Northeast Quadrant is committed to helping young professionals wherever we can, either directly or through our networks and resources. While we cannot help everyone, the following is a list of the most common career development issues our young professionals want to discuss.
How can I get into FMCG?
Many sales and marketing young professionals want to work in FMCG – fast moving consumer goods companies. However unless you have an FMCG background or you are joining at the graduate entry level, the chances of joining a global FMCG are slim.
For experienced marketing professionals, the requirement is for current consumer brand marketing experience while for sales professionals it’s current experience selling into the grocery channel.
FMCGs generally hire graduates during the annual campus recruitment drive in March and April. If you are an aspiring Marketing graduate and you’ve missed out on campus, it’s very tough gaining a Graduate Marketing role with a global FMCG.
However, there are “second tier” FMCG companies – some Australian and smaller global companies. It is possible to join one of these organisations and after demonstrating superior performance, move into a top FMCG. Candidates should make this move within 5 years following graduation.
Management Consulting Careers
How can I get into Management Consulting?
The most common entry level into management consulting is as a recent graduate or consultant with up to 5 years experience. Hiring experienced young professionals, consulting firms are looking for specific technical skills and industry experience. Consulting firms recruit from other top firms or the very best of commercial and government organisations.
You need to hit the ground running and reapply your current experience in consulting assignments. So an Energy Policy Analyst working for a listed Australian energy company, would be an appropriate candidate to join the energy division of a consulting firm.
High levels of numeracy and analytical skills are essential for consulting. For the first three years a graduate will be tied to a laptop and crunch numbers in an excel spreadsheet model. Developing strategy and meeting with senior client executives comes at a later stage.
The most common reason people leave consulting is burn-out from later hours, travel and living away from home. In this environment your friends and social network become your work peers!
Changing Industry or Sector
I want to reapply my skills in a different sector
The more experience you have the harder this becomes. Northeast Quadrant sees many top quality experienced candidates who apply for roles in a different industry. The dilemma is that from the employer’s perspective, the lowest risk approach to recruitment is to hire someone who is currently performing a similar position with a similar company. Hiring someone with transferable skills but from a different sector is considered high risk. This is less important for a graduate with one or two years experience but at more senior levels it becomes prohibitive.
Some candidates offer to take a backwards move including a lower salary to change industries. Employers are reluctant to accept this as they fear that once the candidate gains experience (6 to 12 months) they will start looking for a new job.
The best solution (but maybe not the ideal one for candidates) is for to look for a new role that still draws on your current industry experience but is in the direction that you want to head.
A Career With the One Company
How long should I stay with the same company?
Around seven years with the one company marked by several promotions is an excellent career track record. However, beyond that the longer you stay other employers start to wonder if you will be able to adapt to a new organisational culture.
First Graduate Job
How important is my first graduate job?
It’s very important as prospective employers believe that’s the job and career path you want. If you’re an IT graduate and you take a non-IT job, even if it’s just for the money, you need to convince employers that you really do want an IT career. Worse than that, the employer may question if you were “good enough” to get a “proper” IT job when you graduated.
When Less is More
I have been told I’m too experienced
It’s common to see candidates who have for example, 15 years relevant and quality experience apply for a position that calls for 7 to 8 years experience. The candidate could easily perform the job and would be happy with the compensation on offer but the employer is not interested. Why?
In these roles the employer is looking for a professional who is equal to the best of his or her peers at the nominated experience level. And they are looking for a candidate who after 15 years experience will be another two levels senior. The key is that the employer wants to hire a candidate with the potential to continue to develop in their career.