Transcript: Exclusive Tips to Maximise your Career – Miriam Lee (Max#32)


Kevin: Welcome to Maximise Potential the podcast to educate and motivate through a range of original interviews designed to help you maximise your potential. Brought to you in association with the award winning recruitment group Jenrick.

Welcome to episode 32 of the Maximise Potential podcast. As you are all well aware the goal of Maximise Potential is to help you advance in your personal life, your business and your career by bringing you exclusive interviews from a range of experts and high achievers. So with over 20 years recruitment experience Jenrick ITs Head of Business Development Miriam Lee is perfectly placed to offer some of the very best advice available when it comes to career advancement. I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Miriam to record this interview in which Miriam highlights and key activities and attributes that will enable candidates to truly set themselves apart from the competition.

So please sit back and enjoy the next twenty minutes of excellent tips and advice that you can instantly apply to improve your job hunting or apply within your existing role and I will be back at the end to provide you with some additional web links and resources to help you even further.


Miriam thank you for taking the time today to sit down with us on the podcast.

Miriam: Thank you. Thank you very much for inviting me.

Kevin: Well we are very fortunate to be having your 20 years and I hate to break that to you but you have been recruiting for over 20 years now. But we are very fortunate to have that 20 years of experience on this podcast today to give some wonderful exclusive tips and advice for people regarding how they can maximise their career opportunities whether it is hunting for a new job or making themselves as visible as possible within their existing company.

It is probably worthwhile kicking off with just the need for this podcast. Why are we here today, why is this so important?

Miriam: Absolutely. Basically on average we have and receive 70, at least 70 applications for every single role that we place out in the market.

Kevin: Wow are people surprised actually when you do actually have conversations about the level of competition for a given role?

Miriam: Yeah clients literally just want three candidates to interview and with that great a number of CVs we are always striving for looking for different things within a CV when it actually comes to us. Something that makes a candidate specific for that role and makes a candidate special and stand out amongst the rest. The tips really that I want to discuss today are the types of things that will enable you to stand out from a crowd and gain the interviews that you really want plus make yourself more visible to any existing company.

Kevin: I have got a loose agenda down here today that you have given me and the very top tip that you have kicked off with is developing a strong and positive online personal brand. Let’s kick off with that.

Miriam: Excellent let’s just set the scene here okay. So one of the most, or one of the first thing that HR, Recruiting Managers do and even us as recruiters ourselves, as soon as a CV turns up on their desk they Google that person’s name literally just to see who that person is. Which means anything that you have on other sites, on personal sites such as Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn this will come up. Statistics already confirm that these search results have a major impact onto whether candidates are going to be invited in for interview.

Kevin: That’s incredible so not only have you already said that you are going to get 70 applications right from the off but now all of a sudden before even you can get an interview agreed I mean just because you have sent across a CV it doesn’t even guarantee at all that this person is going to be interviewed because then HR or whoever the hiring manager is, is just going to go and Google their name and make a decision based on what they see.

Miriam: Absolutely. So our advice there would literally be, be respectful of the internet treat it as you would any working environment. Be aware that most things that you put on the internet are visible so just put stuff on social media that you want to be seen by the great outdoors. You know the one thing that we highly recommend is really lock down your Facebook profile as much as possible to ensure that your personal life really stays your personal life.

Kevin: Yes I can understand the necessity as I am sure the audience does for that.

Miriam: The next step is actually then to go on to build your online branding. LinkedIn is a tool that we would really highly recommend to all candidates to maximise the use of their online branding.

Kevin: Can I just ask you a question here because I would assume that most people who are probably freelancers, contractors, who run their own sort of consultancy type business would consider the need to build a personal brand but I can imagine that people coming from a permanent employee perspective would be probably slightly confused on this basis wouldn’t they. I bet that is not something that has ever or that they have ever considered should be high on their priority list of having a personal brand.

Miriam: Absolutely it’s really, really up and coming now. You need to be able to build a profile of who you are, what your services are about, what your capabilities are. Everybody has a CV but I think in terms of building an online brand make sure it is consistent with your CV as well. So have a CV of course but create a really strong profile which is consistent to your CV that is absolute key. What we really like about LinkedIn is it has an ability to display a far more complete picture regarding who you are and it can share so much more information than just a CV can portray.

Kevin: So very much helping people see the true personality of who you are as a person I guess.

Miriam: Yes. And equally as an adjacent to that you know building a portfolio of recommendations is key and joining industry related groups which will explain a little bit more about that later on during this podcast. But yeah just take some time each week to participate in discussions related to your industry sector. Again that is key. It raises your profile network and it basically just gives you that leading edge in the marketplace.

Kevin: I see where you are coming from.

Miriam: So in summary make sure that when a hiring manager Google’s your name all the results are really positive. I think from this section of the podcast that’s what I want to highlight. Professional references and literally good online branding which can confirm and will confirm who you are as being an expert in your field.

Kevin: Okay that was a wonderful introduction there. So second point that you have got on your list that you actually touched on in point number one is about the importance of building a portfolio of recommendations.

Miriam: Absolutely recommendations are key. They are by far the most important tool in helping you gain a new job because it’s a third party speaking on your behalf. They are independent and they demonstrate who you are and the value that add in a workplace.

Kevin: I mean that really must have changed over the last few years because I think everybody leads with their CV thinking that their skills and experience are pretty much the most important thing but again this goes back to that very first point you touched on which is about differentiation and about the fact that you are going to receive 20, 30, 40, 50 CVs that are all pretty similar and you are looking for something a bit different.

Miriam: Yes because in recommendations we are looking for a third party to speak on someone’s behalf. And I think people fear asking for recommendations but really if you look on a positive side of that I would actually be quite humble if someone asked me to recommend them because it would mean that they care about my own opinion of them. So try and do this on an ongoing basis for recommendations. You know if you complete a big project or if you have been working in a specific team just use these opportunities to build and ask those team members to just give you a recommendation on the work that you have just carried out. And that helps you to build your recommendation portfolio. That really is key.

What we recommend to candidates is that they actually include a testimonial, a point of reference at the bottom of each role that they have carried out. So.

Kevin: I was just going to ask you about that. So that is different to most, well that is different to every piece of CV advice that is currently on the web. I mean you have just added something completely different to how people structure their CVs. And I think that is worth explaining a bit more.

Miriam: It adds clout basically. If you add someone else’s testimonial or reference on the work that you carried out during that specific period of time it just emphasises your involvement your capabilities the fact that you actually delivered a good piece of work. From a third party coming through to there that actually speaks volumes.

Kevin: That’s superb so to actually go and build those testimonials and incorporate them.

Miriam: On your CV, critical.

Kevin: Point three now this is where you sort of move away from the practical tips and you get more into the mindset type issues and you have referred to this one as making yourself available to opportunities.

Miriam: Absolutely. This piece of advice is about adopting an open and positive mindset where you are going to continually seek ways of improving yourself to further your career. We refer to this as making yourself available for opportunities. Over the years I have had the pleasure of working with so many high calibre candidates and I can honestly say that the ones who have progressed most successfully within their careers have displayed this wonderful open and positive mindset. I have just noticed this in their approach from the very first meeting that I have had with them they have always been the type of people who just get stuck into projects, have this really strong attitude. Not necessarily just for themselves but for the business.

Kevin: Interesting so they are far more aware of not just their job but it’s the impact that their job has and it inter-relates to others and this lateral awareness.

Miriam: Yes and the desire and want to actually get involved in a variety of different roles or different activities or different projects. Just that whole open mindedness and keenness to progress.

Kevin: And can I ask as well I mean you said that you have had the pleasure of seeing these people literally through this last 20 years. I am assuming then that when you actually first met these individuals that they were, a junior position is probably unfair but they could have been starting out their careers within the IT sector.

Miriam: Absolutely.

Kevin: And you have seen them actually progress now into senior management positions and such like.

Miriam: I won’t name any names but absolutely interviewed probably back 15 years ago an operator for a huge blue chip company and he is now head of global strategy an amazing man who has had this open minded focus to succeed and yes indeed I have had the pleasure of that.

Kevin: And you are saying that it is not a surprise that he is there because right from day one you saw he had a bit of a spark, a bit of something different about him.

Miriam: The potential was there absolutely yes the energy indeed.

Kevin: And that is all just attitude and mindset.

Miriam: Yes it is these individuals who stand out to management and never fail to gain promotion faster than their peers within the business.

Kevin: Superb. Now point number four on your list is commitment to continuous learning.

Miriam: Okay so let’s just set the scene again. Most people they make the mistake of thinking that learning studying days are over once they finish their education. However it is these individuals who make a commitment to continuous personal and professional development that make the biggest strides in their career. Why because they are constantly broadening their minds, exploring new ideas and being at the forefront of the latest developments within their career. All of these enable them to be innovative within their role and to be taken as a pioneer or a leader or someone who is well ahead of their game.

Kevin: That’s interesting okay so pretty much what we are talking about here is this whole example of getting sucked into the bubble of being at work and you just then lose track of what’s going on around you. And what you are saying is that you have got to try and keep one eye, you have got to try and keep a perspective on this broader picture and keep yourself learning, keep yourself developing so that you are going to keep abreast of all the latest developments within your industry.

Miriam: Absolutely, absolutely. I think most people wrongly assume that continuous learning means professional qualifications. I think that’s the issue but although it can be the case especially with technical consultants that we work with some of the best learning opportunities are really available for free. You know this goes back to our earlier points where we spoke about the benefits of subscribing to blogs and joining online groups with LinkedIn etc. Each of these enable you to engage in discussions and debates that challenge existing frameworks within their industry leaders. So in addition YouTube and podcasts they are a wonderful method of digesting exclusive content. So in summary really just keep your mindset fresh. Join podcasts or listen to podcasts, join LinkedIn discussions. Keep your mind constantly, constantly learning.

Kevin: Thank you and point number five was networking.

Miriam: I have left networking as my very final point. I genuinely believe it is the most important way in which you can maximise your career. In many ways it ties together all the other points we have spoken about in the podcast. Firstly remember that everyone is nervous within a networking situation it just is normal to feel this way. However they are often nervous because they are unsure of what to say or how to start a conversation. Our advice is really just go and get yourself stuck into networking. Networking is about participating within group discussions on LinkedIn. It’s about taking the time to speak with colleagues within your organisation. It is about sharing details with peers and training events. It can even be you know as simple as just making polite conversation with someone you regularly speak to or commute with or you work with.

Kevin: So again it is just getting yourself out of the bubble of the everyday routine of your job again isn’t it.

Miriam: Indeed. And the interesting thing is you never quite know where this will take you. It all comes back to making yourself available for opportunities by engaging in conversation. You just never know where this might lead. What I will say is that people who really make the time to network raise their profile and become known as someone with energy, enthusiasm and the get up and go are the people who will succeed. They are the type of person that everyone really wants to employ or promote within their business.

Kevin: And that really is a wonderful fitting end to finish this podcast.

Miriam: Indeed thank you very much. Thank you.


Kevin: I would like to extend my thanks to Miriam and also to the IT Recruitment Division of the Jenrick Recruitment Group. As Miriam rightly says these tips are equally applicable within your existing role to enhance your visibility and promotional opportunities as well as if you are considering searching for a new job. If you are new to the podcast and found the content of this interview very helpful may I also recommend that you go back and listen to episode 27 with Jora Gill and also episode 17 with Tony Dobin both of whom discuss in detail the approaches they have taken to maximise their own careers. Furthermore one additional episode I would like to highlight is episode 14 which featured leading communication expert Kay White. Kay gives loads of excellent advice regarding how to instantly improve your communication at work. Also congratulations are in order for Kay after the launch of her first book the A-Z of being understood which has gone straight to the number one slot on Amazon. Well done Kate.

Thank you again to Miriam for providing such excellent advice and we will make sure we bring you more interviews from the highly experienced Recruitment Team at Jenrick to help you make the most of your career.

Before I wrap up today I would just like to say a quick thank you to everyone who has voted for us so far in the European Podcasting Awards. If you have not had a chance yet it only takes a moment just click on the show notes and look for the Euro Podcasting Awards link. And importantly as this episode was about career change please remember that our sponsors Jenrick specialise in engineering, IT and commercial recruitment so come and visit their website and view their latest job vacancies.

Thanks again for tuning in and here is a track from Xerxes to finish on and it’s called ‘Siberia’.


About the Author

Hi, I'm Tom Burkinshaw, I co-produce the Maximise Your Potential Podcast and Website and my goal is to help as many people as possible be successful in life, careers and business, by offering free coaching and mentoring through a series of unique interviews from inspiring people who all display exceptional self-belief, mental toughness and desire to achieve. Thank you for taking the time to visit Maximise Your Potential!