tipping point where digital procurement skills will become increasingly valuable.  

He talked about how people can utilise the myriad of learning resources available to them to help with this professional development and then “go find a visionary leader to work for.”

HIs audience debated the skills that will be required by procurement professionals in the future. Amongst those that were suggested were the ability to envision what the possibilities are for the future of procurement technology and a willingness to self-educate in the absence of suitable training.

Broader commercial skills, such as a wider understanding of the financial implications of procurement-led decision making and a more entrepreneurial mindset to help facilitate more business partnering, collaboration and seeking out supplier led innovation were also up for discussion.

Of course these subjects will continue to prompt discussion across the profession in the coming months and years and we’ll be sure to be part of that debate. We’ll also be looking for those people who are at the forefront of procurement evolution on behalf of both the hiring companies we work with and the individuals who seek suitable opportunities to advance their career with the right organisations.

To read the rest of The Procurement & Spend Management Insider where this report was originally published, you can download it here.

Edbury Daley bring their expertise to your screens

Video content is a huge part of both our personal and business lives now. So we’ve decided to embrace the trend and have produced some videos aimed at sharing our professional experience with you.

Our ‘vlogs’ will help you understand more about how you can improve your recruitment methods when hiring, advance your own career and learn more about the job market trends in areas like procurement technology.

We have had them produced professionally and the content is based on our many years of experience working in the world of recruitment and the procurement sector.

In the week before Christmas, we spent a very enjoyable day filming what we believe will be some really valuable content. Take a look at the pictures below as Andrew, Simon and Pete make their debuts in front of the camera.

Hiring a specialist creative video producer proved to be a wise investment as we are delighted with the final results. The series of short videos will be published in February 2019 so watch out for details on social media and via our monthly e-briefing newsletter.

The future of your career – part 2

What are your training and education options?

This is the second in the series where my objective is to help procurement professionals equip themselves with the skills to embrace the digital procurement revolution. Each article will share valuable resources to help facilitate personal development. The links at the end of this particular piece focus on training and further education resources.

Imagine this scenario. You hear about a job opportunity that sounds really exciting, you might have seen an advert, heard about it through your personal network or been contacted by a recruiter about it, but it’s really got your attention. You think: “that’s what I want for the next stage of my career”.

Now this job offers the chance to really embrace the potential of procurement technology and that’s where you see your career going, but your current employer has been held back from supporting your ambitions because of internal barriers to adopting the latest spend management solutions.

But this other company has a visionary procurement leader and one of the best solutions available in the market today. You’ve read that they are really using it effectively and seem determined to get the best value they can in S2C, P2P, supply chain collaboration etc in future. That’s what you want – a chance to work in that environment.

This is a situation I envisage becoming more common because we are approaching a tipping point in the professional job market, particularly in procurement. I’ll come back to this tipping point subject later in this article.

So how do you make yourself stand out from the crowd if you haven’t got experience in a relevant spend management solution?

Before I answer that, here’s something to consider. The other side of this particular coin is the problem facing the hiring manager at the company in question. He or she is struggling to find these skills for the salary range they want to pay because they are in such short supply in the market generally, and everyone who is interested in applying for this role wants to develop the skills in question but doesn’t have them yet.

So what’s the solution?

Well my advice to the hiring manager in this situation would be to take a very pragmatic approach to this piece of recruitment.

This is because the perfect candidate (which rarely exists anyway!) might not be available to them because they are ahead of the curve on the use of procurement tech, and most external talent won’t be at the same level as their existing people.

So the manager needs to identify a list of essential and desirable skills, but he/she must understand that they may have to hire principally on transferable skills and the ability to develop the other key skills in the medium term. So they need to really think about longer-term potential rather than hiring someone who can do the job from day one.

So back to you. You are in competition with people with similar procurement skills, the same aspirations, but little or no direct experience of using the relevant generation of technology.

How do you make yourself stand out from the crowd?

In the absence of suitable opportunities within your current employer, the answer is a program of self-development using relevant studying resources.

By doing as much as possible to learn about your skills gaps, you can bridge that gap and send a very powerful message to the hiring manager in the process. You are effectively saying “I haven’t been able to get these skills in my current job, so I’ve invested a great deal of my own time learning about them”.

That gives you a steeper learning curve that will get you into a position where you are effective, more quickly than those who haven’t done this AND it tells the hiring manager you’ve got the right ambitions, attitude and qualities. THIS CAN BE HUGELY PERSUASIVE TO A TOP FLIGHT PROCUREMENT LEADER.

So what resources are out there to help you on this journey?

Unfortunately, there are no specific training courses available on the CIPS website for digital procurement. However here are some alternatives.

Procurement Technology

If you are particularly interested in focusing on the use of spend management solutions in the future, then this route may be for you.

Most vendors offer online training services to support the use of their solutions. It may be worth contacting them directly to see if you can pay to use these services if your employer isn’t a customer.  Here are some examples of what’s available:

Many of the vendors offer free webinars to demonstrate their solutions. Of course, they are designed to sell the solution and generate leads for their salespeople to follow up, but they are generally a worthwhile exercise to see how it all works. Spend Matters promote quite a few of them so keep an eye on their site and/or register on the individual vendor websites so they email you with dates.

Even if you can’t make the exact time it’s still worth registering as you can usually access the content afterwards via a recording. You’ll also hear about their events if you are on the mailing list and they are generally worth attending if you get invited.

Professional bodies like The P2P Network also produce some good content. Here’s a link to their webinar archive.

Similar to eWorld, The P2P Network also have an event that offers some interesting content where you can learn from the various presentations. The next eWorld is on the 5th March 2019 whilst the P2P Networks Annual Summit is 5th June. Here’s the speaker line up (I’m delighted to have been invited to take part): Both events are also a great opportunity to network with peers.

Further Education

An alternative way to approach your personal development is further education through a formal qualification. The benefit of something like an MBA is that it could give you a broader business perspective which would help with the development of skills like business partnering and supplier collaboration which are perceived to be of greater value moving forward.

There’s also a variety of MSc courses in procurement and supply chain. Here’s a useful article on the various options.

So I hope you have found this article useful. I talk about this sort of thing nearly every day of my working life but hopefully, it will be helpful to you as a guide to what you can achieve and the value of it. Some might say that this is obvious, but even those who “get it” are rarely able to find the time in their busy lives to dedicate some time to self-education.

My advice is to find that time, whether you take a few days off, promise yourself you’ll do an hour every weekend or commit to enrolling on a new course because time invested now will pay dividends in the future. I’ll talk about why this is the case in one of my forthcoming videos entitled The Tipping Point – the future of the procurement job market. Watch out for that in January 2019.

Andrew Daley

Director