This week brings the longest day of the year, and thus the halfway point of 2017. Scary eh?
Since January we've seen some great results for the people we've worked with, so it seems a good point to share some of the key themes, tips and insights that consistently surface specifically for people moving from the emergency services to the outside world.
Do these match your experiences? Something we've missed? Let us know in the comments...
1. "Whether you think you can, or think you can't - you're right"
As it turned out, Henry Ford did alright for himself in business afters saying that about self-confidence. However good your CV, however perfect a fit you are for the job, if you don't believe it then it will clearly come across and no-one else will believe it either. Think of all the situations your work has put you through, and how you responded. You can do it.
2. If you don't ask, you don't get.
Seems obvious... but how many times have you just decided that you probably won't get something, so it's not worth asking? When it comes down to it, there's only one way to find out. A great example recently: one of our clients called the HR department about a vacancy she wasn't going to go for... only to be told that they were actually struggling to find talented people in their area. She got the job. Pick up the phone and ask!
3. Job descriptions are often wish lists
Follows on from point 2 above. Put yourself in the recruiting company's shoes - you want the best possible person on the best possible deal for you, right? Chances are that very few people will have all the skills and certifications listed for the salary. So if you look at a job description that has ten criteria, and you "only" have 8 or 9 of them... I refer you back to points 1 and 2. If you can evidence a commitment to personal development and a desire to learn, then it won't take you long to gain whichever skills you aren't quite so strong on.
4. Who are you?
It's not a trick question. Also, the answer is not "I'm a police officer with ten years' service". While that may be true, that's your recent employment history - it doesn't tell me much about you. Recently I worked with someone who went to an interview where the panel wanted one page of A4, pictures only, to explain who he was. What would you choose to include?
A process like that is a long way removed from public sector framework-based interviews, but it's actually a great opportunity for anyone with an emergency services background - you'll have plenty to talk about! What you've done, what motivates you, what your ambitions are...
5. No one motivation is more valuable than another
Following on from above - it doesn't really matter whether you want to buy a Porsche, a yacht, go on more holidays, do more school runs, have every weekend free for your sporting prowess. Everyone's different. What the potential employer wants to know is that there's something that will make you turn up, do your best and hit your targets. So don't pretend to be interested in something you're not, just because you think it's what they want to hear.
6. Dig deeper to unearth your true skills
Your personal skills are not a list of courses you've been on. What personal qualities allow you to be exceptional at your job? These are the things that are truly transferable and will be your keys to success in the outside world. Even if you are making a move based on your subject matter expertise (which is absolutely valuable too), it's not much use without being adaptable or resilient enough to apply it to a new sector and influence new people. Ask yourself what really makes you effective, and who would find that useful.
7. Think about the whole package
At some point the issue of salary and benefits will come up. The key point here is to look at the bigger picture, rather than just the headline salary. You might find that paying lower pension contributions etc helps, but will you have to pay to commute? Does it make sense for you to take a company car, or would you be able to better use the monetary allowance? Are the potential employer offering to sponsor you through further education or training? Also remember that in general the next time your pay increases will be on promotion or moving companies, so really you should be looking for an offer that works for you in 2 years' time as well as now.
8. People buy from people
Fundamentally, employers (or customers if you're going down a different business route) want to know who you are, what you offer and if they can work with you and trust you with their business. They can't do this if they never find anything out about you. Yes, there are always boundaries of professionalism to be respected, but it's absolutely crucial to be able to present yourself authentically. If you can effectively work out your personal message, make it consistent across all the relevant platforms, and confidently back it up when asked - you won't go far wrong!