In part two of our series celebrating International Women’s Day, we continue our focus on the careers of four successful female interims. This time Dorothy Day offers her advice when starting out, including the need to partner with a reputable interim management consultant, “Get to know a couple of trusted interim management recruitment specialists for advice, guidance and support,” she says.
The highly experienced people and culture change expert has helped organisations and business owners drive organisational design, development and change delivery. Here are her top tips…
“Don’t go for any old assignment just because it’s available”
What advice would you give to females considering moving into interim?
DD: The first thing is to get expert CV advice. It needs to look very different to a chronological CV and focus on skills and achievements in specific areas, which are typically what is searched on. You need to network like crazy, update your LinkedIn profile and showcase your area(s) of specialism. Ask for recommendations, comment on articles that you’re interested in and tie it into what you do. Get to know a couple of trusted interim management recruitment specialists for advice, guidance and support. And reconnect with people you enjoyed working with in the past, as they may be able to refer, endorse or hire you.
What do you wish you’d known when you first started?
DD: Hold your nerve and don’t go for any old assignment just because it’s available – be picky and ensure it plays to your strengths and preferences. You’ll never get a clear brief so don’t expect to be doing exactly what you were sold. Treat each assignment and interaction as a learning opportunity as you won’t get any other form of development from your clients. You must put money aside to see you through the drier spells, which will also help you hold your nerve. And make sure you have enough to pay your taxes and cover those HMRC payments on account!
Have you faced any particular challenges as a female interim?
DD: Being paid less than male counterparts. Sadly, this still happens today. I have to work four days per week due to caring responsibilities and have ever since I started out in 2011. I’ve often met with resistance from more traditional thinking executives leading turnarounds who believe that you need to be in the office for 14 hour days, five days per week to justify your value. I just move quickly on and have learnt to be more discerning about who I work with and the cultures that I thrive in.
Dorothy’s top five tips
- Network: actively contribute on platforms such as LinkedIn
- Reputation: partner with a trusted interim management specialist
- Self-development: ‘treat each assignment as a learning opportunity’
- Flexibility: work-life balance is important so choose your assignments wisely
- Resilience: don’t take anything personally!
If you’d like to discover more about an interim management career, please get in touch.