Boxing clever in your job search

April Fenton 01.08.2012

With an incredibly promising boxing team lined up for the Olympics, it's time to get boxing clever when it comes to your job search!

As we all know, excluding certain specialist skills and job types, it continues to be an employer's market out there. In the South East of Ireland and Midlands, while we are seeing some signs of growth the numbers of jobs out there are still limited. Given competition for jobs has never been stronger, it is time that we all started boxing clever and stopped punching above our weight!

In a professional context, boxing clever is playing your hand shrewdly, in other words, thinking about each move you make. Similarly, punching above your weight means competing against someone who you are no match for.
Different classes of contestants in boxing matches are distinguished by the weight of the competing boxers - heavyweight, middleweight, lightweight, flyweight etc. The sport is regulated so that only boxers of the same weight fight each other. Someone from a lighter weight, for example our very own Katie Taylor, wouldn't be expected to have much chance against a heavyweight fighter.

I liken this class system to that of company size which can be broken down as follows:

  • Micro companies with less than 10 employees
  • Small companies with between 10 and 49
  • Medium-sized companies with between 50 and 249 
  • Large companies with over 249 employees. Multinational firms typically have in excess of 500 staff and can be defined as a corporation that manages production or delivers services in more than one country.


The heavyweights: Working for an MNC 

Companies at the larger end of the scale and particularly the MNCs class tend to have very strict criteria in terms of skills, knowledge and attributes – often these criteria follow a rigid global standard and will be adhered to as tightly as possible across the globe. Given the nature and size of the company, hires into an MNC will very often be working within tightly defined roles. Given the nature and size of the company, hires into an MNC will very often be working within tightly defined roles.People must also have the capability to think outside the box and by and large be confident communicators with strong analytical skills.

The flyweights: Working for micro and small companies

On the other end of the scale, smaller companies tend to look for generalists, who can roll up their sleeves and add value across the board. Whilst skills and ability are important, getting the cultural fit right is critical. Smaller companies tend not to be as focused on academic results and particular systems experience, more the personality fit and willingness to contribute to the overall success of that company.

How to box clever with your job search:

So, if you are looking to change jobs in this market your starting point should be to work out what type of environment you are most suited to in terms of experience and personality.

If all of your experience to date has been in smaller companies the harsh reality is that MNCs are probably going to hold out for candidates with multinational experience. Likewise, smaller companies will hire people with smaller company experience as they will be nervous of the person’s ability to fit into a less rigid and defined arena.
By being honest with yourself and boxing clever you will find that the ratio of CVs sent that convert to interviews will most certainly improve. Whilst you won’t be in the running for an Olympic gold you will definitely be rewarded with less rejection and more worthwhile feedback and interview experiences from businesses that are hiring.
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Client Solutions Manager


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