With the aim of enhancing students’ employability, the Professional Careers Service continuously holds a range of events with headhunters, leading companies and a diverse selection of professionals who offer advice and professional opportunities. In this case, Santiago Casanueva, Digital & Technology Recruitment Lead and Co-Founder of GT Linkers, ran a workshop entitled “Employment Search” on Friday 12th January at the Madrid Campus.
Participants in the workshop included students from various programs (Master in Corporate Communication, Master in Human Resources Management, Master in Supply Chain Management, Master in Project Management). The common characteristic of the participants was that they all had a junior profile, by which we mean people with less than four or five years of professional experience.
Not only for junior profiles, but also their senior counterparts and any other profile thinking of changing job or searching for a new position, Casanueva recommended approaching the process with a clear strategy and analysis. “Set objectives for the short, medium and long term”, advised the international headhunter.
Most importantly, at the start of your professional career, it is essential that you answer the question “What do I want to be when I grow up?” Thanks to new technologies and digital networking platforms such as LinkedIn, the largest professional network on the planet, the ideal situation would be to identify 10 or 12 profiles of “aspirational people to discover how they started out, where and what they did. Then, highlight the skills and qualifications required to reach the same place”.
The ‘quality vs quantity’ debate was also discussed in Santiago Casanueva’s workshop. In particular, as the guest speaker mentioned, there are lots of young profiles with little professional experience, who apply to dozens of processes at different companies, prioritizing quantity. However, if we have identified a good strategy and perhaps even some “target companies”, we can focus our search and place the emphasis on the quality of the processes.
“It is important to find a place, a company, an area, a sector, in which we feel fulfilled”, explained Casanueva to the students of EAE Business School. As he described, the average working day is eight hours long, during which not only does time tick by but rather we share experiences and relations. “Work is not just a question of time. It is happiness, people, etc. It is important not to get the first few steps or it will be hard, but not impossible, to get back on what we think is the right track”.
Enhancing our personal brand
During the “Employment Search” workshop, Santiago Casanueva also analysed various aspects of how best to draft a CV, the importance of your digital fingerprint, where to look for employment, how to approach a selection process, etc.
With a well-defined CV, we will manage to capture the attention of the recruiters, who have an average of four seconds to look at each sheet that they are sent for a selection process summarizing someone’s professional life. To achieve this, most importantly, Casanueva recommends ensuring that your CV is very visual.
It should contain your contact details (full name, telephone number, email and city of residence). Moreover, if it includes a photograph, make sure it is a professional one. Another key part of the CV is the professional summary, which is basically the presentation of the candidate. “This is where we really want to make an impact: we define our professional profile, using keywords from our sector”, using this opportunity as if it were our elevator pitch.
He placed the same emphasis on personal branding: “this is what they say about you when you are not there”. However, he stressed that personalizing is not just a digital issue, “although it is no longer a myth that recruiters check out candidates’ social media profiles”. We also have to work on our personal brand at specialist events in the sector and on our CV itself, with “three impactful, different keywords that define your approach and personalize you”.
“Only 20% of employment offers are posted on a portal”
After drafting a good CV, worked on your personal branding, identifying and evaluating sector events and, most importantly, maintaining a positive attitude throughout the search process, which “may be a bit tedious”, we are ready to optimize our time depending on the sources of employment. Santiago Casanueva emphasized that, according to general opinion, “only 20% of employment offers are published”. The rest are found through various sources, with the most effective still being personal contacts, professional networks and networking.
Secondly, the expert recommended making a list of target companies to present ourselves to directly, with an unsolicited but non-intrusive application. The third most effective source of employment for this type of junior profiles is the Business Schools themselves and the employability services that they offer, followed by other sources such as employment portals and metasearch engines, the corporate websites of the companies; associations of former students; general and specialist personnel selection companies; temporary employment agencies; attending meet-ups; social networks, etc.”. If we don’t want to limit ourselves to a 20% slice of the pie of opportunities, we have to make a smart combination of all the sources of employment we have, based on the initial strategy that aims us towards the field we want to develop in”.
The importance of networking comes from the high concentration of employees contracted as a result of contacts. To be specific, just 1% of people contracted by large companies used employment portals to send their CV. Attending events, meet-ups, conferences, etc., is what gives candidates the chance to build relations with professionals in the sector that may open doors in the future.
To finish off, Santiago Casanueva emphasized that all this work must be supported by effective monitoring, with a disciplined record of the actions taken, not only to achieve our objective, namely being selected by the company that we want to work for (the choice must be yours), but rather also to forge lasting relationships and maybe even detect points for improvement in each of the phases of the process.