Why FM job seekers need to understand the role of sustainability in the role

In the past, facilities managers often only needed to take a short-term view. Leak on the fifth floor? We’ll get someone up there... But that kind of simple, operationally-based approach is no longer enough to satisfy potential employers. If you want to progress in this industry today, you need to show that you understand sustainability, and how profoundly it affects what facilities management is all about. 

The FM scope has widened significantly

One of the challenges for people building a career in FM is to understand how much the scope of the function has increased. It’s no longer just about providing a managed workplace. Many clients want their building to showcase their values - demonstrating in physical terms that they are an environmentally sensitive and responsible business. And of course, in energy saving terms, this also makes economic sense. 
The facilities manager has to be prepared to get to grips with solar heating, wind turbines in the grounds, battery storage of energy and so on. It’s not that every office block has these - it’s that they are now within the scope of facilities management. It doesn’t matter so much whether you have practical experience of these systems - but you do need to be aware of them and show that you’re willing to learn about them. Reading the FM trade press - online obviously - is a great way to be well informed about what leading-edge companies are doing in this area. Because what is considered “out there” to begin with has a way of trickling down and becoming normal a few years later. We’re in a period of enormous change in the way we relate to our environment, and you’ll need to show awareness of this. 

Employees are driving some developments

Another area that would not have entered the heads of old school facilities managers is internal pollution. Yet this is a growing area of concern for employees. Just as external pollution has resulted in an effort to reduce emissions, concerns over internal air quality are resulting in changes to air conditioning and ventilation systems. 
Similarly, people now work differently - with many people working at home more often, and visiting the office sporadically, a sustainable building needs to be flexible, and easy to reconfigure for different types of employee groups. 

Roofscapes and gardens

Many office blocks have unused space around the ground floor and on the roof. In the past, it was a simple matter of getting the grounds person to mow the lawn and planting a few nondescript shrubs. 
Now, companies are using their green space to encourage sustainability initiatives, such as bee-friendly planting. Rooftops are being turned into herb and vegetable gardens, often with the product being used in the company cafeteria

Be ready with your own ideas

Imagine that you’re going for an interview, for a job you really want, as facilities manager for a large office block with some grounds, in a city centre. The candidates are shown around and given information about the building. It’s your turn to be interviewed. Imagine that the director turns to you and asks: “What would you do to make this building more sustainable in the long term?”
It’s a key question. So could you answer it?

cv writing tips

The top steps to creating a perfect facilities CV


cv writing tips

So you want to move upwards and build your career in facilities management? The first thing you’ll need to do is put a great CV together, so you get through the sifting process that employers use to narrow down the field of candidates. So follow these 5 tips to impress the facilities management firm you’ve got your eye on.

1. Keep it short
Two pages are OK - but one is better. Apart from anything else, it shows that you can boil a lot of information down into the key points. You don’t need the full postal address of schools or colleges. If you get to the stage where references and qualifications are being checked, then you may need to supply the information. So the name of the school, college or employer, town and postcode are fine. This should keep the information to one line.

2. Use formatting to help readers scan and skim
Make sure that the information is presented in an organised format and aligned. This gives an impression of method and neatness and makes it easier for recruiters to quickly scan through the information.

In the same vein, before you press Send - make sure everything has been spell checked! Nothing gives a poorer impression than a CV full of errors, no matter how great your work experience or qualifications are.

3. Make it specific to the job or employer
If you’ve seen a job advertised for a maintenance manager, for example, and it asks for CVs, make sure your CV is angled to the specific post being advertised. Play up all the kinds of experience you have that makes you a great candidate for this kind of job. Don’t forget to include soft skills such as being good at motivating people, or having good organisational skills.

4. Use the personal statement to the good effect
One way to point out your relevant experience is in a short personal statement - and that means one paragraph. You might want to point out that your current post requires you to prioritise and set goals, and that this would help you to be effective in the post being advertised.

5. Be honest
Don’t make up experience you haven’t got. Even if being dishonest gets you a job, you may fail due to not having the right experience. Or you may be a huge success until the day the head of HR asks you to step into the office, to tell you that you’re sacked because your credentials don’t check out.

Similarly, if there are gaps in your CV, as long as you can explain them in a way that satisfies a potential employer, they needn’t be a deal-breaker. People often say that they took time out to travel, write a novel, try and make it in the music industry or whatever. Just don’t use one of these explanations to hide a difficult truth - it will almost certainly come out at some point.

Follow these guidelines and you’re ahead of the pack when the recruiter starts sifting through those CVs.