What do you bring to the business?
The Government’s austerity measures inevitably mean there will be a significant rise in the number of public sector IT professionals looking to switch to the private sector.
The key for successfully making the move is to focus on your transferable skills, according to Lever.
“Here the public sector has lots to offer,” he says. “The structured environment of the public sector projects, the often large and complex nature of the projects and the need for highly secure systems are all experiences and skills that are valued in the private sector and should be emphasised on a CV and at interview stage.”
This point is picked up by Day, who insists that public sector IT candidates may be surprised to know that the scale of work they have undertaken can rival, if not eclipse, the scale of projects undertaken in the private sector.
“For example, an IT candidate coming from a city council may be responsible for over 20,000 users of their system, and this number is easily translatable to FTSE 250private sector organisations,” he says. “The private sector has a real need for strong governance and compliance - public sector IT employees have significant exposure to these areas and will need to demonstrate this in their CVs.”
Nevertheless, it is just important to recognise that public sector experience can also bring potentially less positive impressions, warns Lever.
“Public sector workers need to try twice as hard to emphasise they are commercially minded, cost conscious and can work in fast-moving environments,” he says. “One common mistake amongst public sector workers is to use too much ‘internal lingo’ on their CV or job title; make sure your CV is reviewed by at least one other (non-public sector) person.”
How to get headhunted
- Consider contacting a headhunter if you're looking to earn £30k plus.
- Seek recommendations from friends or colleagues. Ring for a chat before sending in your CV.
- Start networking and increase your profile at industry events and conferences. If you are not well enough known, decide what you need about it. Self-promotion is a useful skill.
- Be open, clear and specific about your plans and ambitions when talking to a headhunter.
- Develop a close working relationship and stay in touch. Headhunters can also provide general careers and employment advice.
- Seek the services of a different headhunter if you're not getting results.
- E-mail your CV to lots of head hunters. They will prefer to work with you exclusively.
- Produce a standard CV. You will need to be more detailed and outline your ambitions.
- Wait too long before making a career move. Senior people will stay in a job for three to five years on average.