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September 24, 2017

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Fall in Love with Your Work

love_your_career

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and love is in the air. But do you love your work…or loathe it?


Does your career afford you the freedom to choose when, where and how often you work? Or does it feel more like a daily grind that you’ve come to dislike?

Loving your work means different things to different people. For some, a 9-to-5 office job feels like the opposite of love.

If you’re tired of a grumpy boss, dislike the long hours you work or despise your commute, it’s time to do something about it. Take the reins and create a better opportunity for yourself, one that you desire, not dread.  Read More

So You Want to Work in Corporate Strategy? Learn What It Takes.

Coffee + DeskCorporate strategy roles can take a number of different forms – from requiring experience in investment banking or consulting to an understanding of data-driven business analysis and coding languages. At my company, UpScored, we think a lot about what skills are required for different roles, and on the flip side, what types of careers people are most interested in. We are constantly looking at trends and career interests across the candidates on our platform.

The Most Popular Non-Technical Roles Are in Strategy

We recently took a look at the most popular job openings on our site. Interestingly, the three most in-demand non-technical opportunities were all strategy roles. Before jumping into the specifics, I’ll offer more background on how we came to our findings.

UpScored is a career discovery platform that connects professionals to their best career prospects. That said, an important part of our platform is a feature by which candidates can like or dislike different job prospects so we can learn from their preferences (similar to Pandora). We analyzed career interests across 16,000 job descriptions to find the most popular roles. Currently, the top opportunities are:

  • Finance & Strategy Manager at ZocDoc
  • Vice President of Corporate Strategy at Viacom
  • Strategy Analyst at Squarespace

While all three strategy roles require a sophisticated level of analytics, it’s clear from the job descriptions that each opportunity is notably different. For instance, the strategy role at Squarespace requires experience with programming languages (Python, C++, Java) while the position at ZocDoc is more focused on operations and financial planning. These findings piqued our interest, which led us to further explore what it means to be in a strategy role.

Advice Straight From a Former Corporate Strategist

We took our research beyond the job description to ask an expert: what does it really take to be a stellar corporate strategist? We sat down with Alexandra Nicholson, a former Corporate Strategy and Business Development Manager at NBCU and Harvard Business School grad. Prior to NBCU and Harvard, Alexandra honed her analytical skills in investment banking at Barclays Capital covering the Media and Communications sectors.  We asked Alexandra what it takes to work in corporate strategy.

Elise: What is the single most important skill for someone in a corporate strategy position?

Alexandra: The most important skill for anyone working in corporate strategy is the ability to focus. It sounds simple, but there are a lot of challenges and opportunities that come across your radar in a strategy role, related to competitors, potential partners, product development, etc. My best colleagues have been able to rise above the noise, clearly see which issues are most and least critical, and deliver targeted recommendations on the right next steps.

Elise: What would you recommend to candidates who want to move into a corporate strategy role? Any tips for getting the job?

Alexandra: Before considering any strategy position, you should be clear on what’s expected in that role. Strategy can encompass many different types of work depending on the company: finance, business development, and strategic planning, among others. It’s easy to apply for a strategy role, expecting one type of work, and find yourself engaged in something completely different. Probe deeply into the types of projects that you can expect, the backgrounds of your future teammates, and the actual day-to-day tasks of the job.

The good news for anyone interested in corporate strategy is that the positions are often multi-faceted, so firms may be open to candidates with passion and relevant skills (in addition to those with prior strategy experience). In the past, I’ve worked with former lawyers, consultants, and operating managers on strategy-focused teams. Even if you don’t come from a consulting firm, your perspective can be incredibly valuable to a corporate strategy group.

Elise: How do you think your background in investment banking helped you prepare for your role as a Strategy & Business Development Manager?

Alexandra: Having a strong finance background has helped me immensely. Many of the projects that I’ve worked on required the capacity to analyze and dissect historical financial statements and build forecasting models, or both. I would say, though, that any experience demonstrating an analytical mindset would be valued by a strategy team. Broadly speaking, the strategy team offers perspective to senior leaders about the future of the organization and provides recommendations around the choices that the company needs to make, given its value proposition, resources, and place among competitors. This advice needs to be grounded in solid quantitative analysis, as well as theory. As such, the capacity to work with numbers and an interest in using data to answer questions is crucial for any strategy hire.

Discover Strategy Roles and Other Top Opportunities at UpScored

If you’re interested in strategy roles or discovering other career opportunities at top companies like ZocDoc or Viacom, we’re offering exclusive access to our platform for Women For Hire readers.  Discover your next career move at www.upscored.com.

 

Author’s Background
Elise Runde Voss is the CEO and Co-Founder of UpScored, a career discovery platform that intelligently connects professionals to their best career prospects. Before co-founding UpScored, Elise worked at Point72 Asset Management (formerly SAC Capital Advisors), a $10bn multi-strategy investment firm.  During her time at Point72, she played central roles in helping launch two different business divisions: the firm’s big data strategy group and its multi-sector research platform. She’s extremely passionate about helping people find their ideal careers through better technology. You can contact her directly at elise@upscored.com.

Staples Proudly Supports Women

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 12.33.56 PMAt Staples, we have always recognized the strategic advantage in hiring, engaging and retaining female talent. We are proud to share the following ways that Staples is encouraging the development of women in the workplace:

  • In March 2015 we hosted Women’s Week, providing women with training and tools to develop and grow as leaders within Staples (included Simmons Leadership Conference for nominated female associates). Read More

Should You Quit Your Job Before You Have Another?

iStock_000000480329 smallTess Vigeland, author of Leap: Leaving a job With No Plan B to Find the Career and Life You Really Want, decided to quit her familiar job without a safety next.  She has never looked back because quitting her job gave her the clarity to reflect on her next steps. Here, Vigeland gives tips to figuring out if leaving your job without a Plan B is right for you.

How to Survive a Job Hunt

iStock_000002650343LargeA long, job search can leave psychological bruises and hurl you into a self-defeating cycle. “It’s a blow to your self-esteem,” David Reiss, a psychiatrist based in San Diego tells U.S. News. The more confidence you lose, the worse you perform in the job search.  This process “takes a half a step off your game,” Reiss says.  To fight it, author Laura McMullen gives six tips, starting with: have fun.

  

Declining an Interview, Politely

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 2.17.19 PMYou never can tell when some company may reach out to you with a job opportunity even though you’re not looking.  AvidCareerist advises you don’t jump the gun by immediately saying “no” even if the position does not interest you–you don’t want to burn bridges or close the door on future opportunities. Read here how to politely decline an interview and make it a win/win for everybody.