Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Just Simply Straightforward Job Searching Tips

Get The Job That You Deserve With These Simple and Straightforward Job Searching Tips

Searching for a job can be one of the most frustrating experiences a person can go through; especially in an economy that is still feeling the effects of the recent recession.   Whilst it is once again becoming a ‘candidates market’ the job market continues to be fierce, with many candidates vying for the most attractive posts.

Even though the job market has dramatically improved over the last few years, whether one is a seasoned professional or a recent graduate, it can still be incredibly difficult to get hired. By using a defined and directed job search strategy, job seekers can find positions that they are ideally qualified for, meet their criteria, and that they stand a good chance of getting.

Map Out Your Plan:

When embarking on a serious job search, your first step should be figuring out what your personal career goals are and the types of roles you are truly interested in pursuing. Take some time to make a list of what your own criteria are when it comes to job description, growth potential, and compensation. It may help you to download our ‘job search checklist’ as part of this plan.

Establish a time frame for finding a new job and make a list of achievable goals along that timeline. Start with polishing up your CV or having a fresh one written for you if it has a number of years since you applied for a job.  Finding a job can be a bit of a full-time job in itself so determine how much time you are able to devote daily or weekly to applying for jobs and stick to your schedule.  

Keep a careful record of all the responses you receive and stay organised when it comes to scheduling interviews.   If you are serious about finding a new role, you will simply have to find the time to attend interviews. 

Specialist Recruitment Agencies:

There are thousands of recruitment agencies out there so channel your energy into one that is right for you. Are they a specialist or a generalist agency, i.e. are they regularly advertising the kind of roles that you are looking for and do their consultants have links to workers in your industry sector within their LinkedIn profiles? 

If so, they will probably have access to a mine of terrific jobs that are not available on the ‘open market’.  Recruiters, including ourselves, get inundated with applications so make the difference by detailing in a cover note exactly why you are the ‘stand out candidate’ and detail precisely what you are looking for in your next role in terms of industry sector, role types and salary (and indeed if you’re prepared to work for a competitor). Then recruiters can quickly see whether they have the roles that will be right for you. 

Traditional Networking:

Networking is still one of the best ways to get a new job, with studies showing that over 50% of all hires are made through referrals and recommendations. However, if you are a recent graduate, or school leaver, you may not yet have this 'work-network' so start with your University alumni association or career office. Speak to friends and family members and even your old teachers about any jobs they might know of in your field of interest. 

Social Media Networking:

Use your social media accounts to highlight your career accomplishments and goals, especially on sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, all of which are routinely used by recruiters to announce job openings and scout for potential candidates. If you are unemployed or your current boss knows that you are hunting for a new job, it is alright to mention that you are actively looking for a new position in your status, and can help drive more interest your way from hiring managers.  

Regularly update your LinkedIn profile as this will signal to recruiters that you are proactively looking.  Whilst managing your social networks remember to ensure that they show you in your very best light! 

Direct Your Energies:

The old-fashioned techniques of cold calling for jobs can still be a very effective way to find job openings in sales.  What better way to experience your sales prowess than to actually pitch yourself in to gain an interview!

However, it is important to make sure that you are directing your energies towards companies in which you are seriously interested and know something about. Take the time to research companies in your industry and make a list of those that appeal to you, both for what they do and how well you think you might fit in.  Make the call to the hiring managers, send an updated CV and write a short bullet pointed cover letter, which specifies why you are particularly interested in their company and why you would be a good fit for them. 

Follow Up:

Whether you approached the company proactively or responded to an advertised opening, make sure to follow up with the human resources department or hiring manager, either by phone or email.

Let them know why you are interested in the job and briefly re-iterate your skills. Hiring managers often sift through hundreds of CV's a week and taking a few minutes to check in on the status of your application will go a long way towards making you stand out from the crowd.

The job hunt can certainly be a frustrating experience, but by employing the right strategy, you can make your search that much more successful and rewarding. Perseverance is also essential – don’t give up if it takes a bit of time. Finding the right job is simply a matter of patience, research, and following a solid plan.


We’re in the process of overhauling our Career Tools section for candidates in preparation for 2015. Why not take a look at it for more career advice that has been specifically written for sales professionals.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

How to Dress for Success at a Sales Interview

Let’s face it – interviews are a nerve-wracking experience at any time, with candidates being judged not just by what they say but also based on their appearance.  

The general rule of thumb is to dress in a manner that is professional, conservative, and appropriate to your prospective work environment then no one can make ‘gut judgements’ on you based simply upon appearance.  

      Corporate Sales:

Working in corporate sales requires a somewhat more formal version of business attire than a retail or call centre sales job would require. Employees who work in such settings often come into contact with clients and suppliers and will sometimes work in an office setting alongside senior management staff.  Therefore, the most appropriate attire for a job interview for this type of sales position includes dark suits with light shirts, dark ties, and formal shoes for men. Women should also dress conservatively, in dark two-piece business suits with a colour coordinated or neutral blouse and wear minimal jewellery. Any body art should be covered up and both men and women should present an overall well-groomed appearance.

      Telesales and Call Centre Sales:

Many applicants for sales positions at call centres or telesales jobs make the mistake of dressing too casually for their interview. However, despite the somewhat more informal work setting of most call centres, candidates for such sales positions still need to make a good impression on prospective employers. While applicants need not wear business suits to their interviews, they must still present a neat, professional experience.  Personally, I would recommend still wearing a suit if you own one; if not trousers/skirt and a smart shirt/blouse.  Then none can make judgements based upon the logo of your top or the brand of your chosen trainers.  Jewellery and make-up should still be kept to a minimum, and all facial piercings and tattoos should be concealed.

      Retail Sales:

Working on the sales floor of a retail outlet is a far different cry from working in corporate or telephone sales. Sales people are always in direct contact with the customers and have to maintain a professional appearance at all times that is in keeping with the tone and ambiance of the store. For instance, a sales assistant at Harvey Nichols will typically be required to dress on trend with the department they are looking to represent.  In contrast if the interview is with a more traditional department store, you should  dress more formally. What you should wear to a retail sales job therefore depends almost entirely on what type of company you are applying to work at.  For instance, a woman who wears no make-up for a sales job at a cosmetics store has little chance of being hired. Conversely, dressing in a manner that is overly fashion forward might not be the best move if you are interviewing for a job at a traditional department store.

If you are completely dumbfounded as to what to wear to your interview, take some time to research how employees at the company usually dress, either in person or by contacting someone in the HR department and simply ask what is acceptable/preferred.   

Some stores, such as John Lewis, also have a formal dress code which can help applicants narrow down their choices. Whatever outfit you choose to wear, it is important to make sure that your clothes are clean, pressed, and in good repair, and that you wear your clothes with confidence – after all, it is one trait that all good hiring managers are looking for.

Friday, 31 October 2014

10 Reasons Why Freddy Krueger Would Make a Deadly Business Development Manager…

With Halloween upon us most people will be out at a party or “Trick or Treating” but there is one man who could make a killing as a Business Development Manager, his name is Freddy Krueger

Here are 10 reasons why we at Aaron Wallis would love to have a candidate with the new business skills of Freddy Krueger on our books!

  1. Fast Pace: He Never Sleeps
  2. Persistent:  He Doesn't Take No for an Answer
  3. Networking: Great at Finding New Clients
  4. Resilient: Can Overcome Any Objection
  5. Tenacity: He’s Really Persistent Once He Gets His Claws into It
  6. Fearless: Unafraid To Knock On Any Door
  7. Appearance:  A Real Sharp Dresser
  8. Goal-Oriented: He Follows His Dreams
  9. Determined: A Never Say Die Attitude
  10. Robust: He’s At Home in a Boiler Room Environment

Written by Liam Oakes
Liam is the Recruitment Office Manager at Aaron Wallis and has been with the company for 4 years after having a career with the RAF; Liam has helped hundreds of Sales Professionals secure a new Sales role and ensures that Aaron Wallis runs smoothly.

Five Great Tips for Telephone Interviews

Telephone interviews may seem very casual and are often brief, but they are the first chance you have to make a personal impression on a potential employer, and as such, often represent a crucial first step on your road to a new job. 

Preparing for a telephone interview is as important as preparing for a face-to-face interview, and there are certain steps you can take to ensure that your telephone interview goes smoothly.

Time It Right:

Employers often give candidates a little leeway when it comes to choosing a time for a phone interview. Pick a time that will work for you, when you can speak with the interviewer without any interruptions. A phone interview is serious business and you need to be able to give your full attention to the interviewer when they call. If your interview is with a company based in another time zone, make sure that you coordinate your clocks – it is easy to miss a phone meeting because of a time difference issue. Give yourself enough time before the interview to compose yourself and go over your notes – your interview will go much better if you are not feeling rushed or flustered.

Choose your Venue Carefully:

It is always best to take a phone interview in an environment that makes you feel comfortable, which is most often your home. However, it is important to ensure that you have a quiet room to take the interview in and that any external sounds, such as the voices of children, room-mates, or pets are kept to a bare minimum. Never use the interview as a time to simultaneously eat a meal, do the chores, or listen to music – a phone interview must always be conducted in a calm, quiet atmosphere, without any noises that might distract you or the interviewer.   The same advice applies when preparing for a Skype interview but be also aware of what is around you and can be seen by the interviewer on their screen!

Prepare Thoroughly:

A phone interview can last anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or more depending on the interviewer’s interest in you, and you need to be ready to answer all of the same questions that you would in a face-to-face interview. It is a good idea to keep a copy of your CV and work history to hand as well as any notes you might have about the company. Also write out a list of the questions you might want to ask the recruiter and the answers to common interview questions such as what your long term career goals are. A brief list of all your most relevant work experience and professional skills is also a good written reference to have handy.

Practice :

Take the time to practice for a phone interview with family or friends in the same way you would practice for a face to face interview, but make sure that you practice over the phone. Try to make a recording of your practice sessions so that you can listen to it later and work to eliminate any unconscious errors in the responses you make, such as pausing too long before making an answer or saying “um” and “ah” repetitively.

Take it Seriously:

Your performance during a phone interview could mean all the difference between being offered a job or passed over for another candidate. When the interviewer calls, it is important to stay focused, listen carefully to the interviewer’s questions, and make sound replies. Speak in a professional and courteous tone, and take care not to interrupt the interviewer or broach personal subjects. After the interview, send the interviewer a follow-up email, thanking them for the opportunity to speak with them and re-iterating your interest in the position.

Even if you don’t have a phone interview scheduled, it is always a good idea to be prepared. With all the means employers use to find candidates these days, from specialist sales recruitment agencies to social media to job boards, you could find yourself called up for an interview before you know it.  

By following the tips above and making sure you are always ready, you stand a very good chance of getting one step closer to landing a new job.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Presenting a Professional Image on Social Networks

Social media has become a key player for both candidates and employers/recruiters in 2014.  While it is great for candidates to seek new opportunities and find out more about the companies they are interested in, it is also a tool used every day by potential employers and recruiters so be sure to present a professional image on all social media.
A recent Social Recruiting Survey completed by Jobvite shows that 93% of recruiters will review a candidate’s social profile e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook & Twitter. 55% have reconsidered a candidate based on their social profile, with 61% of those reconsiderations being negative.
Here are some key points to help you prevent sabotaging your next job prospect:

Profile Picture
Your profile picture is probably the most important part of your social profile when it comes to employers, it is the first thing they see when the land on your profile, choose something respectable and make a good first impression.

Build a Strong LinkedIn Account
Most employers will search for you on LinkedIn and will want to see that it matches up to your CV; they want to see your professional credentials so keep on top of it and show yourself in the best possible light.

Take Control of Your Privacy Settings
Adjusting your privacy settings allows you to control who can see what on your profile, you can hide certain photos and statuses for just friends and stop potential employers viewing the ‘ibiza 12’ album.

Multiple Accounts
If you’re comfortable with social networks and use it every day it may be worth setting up a professional profile as well as a personal profile, keep your professional profile open for everyone to see and your personal account for friends.

About Me
Keep your bio professional, we all have a friend on Facebook that says they work as ‘a penguin picker upper’; avoid putting things in your bio that might put an employer off and be truthful.
While an employer will never make a decision solely on your social profile it could be the difference in getting the job or not.
For further career advice go to http://www.aaronwallis.co.uk/career_tools.aspx

Written by Liam Oakes
Liam is the Recruitment Office Manager at Aaron Wallis and has been with the company for 4 years after having a career with the RAF; Liam has helped hundreds of Sales Professionals secure a new Sales role and ensures that Aaron Wallis runs smoothly.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Happiness in Work & Looking for a new Role – Sales Survey 2014

Aaron Wallis has recently undertaken the largest sales survey of its type which explores changing trends within the industry as well as a powerful insight into the minds of sales professionals.

With 62 questions answered by 726 completely anonymous sales professionals we have captured some impressive results helping us promote professional sales, raise awareness and gain a firmer understanding on how to succeed in sales teams.

To receive a full free copy of the 2014 UK Sales Survey please follow this link – 2014 UK Sales Survey Report

Smiles cost nothing

It is a well-known saying that if you love your job, you won’t have to work a day in your life. One of the essential ingredients to achieving a happy working life is to actually enjoy your job but that is hardly ever the case. When the interviewer asks the potential client whether the job is all about the money, they’re obviously going to say no although their mind is screaming yes! It seems that the majority, 7 out of 10 sales professionals, are content, happy are very happy with their chosen career which is great to see.

  • 15% opted for number 1 as they weren’t happy at work
  • 13% chose option 2 as they were somewhat happy at work
  • 23% selected 3 as they were their work.  However;
  • 27% elected 4 as they felt happy at work and;
  • 20% felt 5 was suitable as they felt very happy at work
Either sales professionals are lying about being happy at work or they genuinely do enjoy their work.  In my experience of interviewing about 600 sales professionals a year I find that nearly all, despite the obvious occasional frustration, are happy. 

Stating back to the previous statistics, 19% of the workers had been at their existing job for less than one year so perhaps the honeymoon period for their work is still there. However different things appeal to different sales professionals when looking for a new role so we asked what would be the top priority that sales professionals would look for when looking for a new role:

Just 4% wanted a better mentor to help improve their skills and direction whereas 8% looked for a better commission scheme and 17% looked for the company’s reputation. 7% saw it as achieving a greater challenge, 4% wanted greater stability and 8% wanted the change for a more improved work-life balance. Whilst 1% wanted more recognition for their work, a tremendous 23% saw it as an opportunity to progress and develop their career. Only 1% looked for a job closer to home, 13% wanted a higher basic salary and another 1% wanted a job with improved benefits. 9% felt this wasn’t applicable to them and 3% felt they had other necessities to look out for when they looked for a job. In conclusion, it appears that people are willing to better themselves to climb up that successful ladder and to get a better name and reputation for themselves.

Subsequently, having a good rapport with your boss can improve your mood and make your work-life happier and easier to cope with.

When asked what the relationship was like between the Sales Manager and the sales employee, the participants disclosed their honest answers to reveal that:

  • 20% felt their relationship with their lines manager was excellent, which allowed them to speak easily with their supervisor or feeling at ease
  • 34% perceived their relationship to be good with their line manager in the sales team
  • 16% considered their relationship to be average
  • 3% felt their relationship was below average, creating an unpleasant atmosphere in the workplace
  • 4% thought it was poor
  • 23% felt the question was not applicable

Written by Liam Oakes
Liam is the Office Manager at Aaron Wallis and has been with the company for 3 years after having a career with the RAF; Liam has helped hundreds of Sales Professionals secure a new Sales role and ensures that Aaron Wallis runs smoothly.