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MENTOR - CAREER CLINIC

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Question...
Question

My partner and I are relocating as she has been offered a fantastic new job. I would like to approach councils in the area we are moving to and offer my services as an experienced and skilled professional. What is the best way of going about selling myself?

Answer

Firstly, a note of caution. Local authorities can't create jobs in the same way as private sector organisations. With long term strategic and service planning, accountability for public money, and, most importantly, equal opportunities, jobs have to be considered and justified extensively.

Networking and getting your name known (in the relevant trade press, speaking at local conferences and events) will help you - you're aiming for the reputation of 'field leader'. However, personal networking will not get you a job. You must be careful to avoid being seen as receiving preferential treatment.

Also, don't expect jobs to be available immediately - if you want to find the right role in the right place, be prepared to give your search some time. Depending on the positions you're considering, you may be able to pick up some temporary, contract, or interim management work - try talking to agencies or trade associations.

You need to take a fresh look at your skills and think about where they would be best applied - and what you want to do. Research is essential, and the internet your best resource. See if you can get hold of a range of job descriptions and service plans (you might try ringing around HR departments). Use the Improvement & Development Agency's Knowledge website to learn about local government (www.idea.gov.uk) and www.lgtalent.com for information on working in local government.

When you have a good idea of what you'd like to do, revisit your CV and personal development plan. Match your experience and knowledge to the skills and behaviours required. Are there any gaps?

It's also essential you think about where you want to work. Councils vary massively in size, structure, culture - so try to find out a bit about the organisations in your area. Again, regional events and networks will help here.

Martin Horton

Director, Improvement & Development Agency

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