Vogelpath-De Iongh

Tag Archive: experience

And Yes, Client Is Indeed Still King!

customer-is-king

The client is now at the pivot of our economic universe. Your client, my client, our clients, are living in the knowledge age, where terabytes of data have been analysed and modeled into usable intelligence that more than half of the world’s population has access to, through their cellphone. As it happens, the client as we know it, has become a scarcity. Social media pushes tailored and relevant content to them every second of the day, and guess what? They are not looking for you! They are merely waiting, rather impatiently I might add, to receive. In fact they are EXPECTING to receive the perfect basket of goods, services or news feed. Anything less than what they assume they are entitled to is simply not good enough, and all it takes is one un-follow here, or one de-link there, and your client along with their network is no more in your world.

What does this mean for you? You want to do your job well and get paid right? You want a good bonus and a cosy holiday every year right? Well your client is demanding personalised, consistent, dead-obvious quality and service delivery. How are you meant to deliver this in a world strapped with red tape and legislation? Where companies are in it for profit, and our clients are having none of it? This shift in demand and lack of market adaptability is what has given rise to the market disrupters en-masse. I’m referring to Uber, Alibaba, Netflix, Google and other businesses who structure their ENTIRE company around their client’s needs (and yes, we refer to needs instead of wants because the desire to fit in, be successful and be a part of a brand has become a need, not just a want as it were pre-Y2K. Sorry Maslow!) They are fully aware that their client is ever changing and ensure that they are setup in order to cater for shifts in demand or changes in the market. I could go on and on, but just have a look at the FTSE 100 or global top grossing companies. What type of organisations feature on a daily basis? Have a look at the Fortune 500 companies and in particular how long conglomerate organisations stay in their positions. Almost as long as Aqua’s Barbie Girl stayed on the charts back in it’s day.

Never mind your financial reward or career growth, you will need to fully understand your clients world and do everything in your power to integrate your organisation’s offering into their lives. You cannot be disconnected, you just cannot afford to remain distant. You need to be client centric. Once you accept this, you can embark on a painful but absolutely critical journey of learning how to manage upwards, as it is highly likely that your organisation has not made the shift in mind-set and you will need to “coach” your seniors to get on this gravy train that is not stopping for any kind of mash potato. Of course this is a generalisation, but the emergence of many disrupting companies are the proof to my assumption.

In the end, if your organisation does not shift, neither will you. I guess that the holiday at the end of year is slightly more challenging to attain than expected, but do not despair! One thing for certain is that client loyalty is still “on the cards” for the next few years. Until we find a way to provide free water and electricity to the entire global population. We will then write a slightly different article.

Master a Trade, Jack of None

SpecialistVSGeneralist

We have all heard the saying “A jack of all trades, a master of none”. The obvious message being you can do a little bit of everything, but you won’t necessarily nail any single one of them.

The global employment market is booming, despite the natural and man-made atrocities plaguing News24, the world is speeding towards mass producing bionic-eyes, fighting crime with remote controlled drones, investors creating giant health and wellness companies and internet start-ups are becoming banks. There are opportunities all around and the biggest ones seem to be when you are first. When you are the initial starter of an idea, coupled with drive and never-say-die attitude, one tends to see a burst into the marketplace and brand instantly created. You would use Whatsapp over WeChat right? Well maybe not always, but you get the point.

What do you have to offer the marketplace? Do you simply have some general knowledge or do you have a special skill or experience that makes you as an individual special? If the answer is no, well what are you waiting for? Maybe you haven’t decided what it is that you want to specialise in, and while you think about that, some guy is being the first at something, leaving all potential competition in awe of their inability to have spotted the same opportunity. If you are to be valued, rewarded, recognised and remembered, the world will give it to you as long as you can offer something in return, and from an  employment perspective, this often leads to rare-to-find and highly skilled people, with a twist of personality.

Specific to the legal market in South Africa, the top dollar, status and prestige are offered to the elite few that either work for gigantic brands or have years of experience. Once you have had a general sense of the law, find something that you are passionately attracted to and get involved! Find the company, the mentor, the boss or the business unit that will lead you to gaining experience and expertise in what it is that you are interested in. Stick to it, even through the tough times and eventually you will find yourself on the top of the hill not realising how hard the climb was.

Specialisation creates trust. Simple. Through a series of unconscious thoughts like “if that’s all she does then she must be good at it,” and “No I’m not that concerned that it’s slightly over my budget, I know it will be done right the first time”.

Take the time to introspect, to commit to yourself that you are able, strong and intelligent. If you want to forge ahead in the legal market, you need to be the best at what it is you promote. Jack of all trades is not a master, for a reason.

 

Are You Building Your Brand on LinkedIn?

LinkedIn, legal, brand, recruitment, south africa, experience, job, job title, headhunting, professional

Building and maintaining your professional brand on social media can sometimes be tricky without the relevant know–how and experience. I thought I would therefore “shed some light” with regards to the in and outs and the do’s and don’ts of LinkedIn, (laughs to her herself) something us fellow South Africans view as a luxury with all the numerous power outages experienced in and around South Africa nowadays… getting back to my point now…

A professional and up-to-date LinkedIn Profile really does make a difference and has a real impact on your professional brand, current job opportunities available to you in the employment market as well as business opportunities out there. Do not underestimate the importance of LinkedIn, as it always has and shall continue to be a real game changer in the market when it comes to professional social media.

Your LinkedIn profile, it’s look and feel as well as its contents (including your profile picture) is an important deciding factor taken into account as to whether connections choose to interact with you or not. Your profile should have details with regards to the following:

  • Names of the current as well as the past organisations that you have been employed at – if you can include the company logo on the right of the description this really does look professional.
  • Full Job Title – always advise which team you are part of and more specially to the legal market indicate if you are an Mergers & Acquisitions Associate, Banking & Finance Associate, or Legal Compliance Manager, Head of Legal, 2IC to Company Secretary. This really does prove useful when your name comes about in search results. At a glance connections can make sense of your experience and where you are placed within the legal market. Always ensure that your job title is correct and has all the most important details. Hint: Recruitment Agents are always head-hunting for top tier talent with experience and should your profile not speak our language or does not appear in full because we are not first degree connections, we may very well look right past your profile and I am sure you would agree that this would be most unfortunate just because of a lack of information available! A full job title will increase your visibility in LinkedIn and in search engines like Google.
  • Years worked at your past organisations – always remember to include both month and year.
  • In the “summary” section, this is your opportunity to tell your story and differentiate yourself from other professionals in the market. It should help to give a first time viewer of your profile a snapshot of who you are and what your purpose is. You may also want to include your e-mail address in the summary so that others can connect with you even if you do not have the same connections in your network, taking into account that LinkedIn requires an e-mail address to connect.
  • The “experience” section is one of the MOST important sections. Take the time to list all your details with regards to your past and current experience gained as well as your skills and abilities. For this to be effective rather provide examples of projects completed as opposed to just listing skills descriptors.
  • Be sure to include links to articles that you have written. This shows that you have the ability to do more than just your 9 to 5 responsibilities and will solidify a potential connectors opinion of your profile.
  • Always include your interests whatever they may be. After all business is based on relationships and should your latest connection be a horse lover as well as yourself it may just be your perfect in. We want to connect with others and share our passions and interests so never forget to add a little pizazz to your professional profile while still keeping it formal and relevant.
  • Always ensure that you include up to date contact details such as an e-mail address and cell phone number.
  • Activity (status updates) on LinkedIn should always be relevant, interesting and professional. No one wants to have their news feed spammed by your last dinner update. Always remember LinkedIn should not be used as another Facebook account.
  • Ensure that your LinkedIn profile URL is customised to include your name in the web address. This looks more professional and is easier found on Google.
  • Profile pictures should be a professional shot (not from your year-end dress up party), a close up, preferably head and shoulders in smart business attire. You should look the part and most of all project an approachable image. No pouting selfies or over the top make-up on LinkedIn, a simple smile with a touch of make-up shall do.

Taking the above tips into account, always take note of the different social media platforms available and how to best use them to build your personal and professional brand.

Claire Vogelpath-De Iongh, Managing Director, Vogelpath-De Iongh Legal Recruitment Consultancy.

PQE – Post Qualification Experience, Matters…

I’d like to take a shot at untangling the confusion of what “work experience” means when looking for professional opportunities, specifically within the legal market in South Africa.

Post Qualification Experience, referred to as PQE in most job vacancies starts to count, in years, once admitted as an attorney of the High Court, not once you have obtained your L.L.B. Law degree and graduated. Your PQE will be specific to the legal sector in which you can prove you have had the most practical experience. For example, if you worked on two commercial contracts but 18 labour matters within two years of being admitted as an attorney, your PQE would lend itself towards labour law experience.

This does not completely dictate your future as a lawyer as far as the legal sector is concerned, nor does it discount that you actually may be brilliant at commercial contract work, BUT it does play a major part in how top-tier law firms as well as medium sized players shortlist their candidates. In the legal market, experience does count and so the more relevant, hands on and practical your experience is, the better for the next opportunity within the same field of expertise.

I’d like to explicitly point out that your experience does play a vital role in carving out your future career within the legal field, and so where you work, what you work on and what you are measured on should be top of mind as it forms the staple tool of your toolkit when proceeding with other opportunities. Can you see that your decisions made as early as starting articles or selecting a masters course matter greatly in your ability to secure your next big opportunity. Always align the course content or work experience with your specific career interest.

If you are looking to add a new specialisation to your arsenal or change your legal direction completely, it will depend a lot on what your expectation of your next move is and what opportunities are in the market at that time. Engage with a recruitment consultant earlier rather than later to guide you in navigating your career with all the aforementioned in mind.

Claire Vogelpath-De Iongh, Managing Director, Vogelpath-De Iongh Recruitment Consultancy.