Top tips for hiring a great team

Hiring a team is easy, but hiring a great team is a little harder. This is because many hiring managers choose a group of similar people who clash with each other, or they fail to hire people with a wide range of completely different skills. This can affect the workflow and the mood in the office, and over time it can lead to employees quitting their jobs or creating challenges for other team members.

If you want to make sure that you hire a great team who work well together and get the job done, don’t worry. Here are some top tips to help you hire the perfect team.

Plan Your Recruitment Strategy

This is essential. You need to devise an in-depth plan with a comprehensive job description drawn up in collaboration with all stakeholders. It is important that everyone involved is bought into this process. Getting this input is essential so that you can identify the skills, experience and crucially the personal traits required to succeed in your organisation. You also need to identify the correct channels to identify where to source the ideal candidate from. Posting the role on your website and job boards is unlikely to deliver the desired result. Utilising social media channels (particularly LinkedIn) is now essential. For specialist roles and highly confidential positions consider using a specialist headhunter with in-depth market knowledge.

Devise a robust onboarding process

Once you have identified and secured the ideal candidate for your team it is critical that you start off on the right foot. The first 90 days particularly are critical to ensure that new employees feel that they have made the right decision.  You need to make sure that they are onboarded in a structured manner and crucially that they understand their role in the team and how the team can support them. Draw up a a structured plan that can be used when all new staff join which quickly gets them up to speed and makes them feel valued and integral to your success.

Focus On Creating A Positive Culture

Your team will need managers and leaders, and it is important that those tasked with leadership understand how to create a positive working culture since they will be responsible for implementing it.

Choose People Who Get Along

If you are hiring people who have to work in a team with each other, they obviously need to have great communication skills but they also need patience, diplomacy and sometimes a thick skin! Ideally avoid hiring people who are very insular and prefer to work alone as they may disrupt the balance in the team. Over time this can lead to resentment and increased attrition rates.

Look For Soft Skills

Many hiring managers focus on core competencies for their teams, such as IT skills, coding skills and other role-specific skills. Important as these may be, it is essential that you hire people who have strong soft skills, such as communication and goal setting skills. These people will help the team to gel together, and if issues do arise, they will invariably be instrumental in resolving them.

Compare

Clearly, you will need to hire new people for entry-level roles, but if you are hiring someone to fill a senior position in the team it is often best to make a comparison between external and internal candidates. This is because you can identify those who already fit in with the company values, and you know that they are passionate about the team. Benchmarking external candidates with those superstar employees will either validate you decision to hire externally or make you realise that you have the ideal candidate under your nose.

Athena Executive Search specialise in recruiting senior leadership positions in the Print and Packaging sectors across Europe. For access to more articles on industry topics, recruitment and retention strategies, and our upcoming webinar series with industry thought leaders please subscribe here: https://athena50147.activehosted.com/f/1 

 

How to attract passive candidates

One of the main pressures bearing down on Print and Packaging organisations around the world is satisfying the constant demand for talented staff. It’s unrealistic to expect the most talented candidates to be looking for a new role at the same time you are hiring. Often the most talented candidates are happily engaged in employment elsewhere.

We call these candidates “passive candidates”. A passive candidate is someone who is employed and not looking to change their job, but who may be open to being approached. Approximately 45 percent of the current workforce are considered passive candidates who are happy to have discussions – with the right people. Let’s examine the most effective methods of attracting passive candidates.

…it’s who you know

Using an in-house employee referral programme is one of the most effective methods of recruiting passive candidates. An employee referral programme also increases in-house talent retention, because existing staff are actively promoting the company to friends, family and networking contacts. Passive candidates respond well to referral programmes, in no small part due to the credibility of their in-house contact. Also find a good specialist recruiter who knows your sector and has a good network. They will be an invaluable source of passive candidates if they have authority in their marketplace and will give you access to the very best passive candidates.

Strong branding

One of the first things approached passive candidates will do is Google your organisation and look you up on social media. Make sure your recruitment page is up to date, easy to navigate and shares the strength of your branding and company culture. Your recruitment page also needs a clear call to action, and your current career opportunities must be easily visible. Remember, talented candidates are looking for more than an attractive remuneration package. They’re looking for a company they connect with. Updating your social media feeds with information about company culture and branding creates a dynamic landing platform for the passive candidate when they look you up.

Trust is everything

Professional discretion and rock solid reliability will ensure a passive candidate discusses their possibilities with you in greater depth and detail. It can be stressful discussing a possible – and unexpected – new career opportunity. Make it clear to your candidate up front that you’ll never ring or email using their current work contact details, and you are of course happy to meet and interview outside normal working hours.

Network, network, network

A clever on-going, strategy is to ensure that you attend networking events and build up a steady stream of passive candidate contacts, to be used at a later date. It’s good policy to network whether you are recruiting for a particular role or not. If you use networking as a long range plan of action you build contacts slowly and establish trust with each of your candidates. Professional networking sites such as LinkedIn are a great way to stay in touch.

Know your candidates

When you find an ideal passive candidate, make sure you do your homework. Taking the time to research a candidate properly is worth its weight in gold. It’s extremely flattering for a passive candidate to be approached, particularly with some visible progress already made into understanding their current circumstances.

First impressions are powerful. If you want to win the war for talent in the Print and Packaging sectors, carefully thought out strategies such as these make all the difference.

Athena Executive Search. If you are serious about attracting and retaining the best talent in the Print and Packaging sectors Athena can help. Our 7 Step Recruiting System is designed to ensure that you can recruit and retain the top 15% of candidates in the Print and Packaging market, candidates who are motivated by much more than money. We work in partnership with our clients to fully understand their requirements and ensure that newly recruited staff are joining for the right reasons and looking to develop a long-term career.

Book in for a Client Discovery Call today by clicking on this link https://athena-executive.acuityscheduling.com/

Optimising ROI from your new hires

 

As the global war for talent intensifies, the pressure is on for companies to obtain the best possible results from new hires. Investing in a clearly-defined set of processes for new employees creates a positive employee experience which encourages loyalty and the organisation protects itself from losing talented team players to competitors.

Commit to employee onboarding

Introduce your new hires via a series of induction processes, collectively known as “onboarding”. If you implement a positive onboarding process, you are more likely to retain 60 percent of all new hires for longer than three years. The numbers speak for themselves; there are substantial benefits to be had.

Celebrate your culture

The most effective onboarding processes focus on organisational culture, behaviour and knowledge, with special attention also given to expected performance. The results are remarkable: faster adjustment to working environment, increased productivity and targets reached within a shorter period of time. Everything you want your new hire to do. The best onboarding programmes from companies such as Google and Facebook tailor these strategies to the business’ ethos and personality in an engaging, original way.

Embrace structure

Giving new hires specific detail attracts positive results. For example, don’t say that your company values providing clients with a prompt reply; rather, if the expectation is for all employees to respond to client emails within one hour, say precisely this. The more structured and specific you are, the more supported new hires feel. If new hires feel supported they will be more productive.

Engage and inspire

Introduce new starters through an engaging new starter manual telling your company story and providing the details a newcomer needs to know about your company in order to feel part of the team. Details such as company-specific acronyms, key locations and dates as well as showcasing social functions, groups, reward programs and available training all help a new starter to settle in. Providing detailed insight into company culture goes a long way.

Have you remembered the why?

Training is an integral part of successful onboarding programmes – if it’s administered correctly. Combine teaching new employees how to do their job with why it needs to be done in a particular way, thereby making the process far more intuitive.

Mentors

Pairing new starters with a mentor is an effective strategy to reinforce new starter training, offer continued support and encourage relationship building within the team. Effective mentoring encourages the new starter to feel comfortable providing feedback about their experience.

Recipe for success

Immerse new starters in your onboarding processes in the first week. The secret is to tailor these processes insofar as is possible to your company ethos. When in doubt, allow innovators such as Google and its “Noogler” baseball caps for new starters, to inspire you.

The best onboarding programmes encourage new starters to feel valued, welcome and a key part of a successful team. In return, new starters are engaged, productive and keen to achieve. Just what your business needs to succeed.

Athena Executive Search. If you are serious about optimising the ROI  from your new hires in the Print and Packaging sectors Athena can help. Our 7 Step Recruiting System is designed to ensure that you can recruit and retain the top 15% of candidates in the Print and Packaging market, candidates who are motivated by much more than money. We work in partnership with our clients to fully understand their requirements and ensure that newly recruited staff are joining for the right reasons and looking to develop a long-term career.

Book in for a Client Discovery Call today by clicking on this link https://athena-executive.acuityscheduling.com/

Why changing jobs is often your best option

The concept of successful careers on a single track over a dedicated 25 year period is now largely regarded as myth. Today’s primary rule for success is to step outside your comfort zone. If you want a purpose-driven and successful career in which you actively participate, you will need to know when to take a calculated risk. Let’s examine the reasons why changing your employer breeds professional success – if you know what you’re doing.

Think. Don’t panic.

We understand you’ll come across organisations which do not hire candidates with a track record of shorter term roles; some companies include tenures as long as two to three years in their hiring rules. Consider the cautious culture behind this policy. Is this a culture in which you believe you can flourish? This example of strategic thinking encourages you to take into account a company’s philosophy and personality and ask yourself: is it the right environment for you?

Tunnel vision be gone

Every committed employee, regardless as to their pay bracket, knows the feeling of disappearing inside an organisation’s world. It’s easy to lose sight of the rest of the industry as you settle into your company’s working environment. Try and keep an eye on what’s going on across the industry, particularly in leadership roles. When you change roles, you reconnect with your industry – and the global big picture.

Can they give you what you need?

In scouting for a new professional home, ask yourself what the company is doing. What’s their growth rate? It’s important – and healthy – to evaluate your potential employer. You want to be as certain as you can be that they can match your development needs as closely as possible. Changing roles encourages this style of leadership thinking: evaluating a challenge with clarity and asking important questions.

By continuing to explore your industry beyond your current working environment, you continue to develop and grow, all the while refining your leadership skills.

You’re worth it

The challenge of establishing your value with your employer is one that enriches all of us. For some, the process is a leap outside their comfort zone. Your ability to embrace the exploration of new horizons over potential professional stagnation will drive the career satisfaction you seek. In taking an active role in establishing your professional worth, you become ever more adept at negotiating value. This is a crucial skill for every successful leader to have at their disposal.

No guarantees

The contemporary workplace values skilled, experienced workers who think outside the box to keep pace with the ever-evolving digital landscape. The modern workplace is a vibrant, transitory environment focused on attracting talented team players. No employer today can guarantee you job security for life. Consider how you are going to remain – or even become – a relevant, dynamic and empowered voice in your industry.

In considering your position in the trajectory of your career, you’ll orientate yourself more accurately if you determine what you have contributed. Clarity and understanding around your contribution reveals a great deal about where you are going professionally. A role in which you are complacent and mechanically performing functions is a job. A role where you negotiate, strategise and challenge yourself is a career.

Athena Executive Search specialise in recruiting senior leadership positions in the Print and Packaging sectors across Europe. Please get in touch if you are contemplating a career move or looking to recruit. For access to more articles on industry topics, recruitment and retention strategies, and our upcoming webinar series with industry thought leaders please subscribe here: https://athena50147.activehosted.com/f/1

Are you listening to your team? You really should be

One of the biggest misconceptions we have about communication is that listening is a passive activity. How many times have we heard someone say, or said ourselves, “I’ll come along to the meeting, but I’ll just listen”? We understand listening is an essential quality of leadership, but most of us don’t know how to listen effectively.

In a marketplace where there is a global war for talent, it’s crucial for organisations to have strong leadership. One of the biggest motivations for team members to resign is because they do not feel heard, appreciated or understood. Here are some of the biggest management blind spots when listening to staff and how to easily fix these issues.

Did you know?

When someone is talking with you face to face about their attitudes or emotions, research shows the most dominant form of communication is non-verbal. Words account for 7%, tone of voice 38% and body language a whopping 55%. While we may consider discussing attitudes or emotions to fall outside of mainstream professional communication, the reality is most one-on-one chats instigated by staff indicate attitude or emotion at the core of what they are saying. Feelings of being overwhelmed are extremely common.

It’s the same, but different

On the surface, nothing much has changed about professional hierarchy structure. Much, however, has changed beneath the surface. Dissatisfied, frustrated employees cite not being heard as a major motivator to look for a new job. Companies need leaders to recognise the importance of caring for their team in order that the business may flourish and succeed. The powerful act of listening transforms workplace culture, creating a harmonious environment, greater respect between team members, increased productivity and employees going above and beyond to deliver results. Focus is undiluted, office atmosphere is calmer, and there are fewer misunderstandings and errors. All because people feel heard.

Listening demands focus

Today’s lifestyle both in and out of the office is distracted, fragmented and dominated by technology. When you give an employee your full attention and time, they feel empowered. Give them the time and space they need to say what they need to say. Be careful not to interrupt or “help” them as they express themselves. Avoid the temptation to fix. Instead, give the person the opportunity and experience of being heard first and foremost. Just this simple act of listening to what someone has to say is effective and empowering. If you cannot contain yourself, don’t interrupt with a statement. Ask if you can offer suggestions.

Another positive way of reinforcing that you have heard what someone has said is asking questions to clarify what they are saying. Again, don’t interrupt, but wait for a pause. When the employee has finished speaking, let them know what you understand from what they have said, then ask if you have understood correctly.

Encourage your team to listen to each other

Listening means waiting before adding any thoughts to what is being said. Take this learning to your team and encourage them to listen to each other. As always lead by example. Creating authentic working relationships built on trust encourages loyalty – we could all do with more of that. Make listening a priority and your team will thank you.

Athena Executive Search specialise in recruiting senior leadership positions in the Print and Packaging sectors across Europe. We promise to listen to the issues you face in your business – hopefully we can help. For access to more articles on industry topics, recruitment and retention strategies, and our upcoming webinar series with industry thought leaders please subscribe here: https://athena50147.activehosted.com/f/1

 

What are the secrets of great leadership?

Great leadership depends upon our level of self-awareness, our willingness to learn and our acceptance that our actions and attitude influence everyone around us. When we assume a leadership role, all of our behaviour counts. Our ability to recognise and develop the qualities we naturally possess and a willingness to develop and improve upon those we don’t is what separates ordinary leaders from the great.

Collaborate and congratulate

Work with your staff, not above them. Avoid using your position as leader as the driving influence behind getting things done. Treat your staff as colleagues rather than minions and they will feel empowered to share their ideas. It costs you nothing to smile and greet staff as you go about your day. This essential courtesy practised consistently, transforms office culture. Support your team by listening to them, congratulating and thanking them for their dedication and effort.

A great leader listens; they never assume they are the most intelligent person in the room merely because of their job title. And indeed they rarely are.

Authentic, human and humble

You want your staff to succeed. You’re happy to take a backseat and give them their moment, and the recognition and rewards they deserve. You know your team, which is reinforced as you say hello as you pass each other in the hall. You do not pry; you are aware that Tom is coaching his son for his GCSE exams, and Martha is training for the marathon. You acknowledge that staff have lives and interests outside work. Your team feels valued and genuinely cared for. With the global war for talent, authentic relationships make all the difference.

A great leader enjoys a balanced lifestyle. They work hard and take their time away from work seriously too. Whether its active involvement with the family or indulging in a favourite hobby, they know they make better leadership decisions if they are not over saturated with the pressures of the job.

Creative, confidence and focused

Your team knows you’re friendly, courteous and set a consistent example of acceptable behaviour. They also know you’re not easily fooled or manipulated. You navigate your team towards company goals and your team know they are in expert hands, no matter what the circumstances. Of course, there will be those days where everything appears to go wrong. On those days, you remain calm and exude confidence. It’s your job to keep the ship on course – and your team is led by your attitude and behaviour as much as they are by your direction. Your communication style is clear; your team understands what is expected. Do not hesitate to weed out under performing staff who cannot keep up. Timing is crucial; don’t wait.

A great leader thinks creatively. Part of this creative thinking is knowing the difference between what is right and what is easy. A level head and strong sense of perspective focused on company goals get the job done. Throughout it all your team seeks guidance from you. Where do you go for your inspiration? It’s important you have a healthy perspective on your past experience to draw from, in addition to seeking out your own mentors’ wisdom to guide you.

Athena Executive Search specialise in recruiting senior leadership positions in the Print and Packaging sectors across Europe. For access to more articles on industry topics, recruitment and retention strategies, and our upcoming webinar series with industry thought leaders please subscribe here: https://athena50147.activehosted.com/f/1

Counter offers – the truth

 

Most of us know the hard and fast rule: never accept a counter offer. We may also be aware of the statistic warning us that 80 percent of those who accept a counter offer will leave the company within six months. But do we understand why? We explore the simple truths waiting to be discovered beneath the thin veneer of flattery that is the counter offer.

The journey to leave

If your current employer is going to make a counter offer, it will be at the point at which you have been through the process of finding and committing to another job. It’s safe to say at this stage of your career that you understand the challenging questions that you must ask yourself in making a decision that works for you and your career. The process of deciding to leave an organisation is never straightforward, even when your circumstances seem black and white. Your journey to leave was peppered with pros and cons, and culminated in a clear understanding as to why a new job is the answer for you. You have explored every avenue to double and triple check that there is no way forward in your current role. You’ve done your homework and made your choice.

If only…

Receiving a counter offer can feel confusing. It may even feel flattering to receive an offer, often generous, and glowing praise to entice you to stay. Don’t be fooled. Be flattered, allow yourself that, but don’t be fooled. See the situation for what it is, not what you wish it could be. There is a crucial difference between these two trains of thought. One is grounded and pragmatic. The latter is a final attempt at fixing what you have already decided cannot be fixed.

Coulda, woulda, shoulda

The harsh truth is, any employer whose first response to your resignation is to throw money at the situation, is not looking after your best interests. It’s too little, too late. You may want to believe that they have your best interests at heart, in addition to the best interests of the company, but this is highly unlikely. Here’s why. Just as annual appraisal conversations shouldn’t hold any surprises for either party if you’re working properly together, a reactive counter offer highlights everything that isn’t working about your relationship with this company.

Play your cards

After careful consideration, you chose to leave. Why would an offer of money change your mind? The truth is, if you were unhappy with your remuneration package, or the hours you were working, or the length of your commute, or the monotony of your workload, you would have negotiated a better situation for yourself. You chose not to. You committed yourself elsewhere, and that process was hard work. You evaluated your situation carefully. You have found a better environment more suited to your needs. Do not be dazzled by offers of money at the eleventh hour. The underlying truth to a counter offer is that your current organisation is faced with having to replace you. And they don’t want to do that.

Leaving a company is a commitment to yourself and your career. Don’t give up: stay true to the decisions you have made and go for it.

Athena Executive Search specialise in recruiting senior leadership positions in the Print and Packaging sectors across Europe. For access to more articles on industry topics, recruitment and retention strategies, and our upcoming webinar series with industry thought leaders please subscribe here: https://athena50147.activehosted.com/f/1

 

Why your CV is probably being ignored

 

The print and packaging job market has always been a competitive environment. Not only are we competing with other applicants for a role, we are also competing for attention. Employers (and recruiters) seek candidates focused on their career, not someone merely going through the motions of looking for another job. Here are the simple mistakes holding you back, and straightforward feedback as to why your CV isn’t commanding interviews.

All or nothing

Finding a job is a serious business. Often we start too small and stay there, then wonder why the phone isn’t ringing. By ‘small’ we mean unfocused. Little things give you away. Phrases such as “I’m putting feelers out”, casual coffee chats with industry contacts “to see what’s out there”, or sending out your CV to “see what happens”. This casual tone leaks into your CV and covering letter. Would you hire a distracted manager to run one of your talented teams?

There’s a reason we call the process job ‘hunting’. The search for your next role requires focused commitment and an investment of your time. To modify the famous RAF quote: time spent in consideration is seldom wasted. Especially when it comes to finding the role you want. You’re an experienced, talented, multi skilled candidate with so much to offer your target company in the print and packaging industry.

Can you read me?

Never underestimate the power of asking someone you trust to read your CV. They don’t need to have industry experience – in fact their lack of experience will be the key to unlocking your CV. Ask them to answer the following: does your CV makes sense (grammar), is it easy to read (layout) and – crucially – does it sound like you (tone). Listen to what they have to say. Remember: what’s obvious to you isn’t necessarily obvious to others. Your experience is your expertise; this is an opportunity to share your knowledge. Clarity and brevity are essential. Keep an open mind when receiving feedback and make the necessary changes. There’s no excuse for careless grammar, a disengaged tone or formatting errors at this stage of your career.

What are you saying?

Everyone knows they need to tailor their CV and covering letter for each job applied for. This should be your signal to go the extra mile and separate yourself from the competition. Take a step back and look at how your existing skills align with the job you want. Consider how to frame your skills in relation to your experience and the role. Look at what you are saying. What do your words communicate about you, your experience and professional goals? How are your skills a good marriage with the job?

Include statistics to back up business improvement claims made in your CV, such as performance and sales. Qualify your claims – make it easy for the person reading your CV to see that you can do the job. Mention skills you want to develop. You are a manager keen to continue learning as technology evolves. Make yourself relevant now and into the future.

Ultimately, if you don’t capture why your skills, experience, management style and vision are what a company is looking for, who will?

Athena Executive Search specialise in recruiting senior leadership positions in the Print and Packaging sectors across Europe. For advice on how to put together a great CV please get in touch. For access to more articles on industry topics, recruitment and retention strategies, and our upcoming webinar series with industry thought leaders please subscribe here: https://athena50147.activehosted.com/f/1

10 ways to engage, retain, and motivate staff in the Print and Packaging sectors

 

Statistics confirm Print and Packaging companies around the world are experiencing the highest talent shortfall since 2007. Today’s employee seeks value beyond financial compensation. Thankfully, engaging, motivating and retaining talented team members is much easier than you think. Here are our top ten solutions to your staff retention challenges.

1. Numbers don’t lie
Gallup research showed that out of 7,000 individuals, only 5% felt engaged. The Institute of Leadership & Management (IML) discovered 37% of employees are looking for a new job this year. Monster.co.uk revealed 58% said they are not thanked enough; 54% felt unacknowledged and 47% felt uninspired. Employees perform better and are loyal when they feel understood and are given the opportunity to do their best every day.

2. It’s not about the money
Budgets for staff events, dinners and team building seminars were touted as the answers to staff engagement issues. Not anymore. Key solutions for retention success have nothing to do with money. Talented staff are engaged, motivated and retained through behavioural solutions and creative thinking, not the company chequebook.

3. Relationship revolution
Employees seek roles within companies they connect with. An employer’s role has evolved beyond supplying work and salary to valuing and developing the talents and skills of their team. The most successful companies understand this: both employee and employer exhibit equal investment to reach business targets.

4. Creative investment
No promotions available? No problem. Offer a talented team player their own project to lead. This simple example is a great way to nurture staff. Research reveals developing individual development strategies are crucial to employee retention; and, in most cases, more important than a career path.

5. Say it
All employees want to know whether they are doing a good job. Effective feedback is clear, prompt, offers solutions and concentrates on behaviour (not the person or their intention). Consistent feedback creates solid communication between employee and management.

6. Don’t worry, be happy
A positive perspective is one of the most effective leadership qualities. Celebrate success stories at the start of every staff meeting and encourage staff to explore solutions as a team. Once established, a positive environment is its own sustainable cycle of positivity.

7. Start at the beginning
Successful Print and Packaging companies create an induction process engaging directly with a new employee’s enthusiasm. The most successful companies take this ethos right back to recruitment stage. They recruit talent for their behaviours and traits, as well as for experience and qualifications.

8. Practice what you preach
Great leaders embody the qualities required to succeed in an organisation. Research reveals that if employees respect their leaders they are 55% more engaged. If management is inspired, engaged and motivated, your team will reflect these qualities.

9. Two-way street
Encourage staff to share ideas and they will actively contribute to the business’ success. In successful companies, staff contributions have streamlined workflow processes and created meaningful solutions. Use an enjoyable ritual such as morning refreshments to gather the team together for an ideas session.

10. Acknowledge and reward
The simple act of acknowledging hard work is extremely effective – and crucial. Not being thanked rates as one of the highest ranking complaints cited by disengaged staff. Statistics show staff loyalty and engagement increase if people feel genuinely valued.

If you are serious about engagement and want to retain your best Print and Packaging employees Athena can help. Our 7 Step Recruiting System is designed to ensure that you can recruit and retain the top 15% of candidates in the Print and Packaging market, candidates who are motivated by much more than money. We work in partnership with our clients to fully understand their requirements and ensure that newly recruited staff are joining for the right reasons and looking to develop a long term career.

Book in for a Client Discovery Call today by clicking on this link https://athena-executive.acuityscheduling.com/

 

Smart and specific – your perfect CV covering letter

The perfect CV cover letter is just that – a letter. Adding a couple of paragraphs to the email you’re sending won’t hack it. According to CV Library 57% of UK employees think that a CV cover letter is essential. So what else do you need to know?

In this industry, smartness matters

People in the Print and Packaging industries care about how things are presented. So make sure your letter looks great – plenty of white space with smart formatting. There are lots of examples online, so choose a good one and copy it. Unfortunately, you don’t have much control over the Word settings that the recipient is using, so it’s a good idea to make a PDF of your letter once it’s ready.

Personalise it

Find out who you’re sending it to. Get their name and job title, and add these to the address. And when you’ve got their name, give them a quick Google, or look on LinkedIn, and see whether they’re the type who list their qualifications after their name. If they are, you get a gold star for adding them in your letter. There’s nothing like a bit of flattery to get you off on the right foot.

Say something about who you are

The point about the covering letter is to say things that aren’t obvious from the CV. Think about what kind of culture the company has and why your personality makes you a good fit.

Look at the company’s mission statement and values. If you share similar values and goals mention it in your letter. Give specific examples of what you have done that demonstrate that you will fit in with the company. Don’t just mention work related activities. Give examples of out of work activities that demonstrate a more rounded personality.

Be specific about the job

OK, so you’re actually hoping to get half a dozen applications out this weekend. Never write a standard letter that you reuse. As well as a specific name, you need to be really on the button about exactly which bit of the business you’re applying to. And pump it up a bit. So avoid “the packaging business has always been a key interest of mine” (yawn) but go for “I am passionate about packaging and the exciting developments in Packaging Ltd.’s innovative use of brand protection products.”

And say when you’re available but make it tactful. So if you’re currently between jobs, you’re “available to make an early start”.

Be positive

We often go looking for a new job because we’re fed up with the old one. This is a negative frame of mind that can easily come out in the way you express yourself. So, avoid any criticism of your current job and employer and concentrate on the positive step forward that the new job represents. You’re ready to take on greater responsibilities, move to a different part of the industry that you find fascinating.

Athena Executive Search specialise in recruiting senior leadership positions in the Print and Packaging sectors across Europe. For access to more articles on industry topics, recruitment and retention strategies, and our upcoming webinar series with industry thought leaders please subscribe here: https://athena50147.activehosted.com/f/1