When was the last time you actually applied for a job, had a formal interview, and went through the whole process? In Nick Holt’s case, he tells us that it was more than 30 years’ ago. Reflecting on his career, Nick, one of the Milestones team, commented
Since 1986 my career moves, and I have had some, have always been on the basis of my being approached, formally headhunted, “invited to put my hat into the ring “, or asked by a mate or former colleague to join them in some venture or other. But if this is a typical path for a professional , then should we be rethinking the skills that we need to develop as we move along our career path? In the early years, when I did apply for jobs, it was all about me demonstrating my technical skills, my education. Other than that, perhaps combined with a willingness to work hard, and a semblance of personality, there was not much else I could offer. If I was successful, which I was, then someone was taking a view on my potential and what I could offer them.
In those days there wasn’t too much emphasis on what an employer could offer me, but that is another story entirely.
The emphasis changed after 10 years. Then, when I was approached, it was largely based on what I had done. Technical skills – as a lawyer, as a manager of people – were almost a given. Potential was a thing of the past. Instead it was really on the basis of the other things I would be able to do – attract new clients, hire good people, develop a strategy and vision. It dawned on me that the skills that got me part of the way through my career were not necessarily the skills that were going to get me to the end of it. The choices that I have now are less conditioned on technical ability and far more dependent on the strength and depth of my networks – the “Who I know” rather than the “What I know”.
Even though there remains a continuing emphasis in the world of professional services on technical knowledge, in the world outside it is broad experience that is the key currency. Nick’s experience isn’t unique. To prepare for a life outside the bubble, you need to start thinking about your networks and your non technical skills at the earliest possible time.
Talk to Nick Holt on 07802 885 363 or Tim Musgrave on 07802 481 124 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and make a start.