What are employers looking for from Internal Communications (IC) professionals? This is a question that gets asked time and again with differing answers. Expectations are high but what will really make you stand out from the crowd and make your CV sparkle above the others in the pile?

I invited David Broome, who heads up the Internal Communications Practice at VMA Group to share his top tips with you to get a glimpse into how tough the market is and what recruiters are looking for. If you have comments or thoughts about his post, feel free to submit them below or contact him at dbroome@vmagroup.com. Over to you David…

It’s a tough recruitment marketplace out there, and more than ever candidates are having to do everything they can to differentiate themselves from the competition. So, as the largest IC recruitment team in the UK, what are our top tips for securing the best role you can? I’ve highlighted eight areas below.

Back to basics: we’re seeing an increased use of writing tests as part of the recruitment process, even at the most senior levels. Writing skills are still the building blocks of internal communications and need to be exceptional to get the best roles.

Network: clients use many routes to find the best talent. Communicators love to communicate with each other and make sure you’re plugged in to this – industry events, former colleagues and forums such as Linked-in are the most effective channels.

Flexibility: most of us have a ‘dream job’ in our minds, but in this marketplace people are having to be more flexible – whether that’s on location, sector or salary. Contract roles can also be a great way to boost experience on your CV and try out different sectors.

Social Media: we are seeing an increase in niche online / digital positions – and for any role, these skills are a strong extra string to your bow. Social media should also form a strong part of your job search process.

Gravitas: it’s a term that’s used too often, but it’s what we asked to look for more than anything. You need to have presence in your interview, demonstrate that you can influence at a senior level, and be personable and energetic.

Business Acumen: whilst IC skills will get you a long way, you also need to understand broader ‘business’, be able to demonstrate how IC can add value, and be able to ‘talk the talk’ alongside senior leaders. Make sure you’re up to speed with business press as well as industry news.

CV and interview skills: adapt your CV for every role that you apply for – and CVs will be used as a measure of your writing skills, so accuracy is key. When preparing for interviews research the company background, understand the format of competency based questioning, and contact anyone who has worked at that organisation who can give you an inside track.

Change communications: even at the most junior levels, you need to be able to demonstrate experience of working on change communications. It’s now part and parcel of most IC roles and you’ll struggle to move upwards if you can’t demonstrate strategic change experience.

Thanks very much David. What do you think? Are there any other areas you think should be added to this list? What are your top tips for demonstrating gravitas? I’d love to hear from you, do get in touch, Rachel.

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