October 27, 2016 - Comments Off on Milburn Lewis – Making the Move Blog. Part VI – Prague, CZ

Milburn Lewis – Making the Move Blog. Part VI – Prague, CZ

Milburn Lewis is a recruitment business that conducts cross-border searches for our clients, the Big 4 and other international accountancy firms. Most of the professionals we work with are not just considering a career move, but also a relocation.

Since the launch of our ‘Making the Move’ blog in June 2016, we have explored locations across Europe. From Dublin to Geneva, Zurich to Luxembourg, we have discussed the many reasons professionals are choosing an international move as the next step in their career.

Today, we mark the first in a three-part series focusing on the Central and East European region. This week we travel to the capital of the Czech Republic, Prague. This will be followed in the coming weeks by Tallinn, Estonia and Riga, Latvia.

Welcome to the Czech Republic

The Czech Republic, also known as Czechia, is a sovereign state located in central Europe. It is boarded by Germany to the west, Austria to the south, Slovakia to the east, and Poland to the northeast. Czechia is one of Europe’s, and indeed the world’s, newest countries having been established in 1993 after Czechoslovakia was dissolved into two countries: The Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Czechia is a is a mid-sized country compared to other European states. It is spread across 78,866 km2 (30,450 sq. ml), which means it is similar in size to Austria and the Republic of Ireland. The total population is c. 10,000,000 with around 7.1 percent characterised as being “foreign born”. The principle ethnic groups in the Czech Republic are: Czech, 90.4 percent or 9.25 million people; Moravian, 380,000 people; Slovak, 193,000; and Roma, 171,000.

There is only one official language in the Czech Republic, which is unsurprisingly Czech. According to the Czech census it is spoken by over 96 percent of Czechia inhabitants. However, English is also widely spoken throughout the country, as is German and Russian to lesser extent. Professionals making the move to the Czech Republic will find it relatively easy to live day-to-day only speaking English; however, making an attempt to learn the local language is always advisable.

The Czech Republic is a unitary parliamentary constitutional republic, with the Prime Minister as the head of government and the President as the head of state. The parliament is bicameral, with the Chamber of Deputies (200 members) and the Senate (81 members). In recent years, the Czech Republic has witnessed a significant increase in the number of tourists coming from western Europe, North America, and Russia.

In 2004, the Czech Republic became a full member of the European Union. As part of the joining process the Czech government made a commitment to join the Euro Zone and therefore adopt the Euro as its state currency. Although the Czech government continues to assert its commitment to joining the Euro Zone there is no fixed date for join. Czechia continues to use the Czech Republic Koruna as its currency.

The Czech people are known to be welcoming, especially in Prague where Czechia’s tourism is heavily concentrated. Professional’s we have helped me to the Czech Republic tell us that it’s a great place to live and work.

Living and Working in Prague

Prague is the capital and largest city in the Czech Republic, with a population of over 2 million living in the greater metro area and around 1,250,000 in the city centre. Prague is often referred to as the cultural centre of the Czech Republic due to its historical buildings, parliament, festivals, bars, and restaurants.

Although Prague is the largest city in the Czech Republic, this is relative when compared to other capital cities around the world. Spread across 496 km2 (192 sq. ml) it is comparable in size to Madrid, Spain. This means that it provides professionals with a relatively easy commute within and outside of the city centre.

As well as offering an exceptional work-life balance, Prague also present professionals with fantastic opportunities for career development. In recent years, we have witnessed a number of the Big 4 firms invest heavily in Prague and the wider CEE region. This ensures that opportunities will continue to be available in the long term.

Like most European cities we’ve explored, there is a healthy immigrant community in Prague attracting professionals and tourists from across the world. It is therefore highly likely that wherever you come from, you will find someone from your country of origin, making Prague a great choice for professionals looking to make an international move.

The Practicalities: Right to Work

The Czech Republic has been a member of the European Union since 2004. Therefore, citizens of EU member countries do not require a visa or work permit in order to travel, reside, or gain employment in Czechia. If you are a non-EU citizen the process does become more complicated. As always, however, we would like to point out that it is not impossible to acquire a move for non-EU passport holders.

Citizens from countries outside of the EU are referred to as “third-country nationals” and the restriction on their right to live and work are more stringent. If a professional is offered employment in the Czech Republic, the prospective employer must be on the approved sponsors list and must submit an application to the Czech government for the require visa and work permit.

The Practicalities: Cost of Living in Prague

The cost of living in Prague is high when compared to other cities and regions in the Czech Republic. However, when compared to similar cities across Europe it has an exceptionally low cost of living. In addition to accommodation, transport, food, you will be required to pay taxes and health insurance premiums.

The relatively low cost of living is extremely attractive to professionals looking to further their career outside of the larger markets such as London and New York. When living and working in the Czech Republic, one’s largest outgoing is likely to be accommodation. The average cost (per month) of a 1-bedroom apartment in the city centre is 14,321.40 CZK (€530), whilst a 3-bedroom in the same location is roughly 27,021.50 CZK (€1000). For those professionals who prefer to live outside the city centre, you’ll find a lovely 3-bedroom apartment/house for about 16,212.90 CZK (€600).

All residents of the Czech Republic are required to pay income tax. This is currently levied at a flat rate of 15 percent on gross income with an additional 7 percent solidarity tax surcharge for individuals making over 48 times the average, which is currently 1,277,846.73 CZK (€47290).

Given the increase in tourism to Prague, there has been a great deal of investment in its public transport services throughout the city. It is also very economical with a monthly, unlimited ticket costing around 540.43 CZK (€20).

Another outgoing will be healthcare. Under Czech law you must be covered if you have a permanent residence or are working for an employer that has a registered business address in the Czech Republic. Healthcare in the Czech Republic is paid for on the basis of contributions from your salary (if you work for a Czech employer), and they are paid to a public health insurance company. Private insurance is of course an option too, and many professionals are members of private schemes.

Concluding Remarks: Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is a city that offers Big 4 professionals the opportunity to advance their career, whilst simultaneously achieving an exceptional standard of living. If you’re committed to a move to Prague, or simply curious to know more about our clients and the roles available, email: info@milburnlewis.com.

October 05, 2016 - Comments Off on Milburn Lewis – Making the Move Blog. Part V – Amsterdam, NDL

Milburn Lewis – Making the Move Blog. Part V – Amsterdam, NDL

Milburn Lewis is a recruitment business that conducts cross-border searches for our clients, the Big 4 and other international accountancy firms. Most of the professionals we work with are not just considering a career move, but also a relocation.

It has been a busy summer for us here at Milburn Lewis, but we’re welcoming back our successful ‘Making the Move’ blog series with a visit to one of Europe’s most vibrant and exciting cities – Amsterdam.

Welcome to the Netherlands

The Netherlands is the main constituent state of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It is one of Europe’s most popular tourist attractions and offers much in the way of history and beauty. In recent years it has also become an attractive location for the world’s young and ambitious professionals.

The Netherlands is a small, densely populated country in western Europe. It borders Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, sharing maritime borders with Belgium, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Due to its location on the North Sea, the Netherlands is home to Europe’s largest port and, as a result, has played a significant role in the European economy for many centuries.

Like many of the countries we’ve profiled, the Netherlands is a relatively small country at just over 41,500 km2, which is similar in size to Denmark and Switzerland. The total population is circa 17 million, with roughly 11 percent being “foreign-born”. The ethnic makeup of the Netherlands is therefore unsurprising: Dutch, 78.3 %; other EU, 5.9%; Turks, 2.3%; and Moroccans, 2.2%.

The official language of the Netherlands is Dutch. There are also languages that are classified as being regional to the Netherlands, which include English, Frisian, and Papiamento. According to government data, the Dutch is home to a high proportion of bilingual, trilingual, and multilingual people. As a result, professionals seeking a move to the Netherlands should find it relatively easy to assimilate into their new surroundings.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands is a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy, with its political epicentre based in Amsterdam. The Dutch are well known for their multi-culturalism, welcoming nature, and desire for an excellent work life balance.

We’ve found that professionals have been attracted because of its strong economy and links to Europe’s largest markets. The Dutch economy has a high level of economic freedom. Its primary trading partners are Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Italy, China, and Russia.

The Netherlands is also one of the world’s top 10 exporters. Its main industries are foodstuffs, chemicals, metallurgy, machinery, electrical goods, trades, services, and tourism. It is also home to some of the world’s largest and most successful brands: Randstad, Unileaver, Heineken, KLM, Royal Dutch Shell, Philips, and TomTom.

Being the 17th largest economy in the world, the Netherlands has much to offer early career professionals who are looking to enhance and grow their career, especially within the Big 4 environment. It also offers an excellent work life balance, which is becoming increasingly important for professionals at all stages of their career.

Living and Working in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is the capital and largest city in the Netherlands, with over 2.4 million people living in the metropolitan area and around 836,000 living in the city centre. Amsterdam is frequently referred to as the cultural hub of the Netherlands due to its diverse population, high levels of tourism, festivals, bars, restaurants, and museums.

Although Amsterdam is the largest city in NDL, it is still small compared to many other European capitals. Spread across over 219 km2 it is comparable to Lyon and Stockholm but is a lot more densely populated. The Netherlands, and Amsterdam in particular, is renowned for its public transport. The public transport card (OV-chipkaart) allows commuters to travel on trams, buses and metros, which makes commuting between the city centre and outer suburbs quick and painless.

As well as offering an exceptional work life balance, Amsterdam also presents professionals with fantastic opportunities for career development. In recent years, the Big 4 and Top 10 firms have all made clear their intentions of investing heavily in the Dutch economy, ensuring that these opportunities will be available in the long term.

Like most European cities we’ve explored, there is a healthy immigrant community in Amsterdam, attracting professionals and tourists from across the world. It is therefore highly likely that wherever you come from, you will find someone from your country of origin. This makes Amsterdam a great choice for professionals looking to make an international move.

The Practicalities: Right to Work

The Netherlands is a founding member of the European Union and therefore all citizens of EU member countries do not require a visa or work permit in order to travel, reside, or gain employment in the Netherlands. However, if you are a non-EU citizen the process can become a lot more complicated. As always, however, we would like to point out that it is not impossible to acquire a move for non-EU passport holders.

If you are a non-EU citizen, you are required to acquire an employment permit in order to work in the Netherlands. The easiest and quickest way to do this is by getting a company to sponsor you as a “highly skilled immigrant”. There are a number of stipulations that must be met in order for the Dutch government to approve your sponsorship:

  1. You must have been issued with an employment contract by the sponsoring company
  2. You must agree to take out healthcare insurance prior to arrival in the Netherlands
  3. If you are over 30 years of age, your salary must be over €4,240 per month
  4. If you are under 30 years of age, your salary must be over €3,108 per month

Many of these restriction do not apply for professionals taking roles that require advanced educational qualifications, i.e. PhD. However, given the salaries one might expect within the Big 4 or Top 10 firms, we believe that these requirements make a move to the Netherlands a real possibility and exciting opportunity.

The Practicalities: Cost of Living in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a city that is full of culture and excitement. Having had a great deal of development over the last decade, Amsterdam has established itself as one of Europe’s most attractive locations for tourists and professionals alike. However, this does mean that the cost of living is higher than some of capital cities across Europe.

We strongly believe that this shouldn’t dissuade you from making a move to Amsterdam, however. The feedback we’ve received from professionals we’ve placed at firms in the city is that these costs are more than mitigated by the high salaries, strong economy, and exceptional work life balance on offer.

Similar to most cities around the world, Amsterdam has its upmarket suburbs that are increasingly popular and therefore expensive. In such areas, professionals can expect to pay a monthly rent of on average €1,918 for a one-bedroom apartment. These areas are known to have a lively nightlife and will offer ample opportunities for socializing and networking with fellow professionals.

If this seems too exorbitant, it is possible to find city centre locations for around €1,502 per month. These areas are still considered lively, exciting, and safe – possibly suiting younger professionals who are making their first career move.

Regardless of where you chose to live in Amsterdam, the exceptional public transport offers quick and reliable commutes from most areas of the city – making Amsterdam a perfect choice for those professionals wanting to improve their work life balance. Compared to other cities, the public transport might be considered expensive: €118 for a monthly unlimited pass. However, the feedback we’ve received is that it is worth the cost and is clearly invested back into maintaining and enhancing the service.

Another thing to think about when considering a move is healthcare. In the Netherlands, all non-EU immigrants are required to obtain health insurance before arriving in the country, whereas EU citizens have four months to acquire coverage. The basic coverage in the Netherlands costs €100 and covers “general medical care, including medical specialists, hospital care, GP appointments etc.”

Like we’ve already said, the cost of living in Amsterdam is high but so is the quality of life, salaries, and opportunities for career advancement.

Concluding Remarks: Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Amsterdam is a city that offers Big 4 and Top 10 professionals the opportunity to work in a growing and thriving economy, advance their career, whilst simultaneously achieving an excellent work life balance. If you’re committed to a move to Amsterdam or simply curious to know more about our clients and the roles available, email info@milburnlewis.com.

July 19, 2016 - Comments Off on Milburn Lewis – Making the Move Blog. Part IV – Dublin, Ireland

Milburn Lewis – Making the Move Blog. Part IV – Dublin, Ireland

Milburn Lewis is a recruitment business that conducts cross border searches for our clients, the Big 4 and other international accountancy firms. Most of the professionals we work with are not just considering a career move, but also relocation.

This week, we cross the Irish sea with an exploration of Dublin, the capital of Ireland.

Dublin offers an outstanding location in which to grow and develop your career. With a fantastic work/life balance, a thriving economy, and a cosmopolitan culture, we have enjoyed helping professionals ‘Make the Move’ to Dublin for a number of years.

Welcome to Ireland

The Republic of Ireland is a sovereign state in north-western Europe and occupies about five-sixths of the Island of Ireland. Similar in size to the Czech Republic and Georgia, Ireland offers professionals a competitive business climate, excellent work/life balance, and easy access to the rest of the European Union.

Ireland is widely considered to be one of Europe’s most picturesque countries. It is bounded to the north and west by the Atlantic Ocean and to the northeast by the North Channel. To the east, the Irish sea connects to the Atlantic Ocean and separates Ireland from the mainland United Kingdom.

Similar to the countries previously featured in our ‘Making the Move’ series, Ireland is a relatively small country at 70,273 km². The total population is around 4.595 million, with round 20% of those living in Ireland being “foreign born”.

There are two official languages in Ireland: Irish and English. Although, Irish is recognised as the ‘national language’ in the Irish constitution, the vast majority of those living in Ireland use English as their primary language, with Irish being utilised as a community language only in a small number of rural areas mostly in the west and south of the country.

The Republic of Ireland is a unitary parliamentary republic, with its national parliament based in Ireland’s capital city, Dublin. Ireland is known for its welcoming nature, attracting tourists, professionals, and businesses from around the world.

The Irish, and certainly Dubliners, are also known for their Craic, which is a term for news, gossip, fun, entertainment, and enjoyable conversation, particularly prominent in Ireland.

Ireland has a modern knowledge economy, one that focuses on services and high-tech industries and dependent on trade, industry, and investment. According to the Index of Economic Freedom, Ireland is ranked ninth most “economically free” economy in the world.

Living and Working in Dublin

Dublin is the capital and largest city in the Republic of Ireland, with over 1,801,040 people living in the metropolitan area and around 527,612 in the city centre. Dublin is often referred to as the cultural epicentre of Ireland due to its diverse population, festivals, bars, restaurants, and museums.

Although Dublin is the largest city in Ireland, it is still small compared to many other European capitals. Spread over 115 km² it is comparable in size to Glasgow or Turin. It has excellent public transport links, with a tram/light rail system called the Luas making commuting between the city centre and outer suburbs quick and painless.

As well as offering an exceptional work/life balance, Dublin also presents professionals with fantastic opportunities for career development. In recent years, the Big 4 firms have all announced their intentions of investing heavily in the Irish and Dublin economies, ensuring these opportunities will be available in the long term.

Like most European cities we’ve explored, there is a healthy immigrant community in Dublin, attracting professionals and tourists from across the world. It is therefore highly likely that wherever you come from, you will find someone from your country of origin. Making Dublin a great choice for professionals looking to make an international move.

The Practicalities: Right to Work

Ireland has been a member of the European Union since 1973. Therefore, citizens of EU member countries do not require a visa or work permit in order to travel, reside, or gain employment in Ireland. However, if you are a non-EU citizen the process can become a lot more complicated. As always, however, we would like to point out that it is not impossible to acquire a move for non-EU passport holders.

If you are a non-EU citizen, you will be required to acquire an employment permit in order to work in Ireland. Since October 2014 there are 9 types of employment permit. Currently, there are 4 main types of employment permits, although only two will apply to most professionals ‘Making the Move’ to Ireland:

  1. General Employment Permit: are available for occupations with an annual remuneration of €30,000 or more. They will only be considered in exceptional cases for jobs with a lower annual remuneration. Normally, a labour market needs test is required.
  2. Critical Skills Employment Permit: are available for most occupations with annual remuneration of over €60,000. They are also available for occupations with annual remuneration of at least €30,000 on the Highly Skilled Occupations List. There is no requirement for a labour market needs test.

Given the salaries one might expect within the Big 4 or other accountancy firms, we believe that these work permits offer a real opportunity to making the move to Dublin.

The Practicalities: Cost of Living in Dublin

Dublin is a city that is full of culture and excitement. Having undergone a transformation over the last decade, the feedback we’ve received is that it is a safe and enjoyable city to live in. However, given its relatively small size and popularity amongst tourist, it can be rather expensive to rent and buy in Dublin.

We strongly believe this shouldn’t dissuade you from making a move to Dublin, however. The feedback we’ve received from professionals are that these costs a more than mitigated by the high salaries, strong economy, and exceptional work/life balance.

Like most cities, Dublin has its upmarket suburbs that are incredibly popular and therefore expensive. Ranelagh on the south side and Clontarf on the north are popular with professionals. These are known to have a lively nightlife and will offer ample opportunities for socialising and networking with fellow professionals.

For those with families, the areas of Ballsbridge and Donnybrook cater for the more settled crowd and most of the embassies are located here. Still, the closer you get to Baggott Street the more the tempo rises.

Regardless of where you choose to live in Dublin, the exceptional public transport offers quick and painless commutes from most areas – making Dublin a perfect choice for those professional who are wanting to improve their work/life balance.

Another thing to think about when considering a move is healthcare. In Ireland, the healthcare system is modern and reasonably efficient. It is also free, if you don’t take in to consideration the taxes that pay for it. Everyone resident – regardless of status – in Ireland is entitled to free public health coverage. However, the level of free coverage depends on your economic health – the poorer it is, the higher you level of coverage.

Like we’ve already said, however, the cost of living is high in Dublin but so is the quality of life, salaries, and opportunities for career advancement.

Concluding Remarks: Dublin, Ireland

Dublin is a city that offers Big 4 professionals the opportunity to work in a growing and thriving economy, advance their career, whilst simultaneously achieving an excellent work/life balance. If you’re committed to a move to Dublin, or simply curious to know more about our clients and the roles available, email info@milburnlewis.com.

June 29, 2016 - Comments Off on Milburn Lewis – Making the Move Blog. Part III – Zurich, CH

Milburn Lewis – Making the Move Blog. Part III – Zurich, CH

Milburn Lewis is a recruitment business that conducts cross border searchers for our clients, the Big 4 and other international accountancy firms. Most of the professionals we work with are not just considering a career move, but also relocation.

Today, we continue our exploration of Switzerland by traveling to the financial epicentre of Zurich.

Welcome to Zurich

Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland, with a population of over 380,000, and the capital city of the canton of Zurich. It is located in north-central Switzerland at the north western tip of Lake Zürich. It is known as one of the world’s key financial centres.

The canton of Zurich is the largest (by population) of Switzerland’s 26 cantons. When ranked by area, however, Zurich is 7th out of 26th. The city of Zurich is spread across 87.88 km2, which means that you could fit nine Zurich’s into New York City.

The official language of Zurich is Swiss Standard German, but the main spoken language is the local variant of the Alemannic Swiss German dialect. However, given Zurich’s international importance and high level of foreign residents, one can also expect to hear standard German, English, Italian, and French. This can be helpful for those who wish to make a move to Zurich but are still developing their German language skills.

Like in Geneva, there is a healthy immigrant community in Zurich, with 31% of the city’s population made up of “non-Swiss residents”. This is directly linked to Zurich’s position as a global financial centre, being home to Credit Suisse and UBS, as well as a host of other financial institutions. We find that because of this, Zurich is an extremely attractive location to many working within the Big 4.

The weather in Zurich is similar to the rest of Switzerland – moderate. The hottest month is July with an average temperature of 19 degrees. Not surprisingly, the coldest month is January with an average temperature of 0 degrees. Zurich is, on average, slightly colder than Geneva given its North-eastern location.

Living and Working in Zurich

In 2016, Zurich was placed 2nd in Mercer’s Quality of Living Survey. That’s ahead of any city you happen to be living in now – unless you currently reside in Vienna.

Working in Zurich gives professionals the opportunity to work in an international banking capital and a major European commercial centre. The city is known for its high professional standards and excellent networking prospects. Professionals who we’ve helped move to Big 4 firms in Zurich have highlighted that long-term career opportunities can arise from even a relatively short stint in the city.

Zurich is renowned for the importance it puts on ensuring privacy and a high quality of life for its citizens and residents. With excellent public transport and its relatively small size, Zurich offers minimal commutes.

Given Zurich’s cosmopolitan nature, there are also ample opportunities to socialise, network, and relax outside of the working environment. Zurich is home to a myriad of bars, restaurants, and clubs. It also has a great deal to offer those who love museums, art and music, zoos, and beautiful scenery.

Practicalities: Right to Work

The right to work in Zurich is controlled at a Federal level. Since 1998, Switzerland has a dual priority system for the issuance of work permits. This means priority is given to workers from EU member states and a more restrictive admission policy is operated for non-EU citizens.

Switzerland is not a member of the European Union but since 2002, a bilateral agreement between the two entities has made entry it easier for EU nationals, as well as citizens from Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein. This was extended in 2013, which gave EU citizens full freedom of movement. EU citizens are free to travel to Switzerland, and to live and work there.

If EU citizens are engaged in employment that lasts longer than three months, however, they are required to obtain a residence permit and register with the communal authorities in the place they reside before taking up work. This will almost certainly be the case for professionals seeking employment within one of the Big 4 firms.

Citizens from countries outside of the EU are referred to as “third-country nationals” and the restrictions on their right to live and work are more stringent. If a professional is offered employment in Switzerland, the prospective employer must submit an application to the cantonal immigration or labour market authorities.

The following requirements apply to employment of third-country nationals:

  • Persons are admitted when it is in the general economic interest.
  • Authorisation is only granted if established quotas have not been used up.
  • Third-country nationals may only be hired if no one with equivalent qualifications can be found in Switzerland or in an EU/EFTA member state.
  • Only managers, specialists and other qualified workers will be admitted. “Qualified workers” are primarily the holders of higher education qualifications (i.e. from a university or university of applied sciences) who also have specific technical expertise and several years of professional experience. Integration criteria will also be taken into account when issuing residence permits: ability to adjust to a new occupational and social environment, language skills and age.
  • Salary and working conditions must also be equivalent to those that apply to Swiss inhabitants.

The Practicalities: Cost of Living in Zurich

The cost of living in Zurich is high. Aside from accommodation, transport, food, and education, you will be required to pay various taxes, license fees, and insurances premiums. But, we at Milburn Lewis strongly believe that this shouldn’t dissuade you from making a move to Zurich.

These costs are more than mitigated by the exceptionally high salaries, high purchasing power, and superb quality of life offered in Zurich. The Big 4 firms in Zurich, and across Switzerland, recognise the costs involved in making a move and award packages accordingly.

When considering accommodation, it is important to realise that most people – including the locals – rent in Zurich. It is a competitive market, which means relatively high rent costs. Like in most European cities, however, the further you move out of the city centre, the cheaper rent becomes. Choosing the area in which to live is an extremely important decision. Taxes in Switzerland differ according to location, and urban centres with have their own specific rates. City areas with wealthy residents and commercial zones often have lower tax rates.

Expats living in Zurich should also get into the habit of recycling. The council tax residents per garbage bag, so it is possible to save a considerable amount by separating their rubbish into plastic, glass, and aluminium and disposing of these at free recycling sites located around the city.

Another outgoing will be healthcare. Under Swiss law, it is compulsory to acquire private healthcare and you will be required to get covered within three months of your arrival. Premiums can cost anything from about 250CHF to more than 500 CHF a month.

Like we’ve already said, however, the cost of living is high in Zurich but so is the quality of life, salaries, and opportunities for career advancement.

Concluding Remarks: Zurich

Zurich is a city that offers Big 4 professionals the opportunity to advance their career, whilst simultaneously achieving an exceptional standard of living. If you’re committed to a move to Zurich, or simply curious to know more about our clients and the roles available, email info@milburnlewis.com.

June 22, 2016 - Comments Off on Milburn Lewis – Making the Move Blog. Part II – Geneva, CH

Milburn Lewis – Making the Move Blog. Part II – Geneva, CH

Last week, Milburn Lewis launched our Making the Move Blog (which can also be found on our website, www.milburnlewis.com) with a look at one of Europe’s hidden gems, Luxembourg. This week we continue our series by traveling south to Switzerland.

Given that Switzerland is a significant market for Milburn Lewis, we’ve decided to dedicate Part II and Part III to the two major cities in Switzerland. Today, we start with Geneva.

Welcome to Switzerland

The Swiss Confederation is considered one of Europe’s most beautiful countries. Similar to Luxembourg, it offers professionals the chance of fantastic career progression, excellent work/life balance, and easy access to the rest of Europe.

Switzerland is a mountainous country in Central Europe. It is landlocked and borders Liechtenstein and Austria to the East, Italy to the South, France to the West, and Germany to the North. Given its location in Europe, Switzerland gives professionals the opportunity to work in some of Europe’s largest markets.

Compared to other major European countries, Switzerland is a relatively small country at 41,285 km2. The total population is around 8,211,700, with about 28% classified as immigrants.

There are four official languages: German (63.7%), French (20.4%), Italian (6.5%), and Romansh (0.5%). English is not an official language, though it is widely spoken throughout Switzerland. Interestingly, language is a geographical divide in Switzerland.

Switzerland is a federal directorial republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities, called Bundesstadt (“federal city”). The diverse use of language and cultures throughout the cantons arguably makes Switzerland one of Europe’s most eclectic countries.

The Swiss economy is considered to be one of the most stable in the world. Its long-standing policy of ensuring long-term monetary security and political stability has made Switzerland a safe haven for investors, creating an economy that is increasingly dependent on a steady tide of foreign investment.

Switzerland is also home to two global and economic centres: Zürich and Geneva.

Living and Working in Geneva

Geneva is the second most populated city in Switzerland, with over 195,000 residents. It is the first most populous city in Romandy, which is the term used to denote the French-speaking parts of Switzerland. It is known for its beautiful scenery, weather, and a very high standard of living.

The canton of Geneva is one of the smallest in Switzerland, ranking 21st out of 26th when ranked by area. The city of Geneva is spread across 15.93 km2, which makes it one of Europe’s smallest cities.

The official language of Geneva is French. Due to immigration flows in the 1960s and 1970, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish are also spoken by a considerable proportion of the population.

Although one can survive on English only, it is not recommended and immigrants are encouraged to develop their French skills if a long-term move to Geneva is likely. In recent years, the Executive of Geneva and Federal Council of Switzerland have voiced their concerns over the lack of proficiency in French of English-speaking expatriates (even after years spent in Geneva).

There is a significant immigrant community in Geneva, with 62% of residents coming from a “non-Swiss background”. This is largely due to the large number of international organisations that reside there, which attracts professionals from all over the world. Geneva therefore offers a relatively smooth transition for those seeking a career move, especially those who have a proficient grasp of the French language.

As always the weather is an important factor for those considering a move. In most inhabited regions of Switzerland, the weather is generally moderate. In Geneva, the hottest month is July with an average temperature of 20 degrees. Not surprisingly, the coldest month is January with an average temperature of 2 degrees.

Living and Working in Geneva

Financial services make up a significant percentage of Geneva’s economy. All the major international accountancy firms have a strong presence in the city. Milburn Lewis has very strong relationships with all of the Big 4 firms in Geneva. The feedback we often receive is that all Big 4 firms in Geneva offer a great deal of career advancement.

Geneva has some of the world’s young, dedicated, and hard-working professionals and they have to decompress. The city is home to myriad restaurants, bars, and a host of other social events. Geneva is also home to a renowned sporting culture, offering opportunities to get involved in a range of activities including skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing, hiking, canoeing, mountaineering, cycling, mountain biking, golf, wakeboarding, windsurfing and paragliding. This gives new arrivals ample opportunities to socialise, integrate, and make new relationships.

Practicalities: Right to Work

The right to work in Geneva is controlled at a Federal level. Since 1998, Switzerland has a dual priority system for the issuance of work permits. This means priority is given to workers from EU member states and a more restrictive admission policy is operated for non-EU citizens.

Switzerland is not a member of the European Union but since 2002, a bilateral agreement between the two entities has made it easier entry for EU national, as well as citizens from Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein. This was extended in 2013, which gave EU citizens full freedom of movement. EU citizens are free to travel to Switzerland, and to live and work there for up to 3 months.

For those who have longer term plans, however, they are required to obtain a residence permit and register with the communal authorities in the place they reside before taking up work. This will almost certainly be the case for professionals seeking employment within one of the Big 4 firms.

Citizens from countries outside of the EU are referred to as “third-country nationals” and the restrictions on their right to live and work are more stringent. If a professional is offered employment in Switzerland, the prospective employer must submit an application to the cantonal immigration or labour market authorities.

The following requirements apply to employment of third-country nationals:

  • Persons are admitted when it is in the general economic interest.
  • Authorisation is only granted if established quotas have not been used up.
  • Third-country nationals may only be hired if no one with equivalent qualifications can be found in Switzerland or in an EU/EFTA member state.
  • Only managers, specialists and other qualified workers will be admitted. “Qualified workers” are primarily the holders of higher education qualifications (i.e. from a university or university of applied sciences) who also have specific technical expertise and several years of professional experience. Integration criteria will also be taken into account when issuing residence permits: ability to adjust to a new occupational and social environment, language skills and age.
  • Salary and working conditions must also be equivalent to those that apply to Swiss inhabitants.

The Practicalities: Cost of Living in Geneva

Geneva is a very small city, compared to the cultural advantages it offers. The feedback we receive from professionals we’ve placed is that there are no bad, stay-away-from neighbourhoods in Geneva. However, given its relatively small size, it can be very expensive to rent and buy in Geneva.

This being said, the professionals that Milburn Lewis have placed in Geneva say that the high cost of living is offset by the low tax rates and exceptionally high salaries awarded.

Given its close proximity to France, a large number of professionals are electing to live in neighbouring French towns and commute into Geneva. Bordering French towns like Ferney-Voltaire, St. Julien-en-Genevois, and Annemase offer a smaller population and lower cost of living.

In order to live in France and work in Geneva, you are required to gain frontalier status. The benefits can be significant. Frontaliers benefit from the higher level of remuneration without the significant cost of living in city centre Geneva.

Frontaliers are subject to a complex tax arrangement, however. There are different rules and process for the different cantons of Switzerland. People who work in Geneva and the surrounding canton are taxed at source. They are required to declare their income to the French authorities and note how much tax was already paid in Geneva. The French tax then calculates what further tax is required. Geneva and France exchange the finances as per their agreement at the end of the whole process.

It is up to the individual to decide what option is best for them when consider where to reside.

Concluding Remarks: Geneva, Switzerland

Geneva, Switzerland, has a great deal to offer young, mid-career, and senior professionals wanting to advance their career. If you’re committed to a move to Geneva, or simply curious to know more about our clients and the roles they are hiring for, email info@milburnlewis.com.

June 07, 2016 - Comments Off on Milburn Lewis – Making the Move Blog. Part I – Luxembourg

Milburn Lewis – Making the Move Blog. Part I – Luxembourg

Milburn Lewis is a recruitment business that conducts cross border searches for our clients, the Big 4 and other international accountancy firms. Most of the professionals we work with are not just considering a career move, but also relocation.

Today we launch our Making the Move Blog (which can also be found on our website www.milburnlewis.com) with a look at Luxembourg.

Welcome to Luxembourg

Luxembourg is one of Europe’s hidden gems. In addition to living in one of Europe’s most beautiful and historic countries, the residents of Luxembourg enjoy an excellent work/life balance, a diverse culture and easy access to the rest of Western Europe.

Luxembourg is at the heart of Europe, both metaphorically and literally. It is a landlocked country that borders Belgium, France, and Germany, giving professionals the opportunity to gain valuable experience in Luxembourg but also across Europe’s largest markets.

Luxembourg is one of Europe’s smallest countries at just under 2,600 km2; around two-thirds the size of Rhode Island – the USA’s smallest state. The total population is circa 560,000, with roughly a third classified as immigrants.

There are three official languages: French, German, and Luxembourgish. English is widely spoken, particularly in the workplace.The polyglot nature of Luxembourg means that most newcomers will find it relatively easy to make the transition and assimilate into Luxembourgish culture.

There is a healthy immigrant community throughout Luxembourg. Luxembourg attracts professionals from all over the world, so it is highly likely that wherever you come from, you will be able to find fellow expats from your country of origin. And, if you’re Portuguese you’ll really feel at home with 15% of the country’s inhabitants (over 1/3 of all immigrants) coming from Portuguese ancestry.

People are always asking us about the weather. Unsurprisingly, Luxembourg has a similar climate to the rest of Northern Europe. Having an oceanic climate, its summers are characterised as being cool, and its winters as being relatively mild. If you’re looking for a year-long tan, then Luxembourg might not be for you. However, we have been told that the climate “is a perfect fit for the picturesque country”.

Working in Luxembourg

All the major international accountancy firms have a strong presence in Luxembourg and it is a country that offers a great deal for career advancement in both the audit and advisory spaces.

Featuring a solid economy and excellent work-life balance, we believe that Luxembourg has the potential to attract top-level talent. On offer is one of Europe’s most culturally diverse, economically strong, and totally beautiful countries. The career development prospects with our clients in Luxembourg are strong too.

Politics and the Economy

Luxembourg enjoys a stable, prosperous political system and economy.

The state is governed by a Unitary Parliamentary Constitutional Monarchy (similar to the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. The Head of State is His Royal Highness Henri, The Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and its head of government is currently Prime Minister Xavier Bettel. Like in most monarchies across Europe, the role of monarch in Luxembourg is now almost totally symbolic, and the Grand Duke no longer has any formal role in the legislative process.

Luxembourg has long been a prominent member and strong advocate for the European Union. In fact, Luxembourg was a signatory of the Treaty of Rome in 1957, which was the first incarnation of the EU. Professionals holding citizenship of a fellow EU country have the right to live and work in Luxembourg without the need of a visa.

The economy is frequently characterised as being strong and stable. Its primary industries are banking, steel, real estate, and industrial. The strength of the Luxembourgish economy was demonstrated in the aftermath of the 2008 Recession, with it surviving relatively unharmed – especially when compared to some of the larger European economies. This resilience is valued by our clients and continues to help drive the growth in their businesses. In 2016, Luxembourg’s economy continues to be strong, with the highest nominal GDP per capita in the world.

Between 1944 and 1999, the Luxembourgish franc had the exact same value as the Belgian franc, with both currencies being accepted as legal tender throughout the country. However, in 1999, Luxembourg chose to join the “Eurozone” countries and replaced both currencies with the Euro. This again makes it easier to travel across Europe, with over 19 EU states using the Euro as its currency.

The quality of life one can expect in Luxembourg is very good. According to the EU, Luxembourg has the highest minimum legal salary in the EU, and the second highest in the world after Australia. In 2013, it was €1,874.90 ($2,404) per month or €10.83 ($13.89) per hour for unqualified workers over 18. These minimum wages are reflected in the higher salaries professionals can earn in Luxembourg. The prospects of finding a role are also positive, with Luxembourg’s average unemployment rate of 3.3% between 1982 and 2013 rating as the lowest in Europe.

The Practicalities: Right to Work

Citizens of EU member countries do not require a visa or work permit in order to reside or gain employment. However, if you are a non-EU citizen the process is more complicated. It is important to note that it is not impossible. Under Luxembourgish law, non-EU migrants must apply for both a visa and work permit prior to arrival in Luxembourg.

If a non-EU candidate is offered a position, they are required to apply for a “temporary residence permit”, which will be sponsored by their future employer. This process can be completed at any local Luxembourgish consulate or embassy. However, if individuals do not have an embassy or consulate available in their country, these services can be accessed at either a Dutch or Belgian embassy.

Professionals looking to stay longer than a year, (i.e. the vast majority of our appointments), are required to apply for a “foreigner’s identity card” and register with the communal administration. After a period of 10 years living and working in Luxembourg, they can then apply for citizenship as long as they are fluent in all three of the official languages.

Concluding Remarks: Luxembourg

Luxembourg offers a compelling career choice for many of the professionals we work with. If you’re committed to a move to Luxembourg, or simply curious to know more about our clients and the roles they are hiring for, email info@milburnlewis.com

May 13, 2016 - Comments Off on EDiscovery, Change, and its Importance to Recruitment

EDiscovery, Change, and its Importance to Recruitment

It is safe to say that the recruitment industry has a fear of change, with an apparent desire to continue along the same fruitless road of posting LinkedIn adverts, cold calling, or CV spamming. Since transitioning from the public sector to commercial recruitment, I have been surprised by the reluctance of some consultants and firms to embrace the new “paradigm” in executive search recruitment, which values market knowledge, technical understanding, and ironclad client and candidate relationships. I’m glad to say that here at Milburn Lewis we have taken a proactive approach, grasping at the inevitable change of our industry. We are, however, part of a small group within the recruitment industry, which can only bode well for our future.

These issues are not unique to recruitment, one industry that has been reluctant to embrace change is eDiscovery. Over the past twelve months, Milburn Lewis has been doing a great deal of work in this area with our Big 4 clients around the globe. We believe that there is much to learn about our own industry from this incredibly interesting, changing, and lucrative business.

What is eDiscovery?

Electronic discovery (sometimes known as eDisclosure) is the process of identifying, collecting, and producing electronically stored information with the intent of it being used as evidence in either a civil or criminal legal case.

In legal terms, discovery refers to the part of the pre-trial litigation process during which each part requests relevant information and documents from the other side in an attempt to “discover” pertinent facts. In the days prior to the Internet this often involved individuals combing through thousands of documents manually, which was timely, expensive, and ultimately unreliable.

With the dawn of the internet age businesses, governments, and individuals began digitising records. This resulted in the birth of eDiscovery, which brought with it the benefits of increasing accuracy and productivity. However, as we’ve entered the era of “Big Data” when even mid-sized companies can possess inconceivable amounts of data, there has been a qualitative shift in the application of eDiscovery and the professionals who execute it.

eDiscovery and the reluctance to embrace change

Technology is pervasive, inescapable, and changing the way the world does business. In recruitment, it manifests itself in the form of Invenias, Bullhorn, or a myriad of other programmes, which are often approached with reluctance and scepticism by consultants but ultimately are designed to optimise processes, improve client and candidate relations, and generally make our lives easier.

Similarly, lawyers don’t have the best reputation when it comes to having the ability to adapt to new market realities, and are often stereotyped as being beholden to the traditions of practice. The law profession also has a relatively small group who recognise the need to embrace the new realities of eDiscovery and the complexities inherent in dealing with Big Data. Armed with algorithms, coding, and computer programmes; these are the professionals who are at the forefront of improving their practice.

The majority, however, still approach eDiscovery and Big Data as the proverbial “hot potato”, one that can have serious implications across legal departments and is therefore something that should be outsourced, rather than embraced within the legal profession. It is considered to be too complex, too expensive, and, ultimately, outside of the remit of legal professionals.

The role of the Big 4 in eDiscovery and what it means for recruiters

Given the reluctance within the legal profession to embrace eDiscovery and the complexities associated with Big Data, we have observed significant investment by the global Big 4 firms in developing robust eDiscovery practices and teams, which means that it has been and will continue to be a potentially lucrative industry for executive search recruiters.

Big Data is here to stay and, like Cyber Security, recruiters must recognise that “business as usual” won’t cut it in such a competitive and complex industry. Given its very nature, eDiscovery is the now and will be the future, and we must equip ourselves to ensure that we have the know-how to meet the inevitable demand for candidates.

We as recruiters must fully engage with the industry, making a serious and honest attempt to understand the challenges and developments facing our clients. If recruiters are able to recognise and understand that there are significant changes taking place in review techniques and document production, they will be better placed to source candidates who are able to respond to these changes and become real assets to our clients.

The bottom line: embrace the change

The bottom line is this: recruiters must harness the inevitable change. The future of eDiscovery, and indeed eDiscovery recruitment, will belong to those who think outside of the box, who work smarter, and recognise that technology brings with it challenges but also great rewards.

If you would like to find out more or have a discussion about this piece, please get in touch with Darren Reid at darren.reid@milburnlewis.com or on +44 0131 510 532

March 15, 2016 - Comments Off on 387 Words On Why You Might Want To Work For Milburn Lewis

387 Words On Why You Might Want To Work For Milburn Lewis

Over the last four and a half years Milburn Lewis has enjoyed remarkable success.   Servicing professional services firms globally, our turnover has doubled year-on-year for each of the last three years.

Our growth been fuelled by our simple dedication to the needs of our clients, complete honesty with all stakeholders and the extensive recruitment expertise of our practitioners.

Having recently moved to new offices in Queen St, Edinburgh to accommodate the ever growing team, we find ourselves needing to respond to market demand yet again.

Our dedicated clients are currently demanding support from us in the fields of Cyber Security, Tax, Audit & Risk Assurance.  We have the expertise and strong relationships to successfully work on these roles.  Where we currently fall short is having enough professional, experienced, internationally minded consultants on hand to deliver the talent to our clients.

A key part of our culture is to allow our consultants to manage their desks as they see fit.  We ask our recruiters to detail their business plans and expected outcomes to us.  The inputs are up to them.  Just so we’re clear, that means we work in a culture with minimal KPI’s and a lot of personal responsibility.  We’ve gone out of our way to hire experienced adults with a professional mind-set.  Our side of the bargain is to treat them that way.

Of course, the roles that our clients need our help with are difficult to fill.  Delivering the best talent in the European (often global) marketplace requires the support of our clever Research team.  The ability of our recruiters to approach and attract the talent and nurture it through often lengthy hiring processes is also critical.  We know these deals take time to conclude.  That’s why we assess individual results on a quarterly basis against an annual target.

Finally, we have a wonderfully generous commission scheme.  At least, this is what our Rec 2 Rec suppliers tell us.  Maybe they say that to all of their clients.  What we can say is that it is simple and rewards our top performers handsomely.

If you think that working with us in Edinburgh is an interesting prospect or this piece has already   motivated you to work with us (or if you’re just curious) drop Paul or me an email as a prelude to a confidential chat.

February 25, 2016 - Comments Off on Moving Forward: The Relationship Between Cyber Security & Recruitment

Moving Forward: The Relationship Between Cyber Security & Recruitment

Over the past couple of years, the Big Four have dedicated significant resources in an attempt to master Cyber Security, it has become abundantly clear that this a formidable challenge given that no one fully understands this evolving threat. Malcolm Marshall, the Global Head of Cyber Security at KPMG International, has stated that, “governments and businesses have yet to master the ‘third industrial revolution’ – the rise of the internet – let alone the fourth… We are going into this ‘industrial revolution’ and trying to master it, even though we have failed to secure ourselves in the third one.”

This is not surprising. Cyber Security is still being debated at an academic level, a government level, and an industry level. Therefore, there is no universally accepted definition, no universally accepted threat activity levels, and no universally accepted framework for tackling it. The Big Four are at the forefront of this debate by teaming up with other industry leaders to develop a Cyber-Risk framework, exploring new technologies and processes to enhance businesses’ ability to prevent cyber-attacks, and resourcing the best talent in the field in order to make these steps a reality.

With companies all over the world, particularly the Big Four, looking to build robust Cyber Security practices, a common problem found is access to quality talent in such a developing field. In fact, Cyber Security Job Site estimates that some companies are likely to recruit over 300 Cyber Security professionals per year; it is clear that demand hugely outweighs the supply of skilled professionals.

This is by no means a unique occurrence in recruitment, there will always be more opportunities than candidates – we must accept this fact. And it is for this reason that recruitment agencies are embracing the lucrative Cyber Security market; however, we must recognize that operating in this industry requires a re-evaluation and transition away from ‘recruitment as usual.’

In 2015, the Cyber Security industry as a whole is reported to have reached $75 billion, with market analysts projecting that this will rise to $170 billion by 2020. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a shock that we have observed exponential growth in Cyber Security practices across the Big Four accountancy firms.

The phrase “Cyber Security” has become ubiquitous. It is a term that has no established definition and our understanding of its depth and scope is evolving every day. As a result, we are constantly presented with new challenges and threats, which are have a significant impact on economies all over the world. According to the UK government, cybercrime costs British businesses £34 billion per year; with an estimated cost to the global economy in excess of $400 billion each year.

Indeed, the world witnessed a number of large-scale data breaches in both 2014 and 2015. In October 2015, the British telecommunications firm Talk Talk was hit by a “significant and sustained cyber-attack,” which compromised the personal data of the company’s over 4 million customers; in August 2015, the controversial U.S. online data site Ashley Madison suffered an extensive cyber-attack, which resulted in users’ personal information being made public; and in March 2015, the American health insurance company Primera Blue Cross was targeted and it was reported that over 11 million customers could have been affected.

It is difficult to quantify the financial impact of each attack; however, the fact that cyber-attacks on banks, businesses, and governments appear to be increasing forces organisations to take precautions. Across the globe, companies are now operating under the assumption that – regardless of their size, location, or industry – cyberattacks will happen – to them!

Governments around the world have also sought to ensure that businesses begin to take responsibility for securing their information, especially the personal data of their clients and customers. Both the U.K. and U.S. governments, as well as the European Union, have led the way in the implementation of new Cyber Security standards, which are imposed and overseen by regulatory bodies – meaning that companies are now legally required to properly protect their data.

Simon Collins, the U.K. chairman of KPMG, put it succinctly when he stated that, “[companies] have gone from having an anecdotal understanding of Cyber Security to seeing it as a key item on the agenda.” Since this quote was reported in 2014, the Big Four have grown their Cyber Security practices exponentially and in doing so have found an incredibly lucrative market.

It is clear that Cyber Security is an important market for recruiters but it is one that requires us to have a look at our practices in order to maximise it’s potential. How often do we come across blog posts on LinkedIn from industry leaders complaining of receiving approaches from consultants declaring, “I have found the IDEAL candidate for your team,” when, in fact, the candidate does not have many of the skills/experience needed for the role? Yes, ensuring an effective pipeline is important but it is this sort of behaviour that leads to clients and candidates becoming disenchanted with recruiters and recruitment in general.

We must be frank with ourselves; cyber security is complex, it is difficult, and it is important in an increasingly hostile world. Therefore, we must approach it as such by ensuring that those engaging with this market are as informed as possible, which will require significant dedication from both recruitment consultants and researchers.

Companies should look to utilise all of their resources; for example, I lead Milburn Lewis’ Cyber Security research because I have a strong academic background in Cyber Security and am able to utilise this knowledge in my analysis of the market and identification of candidates. I don’t want to be misunderstood, I am not calling for recruiters to become experts in Cyber Security – this is simply not feasible. However, we cannot simply continue to “sound like we know what we’re talking about” or “bluff it” with clients and candidates.

Becoming more engaged with the issue of Cyber Security will not only benefit our clients and candidates but also our employers. It means knowing where to locate candidates because, as we are coming to understand, Cyber Security professionals don’t simply hang out on LinkedIn waiting for the next InMail. It means building trust by showing a genuine desire to understand the developments and challenges associated with Cyber Security.

It means recognising the desired qualifications and ignoring those that, in the words of a Cyber Security professional, “aren’t worth the paper they are written on.” And it means recognizing what the client wants and what is realistic, given that Cyber Security is in its infancy there is a serious lack of talent; however, it is our job to find those that are there. This is what we doing here at Milburn Lewis by fully engaging with Cyber Security, we are able to identify and place the highest calibre candidates within the Big Four.

If you would like to find out more or discuss the details please get in touch with Darren Reid at darren.reid@milburnlewis.com or on +44 0131 560 1143.

November 26, 2014 - Comments Off on CV Infrequently Asked Questions

CV Infrequently Asked Questions

A very influential Director whom I worked for (in Sydney during the 90’s) once gave me some advice about training. He said that in every company there were people who never sought feedback, guidance or training. These people, he assured me, were usually the people who needed it most.

I feel the same way about CVs. About once or twice a week someone sends me CV and asks if there is anything they should consider changing. Inevitably these are the people with CVs that look just fine.

Most of the others are fine too, but then there are the ones where you open the attachment, mutter ‘This won’t do at all.’ ,pick up the phone and dial…

In that light, what follows may be unsolicited advice.

How many versions of my CV/resume should I have?

Ideally, you should tailor your CV for each job for which you are applying. Always bear in mind the end purpose of your CV – to get you an interview with an employer so you can then dazzle them with your knowledge and personality.

Take a long, hard look at the job spec. What are the key competencies? Which experience will the employer rate the most highly?

If you are talking to a recruiter, ask them as many questions about the role as you can. What is the hardest thing about this role? What problem is the employer looking to solve in hiring this role? What are the most important experiences and characteristics they are looking for? Of course, if the recruiter can’t answer these questions then consider carefully if you want to trust this person with your next career move!

A one size fits all CV will only by chance address the key issues of the particular job you’re applying for. Tailor the message for your audience.

Should I include a summary?

Yes. You need to give the reader a reason to take your CV seriously and read the details. Think of it as your elevator pitch. One paragraph or a half a dozen bullet points that sum up:

• What you’re doing today
• Two or three key achievements that are relevant to the job that you are applying for and make you stand out from the crowd
• A statement that links your career motivations to the job for which you’re applying.

How long should it be?

More than one page, less than four. I regularly receive one page CV’s from people in senior management roles. They’ve condensed years of experience and a wealth of achievements and knowledge into one page. I’m not sure which is the greater sin; leaving off vital information or cramming it onto a document written in 8-point font with minimised margins. Neither option is going to present you in the best light. So live a little and push out to two, or even three, pages.

If you’ve tailored the CV and the summary properly the reader will be motivated to read more than one page of your story. Beyond three pages, information not strictly relevant to the role is starting to creep in to the document. Chances are that not every role in your career is relevant to the role you are applying for today. So put in less detail on these roles and expand upon the roles and achievements that demonstrate you have the ability to do this job.

If it shouldn’t be too long, what do I emphasise – skills, achievements or job duties?

Nothing is going to sell your story better than to list out your tangible achievements. What have you done that has changed the fortunes of your clients or your employers?

It’s nice to know that you advise clients on debt restructuring projects. Much more interesting is the list of projects you have worked on that include details of the client size, industry and the projects themselves. Tell us what your personal involvement in the project was and how that affected the final outcome of the project. Listing out your skills is nice, but again – make sure to link these skills to your achievements and demands of the role you’re applying for.

Should I include a photo?

If you want to, yes. But if you do, just make sure it makes you look professional. Linked In is full of examples of what not to do.

Finally (and briefly) I have set out a few other common sins to avoid and things to bear in mind:

• It’s best to explain gaps in your career history
• Spelling/grammar mistakes (do I really need to say that? Yes!)
• Avoid lumping experience/achievements accrued across several roles under one heading. Break it down by job listed on your CV. People like to know how recent your experiences are and their context.

No doubt some of this will conflict with the advice of others. Bear in mind that I recruit for Consulting firms; generally in the fields of Corporate Finance, Forensics, Restructuring and Operations. Perhaps you feel this isn’t applicable to your sector. I’d be happy to hear other people’s views.

info@milburnlewis.com
+44 (0) 131 510 5530
3-4 Queen Street, Edinburgh. EH2 1JE, UK