Why so quiet? What is the deal?

A wise man always tells me that in motorsport (and other sports as well for that matter) you swing between business and sport continuously. Hence you end up at some point not worrying about the business aspect; you turn your focus to the sporting side and make sure that you achieve your sporting goals. This is bad news for us as suppliers and anyone else on the periphery of motorsport as it becomes a cyclical business model. Motorsport teams will not have time to talk about strategic hiring issues when they are off racing and they are in the middle of the season; it is all about racing at that point. This is the reason why we have been a bit quite of late; we have also been off to the tracks to network and talk to people. We and the teams have time to talk racing when they are racing, which leads to other discussions later in the year.

However, after Formula One’s mid-season shut down they will start to build next year’s car and they will discover that they need new competence and temporary contract staff to make sure they can deliver on time. This is where they are starting to shift focus from sport back to business.

We are making a big push this season to ensure our contractors get work though the season. We will have many opportunities for anyone whose contract is up in a couple months time to get you right back on another one, so get your CV’s in to us so that we can start promoting you. We will as usual promote the permanent placements as and when they become available, so keep your eyes on this space. You can also send us a note below to make contact.

1 Candidate + 1 Recruiter = 1 Common Goal

High five

We thought it prudent to give any job seeker out there some advise in working with recruiters. It certainly is neither brain surgery nor rocket science, but a few pointers might very well be in order.

The base concept is simple; recruiters are in business to make money (surprised?), placing candidates generates revenue and doing so effectively creates efficiencies which creates more opportunities for the recruiter, which in turn creates opportunities for candidates. Candidates are in the business of landing their dream job and recruiters can help them open doors and find opportunities the candidate would not otherwise have known about. Hence, as the title of this article suggests, candidates and recruiters have a common goal: Find a job for candidates and get them hired. Now of course for recruiters that have their eyes on the long term viability of the business will also be focused on getting the right candidate for the right job. However simplified this analysis might be, it holds true in most cases. Below you have our list of top suggestions on how to best work with your recruiter:

  1. Trust that your recruiter is looking after your best interest. Don’t get upset if you aren’t contacted about a job that you would not have a chance of landing anyway. Your recruiter does not want to waste anyone’s time and will only let you know about opportunities where you have a real chance.
  2. Honesty goes a long way! If you are honest you will give your recruiter the tools to work his/her magic to get you in the door. If you withhold information that causes problems, you can see where your chances are going to end up.
  3. Do your homework. It is a two way street; your recruiter will give you an insight and knowledge that you wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else, so return the favour by reading up on the businesses that you are trying to get a job with and also absorb any information your recruiter provides you with.
  4. Have your wits about you. If a recruiter contacts you about a job that you have already applied for, it might be a good idea to tell him/her. Recruiters will only be able to collect a fee from the employer if the recruiter is the one making the introduction. It is surprising how often this problem comes up.
  5. It’s a partnership. You are both working towards a common goal, so to achieve the best results, i.e. you getting that dream job, view your recruiter as a partner in the process. Ask them for advice and tell them if you are thinking of applying to a job, he/she might have contacts there that can help.
  6. Be responsive. If you are serious about pursuing an opportunity, show it by responding promptly or communicating when you will be able to respond. The speed of which opportunities come and go in this business is staggering, so right place at the right time is very applicable indeed.
  7. Make ’em look good! Or perhaps I should say ‘don’t make ’em look bad’. If you do not follow the advice above you will make your recruiter look bad and thus will be less likely to be able to help you in the future.

So, in the illustrious words of Jerry McGuire; ‘Help me help you!’ http://youtu.be/AGt5f70K02Q (however our disposition is slightly less desperate than Jerry’s in this scene)

Model Cars For Grown-Ups. Model Making in Formula One.

ADM from photopolymer resin

It has been a while since our last edition of our series of ‘The inner workings of a Fomula One Team’ articles, but there is actually some research that goes in to it; we want to be thorough and correct! Again the information is based on interviews with people working in the pertinent field.

This time we are taking a look inside the Model Making department and how (in general terms) they work . As you may know models in F1 are used for wind tunnel testing and experimental aerodynamic testing,  validation and data generation through telemetry. As opposed to the testing using CFD, they actually have to build a physical model of the car with all the intricacies that exist on F1 cars these days. Some teams use ‘smaller’ models, i.e. 40% scale of the full sized car, but they will always strive to test on at least a 60% scale model for more accurate results. Even though Teams are having to rely more on CFD than wind tunnel testing going forward due to regulations, wind tunnel testing remains an integral part of a Team’s process of achieving their goals on the track. A typical ‘model shop’ will consist of manufacturing and assembly groups. They manufacture the parts in many different materials from aluminum, carbon fibre, steel to the various metals and resins used in ADM, Advanced Digital Manufacturing or ‘Rapid Prototyping’. In the olden days they actually used wood and would have to rely on chisels and gouges to achieve the right shapes and angles. These days they use CNC machines and 3D printers using resins and metals cured with lasers, all fed instructions based on the designers’ specifications in the CAD generated drawings. Times have changed, haven’t they?

Essentially the designers will give the group the CAD from which they manufacture the parts for the model. Considering the can be up to 1 000 design changes per week during the season, the pressure from the design department is tremendous. Once the parts have all been made, the model is assembled and a test session is run. The wind tunnel is operated by wind tunnel technicians, which typically have and electronics and instrumentation background. The test is run by an Aerodynamicist who works with the model makers to make changes to the parts and to make sure the data is collected for analysis. This data is in turn interpreted by the Aero and design departments to make a case for implementing the design change on the full sized car. And around it goes again.

This department has traditionally been a great entry-point in to motorsport for apprentices, and still is. However, due to the lack of apprentices, as seen in the news lately (e.g. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/lack-apprenticeships-holding-back-uk-3187201), candidates are sourced from other functions.  I actually spoke to a candidate the other day that started out as a cabinet maker before ending up making models, which does make sense really. Obviously CNC machinists/programmers, composite pattern makers and anyone with experience of 3D printing technologies have a natural fit in the manufacturing process. A degree from university is not necessary, but many times apprentices are brought in from Motorsport programmes from colleges, so it is competitive despite the diminishing apprentice pool. In terms of transferable skills you would be able to move to any function as a CNC programmer/machinist or composite pattern maker, depending on your function. However, you are also able to move in to operations management, e.g. production manager, if this is the direction you want to go. Key in this as many other areas is to keep yourself up to date and trained in new technologies as they move very fast.

The rapid prototyping element of model making is becoming increasingly common in all types of industries and even in manufacturing processes and thus it is a burgeoning market for good model makers. Hence it is certainly a skill set worth investing in for a life long career.

Below I have picked out a couple of videos to explain the technology and also give a glimpse in to the wind tunnel process.

As usual, keep an eye out for opportunities for model makers, CNC Machinists, Pattern Makers, etc on our website: http://www.resourcesinmotorsport.co.uk. It is also worth pointing out that this week, 3/3 – 7/3-14, is National Apprenticeship Week, to find out more follow: http://www.apprenticeships.org.uk/awards/apprenticeship-week-2014.aspx

Write the Right CV! Some friendly tips.

We at RIMS pride ourselves of being a helpful organisation and sometimes this is misconstrued as being critical and insensitive. However, it is all well meant and will help you get better traction in your job search. We receive many CVs every day, some good and some not so good. Many of the CVs show case that candidates typically think of ‘what have I done?’ as opposed to ‘ what have I contributed?’ Also keep in mind that you have to adapt your CV to the country ‘standard’ for where the job/organisation is based. This article will primarily focus on UK based jobs and organisations.

Employers are naturally interested in that candidates have the skill set to perform the job. However, the key for them is to see that you can do it well. The only way for employers to see this is for you to give examples of how you have been useful to others. For example, instead of stating ‘I used C# code to write a new simulation script’ you should write (if it is true!) ‘The script I wrote in C# for the simulator provided more accurate data that allowed us to shave off 0.02 seconds per lap at Suzuka’. Companies and Teams are results driven and you are a part in achieving those results, thus you need to focus on what you can contribute. As JFK once said ‘…ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.’ In our context you need to ask yourself how you can have an impact on an organisation’s ultimate goal, whatever that might be.

This brings us to a second important aspect; know your audience! If you are serious about applying for a job with an organisation, show that you are! Tailor your CV to sell yourself. Here are a few tips:

  • Read the job advert carefully and decipher what key skills they look for in a candidate, this might not always be clear; e.g. the emphasis might be on academia or experiences.
  • Trawl on the organisation’s website to understand what they do, how they operate and what they are passionate about; does it match your credentials and experience?
  • Find out what personality characteristics the hiring manager goes for and highlight those in your CV.
  • Talk to your recruiter about what key aspects should be highlighted. We are actually, believe it or no, a helpful resource that wants you to succeed.

It is hard work selling yourself and tailoring your CV for each job you are applying for, but if you want to improve your ‘hit’ ratio and get more invitations to interview you have to show that you care. If you don’t, the employer is going to see that and not short list you. The points raised above apply to all aspects of your CV, not only your professional work experience.

We also get many CVs compiled and written by professional CV writing services, and I use that term lightly. Unless the service knows the employer you are going for and are able to tailor each CV to that end, I wouldn’t rely wholly on their skills for every job you are applying for. They will give you a nice layout and give you some good wording to use, but you need to use that as a template, not your standard.

Below are some general key suggestions for structuring a good CV:

  • Use bullet points when you elaborate and highlight key words (don’t go too crazy)!
  • Start your CV with 3 -5 bullet points with your key strengths that will benefit the employer.
  • Put sections in the order of importance to the job you are applying for; e.g. if your academic credentials are more important than work experience, put them first.
  • In each section, list your achievements/experiences in chronological order starting with the most recent.
  • Always give the name of the organisation you attended/worked with, state the from and to dates, if it is not obvious, give the location.
  • In the section about your education always also provide the degrees and grades achieved. Don’t forget your A-levels equivalent, if applicable!
  • If you have a number of publications under your belt, just state how many and give the titles of the ones most appropriate to the job you are applying for.
  • For some jobs you will have a portfolio of projects that you have done, don’t attach them to the CV. Provide the titles of the key ones and perhaps give a link to your drop box where they can be viewed.

Finally, make your CV stand out! Always have a basic Word format of your CV available, but there are some great publishing tools out there that are easy to use to add a professional flair to your CV and make it memorable. If you don’t want to buy one I can recommend Scribus as a good open source alternative to a commercial one (www.scribus.net). I once received a CV from a composite laminator who had a carbon fibre pattern running down the left third side of the entire CV. It might seem silly, but guess which CV I will go to first when I have an opening for a composite laminator? We at RIMS have a layout for our CVs that stands out and as employers flick through a stack of CVs they cannot miss ours. In many countries it is customary to attach a head shot on the CV, but it is not common in the UK. However, I would suggest that you attach one to the CV you bring to the interview so the hiring manager can visualise the conversation that you had when they are reviewing their candidates.

I am sure that not everybody is going to agree with all points given in this article, but I can only convey what we have seen being successful, so take from this what you think would work for you. Happy job hunting!

Ah, These Young Ones With So Much Hope And Enthusiasm!

Last time we talked about the functions that do not ‘touch’ the car, i.e. more business administrative roles within the Team. This article will attempt to tackle and, in some respects, generalise another collective group spread across many department; Newbies. This would refer to anyone in a graduate, apprenticeship or internship programme. These programmes are vastly different but have one primary commonality; they are entry points to working in a team. These are extremely competitive programmes and being selected is an achievement in of it self lest we forget about actually completing any of the programmes. Key to succeeding will of course be to performing well in your job, but there is more to it than that. Teams will be looking for candidates that apply themselves and are loyal. Hence, as the old cliché goes, be the first to arrive and last to leave every day. This is also an opportunity to network, learn and ask questions as you will be exposed to more than one discipline in a team. Can I just mention networking again? You will find that it is as much about what you know as who you know in this business.  There are too many examples where candidates superbly competent do not get called up because they are not ‘known’ in the business, start building those relationships early!

Internships are programmes that run for a specific period of time during an interns studies at university. Teams will announce them during a limited time during the year. This will be the lucky few’s opportunity to connect theory to practice, but also to get a feel for the environment. Most teams have internship programmes; they allow teams to take a first look at the potential starts of tomorrow that might come back as graduates. They also tie up relationships between teams and academic institutions to allow teams to gain access to recruit the best graduates. Every intern’s objective should be that when they put in the application for a graduate position the hiring manager says to him/herself “I remember this guy/girl, that was the intern who….[insert positive aspect of your internship]”. If that happens you probably proved yourself and stood out from the crowd and made a point to make yourself known to the managers (without being blunt about it!). By the way, don’t expect to get paid for your internship, you are there to learn, especially if it is part of your educational programme.

Apprenticeships are similar to internships as they run for a specific period of time, but with the objective to lead to permanent employment. These programmes tend to run in the more mechanical/manufacturing aspects of the teams. An apprentice will also have completed his/her studies and will be expected to start contributing to the success of the team relatively soon after joining the team. You will not be earning much money as an apprentice, but you will have the opportunity to learn the ropes and be exposed to different functions within the team. If you are successful in your apprenticeship you will be offered a full-time, permanent position.

Graduate positions come up continuously throughout the year and you can think of them as entry-level positions with caveats. They are proper jobs where you perform a function, but have the opportunity of learning the practical side of what you’ve studied academically. These positions are typically tied to the more technical functions in the team. The demands for a strong academic degree are high. A graduate employee will be contracted on a 3 month period to begin with, then another 6 months and finally a 12 month contract is offered to the successful graduate. If you get this far you will be promoted to a junior position, i.e. you will be a graduate trainee for 21 to 24 months depending on the circumstances before being ‘hired’. It is tough and harrowing as you do not have much time to prove yourself and you have to very quickly figure out what it is that you have to do to prove yourself.

A couple of final notes and advice to anyone in either of the three programmes above; while at work, turn off your phone, your private e-mail, your social networking sites and anything else that does not involve you furthering your career with the team you are at!