On Tuesday the #YPNetwork had a Masterclass from global recruiters from the Willis Group, a leading global risk advisor, insurance and reinsurance broker. Cat Gault and Lisa O’Brien shared expert tips on how to stand out amongst colleagues and external candidates.

Want a Promotion? Then you’ve got to ask for it!  Utilise one to ones with your manager to discuss growth in your role and opportunities to take on extra responsibilities and what extra you can do to be considered for promotion

Tailor your CVs and applications to the Job Description – Whether applying for an internal or external opportunity you still need to make the effort to tailor your applications and make sure you include everything you have done. Especially taking note of responsibilities and providing relevant examples, but do not worry if you don’t have all the skills they are asking for:

A good employer would take someone on who meets 6/7 key areas on the job description not all 10 as they want you to grow and develop in to the role. 

– Lisa

Make yourself exciting – as well as having a great CV with lots of professional achievements make sure you think about your personality and whether that fits with the company. Add in extra-curricular interests and activities such as training for and completing sports challenges. Also add your professional memberships and attendance at any events, conferences and talks. Taking interest in your professional and personal development is very appealing to employers.

Prepare for the Interview – practice, practice, practice! Keep your nerves under control by being as prepared as possible by looking at the Job Description and predicting what questions they are going to ask and preparing your STAR examples. Also don’t forget to do your research on the company – their values, company news and their industry movements and competitors

Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses  – Not only is it good to be self-aware and know your strengths and development areas it is also a classic interview question!

One example I use for a ‘weakness’ is that I often commit to doing too much which can get me stressed, now that I am aware of this I make sure I have coping strategies in place and think about my capacity to do things before saying yes. The key when talking about weaknesses is to make sure you talk about the positive action you take and that is does not affect your work.

– Cat

Take control of the interview – remember that this is a two way process and you should be asking questions to make sure the role is right for you and there is progression within the role. Taking a note pad in with some prepared questions around the role and company is a good idea. Keep it professional and positive and they will be impressed with your drive and enthusiasm.

Negotiating your salary – again preparation is key, have a salary in mind that you want and then pitch slightly higher so you have room for negotiation. If you are unsure what salary is reasonable then Cat and Lisa recommend researching the ‘market rate’ for your role to use as a ball mark, recruitment agencies and career coaches can also advise and help and Hays produce salary guides you can refer to. If they cannot match the salary you want then you may be able to negotiate on other areas such as they pay for qualifications, professional memberships etc. Think about the long game.

Act quickly– Final recommendations from Cat and Lisa were to act quickly, there can be very tight timeframes for some roles and if they get high demand then the applications can close early. Make sure you are ready to spring in to action by having a ready CV and keeping your eyes peeled for opportunities. You snooze you lose!


Find out more about Willis Holding Group plc visit their website:  http://www.willis.com/

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