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Without Failure there are no Successes

Posted: 22 Dec 2016

Steve “Woz” Wozniak inspired many with his wise words at the inaugural Business Rocks today. Telling the hooked audience that through co-founding Apple, now one of the biggest tech brands in the world, he learned that without failure there are no successes. He couldn’t have said a truer word.

Something that really struck a chord with us was his playful attitude, saying “Everything you do should have an element of fun in it. Make jokes!” We couldn’t agree more, because here at MRJ fun and positivity is part of our DNA.

The first day of the tech summit was buzzing with local, national and international digital advocates and talent, and had a really refreshing, relaxed feel about it. We can’t wait to go back tomorrow to meet more amazing people and check out the inventors and innovations to come out of our region.

Well done to Jonny Cadden and the Business Rocks team!

Career Suicide? Accepting Your Counter-offer May Just Be That.......

Posted: 22 Dec 2016

I often wonder why all employers don't make the work, challenge, progression, team and environment so rewarding and exciting for their employees, that THE conversation doesn't need to take place!

In my 14th year in business as a recruiter/headhunter/business owner (I know I don't look old enough), one phrase continually sticks in my mind: "Many a dangerous temptation comes to us in fine gay colors that are but skin deep."

Why you ask?

I relate the above phrase to the world of counter offers and my hatred for them. For those who don't understand what I mean, I define a counter offer simply as an inducement from your current employer to get you to stay after you've announced your intention to take another job. Some will accept it and some won't, but in my experience and from speaking to a number of people over the years, those who accept the counter offer, as tempting as it may be, are seen as committing CAREER SUICIDE!

In my opinion, and some may disagree, but accepting a counter offer is an insult to your intelligence and a blow to your personal pride, to simply be bought at the last minute.

So why do counter offers actually occur?

Let's put ourselves in the mindset of the employer/line manager and together understand what really goes through their thoughts when someone in his/her team quits. This is the key because if we are honest with ourselves, when somebody resigns, it's a direct reflection on the employer. Unless you are a pain and a destructive team member (and there are some out there), losing one of the good guys in the team will go down like a lead balloon if you are allowed to go.

In the mind of the employer, he/she is saying to himself:

  • "This couldn't happen at a worse time."
  • "This is one of my best people. If I let him quit now, it'll wreak havoc on the morale of the department."
  • "If he/she goes now, I won't meet my targets and therefore my end of year bonus won't be paid."
  • "I'm working as hard as I can, and I don't need to do his work, too."
  • "If I lose another good employee, the company might decide to 'lose' me too."
  • "Maybe I can keep him on until I find a suitable replacement."

So what does your employer say or do? They simply play with your mind and do what has to be done to keep you from leaving until they are ready, not when you are. That's human nature.

  • "I'm really shocked. I thought you were as happy with us as we are with you. Let's discuss it before you make your final decision."
  • "I've been meaning to tell you about the great plans we have for you. But they have been confidential until now."
  • "The MD has you in mind for some exciting and expanding responsibilities."
  • "Your raise was scheduled to go into effect next quarter but we'll make it effectiveimmediately."
  • "You're going to work for whom?"

Unfortunately, it's also human nature to want to stay unless your work life is abject misery. Career changes, like all ventures into the unknown, are tough. That's why employers know they can usually keep you around by pressing the right buttons. Selfish from them I say.

So before you commit CAREER SUICIDE, what type of company do you want to work for if you have to threaten to resign before they give you what you are worth?

Please consider the following very carefully:

  • No matter what the company says when making its counter-offer, you'll always be considered a fidelity risk. Having once demonstrated your lack of loyalty (for whatever reason), you'll lose your status as a "team player" and your place in the inner circle.
  • Counter-offers are usually nothing more than stall devices to give your employer time to replace you.
  • Your reasons for wanting to leave still exist. Conditions are just made a bit more tolerable in the short-term because of the raise, promotion or promises made to keep you.
  • Counter-offers are only made in response to a threat to quit. Will you have to solicit an offer and threaten to quit every time you deserve better working conditions?
  • Decent and well-managed companies don't make counteroffers... EVER! Their policies are fair and equitable. They won't be subjected to "counter-offer coercion" or what they perceive as blackmail.

Are you ready to commit CAREER SUICIDE or are you ready to commit yourself to CAREER REWARDS?

Jody Marks, Managing Director, MRJ Recruitment


Does your CV have the X Factor?

Posted: 22 Dec 2016

The whole idea of having the 'X factor' is undeniably a cliché. In recent times we hear the X Factor phrase in many different contexts. Obviously, we all know that the phrase has become greatly associated with popular culture Television shows etc, however setting that aside, I believe that if we try to take this phrase back to its original meaning, we could all learn a few things from it.

To have the 'X Factor' could be seen as having some kind of skill or talent to such a degree that it sets you apart from all others with similar skills. The same concept can be applied when searching for employment. If you demonstrate throughout the recruitment process that you have something unique about your abilities and work ethic, you are setting a standard that ranks you above your competition.

Businesses and recruiters are always announcing that they are looking for candidates that exhibit the 'X Factor.' Despite the phrase being used so often within the employment world, it can still be difficult to know exactly what is meant by this. For example when writing the content for a CV, how do you prove that you have the X Factor?

Your CV is the first time your name and experience will be introduced to a potential employer, so there is no doubt that it needs to make an impact. But how can you make sure that your CV is going to impress?

A few things to consider when preparing your CV are:

Write for the Job you want:

If you already know what role you are interested in, then tailor your CV to express how suited you are for that role! There is no point including irrelevant information that will never benefit what you are trying to achieve. Try to think like an employer – If you were faced with a relevant and straight to the point CV or a CV that is vague and doesn't highlight the purpose of the role – which one would you choose?

Be Honest:

Make sure that everything you write is honest and based on fact. If you are successful in the CV stage and are then taken forward to interview stage, you will be asked about the experiences and skills you have stated on your CV, so make sure that you can back it all up!

Include the basics:

The basic information that you include will guide the structure of your CV. The basic details will cover all the crucial information so it is vital that you take the time to address them. For example, remember to state; contact information, a personal overview, any skills/achievements, career history/experience, education etc.


The presentation of your CV is crucial – remember to keep it simple. Unnecessary editing and images/colours can be extremely off putting for potential employers and recruiters. A CV that has a design that is over the top can be extremely distracting; after all it is your content that needs to sell your abilities not how artistic your CV is! This does not mean that you shouldn't pay attention to how your CV looks – make sure that your CV is well structured with a clear and defined layout with a professional yet simple style. A well presented CV will stand out – so make sure that you get it right!

Language and structure:

Try to take a formal tone and approach to writing your CV. It is also important to remember that in order to give your CV an overall successful feel to it, you need to keep the language, tone and style of the content professional. Remember to structure your CV so that it reads and flows easily – try to use short and straight to the point paragraphs, and bullet points to list relevant information.

Your CV is the first and one of the most important stages of the recruitment process. It is your CV that will kick start your job search and determine your success. Make sure that your CV demonstrates how great you are at what you do, as your CV is the only representation that potential employers have of you before you met them, so giving your CV the X Factor may just be what makes your job search a success!

The Best Ways to Build Your Online Personal Brand

Posted: 22 Dec 2016

If you haven’t got yourself online and presenting your best qualities and skills in front of potential employers and recruiters, then you may well be invisible. Well, invisible to those people who can help achieve your goals of landing that dream job.

You should make one of your main goals to create, share and publish exciting and interesting content and information about yourself  that will help build your personal brand. Word of warning though; if you’re involved in a ‘confidential’ job search, then take your social media activity into consideration, and remember that anything you post online can be found.

Here are six ways to do to build your online profile:

1.    Regularly ‘Google’ yourself….

Every so often, Google your name and track what results appear, and what’s being said about you. Are the results accurate and aligned with that that you desire people to know? Is there things that perhaps taint your reputation or the perception people might have of you? If you’re seeing negative results, then you need to work to create results that will boost your personal brand. Google results can change overnight, so get into the habit of regularly checking search results.

 2.    Set up Google Alerts for yourself

Google alerts is a free service, which notifies you when people are talking about something in particular. When registered, you will receive email notifications published online.

3. Claim your name

It may be worth investing in a domain name. Something like “yourname.com”… or something around that. Most people use them for websites or a personal blog. Even if you don’t actually use the URL, buy it before someone else does – you never know when and if you might use them. URL and domains can be as cheap as £5 - £10 a year!

Using a URL for all your marketing content and material is becoming a lot more common; and it’s all in one place!

 4. Create your brand email signature

As well as your contact details, it may be worth including a condensed version of your brand tagline and motto. Hyperlinks are golden, so add links and tags to your own personal blog, portfolio, and social network profiles including LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ (but only include these if you’re actively using them). Direct people to the information you want them to find!

 5. Get Social

Social media is key to building your online presence. Demonstrate that you’re a social media whizz by getting involved with a number of social networking platforms and creating communication plans around your lifestyle. There are a number of popular, global social media sites you can use to build your online profile:

The beauty of Twitter, is beyond chitchat, is that can connect you with other users, companies and networks across the world. If you’re not interacting and engaging with other users, simply retweeting and sharing tweets from potential employers and recruiters give you a benefit.

Although most people think that Facebook is just for catching up with friends’ and family’s wedding and holiday photos, employers and recruiters actually post their jobs and search for potential candidates across Facebook.

When accepting and adding members and connections from your networks, just consider the content that is visible about you; is it professional? Is it consistent with the personal brand you’re trying to build? Could it negatively impact you?

There are more than 300 million active users who may potentially view your LinkedIn profile, including those with the hiring power at your potential new workplace! LinkedIn is undoubtedly the most important social network platform for job search and career portfolio enhancement. LinkedIn may be the only way that recruiters and those involved with the hiring process find you, and not being online, could negatively impact on you.

Spend some time ensuring that you LinkedIn profile is fully complete, sufficient and consistent with your personal brand.

Wakelet is the newest online place to collect, share and present content in albums and collections called ‘Wakes.’ Simply, add links to videos, photos, articles and sites to build up Wakes that you’re interested and passionate about.

Many companies use Google+ as it is strongly favoured by Google’s search rankings and can work wonders for SEO! From a job seeker’s perspective, Google+ gives you the opportunity to create an “about” page packed with rich keywords and taglines. It connects you with circles, communities and virtually communicate using Google Hangouts.

6. Blog… in some way or another…

Google and other search engines love blogs  because it’s content and material that is constantly updated. By blogging you can share you experiences, and become and industry expert. If you keep at it, you will be more visible and become more credible. Remember to blog with caution – don’t blog anything you might regret later!


Recruiters, we’re not all that bad...

Posted: 22 Dec 2016

Bloody recruiters hey? About as highly regarded as traffic wardens, door to door salesmen & politicians - and for good reason, there are so many bad ones out there. This is not me speaking from a higher moral ground as I am not perfect myself (more on that later). It is from observations I have made and  conversations I have had at networking events.

Why the bad rep?

I think it stems from the fact I don't think many recruiters ever set out to be recruiters, they usually fall into it, myself included. I have just been fortunate in the fact I actually enjoy my job and have developed a passion for it. I certainly don't speak about all recruiters but a lot of them see it as a means to an end, and the job, to do it well, requires so much more. 

There are many corners that can be cut in recruitment, lazy candidate qualification, shoddy attempt at understanding the candidates desires and a disinterest in knowing your clients culture and needs are just a few easy ways you can cut corners. I, myself have been guilty of this in the past but I soon realised that it was not the way to do the job, especially in the long run but unfortunately too many recruiters are repeatedly drawn in by the temptation of the cut corner and they tarnish the whole reputation of an industry. 

I appreciate that there are other evils within the recruiters armoury such as cold calling and head hunting and both can be a right pain in the arse for businesses. We know this as we are also victims of this necessary evil ourselves, often taking calls asking when our gas and electricity are up for renewal or from people wondering if we want a water cooler - the answer is still no, thank you, bye. Also, about once a week I will receive a LinkedIn message or an email from another recruitment company asking whether I am open to new opportunities. It's the nature of the beast. Sometimes it's done in a professional manner sometimes it isn't.

The big sell - aaaarrrgh

Networking events, for me, are to have a good time and meet new people whether they are directly relevant in a professional capacity or not. Of course you want to enhance your own business prospects and if it happens, then great, if not then it's an opportunity to have a good time and turn some twitter profile pictures into face to face conversations. I have been to networking events where other recruiters have been told off for hard selling. Nooooo, stop it, just stop it! I am here having a beer and discussing the last two episodes of Game of Thrones with someone I had previously only had a twitter conversation with. If my work doesn't come up organically then it doesn't come up at all. 

Recruitment is a multi billion dollar industry and that is for a very good reason. We serve a very important purpose. Good recruiters will spend time that decision makers can Ill afford to find people they may well never have come across and that, to a certain extent can be invaluable. To some companies we are irrelevant and surplus to requirements and that is fine but to some our knowledge of a specific market, our painstakingly developed candidate pools and relevant contacts are essential in the maintenance and development of their company. 

It is the unprofessional, lazy corner cutters that spoil it for the rest of us recruiters. We all know bad reviews travel faster and further than good reviews. I am not perfect but I am one of the ones that is trying to do things the right way whilst breaking down the social stigma of being a recruiter. We ain't all bad y'know.

Will Jarvis

Recruitment Consultant

5 Tips for developing your Personal Brand

Posted: 22 Dec 2016

We are all aware of what a brand is. If you take a walk up the high street you would certainly spot a fair few; you could probably think of many just off the top of your head. But why is that? Why do we remember these businesses and names?

Quite simply because they force us to notice them, they make an impact and they stand out above the rest. This alone shows us how powerful branding can be, however what some of us tend to forget is that we are all in fact our own personal brand...

When you create your CV or update your LinkedIn profile, you are in fact creating and improving your own brand. Your brand is what gets you noticed by potential employers - your brand is what will get you your dream job.

If we take the branding strategy and apply the same theory to job hunting we can conclude that those with the best personal brand are going to be the ones that get noticed, so what can you do to develop your own personal brand?

  1. Think about what makes you unique! What can you do that sets you above the rest? It could be a particular skill or some fantastic experience that you have gained, whatever it is I can guarantee that you have a unique quality that makes you great at what you do and that is your selling point.
  2. Make sure your selling point is a focus in your CV. If you are actively looking for a new role you will have a CV, even in a digital age your CV is still a huge part of your personal brand, for most it is the first time a potential employer will become aware of you – so make sure you stand out! Focus on your selling points – maybe add a few lines into your personal profile that lets employers know who you are and what your brand is.
  3. Be social! Using social media has quickly become a part of everyday life and employers are no strangers to checking out candidates online profiles – and that doesn't just mean LinkedIn. A huge part of your brand comes from what you do online, so make it relevant, plus you don't need to be a digital expert, you could be a manager, a developer or programmer – you can still be influential to your industry and role. With how quickly tweets and posts can travel nowadays it has never been more important to engage with people, after all this is a fast and easy way to get noticed and get your name out there! Most importantly don't be a social media robot – be yourself and make it personal! People are there to engage with other people not generic and meaningless content!
  4. Set yourself goals. How do you want your brand to develop? Who is your brand targeting? If you are looking for a career move then your target audience may well be potential employers or recruiters, however that isn't the only reason your personal brand will be important. Maybe your goal is to become an influence in your industry or to continue to grow a network you have already established? Either way, setting clear goals for your brand can be key to development. Ask yourself, where you would like to be in the next 6-12 months and plan what your steps will be to reach this goal.
  5. Be honest and genuine! The best advice you could receive to develop your brand is to be honest. If people trust in your brand, they will trust in you as a person. Sharing genuine knowledge and advice with those that take an interest in your personal brand is the most positive way to develop. People value a transparent and honest influencer so make sure that you can demonstrate that you share those values.

Personal branding can be essential not just for your job search but for your career in general. You can always create opportunities to develop and grow your personal brand as long as you remain consistently committed and genuine. A crucial point to remember about your personal brand is to add value to your industry and form a positive influence – let people get to know your brand in the best way you possibly can.


MRJ Recruitment

Queens Chambers, 5 John Dalton Street, Manchester, M2 6ET