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How Valuable is a Brand on a CV?

 
#1 How Valuable is a Brand on a CV?
07/11/2014 09:42

ManicRower

I’m a technology consultant who originally started off in industry (public sector) where I stayed for four years, before joining a small tech consultancy where I’ve been for circa 18 months.

Academically, I am a ‘solid B-grade’ across my GCSEs/A-Levels and a 2:1 at a non-russell group university. It’s probably fair to say I coasted whilst concentrating on ‘university life.’

Since then I’ve grown up a bit and professionally have been reasonably successful. I’ve been promoted 3 times across 5ish yrs (once in consultancy), have delivered well and sold well even at my relatively low grade where selling is not the primary goal. I work with blue-chip clients (primarily Financial Services) doing engagements I by and large enjoy, I have a good reputation within my firm and am on their high performer scheme.

My question is this; How important is it for me to get a consulting ‘brand’ such as a Big 4, Accenture, IBM, CapGemini or even a PA on my CV? Is it even possible with my average education background?

The long-term ambition (think 7-10yrs) is to head to industry at Mid/Senior Mgt-level to enable a move away from London when my partner and I have children. Is this possible without a big name on my CV? Or am I placing too much value in what a big name brings and should instead focus on the quality of work at my current employer and finishing the high performer scheme?

I feel somewhat indebted to my current employer as they took a chance on me when very few consultancies would, and have provided me with good training, work and a career path. However, I can’t shake the feeling that if I got an opportunity to work for a bigger company that is more widely known, that this would be more advantageous to me in the long-term.

Has anyone else been in a similar situation? Are there any tech recruiters out there who could advise on the value they place on a brand? Any help/opinions would be very much welcomed….

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#2 RE: How Valuable is a Brand on a CV?
07/11/2014 14:47

ConsultingDuck to ManicRower (#1)

I'll chip in on the "how possible is it" question - very. I, among with other people I know, have come in to those firms as experienced hires with a few years of industry experience and a 2:1 from, honestly, a distinctly average university. From what you've written, you've got every chance of getting into Big 4 consulting.

As to how necessary it is? Someone else can help with that.

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#3 RE: How Valuable is a Brand on a CV?
07/11/2014 17:01

marsday to ManicRower (#1)

My question is this; How important is it for me to get a consulting ‘brand’ such as a Big 4, Accenture, IBM, CapGemini or even a PA on my CV? Is it even possible with my average education background?

The long-term ambition (think 7-10yrs) is to head to industry at Mid/Senior Mgt-level to enable a move away from London when my partner and I have children. Is this possible without a big name on my CV? Or am I placing too much value in what a big name brings and should instead focus on the quality of work at my current employer and finishing the high performer scheme?

Absolutely agree with ConsultingDuck - you are past the point where academic achievement will be a distinguishing factor.

So then to brand...

What would you need the brand for? The brand 'effect' is to actually to give access to senior contacts within an industry, often as here with a view to eventually moving across to industry or to winning business within same. You already have the contacts within FS, where you would want to exit, and - importantly - are selling consulting projects at a level of your career where this would not be expected or even directly facilitated in a larger 'brand' firm. Selling consulting needs credibility, so de facto you have it, with the same contacts you would have access to at PwC or whoever. The high performer scheme where you are will have no particular benefit - but 3 promotions in 5 years, high performer scheme, selling projects etc all combined certainly will.

Your exit point, when you get there, will come from a conversation with someone you have done work for directly. It will not come from the brand on your CV. Bad work is bad work, good work is good. Bad work from consulting brand A isnt suddenly good by virtue of the brand.

My advice, for what its worth, would be dont wait too long to move across; if you want to plan an exit into FS you should be building the contacts who can make that happen now, and jump when the opportunity arises. That could be in 1 year, it could be Monday.

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#4 RE: How Valuable is a Brand on a CV?
10/11/2014 12:46

ConsultingDuck to marsday (#3)

Your exit point, when you get there, will come from a conversation with someone you have done work for directly. It will not come from the brand on your CV. Bad work is bad work, good work is good. Bad work from consulting brand A isnt suddenly good by virtue of the brand.

My advice, for what its worth, would be dont wait too long to move across; if you want to plan an exit into FS you should be building the contacts who can make that happen now, and jump when the opportunity arises. That could be in 1 year, it could be Monday.

Anecdote: I (briefly) worked with a girl who joined Big 4 from the military and went into FS. She was here for roughly 5 months before getting hired by the first client she worked on, for a considerable pay rise.

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#5 RE: How Valuable is a Brand on a CV?
10/11/2014 15:09

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to ConsultingDuck (#4)

Sounds like a dream employee.

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#6 RE: How Valuable is a Brand on a CV?
11/11/2014 22:09

DCF to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#5)

You make it sound like you aren't aware a member of staff is just a unit of production to a Big 4 firm. During their time at the firm, they will have earned the firm around 3 times what they cost, unless things really didn't work out. No departure is much of a loss.

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#7 RE: How Valuable is a Brand on a CV?
12/11/2014 08:08

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to DCF (#6)

Even big companies would prefer not to have staff leave after just 5 months, I'm sure...

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#8 RE: How Valuable is a Brand on a CV?
07/01/2015 14:40

RockyMark to ManicRower (#1)

The brand has got a lot of preference in the CV. Whenever a company is recruiting, they first see the knowledge and the experience of the individual. Later, they see the company that the individual has worked for. This shows that the brand name of your previous company is also important to create a lasting impression on the recruiter. According to me, both these factors are important and you need to highlight both while applying for a job.

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#9 RE: How Valuable is a Brand on a CV?
08/01/2015 19:41

Coolcat to ConsultingDuck (#2)

I'll chip in my thoughts on this. The OP sounds level headed and I can relate to their position. I went to an average university and fell into an industry which I started to pay a lot of attention to and moved from desktop support to consulting for a small company. After several promotions I felt although I hit a ceiling with leading many good projects under my belt. I found even though I had very good industry experience of 8 years hardly anyone wanted to know me until I was contacted by a good recruiter who knew what they were talking about. Looking back I think I should have worked more on my personal brand and networked professionally better.

Once I made it into the big4 which I never even thought of as I didn't think I was that good, my reputation I had built within industry became well known amongst my new colleagues and I found I was able to do so much more with no ceiling in sight!. You can either be a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big pond. I know had I stayed with the smaller consulting company where I built my career I could have remained there for years performing the same role with the same clients year in and out.

Having been with the Big4 with several years experience I'm finding more opportunities being opened up with other big players. I've found though I was highly experienced, other potential employers where more interested in me now as they saw me as a very highly polished consultant with a big brand behind me plus the experience of working there.

Now I'm in a position to be very selective about organisations I want to work for including the real opporutnities that exist and what I can do for them and in return how I will develop myself.

Going for a big brand was one of the best decisions I made.

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#10 RE: How Valuable is a Brand on a CV?
09/01/2015 10:18

ManicRower to Coolcat (#9)

Many thanks for the responses on this thread, really helpful and sum up my situation perfectly.

Since starting this thread I have successfully completed the recruitment process for one of the Big4 and have a written offer in hand. It is for a Senior Consultant (or equivalent) grade with their Technology practice. Salary-wise it is Money wise it is a 14% increase on my current salary, but after tax and given the career trajectory/progression at my current firm it's not a huge consideration. The pension however is approx. £600 a month better, and other corp benefits are at the same level, if not a tad better.

I am still struggling to decide whether to take it to be honest. At my current consultancy I am very much treated as a person rather than a number but as Coolcat says, it will very much be the same work and the same clients, losing more than we win to big4 competitors.

On the other side, the draw of working for a well-recognised and regarded company is very strong. However I am fully aware that I can expect my personal-life to take a hit as they will expect 'their pound of flesh' so to speak, and that I will be a number rather than a person.

Not sure whether I've asked any further questions to be honest, just wanted to share my current situation and see if anyone had any tips to help me make the right decision.

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#11 RE: How Valuable is a Brand on a CV?
09/01/2015 10:49

agentsmith to ManicRower (#10)

I'm going to respond on this one later, when my current call is over - I can multitask but not that well! Take it will be the short version.

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#12 RE: How Valuable is a Brand on a CV?
09/01/2015 12:03

agentsmith to agentsmith (#11)

I'd definitely take it if I were you. Here are the reasons:

- You've been promoted 3 x in a 5 year period, are a high performer etc and yet a senior consultant offer would give you an increase of 14%? A high performer in Accenture (where I work) would be on a package of £72K and up by that point from graduate intake. I've seen and know many people do it in 4 years even in the current environment

- You have a goal to go in at mid-senior level in 7-10 years. If you show the same trajectory as you have in a Big 4 you could fast track this to 2-3 years. If you want to wait 7-10 years for other reasons you could build some seriously good credentials to make your options brighter by that point (more contacts, much better experience, better brand)

- You have a target of 7-10 years to achieve your goal. Let's take the worst case scenario; you leave your current job on good terms by telling them you feel you need to experience life in a Big 4 but found it really difficult as you've loved your time there blah blah. You leave, hate the big 4 and need to go back. You've lost nothing. You really think they wont take you back if you say the environment didn't suit you and you realise how much they meant to you (starting to sound like a story I've spun an ex back in the day!)

- You will always think what could have been

For what it's worth I was in a similar position and have almost tripled my previous employers salary where I am and have enjoyed my time despite multiple warnings similar to your statement re 'their pound of flesh'. I am thinking of moving on for more cash though but I do have 5 years experience at a big consulting brand now!

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