6 smart tips for when quitting your job

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Most people will quit their job at some point in their careers – and often more than once. It can be both scary and exciting, but making big career choices can be difficult.

Quitting can be tied to unhappiness or lack of progression, which in turn can be associated with anger. BUT – don’t make a rash decision that you may ultimately regret.

It’s important to move for the right reasons and to move smartly. Here’s our top 6 tips when considering a career move:

Be prepared

It’s likely you won’t want to quit if you’re not 100% sure that your new position is going to start when you think it will. Be prepared to make a back-up plan, just in case the deal with your new employer doesn’t materialise. It’s very rare for this to happen, but we have seen people give their notice in before contracts are signed – and then find out that the unthinkable happens.

Job deals can ultimately be canned at the last minute. Sometime this is due to lack of funds or a downturn in business, however they can be withdrawn if you aren’t legally allowed to do the job you’ve accepted (e.g. through non-solicitation clauses, or even credit checks). Be sure to have your new job offer in writing, ideally including contracts. This way you will have more safety if your offer is rescinded.

Have some savings

If you're living paycheck-to-paycheck, it may hard to outright quit your job and financially survive until you secure your next position.

We’d suggest having at least 2 months of expenses in your accounts before you quit altogether (if not more). This will give you a good buffer to survive on whilst you are waiting for your new salary slip.

Give plenty of notice

Whilst four weeks / one month’s notice is standard and expected in most professions, the more time a departing employee can give, the better. This will help your company enable a smooth transition and will reflect well on your character.

Which brings us to:

Tell your line manager first and never burn a bridge

It’s a good idea to mention to your immediate boss that you are thinking of leaving, before formally informing your company in writing.

This will give them more time to prepare for your replacement and again will help with any future relationship you might have with your former company or line manager. It’s easy to think that you may never have anything to do with your incumbent boss ever again – but it’s surprising how often you might cross paths again in time.

Be direct, but diplomatic

When you quit a job, it's usually because there's a better opportunity for you out there. But if you are leaving because you’re unhappy, this can be more difficult to explain to your outgoing line manager.

Be direct and honest about your unhappiness, but stay away from criticism. This change is ultimately about you, so it’s important to remain positive.

Don’t slack off

It might feel fruitless, but the sensible advice is to keep working hard and avoid coasting for your remaining days in the office.

Step up your game if you can and leave no doubt that you are an exceptional employee. Don’t leave any baggage and finish on the up. This should leave you with a fresh outlook when you start your brand new dream job.

Top 5 recruiting tips for SMEs

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It’s likely that virtually all hiring managers have had a similar problem at some point in their careers: attracting the perfect candidate for a new job vacancy that they are desperate to fill. This challenge can be exacerbated for those at smaller companies, who may find that they are losing out to bigger brand names when looking for the best talent.

For the majority of people looking for a new job, it’s expected that they’ll want to work for a business they’ve heard of. This is because, ultimately, people need job security. And bigger companies are perceived to be more secure than smaller ones.

However, there are lots of people out there who would prefer to work for a smaller business, and not just because of it might be less ‘corporate.’

Here’s our five top tips for attracting (and retaining) the people you need in your business:

1. Find out what the going rate is for the position and match it.

It might sound like a simple tip, but a common mistake that small businesses often make when creating a position, is to base the salary on their budget, rather than on the market. If you want the best people, they are almost guaranteed to chase the best salaries. So, make sure the salary you are offering is going to be enticing to potential applicants.

2. Offer an employee benefit program.

It’s surprising how often candidates will have multiple job offers on the table at the same time – especially if they are experts in a niche industry. In these times, an employee benefit program can move from a candidate’s wish list to their necessity list. Core employee benefits such as medical, dental and life insurance can really make your business attractive to a job hunter, particularly if your competitor isn’t offering the same deal.

3. Be creative with your perks.

Employees are usually just as concerned about the quality of their work life as they are about the amount of money they receive each month.

As a small business, you may not be able to offer the perks that larger companies can – but you may be able to offer decent alternatives. E.g. where a big corporate is offering an on-site gym, could you offer local gym membership?

4. Offer employees progression.

Most employees aren't looking for jobs where they’ll do the same thing for the next thirty years. They're looking for positions that offer opportunities for advancement.

Are you offering staff training programs? Or a clear pathway to progression and higher earnings? Whatever it is, in terms of attracting employees, be sure to get the future possibilities on the table.

5. Widen the scope of your advertising.

The days of placing a small job ad in a newspaper are long gone. You’ll receive a better response to your advert if it’s visible in more places. Recruiters such as ourselves can help do this for you, but if you don’t want to use a recruiter, it’s vital that you make an investment to advertise on large job boards and consider advertising on social platforms such as LinkedIn.

If you’d like to hear more, email Dan Heathcote at dan.heathcote@esa-group.co.uk.

ESA Group have relocated to Edgbaston due to expansion

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ESA Group has completed its office relocation to Edgbaston, adjacent to the Five Ways in the city centre.

ESA Group, formerly Edward Samuel Associates, implemented the relocation after outgrowing its former head office at One Victoria Square, opposite Birmingham’s town hall due to continued new client wins. The company’s turnover increased by 30% year on year in 2016.

To meet its burgeoning need for more space, the business looked for modern, spacious premises that could meet the needs of its expanding number of staff.

The firm has now settled on new offices in Calthorpe Road, Edgbaston.

Director, Dan Heathcote said: “The business has grown every year since 2012 and with the last twelve months being no exception, we simply ran out of room at our previous location to house our ever-increasing team of recruitment specialists.

“We are extremely pleased to have moved into our recently refurbished office, just off Five Ways. The new premises gives us greater opportunity to provide more parking for our staff and visitors, whilst still being in walking distance of the city centre. 

 “Our new office is easily accessible and offers a comfortable welcome for all of our clients and candidates. In addition, we’ve introduced a well-appointed lounge area, which includes a sofa, refrigerator, and fresh fruit every day.”

ESA Group specialises in marketing, human resources, technology and sales roles across the Midlands and plans to add another five staff to its workforce in the next six to twelve months.

Dan Heathcote concluded: “It’s a particularly exciting time to be in Birmingham at the moment, with the number of companies in the city growing faster than any other UK destination. ESA Group are therefore well placed to be able to service new and existing enterprises, who are looking to hire more staff.

“We are now looking forward to being part of the business community in Edgbaston. The additional capacity of the new office will offer us room to grow in to the future, as we look to capitalise on the successes achieved last year.”

How your personal brand can help you climb the career ladder

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A strong brand is crucial to any business, but how important is it to brand yourself? Does it matter what kind of content you are posting online?

If you want to climb the career ladder, it’s crucial to create a polished brand - without one, you might find yourself struggling to progress or change jobs. You could even find yourself without a job at all if you’re not careful about the content you post online.

So, what can you do to keep your online image in check?

Be consistent and be yourself

One of the most important steps in maintaining your personal brand is to stay consistent. Any tweet or content you write online could potentially stay in the digital world forever. This means that any time you post an update on social media or interact with an audience, think about the message you are trying to convey. Keeping your personal brand consistent will help others to recognise you.

Actively promote yourself

It’s unlikely that if you write an article or start a blog you’ll acquire an immediate audience. You’ll need to actively promote yourself through all your channels to help spread the word. If your content is uploaded online, think about all the different avenues you can use to share it. Social media is an obvious one – but could you consider adding a video or vlog to the post to achieve a wider reach?

Similarly, if you want people to interact with you, it might be wise to interact with them too. Could you write a guest blog for a larger brand or join a relevant online community?

Google yourself

One of the most important steps to refining your personal brand: - Checking your online reputation through a simple Google search.

According to various sources, around 70-80% of hiring managers will Google you or check your social media profiles at some point during an interview process. Therefore, if there’s any negative information to be found, it could damage your chances of being successful.

Take time to search your name on Google and see what information is out there already. And yes, that could include really old but embarrassing information you may have forgotten about - MySpace anyone?

Check your privacy settings

It’s likely that you won’t be putting the same content on Facebook that you do on LinkedIn, and vice versa. However, if you’re privacy setting aren’t up to date, you may find that employers will find photos of you on the town, rather than your corporate headshot.

Get to know the ins and outs of the privacy settings on each of your social media profiles, and be sure to stay up-to-date on any privacy policy changes announced by the platforms you use.

Make valuable connections

It's important to promote yourself, but it's just as important to promote others. One of the best ways to connect with people and establish your personal brand authority is to recognise the work of peers in your community or industry. Whilst it might seem odd to promote others, rather than yourself, sharing the content of others can help you form deeper relationships.

If you do find something negative online, but can’t delete it, you can at least ask Google to remove it from search results. Use the link below for more information:

https://support.google.com/websearch/troubleshooter/3111061?hl=en

Your job descriptions could be hurting your hiring pipeline

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Finding great people is a top concern for businesses across the Midlands. Waheed Nazir, Birmingham City Council’s strategic director, recently cited that the one thing that keeps him awake at night, is the lack of necessary skills that could potentially stop the city’s firms from growing.

In most industries, it’s therefore crucial that businesses hire (and keep hold of) the talent they need to expand and develop.

Yet for all the worrying about keeping a high-quality candidate pipeline, many of us are making the similar mistakes: Writing job descriptions that turn off a large percentage of the candidate pool.

With that in mind, here are four areas to look at:

Use caution with qualifications

The qualifications section of a job description tends be treated as a wish list: everything that would be “nice to have” gets thrown in. Why not? Setting a high bar for talent is good, right? Won’t making it tough to qualify ensure we find the best candidates?

Unfortunately, not all the time. Even though there might be wiggle room on qualifications (unless you’re a doctor / lawyer etc) that’s not always how candidates interpret it, particularly women. While men apply for a job when they meet 60% of the qualifications, women tend to apply only when they meet 100%.

Therefore, a long list of ‘must haves’ will actually deter female candidates from applying. Problem!

Also, watch out for one word in particular – ‘expert’. Some candidates will consider themselves experts, but many qualified, talented candidates won’t identify with that descriptor, or might even be intimidated by it. Do you really require an inbound marketing expert or do you require someone who has the potential to become an inbound marketing expert? Importantly, what is an ‘expert’ anyway?

Check for gendered language

Gender also plays a big role in how language is interpreted in job descriptions. Certain words and phrases resonate with men more than women, and vice versa.

Many people write job descriptions as they would talk, and normally that’s a good thing, but not when it comes to job descriptions. Phrases and jargon like “killer business instinct” might feel fun and colourful, but they send subtle messages to the applicant about the kind of team they are signing up for.

Highlight benefits for all ages

Annual trips to Vegas might be a dream come true for a 20-something graduate, but when you’re starting or growing a family, paternal leave and healthcare are probably a lot more important at work than boozy nights out.

Be careful when highlighting “shiny” perks. You may be missing the opportunity to connect with candidates who bring years of experience to the table, as well as recent university leavers.

Watch out for corporate-speak

Insider language is a quick way to make someone else feel like an outsider, but if you’re not careful, acronyms and jargon will inevitably creep into your job descriptions. Job seekers reading descriptions are usually still in research mode, so feeling like they don’t speak the language of a company makes it easier for them to cross that company off their list.

It’s understandable that you’ll want to put some candidates off applying, particularly if the quality of CVs coming through your door is generally low – but by putting yourself in your candidate’s shoes and taking the time to reflect on your job descriptions, you’ll inevitably enable more of the most talented individuals to click that submit button to apply.

5 tips to engage your audience when presenting

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Presentations are a common part of business, whether internally or as part of a pitch. Usually, this can evoke the thought of dread between staff – sitting through an endless series of PowerPoint slides can even drive a few people to sleep.

So, how do you make presentations land? And why do speakers frequently face tuned-out listeners, who are too busy checking their phones and watches to pay attention to the important information being conveyed?

With a combination of powerful data and the right messaging strategy, you can hold your audience's attention and make your business presentations a success. Follow these five tips to keep all eyes and ears on you:

Know your strengths

Before you start preparing, take the time to reflect on your personal style of presenting. If you’re not an overtly funny or bubbly person, it’s advisable to stay clear of forced humour and over-enthusiasm. Work out your particular strengths and capitalise on them.

Tell a story

Statistics and facts are important to any presentation, but without a good story behind them, the charts and tables you painstakingly created will mean nothing to your audience.

Using a story is a great way to make an audience receptive to the content - but don't tell stories just for the sake of telling them: Make sure they have a point. A confusing story will only lead to a disengaged audience.

Most importantly, don't just read off of your slides. Your presentation should support the slides, not the other way around.

Be aware of your body language

Nerves can be a real problem if you’re speaking in front of a large audience. Particularly if you’re not used to being the centre of attention. But, remaining calm and in control of your body movements and tone of voice is imperative to establishing yourself as a strong presenter.

Try and look people in the eye, keep smiling and don’t be afraid to use your hands to express yourself - or even move around a little. Being natural instead of stiff can transfer through to your voice. If you’re standing rigid, chances are your voice will be stiff and monotone too,.

Let the situation guide you

Every presentation will be different, and as such, it’s wise to tailor yours towards each situation. If you’re in front of a small audience, who know your topic and who know you, it will be a lot easier to connect than if you’re presenting in front of 200 people, who are coming in cold.

Have a think about your presentation goals and what you’re trying to achieve. Is there an opportunity to have dialogue with your audience, or is there only likely to be a chance for a monologue? The success or failure of your presentation will depend on how well you can adapt.

Practice, practice, practice

They say that practice makes perfect, and this is especially true for presentations. Before you go up in front of the audience, go over the data you're presenting and the notes you've written. If possible, test out the technology you'll be using to make sure it works. Rehearse your speech in front of a test audience, and ask for feedback. The more prepared you are, the more likely you are to gracefully handle any unexpected hiccups, tangents or audience questions.

Finally, whether you're giving a guest lecture at a convention or just presenting some company data, remember to be passionate about it. If you’re not interested, your audience won’t be either.