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How to Handle Career Struggles that are holding you Back?

 

 

Bad Career Story
Struggling in your Career?

We often make up excuses to stay in jobs that make us unhappy, but regardless of what we tell ourselves, all of these stories boil down to FEAR. We want to debunk some of the myths we tell ourselves around staying in a bad job.

Do you feel stuck in a job you don’t like? We often make up excuses to stay in jobs that make us unhappy.

Leaving the security of a job, especially during tough economic times, is a frightening thought – but so is continuing to work in a place that leaves you unfulfilled and unsatisfied.

I want to debunk some of the myths we tell ourselves around staying in a bad job.

Myth: Things are tough, so I can’t make a career change right now.

Truth: Sometimes negative events can be a catalyst for positive change.

Whether you are experiencing tough times on a personal or global level, it can be difficult to think of adding a career change on top of those stresses. Sometimes however, tough times can reveal a new purpose or meaningful opportunity.

There are countless stories of people who have turned tragedy into something meaningful. It can be done. You just have to let yourself be open to the idea of change.

Right now we are all experiencing one of the most challenging periods in history. We have seen a downturn in the economy due to COVID-19. While it is true that fewer companies are hiring and there is more competition, the roles are still out there. There are companies that are innovating to adapt to the changing world. There are also companies who have seen an increase in demand during this time.

The key is making yourself stand out by highlighting your passions and skills. It may not be a quick or easy change, but don’t let fear be the thing that stops you from finding something better.

Myth: I’m just lucky to have a job.

Truth: It is possible to be grateful for a job, but still not love it.

As we see unemployment rise and more companies go through layoffs, it is normal to feel gratitude for what we do have. It is also a good thing. There are proven benefits to expressing gratitude and it is something that should be part of your daily routine.

But it is also okay to be grateful for what you have while admitting you long for something better. Accepting what is because you know it could be worse is twisting gratitude into an excuse to hold yourself back. Allow yourself to strive for more. Do you know what you want? Do you have a dream job?

Myth: I can’t afford to leave my job right now.

Truth: You don’t have to leave your job (yet) to start the career transformation process.

Make dreams come true
Make dreams come true

How to Handle Common Career Struggles

A career can be a source of great joy and great pain. If you relate more to the latter, chances are you have experienced one of these common career struggles. Fortunately, you do not have to continue suffering.

Do not settle in your career! If you are not happy, it is time for a career transition!

Here are some  solutions to some of the obstacles most frequently faced by professionals.

Problem: You hate your job and/or chosen career path.

Solution: If you know you are not happy and have yet to take steps to remedy it, you typically fall into one of two scenarios:

  1. ‍You are fearful of making a change. There are many stories we tell ourselves that can cause us to stifle our own success. “I’m not good enough.” “What if I fail?” “What if I make a change and it’s worse?” It is critical to recognize what story you are telling yourself so that you can start to isolate those thoughts and address them. Bringing your fears to the forefront of your consciousness is the first step in being able to overcome them. Once you recognize and acknowledge the fears, applying some simple but effective tools can render them powerless in holding you back.
  2. You do not know what will make you happy. You have recognized you are not happy, but you do not know what will bring you joy. This can be especially difficult when you have spent your entire career in one field. It is time to do some discovery work. Finding your purpose is a key place to start. Once you know your purpose, make a list of your strengths and passions. If you start to see some similarities between the lists, follow that path.

Problem: You are struggling to get to the next level in your career.

Solution: It is time to expand your network. You have got the experience and you need to highlight that to the right people – whether it is a decision maker or someone who can make a referral. They can be at your current company or at a potential new employer. Connecting with the right people can make all the difference. Expanding your network does not mean you have to attend in-person networking events, especially in the age of social distancing. There are great digital tools, such as LinkedIn and Shapr, that allow you to build relationships with other professionals. Find an authentic way to connect with others that is enjoyable to you.

Problem: You are not standing out to potential employers.

Solution: Most recruiters and hiring managers see hundreds of resumes for a single position. That number increases the more desirable the role and company are. Standing out is difficult, but possible. We recommend that every job seeker approach their career as if they were an entrepreneur building a company. Your career is your business. You must determine your product (your skillset), your unique selling proposition (your strengths and passions) and your target market (the companies YOU want to work for). Once you have defined your professional brand, you need to ensure that it is reflected everywhere – your resume, your cover letter, your online presence, and especially how you show up for interviews.

Now it is time to market yourself. You have to do more than just submit your resume to job posts and boards. Connect with the right people and make sure you are visible. Focus on your strengths and passions, especially if you do not have the requested experience.

If you need help defining and marketing your personal brand, we can help. Chat with one of our coaches here

It is time to transition in your career.

Career transitioning does not happen overnight. It is a process that takes time and commitment.

Deciding you want to find something better does not mean you have to quit your job tomorrow. It simply means you are ready to start the process of identifying what kind of career will bring you joy, and what kinds of companies will value who you are. THEN taking the steps to find them and go after them.

What can I do to find a career I love?

Ideal Careers offers several courses, for wherever you are in the process. If you are looking for total Career Transformation OR looking to Transition Into another Career, we offer programs, as well as coaching, to get you started. If you are already in process or looking to ease into career transitioning, we offer a single-modules that focuses on a particular area of making a career change. Book a chat with one of our advisors Its FREE. 

Do not let fear hold you back from finding happiness and fulfilment in your career!

Your career plays a major role in your life. Settling and being complacent in this area can leave you feeling unfulfilled. Find the right solution for you at Ideal Careers.co.za

Goal Setting is the thing to do right…Wrong! – Part1

 

Dreams and Goals

This is Part 1 of 2

 

Goal-setting seems like a smart thing to do in a career change. However, this might actually be exactly what is keeping you stuck. Renata explains why big targets can be a false friend. Here is what she recommends doing to start making progress towards that Ideal Career instead.

Let me tell you a short story

A little while ago I was doing a cupboard purge something I had not done in a while.

I found a black hard cover notebook. I immediately recognise this old faithful companion that contain hundreds of lines of my handwriting and doodles, in different colours of ink and pencil.

Journal entries, to-do lists, thoughts I had jotted down. Pages and pages of confused, frustrated outpourings about my work, my life, my future. I took a moment to read those words and I was transported back to that year in a deeply visceral way that I haven’t felt for a long time. The desperate awkwardness of feeling like a fundamental misfit in a career and a life that was not for mine. The sense of being caged in and stuck, trapped by the very life choices I myself had made in the years before. The  dark emptiness ahead of me when I tried to imagine what else I could do.

As I flipped through the pages of that old book one page in particular hit me hard.

It was a list of goals.

Big, ambitious, hopeful goals. The only kind I had, back then.

And then next to them, in a different pen, clearly written later in a fit of irritation, a series of scrawled, pointy, sarcastic flippant questions…

      • “Have three reasonable career options I’m truly excited about.” LOVELY. HOW, EXACTLY?
      • “Start a side line income to make extra cash” WHICH YOU’LL DO IN WHAT SPARE TIME?
      • “Have  ($6000) saved by June.” WHAT FOR, GENIUS?
      • “Hand in my notice by September” YEAH, RIGHT!!

 

Reading the contents of that page was like watching a snippet of the perpetual state of the inside of my head – the never-ending back-and-forth of a hopeful, fierce optimist and an angry, hurt cynic.

I made a lot of lists like that.

I remember how painful and pointless those felt, once their initial balm wore off.

Unrealistic, hollow-feeling goals, created mostly because I didn’t know what else to do.

They sounded nice, but I rarely did much about them.

It wasn’t a question of what I wanted on a grand scale.

It was the specifics I had no clue about. I still did not know the steps to take to get there.

Sound familiar?

Goals are not very helpful in the day-to-day logistics of a career change.

YES goals can feel productive, and make yo feel good in the beginning. Perhaps these goals even feel good the day after you write them down.

But beyond that initial feel-good sensation you have initially it can actually have the opposite effect on you making any meaningful change.

Here’s why.

Fulfilment isn’t SMART

Anyone who has ever done any goal-setting has come into contact with the idea of SMART goals at some point:

We are told Goals must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-based.

This is Fair enough however finding fulfilling work is not quite so neat.

Setting SMART goals is an organisational task – finding the logical pieces, breaking them into chunks, and putting them together in a way that leads you forward, step by step.

Finding fulfilling work however feels more like trying to jump off a jellyfish into an ocean you are not convinced actually exists.

You do not really know where you are going, so being specific i.t.o goals setting is laughable.

You are not sure how exactly to measure fulfilment (beyond ‘Makes me want to poke myself in the eye / Doesn’t make me want to poke myself in the eye’), so that’s a shaky one too.

You do not even completely believe it’s possible, so how can it be achievable or realistic?

And time-based… if ONLY a deadline could fix this mess.

So sitting down to write some goals for your career change… eerr if it feels ridiculous, that’s probably because it is, a little.

Extrinsic motivation is not effective

Imagine you have set yourself a goal to lose 10 kilos.

You start going to the gym every day, because someone told you that gym exercise gets faster weight-loss results than anything else.

You hate the gym. You hate the smell of the changing rooms, you hate the perky gym bunny types who take up all the machines, you hate the music they play, and you hate running towards your own reflection in a mirror for half an hour and traveling precisely nowhere.

You start taking a salad and a Thermos of cabbage soup to work every day. You hate salad. You hate cabbage soup. You are starting to hate your life.

But you would love to loose those 10 kilos.

So you put up with it. You eat the soup, holding your nose and visualising your life once you’ve hit your goal. You endure the gym, wishing you could just hit your goal and never have to go back there again.

What are the chances of you hitting your 10-kilo target – and, more importantly, maintaining it afterward? I would say Pretty low, no?

Goals that do not inspire you or give you that “hell yeah” feeling or rely on extrinsic motivation such as an external, tangible result or outcome you need to achieve will not be achieved.

These goals feel heavy, looming over you menacingly until you have hit them. The process of working toward them often doesn’t feel enjoyable and takes a lot of effort despite the rewards at the end.

So you’re less likely to take the steps you need to take to achieve them.

Extrinsic motivation has repeatedly been shown to be less effective than Intrinsic motivation, which is driven by enjoying the activity itself.

Extrinsic motivation: “If I walk five miles today, I can have that piece of chocolate cake.”

Intrinsic motivation: “I love dancing – I’m going to dance in the kitchen just because it feels great.”

Extrinsic motivation: “If I spend the next month learning about the political system in Uzbekistan I’ll look really smart at the university dinner party.”

Intrinsic motivation: “How DOES the inside of my remote control work? This is fascinating…”

In other words, given the choice between rewards or enjoyment, you are far more likely to do things you enjoy.

So, ironically, you are more likely to lose 10 kilos by throwing the scales in the bin and going dancing every weekend than you are by trying to haul yourself to the gym every day if going to the gym is not your thing.

In your career change, you are more likely to find fulfilling work  (albeit counter-intuitively) by doing things you enjoy than you are by setting yourself a goal to change career.

Pressure encourages procrastination

There is a fair amount of pressure involved in goal-setting.

Either you hit your goal, or you don’t.

There is no room for the grey area on the way.

And if you don’t hit it, you’ve ‘failed’. Unpleasant. Scary. Dunce hat. Ugh.

Procrastination is based in fear. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of change: all fears that grow from an attachment to a specific outcome… otherwise known as ‘a goal’.

In career change, this often looks like vacillation, over-thinking, endlessly weighing up options, researching things to death…

Sound familiar?

What if you get it wrong? What if you don’t hit your target? What if it never happens?

High stakes creates high tension – and the higher the tension, the less likely you are to act.

So if you have set yourself a goal and you are getting stuck in procrastination-whirlpools, this might be why.

You are not the boss of everything

Unfortunate, but true.

No matter how hard you try, or how much effort you put in to achieving a goal, sometimes the world just gets in the way. Life happens.

Maybe you twist an ankle and can’t train for the marathon.

Maybe the taxman slings you an unexpected curveball and your savings goal hits the deck.

Maybe your company withdraws its plans to offer a round of voluntary redundancies next month, like you were expecting.

Maybe your kid gets sick and you spend your week curled up on the bathroom floor mopping brows and blowing noses and you don’t get your LinkedIn profile up to date like you said you would.

These moments hurt. Partly because they throw a spanner in the works and we have to deal with the possibility of failure.

Partly because it forces you to realise that you can’t control results.

You can ONLY control what you do, but not what happens next.

      • You can create a perfectly written LinkedIn profile, but you can’t control whether or not people will read it.
      • You can reach out to someone you admire, but you can’t control whether or not they will respond.
      • You can go to an event you have never been to before, but you can’t control whether or not it will spark a new career idea.

Trying to consistently hit your goals when you are only responsible for part of the process is a pretty heavy expectation.

Don’t just set goals, build habits.

Looking back at my notebook, I’m pretty proud to say that  I have achieved pretty much all l the goals I set back then and am working  on achieving the new ones I have set.

I found a way to visit amazing places met some truly amazing people and do work I am completely in love with.

That wouldn’t have happened without giving myself the space to dream ridiculously big and commit to consistently doing things I had no idea how to do BUT learnt that it was possible and I could them.

continue …

Read part 2 next

job search

5 important ways to get through job loss quickly

job search
Job search

I have Coached Over 200 Career Transitions — Here is A Routine That Helps People Bounce Back Faster

Losing your job takes a serious toll on your confidence and stirs up all kinds of unpleasant emotions.

Realistically though, it is likely that we’re going to face some kind of job loss or significant job change at one point or another in our careers.  Sometimes this change reaches far beyond the scope of our individual control and comes as a surprise to us. The best we can do is be prepared to manage this adversity and take some time to focus on ourselves. I’ve worked through over 200 career transitions over the years – including a couple of my own (most have been my clients’).  Self-care is critical to successfully getting through this time.  Here are five ways I practiced self-care after I was laid off — and I think you should try this routine, too

  1. I paused.

Losing your job can often be a big shock to your system.  Sometimes we know our organization is going through significant changes, but sometimes the change comes as a complete surprise.  Whatever the case, when the change impacts you personally, it can really hurt and take a toll on your confidence.

Depending on who we are and how we react to things, we might become emotional as we react to the news. The best advice I can give here is to take a breath.  If your employer is presenting you with a severance package, make sure you DO NOT sign anything in the heat of the moment. Take some time to  review the severance package offer after you get over the initial shock factor that will inevitably happen.

Reach out to a friend or colleague that you trust and get their input. Lean on your support system and let your feelings out in this safe environment. You don’t want to be embarrassed by emotional, irrational behavior in front of your former employer. Save the insanity for close family and friends (lucky them).

For me, the pause was critical because getting laid off was a very emotional experience. Taking time to breathe allowed me to have a rational and professional discussion with my employer about severance.

 

  1. I resolved the outstanding issues with my employer, A.S.A.P.

After the ‘pause’, it might still take you a few days to get your emotions back in check. Once you can get through thinking and discussing your new situation  without bursting into tears or fuming in anger, set your sites on closing the loop on outstanding items with your employer.

 

For your own mental health, you’ve got to get the details resolved as quickly as possible. Having the details of a severance looming over you for days, weeks or months is simply exhausting. You owe it to yourself to get closure so you can move on.

In most cases, your employer should appreciate that this is an emotional situation and provide an appropriate deadline (a week or so) for you to get back to them on their offer of severance. If they don’t give you some time to get your act together, count your blessings that you no longer work for them.

So, you have done your due diligence in terms of reviewing the details and terms of the severance offer, now you need to respond to them. I always suggest having this conversation via email so everything is documented. Avoid the phone if you can it can muddy the waters. You also don’t know what might set off potential emotional outbursts. Make sure you get all of the details from your employer such as how and when the severance will be paid, what happens to your benefits, what happens to any sort of other company programs and any additional amounts owing. Get all the information that you can to minimize any need for follow up contact. You likely won’t want to talk to them again.

 

  1. I didn’t try to find out why I was laid off.

I have heard people say time and time again that they need to understand why they have lost their job in order to move on. They want to know what they have done wrong, or how the employer decided that they should be the employee to exit.

The fact is, a lot of time, the reason that an employer provides a severance package for you is so that they don’t have to share this information with you. Quite frankly, it might even be none of your business, and part of some broader organizational plan.

For me, adopting an ‘I don’t need to know’ attitude was the key to self-care when I was laid off.  What value is there in knowing the organization’s point of view, anyways?  Would it really change the current situation? Probably not. If anything it would only serve to inflate your anger and frustration levels. So take time to  make peace with the reality that you are out the door and see it as an opportunity rather than a set back.

 

  1. I got into a routine.

I allowed myself some time to mourn the loss of my job. This is an important step many people seem to forget to do or chose not to do. Loosing a job is much like loosing a loved and the  lose needs to be mourned. For me, this was the end of the longest-term relationship I had ever had. Grieving was important, but I set myself a deadline to be sad. I cried and moped, but only for a week. At the end of the week, I started into a routine.

It was summer and I wanted to take advantage of the time away from work and focus on the positives of being away from work. I got up every single morning and planned an outing with my little guy. Every day we were up and dressed. You’d be surprised how therapeutic getting up and going outside can be.

Getting into a new routine is critical to your career transition success. Part of establishing this routine was knowing what I would say when people asked ‘How’s work?’ I actually practiced my response so I could answer confidently without stumbling or feeling insecure.

 

  1. I set an unemployment deadline.

While I only allowed myself a week to be sad about losing my job we all know the grieving process has no hard and fast deadline. The reality is that, sometimes, we have to work through the emotions of things , and that can take a while.  While I wasn’t sitting at home and moping, I was still going through all the feelings of job loss.  I wanted some time and space between that job and my next one.  Since I was laid off in the summer, I set myself a deadline of autumn (fall) to get on a structured job hunt. Setting parameters and clear goals for myself were really key parts of my self-care and managing my overall mental health.

Job loss is hard. Period. There is no magic formula to work through the grieving process and there are no standard timelines. When it comes to self-care and job loss, you’ve got to take a moment to reflect what will work for you.  Focus on those things that give you comfort, structure and a sense of purpose. It’s inside those things that you will find a transition process that is uniquely yours. On the other side of that transition is your future career success.

How To Take Control Of Your Career Development In 6 Easy Ways

The DIY concept is not new. We have DIY for home improvements, personal makeovers, self help, and pretty much any every art or creative activity known. There are instructional videos, plugins, plug and play option to do just about anything you can think about and we are so comfortable with this. We don’t think it is strange or unusual at all. In fact by all accounts we love it. We like the idea of learning to do new things and finding our how-to by simply popping the question into a search engine.

But how many of us think about a DIY option for our careers. Research suggests that many people are still leaving this crucial element of our lives in the hands of a manager. Many people are still asking what can you do for me. The truth is the days when“personal development” was treated as a major company initiative is long gone.Organizations today are unknowingly leaving employees with skill gaps and blind spots that can derail their careers and an organizations effectiveness. Managers aren’t helping either because they are too worried about their own hides. Many managers don’t have time or energy or interest to focus on anyone else’s needs.

We are now in the era of do-it-yourself career development. Companies less frequently offer formal training — a trend that has been around for years. This may be because employees change jobs so frequently (job tenure now averages about four years) that firms don’t see the value in investing in people who are likely to leave. Korn Ferry found that when managers rated themselves on 67 managerial skills, “developing others” came in dead last.

Ideally, organizations should do more to foster career development: encourage more-immediate feedback, develop clear performance criteria, deliver developmental feedback with clarity and tact, and provide resources and incentives for managers to make employee development a priority. The reality however, is this burden is on employees. Workers at all levels must learn to identify their weaknesses, uncover their blind spots, and strengthen their skills. Employees must drive their own development within an organisation.

Here are six things you can do to take control of your career development.

Understand what you are evaluated on. What does success look like in your position? What are your job goals and success metrics? It’s best to identify these with your manager, but if that’s not happening, then write down what you understand the goals and key performance indicators to be. Have the discussion with manager and  get their agreement. Engage in an ongoing dialogue to ensure you stay on the right track. Knowing what you will be measured on will keep the guess work out of your performance.

Solve for your own blind spots. Top performers are always learning and adjusting, and routinely seek feedback from their managers, peers, and subordinates. If your manager doesn’t proactively give you feedback, start the conversation yourself. After a presentation or big meeting, state one thing that you think went well, and then ask for advice on one thing you could improve. It’s best to keep it simple; most people can only absorb one area to improve at a time. Listen to and thank your manager for the feedback. Becoming an active participant in your career development will encourage your manage to have progressively more interest in the type of support you may need.

Codify your leanings. You can capture feedback and learning by keeping a journal. List the five to 10 skills or competencies you need to develop in your position.Rate yourself (either on your own or with the help of a trusted adviser) on each. For example, if you’re a brand marketer, you might give yourself an A in advertising development, a B+ in pricing analysis, and a C in trade marketing. Focus on the C’s to close skill gaps. Seeking feedback from someone who previously held your job can speed up your learning. Continuously monitoring your own performance will allow you to recognise your areas of improvement and your areas of expertise.

Increase your visibility with the C-suite. It’s not always possible to get noticed by senior leaders through your direct work.Avail yourself to do some volunteering for initiatives, such as charity work, company events, or other activities in the organisation. This is an easy but often overlooked way to rub elbows with senior people who will see you in action and ideally take notice of your contributions. Remember the people in the C-suite are almost never blissfully oblivious despite the impression they may give. They did not get there by being unaware of what is happening around them.

Become a specialist in an area of increasing importance to your company. Your company may be grappling with a disruption from a new technology such as the internet of things, artificial intelligence, or cloud-based computing. Become the go-to person in your department on an emerging issue. Conduct research and literature reviews, attend conferences, or write on the topic. Developing expertise in a nascent area of growing importance can lead to promotions and other career opportunities. Specialists are noticed and because they stand out they have a skill or competence that generalists don’t have. They are also seen as an authority in a field or subject and often the specialists get paid better than the generalists.

Seek good counsel and mentoring. The perspective of a senior person is invaluable, but pouncing on someone — “Will you be my mentor?” — is likely to scare them off. Try to meet in an informal way: in the coffee shop in your company’s lobby, or at the company picnic or golf outing. Know the person’s bio, and be prepared to ask a few good questions related to their area of expertise. If things go well, you’ll hear, “If I can help you, let me know.” A week or so later, you can extend an invitation to “continue the conversation” over coffee. In time, a mentor relationship may develop organically.Generally people who have been around and have the knowledge and experience are only too happy to teach and share their expertise with someone who is willing to learn.

Strong functional skills take time to develop. In most positions, whether it’s enterprise sales, brand marketing, supply chain logistics, or corporate finance, being competent often consists of having deep functional knowledge in four or five key job areas and a good working knowledge in another four or five. Without the willingness to take multiple assignments, or even strategic lateral moves, a well-rounded skill set will be elusive. It takes time and it takes patience.

Your skill set is ultimately your career capital, so take the time to develop your functional skills. Jumping from job to job too quickly (say, in 18-month or two-year increments) won’t allow you to develop the functional expertise you need to advance your career. With time, a lot of patience, a willingness to continuously improve your skills, and by taking the initiative, you are far more likely to thrive in this DIY world. Remember it is your Life, your Career don’t leave it in someone elses hands.

DIY doesn’t not mean you have to do it on your own. It simply means Drive it Yourself.

7 key benefits of Career Transition Coaching

Career Coach

Career transition at senior level is difficult as there are only a few available opportunities and plenty of very tough competition. More and more senior managers and executives are using career coaches to gain competitive advantage. Many of the best business leaders engage executive coaches. Career coaching can help executives navigate career transition quickly and effectively. Engaging a career coach will substantially improve competitiveness, marketability and ultimately the success of your job search and long-term career.

If your strategy is to send out hundreds of  copies of your Curriculum Vitae and hope for the best, you will quickly discover that this doesn’t work and is a futile use of your time.  Even if you have the best LinkedIn profile, it is not a guarantee of success.

A good career coach will help you articulate your best attributes and highest skills for a prospective employer to notice. A career coach will help you  develop an effective job search strategy to identify the best target companies and secure your ideal position.

It can significantly reduce the time it takes to find your ideal position by helping you develop a comprehensive job search strategy. Many people including senior manager and executives  find it difficult to articulate the value they can bring to an organisation and as a result how to pitch themselves effectively feels awkward. Many are also unsure what exactly they are looking for in terms of both position and type of company and this can be a significant disadvantage. If your vision is not clear, then you cannot develop an effective strategy to achieve it.

Get help to create a Vision. Vision guides you! In simple terms, if you are going on a business trip or holiday, you would not arrive at the airport without knowing what your destination is. Your destination guides your choice of airline and ultimately which terminal to arrive at. Your career transition journey is no different. If you don’t know where you are going to how will you know when you get there?

A career coach can help you create an impactful Curriculum Vitae (CV) / Resume and LinkedIn profile. Many people forget that the purpose of a CV / Resume is to get the interview and not the job, and as such this document must be carefully constructed to articulate just enough information to create interest and impact and encourage an employer or recruiter to reach out. BUT…. not too much information! At Renata Career Coach we sometimes see CV’s / Resumes that lack impact, are poorly written and in many cases are simply a cut and paste of a job description with little attention given to achievements. Remember that the attention given to each CV / Resume by a recruiter or potential employer is very short so making an impact quickly is essential!

Develop your networking skills. Some experts say that 70% of people ended up in their current position thanks to networking. Others say it’s more like 80-85%. Which ever statistic you believe what is clear this is substantial and as such incorporating a comprehensive networking strategy into your job search strategy is one of the most important actions you can. Effective networking provides a focused way to talk to people about your job search and can help you obtain leads, referrals, advice, information, support and most importantly uncover hidden promotion job opportunities. A good career coach will help you review various opportunities, networking events, existing contacts, developing new contacts and how to prioritise those that could generate the best results.

Preparation for interview and the overall assessment and selection process. Most organisations now have comprehensive recruitment and selection processes consisting not only of competency-based interviews, but also psychometric assessments as well as situation-based presentations. Having someone help you prepare for this puts you at a distinct advantage versus your competition. In our career coaching practice, we help you identify and segment your achievements across your entire career and then help you articulate them in a structured and impactful format. This process alone greatly assists Executives in interview preparation therefore it can also help you. Remember …. 90% preparation = 10% perspiration. 10% preparation = 90% perspiration!

A good career coach will hold you accountable for the goals you have set, offer valuable advice and expertise, and help you acquire different perspectives. Inevitability, there will be setbacks throughout your job search journey and your coach will be there to pick you up and encourage you to keep focussed and face your next challenge with renewed confidence and enthusiasm.

On-boarding into your new position. Depending on the terms and duration of engagement, some career coaches provide on-boarding coaching. The first six months of any position can be critical for both the organisation and the new appointee. On the one hand the hiring organisation will need to see evidence of added value from you. On the other hand you  will need to feel that you have made the right career decision.

Various sources of research have shown that the average executive failure rate within the first 18 months is approximately 40%! A career coach can help with embedding and securing the success of the new relationship and provide a confidential environment to discuss goals, objectives and any potential issues that may arise.

In conclusion, you must remember that the role of a coach is to facilitate you to acquire different perspectives to get more out of work and life. The true value of the coaching process is gained from the work you put in between sessions.

At Renata Career Coaching we provide 1-2-1 coaching for people who are in career transition or planning to change jobs. We tailor a structured programme appropriate for the needs of each individual which results in a professional and effective job search campaign and improved confidence.

Our career coaching service can include:

  • Skills and competency assessment
  • Curriculum Vitae / Resume preparation
  • Development of a Comprehensive Achievements Profile Document
  • Development of a Job Search Marketing Plan
  • Effective networking
  • Engaging effectively with Executive Search Consultants
  • Interview training

For those people looking for an improved alternative to the traditional outplacement program, our Career Coaching programme provides unique and highly customised support on how to conduct a professional job search campaign. Ideal Careers Happen by Design let us at Renata Career Coaching help you find the ideal career that suits you

For a free no-obligation consultation please contact our office via email at renatafester@career-coach.co.za

Career Coach

promotion problems

5 Unexpected ways promotions make your life harder

promotion problemspromotion at work often brings status, power, and hopefully, a raise. However there are often unanticipated downsides to promotions, which we are seldom aware of until we are in the new position.

 

Here are 5 things that I did not expect to come with a job promotion.

We often think that a promotion will bring more money, success, and status, but there are drawbacks to almost every promotion.

Longer hours are pretty much inevitable. Issues that used to be someone else’s problem are now yours. Managing people can be tough.

I once received a promotion where I’d manage a new department at a small company. The change brought lots of interesting challenges and boosted my self-esteem, but there were some very hard moments, too.

 

Here are five ways that getting promoted made my life more difficult:

 

  1. I had to go to bat for myself

Before my promotion, I had a great manager. He protected me from the loose cannons in management, tooted my horn to the senior and executive management, supported me in my work, gave me opportunities, and generally had my back.

Now, he is my peer, and we could commiserate about the difficulty of being managers in the company, but he could no longer shield me. It was now up to me to stand up to the big shots and fight for my department.

 

  1. I was working more overtime

I was already working long hours with no overtime pay before I was promoted. Now the expectations for overtime seemed par for the course. When there was a problem, my weekend was blown and I was never off the clock. I needed to be there for the customer, at any time of the day, night, or weekend.

 

  1. I didn’t get to make my own decisions

I was now charged with managing people however I still did not get to decide exactly how my department was run. My decisions were sometimes overruled by upper management, and the fallout from those decisions ended up being my problem to sort  out.

When I anticipated problems and wanted to do things a different way, these were often management decision were often micromanaged, and I was still required to enforce upper management’s ideas and decision  while keeping “my” employees under control and performing well. This conflict can make middle-management positions stressful and exhausting.

 

  1. Co-workers undermined me

When I was promoted to middle management, some of my peers criticized me and got obstructive of projects. When trusted colleagues whisper in the bosses ear about you, it can be hard to get that negative impression out of the boss’s head. Suddenly, I needed to fight for my reputation.

 

  1. No one trained me for my new role

Some companies provide training to help workers transition into a new role, but many companies usually don’t. I didn’t always feel competent enough to manage things, never having managed a department before.

I had many good leadership qualities — creativity, passion, and honesty — that helped me “fake it,” but I didn’t really know what I was doing half the time in terms of organizing and managing. Some training or more support to negotiate new responsibilities would have certainly been hugely beneficial both to me and t the organisation.

Sometimes, a new job just doesn’t fit right, but you don’t always get to try on the new role before you take it. I was awesome at the job I had before the promotion, but I’d say I was mediocre at being a manager.

So consider the new position very carefully — if it doesn’t look like it will fit, consider passing up that promotion and waiting until the right position comes along. You may just be happier where you are!

10 Easy Tips To Make A Promotion Smooth Sailing-Guaranteed

Just Promoted

There are many professionals out there who stay in their jobs (even if they don’t like them) just because they are afraid to start a new role with a new employer.

It is understandable that applying for and accepting a new role [which may also be in a new organisation] can be overwhelming. Adapting to a new position, developing new relationships, and assimilating into a new culture can is a big ask. While each professional, position, and organization is unique, there are behaviours that can support you making the transition into your new role a smooth process:

 

  • Acclimate to the organization’s corporate culture: 

    The most important thing you can do during your first week, month, and even quarter is to assimilate into the culture and environment of the organization. Accomplish this by observing the behaviours and communication patterns of those around you.

  • Stay positive: 

    Show excitement for your new role and you will exude confidence. Your positivity and enthusiasm will make a great impression and may even bring a new energy to the organization.

  • Listen and learn:

     Show your willingness to learn about the company beyond your job and responsibilities. Become as knowledgeable as possible about the new organization and /or new role. Keep an open  mind to suggestions from colleagues who have been with the organization for a number of years. These people can provide invaluable insight and knowledge. By combining that understanding with your skills and experiences, can add significant value to a new employer. Lastly, I suggest they keep an open door policy. It is  one of the best management styles there is.

  • Remember that you are new: It’s critical to understand why you were hired and the skills that made you attractive. Keep in mind that while you may have the capabilities and talent to perform admirably, it’s best to wait until you thoroughly understand the company’s procedures and operations before bringing up new and improved ways of doing things. On another note, although it’s great to volunteer for extra responsibilities, in most organizations, it’s best to stick to your job description during your first few months. You want to make sure not to step on anyone’s toes. However, if you are asked to do something outside of your realm of responsibilities, take it as an opportunity to show that you are a team player and happily perform the task.

  • Be open to constructive criticism: 

    Again, remember that you are new so accept the fact that the potential for you to make mistakes in the beginning months will be  quite high. Use them as opportunities to learn and to do better the next time. Be open to constructive criticism and you will do well and you will be able to improve. You also want others to feel comfortable in expressing their thoughts.

  • Build relationships: Connecting with your new team is imperative. Even if you don’t have an outgoing personality, do your best to get to know your colleagues, join them during lunches and team outings, and if you’re in an office, keep your door open.
  • Seek out a mentor: 

    The best way to familiarize yourself with a new role, company, and its culture is to develop a relationship with a professional who can be your mentor.

  • Create goals:

    Make sure there is clarity about your 3 and 6 month expectations and deliverables. While these were probably discussed during the interview process, confirm them during your first week on the job. In addition, develop your own goals for achieving success early on and fitting in with the company and your team. Make sure your objectives are appropriate and, if necessary, cover them with your direct report before spending time on them.

  • Keep your private life just that – private: While you will eventually make friends within your new company or your new role, it’s best to keep your personal life and opinions private until you get to know others better. Over sharing is a thing.

  • Jump-start the on-boarding process yourself:

    The on-boarding process can be a laborious task so ease into it by contacting your future employer prior to your first day to get any paperwork that could be completed in advance. Additionally, ask for any work or information that you can review or meetings that you can attend while finishing out your notice period with your previous employer. This can help ensure that you hit the ground running with your new employer. It also makes your transition into the company early on that much easier.

 

These recommendations are a great start for making your transition into a new role or   organization a smooth one. If however you are a senior executive, you could have more difficulty with career transitions. Senior executives who accept new offers are expected to go into an organization and start getting things done immediately, while at the same time, developing positive relationships with your team and colleagues. More on that later.

Do you have any other Tips for Making a Smooth Transition? Share them in the comments

7 Ways To Revamp Your Resume For A Leadership Position

Are You a Prime Candidate for a Mid-level or Senior leadership Role?

If so, you have to shake up the way you tailor your resume for that position.

The way recruiters and hiring managers look for leadership candidates is slightly different t the way they search for candidates in other roles.

Before you apply for that leadership position, make sure you leverage these seven strategies to tailor your resume for maximum impact.

Revamp Your Resume’s Keywords

You may know, the computer databases, or Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), that stores and analyses incoming resumes from job boards, employers, and recruiter sites, count the number of times certain words are used in your resume. These keywords are industry-specific and unique to each role in each company. Your resume ranks higher if you include more of these words in the document.

  • Include a keyword section in your summary and stock it with 12 to 15 keywords pulled from the job description of the role you are pursuing.
  • More importantly, use these keywords in each relevant job listing you include in your document. These words can be easily woven into sentences in your position overview statements, as well as your achievements.
  • If you’re a new graduate, have recently attained a qualification, or don’t have all of the experience sought in the job posting you’re applying for, try listing relevant coursework in your resume’s education section. This will boost your keyword count.
  • Fairly universal keywords include terms such as strategic planning, operations leadership, business management, cross-functional, cross-cultural, global, talent management, organizational restructuring, and P&L accountability.

Re-Position Your Resume’s Summary

Each time you apply for a new role, you need to tweak your career summary to maximize the number of keywords. You also need to emphasize the right capabilities.

When you apply for a leadership role, it is imperative to showcase your skills and experience with strategy creation. In lower-level jobs, you have to demonstrate your tactical execution strengths; in director-level plus positions, designing and implementing strategic plans is absolutely critical.

  • Briefly describe the high points of your leadership experience in your summary. Relevant details you may want to include are things like key industries, sizes of companies you’ve worked for, the largest team size you’ve led, and the largest budget or P&L you’ve managed.
  • Include brief descriptors of your leadership and communication style. These are less hard-hitting issues that deserve more attention on executive resumes. If you don’t know your communication style, take this free quiz to find out what it is and how to use it to your advantage.
  • Be sure to include your strategy experience in addition to listing strategic planning as one of your key skills.
  • Consider including two or three brief (but meaningful) career achievements as part of your summary. Choose accomplishments which demonstrate your core leadership strengths and ability to deliver top and bottom-line impacts on sales, revenue, productivity, efficiency, and expense management.

Clarify The Context Of Each Position, Promotion, Or Achievement

One of a resume’s key tasks is to tell the story of your career. Yours must convey the importance and relevance of each position change you’ve made while simultaneously clarifying the key challenges you faced in the role.

  • Include a brief position overview or introduction to each role on your resume. If the position was a promotion or special assignment, make that clear.
  • Showcase the context of your hire or promotion. Were you the first sales person in a new territory, or the newest manager in a series of five within a short time frame? Were you hired or promoted with specific challenges in mind? Were you hired or promoted based on specific skills or experience you possessed?
  • If you were placed in the role to resolve specific challenges, it’s vital to note the circumstances of your entry into the position. For example, if you were hired to turn around declining sales, what was the sales level when you started? What sales level did you attain or position during your tenure?
  • Keep it brief. Your position introduction should take up only two to three lines of text. Make every word count!
  • Do the same thing with your achievements by including key details that reveal the larger context of your actions. If you averted a division closure by turning around sales, that’s vital to highlight. If your marketing efforts helped open new market sectors which paved the way for a mission-critical merger, say so.
  •  Don’t just focus on results—put your results in a larger context that makes your overall contributions more clear.

Front-Load Your Resume’s Achievements With A Strategic Focus

Most job seekers assume that recruiters read resumes the same way that they do. However, that’s not necessarily the case.

Many recruiters read a resume “in order” (a.k.a in pieces and parts) to see the big picture of the prospective candidate’s career. This often includes reading achievement statements differently than you and I do.

Before reading them in their entirety, some recruiters briefly review the first few words of each bulleted statement to test the waters, so to speak. They also do this to see if the accomplishments are more tactically or strategically focused. It’s imperative that you front-load your achievements with the strategic focus they’re looking for, assuming you have that experience.

  • In leadership positions, your strategy influence is often a bigger deal than your monetary impact. Begin your bulleted statements by clarifying your strategic impact, then note the specific impacts you achieved.
  • For example, here’s a typical “homemade” bullet written by a real job seeker: “Working on a green field project that would double the capacity of the plant.” Here’s a revamp which shifts the emphasis to strategy: “Road mapped Greenfield plant start-up from strategic planning to on-time, on-budget roll-out in 2 years. Outcome: Doubled throughput and increased revenue by $46 M.”

Align Your Education & Extra Sections With A Leadership Focus

It’s always important to include up-to-date listings of your educational credentials, including certifications, relevant affiliations, and professional development coursework. However, you shouldn’t overlook other details that can bolster the leadership focus of your resume.

  • Any evidence of your present or past leadership experience may be relevant. So, consider adding present or past volunteer leadership roles in professional or community organizations.
  • Make sure you include any for profit or not-for-profit board or committee roles you have fulfilled. And if space permits, include key initiatives you have contributed to during your tenure on these boards or committees.
  • Leadership courses completed at major grad schools deserve emphasis as well.
  • When you list industry-specific certifications, include them in acronym form as well as spelled out because either form is a keyword.
  • If you have won leadership awards or been selected for leadership development programs with any of your employers, make sure you note these.

Use The Job’s Title As Your Resume’s Title

This is a quick change but a critical one: make sure you insert the exact title of the position you’re pursuing into your resume as its title. This will add more keywords to your resume, but, more importantly, it will shape the perception of your resume’s readers to see you as qualified for the position you are targeting.

Now, this won’t work if you apply for a leadership role for which you have few, if any, qualifications. However, if you are well-qualified for the position you’re targeting and meet 75% or more of the role requirements, then this is a wise and appropriate thing to do.

Harness Your Career Brand In A Tagline

Whether you call it a tagline or a power statement, these single-line headlines are the perfect length to encapsulate a key leadership trait you possess along with your most influential and important career-long impacts.

These kinds of statements are big picture by nature, so they encompass the whole of your career rather than just your most recent role. Secondary or tertiary power statements can be used to spell out additional role-specific achievements.

  • For example, here’s the tagline used for an executive resume: “Fuelled $15B in revenue career-long while delivering 5x investor returns.” As you can see, short statements are more powerful when used as headlines; key details can be provided in the work history section of your resume.
  • Let’s say you’re a leader with a turnaround history—that would be important to note in a key location. Hence, a tagline such as this might be beneficial: “Reversed the performance of 4 mid-size companies from negative to up to +$144M in 11 months.”

All of the above are content shifts you need to make in your resume to properly position yourself as a leadership candidate. In addition, consider overhauling your resume’s “look and feel” to ensure you call attention to executive-level experience. Remember an organisation posting a job is looking to fill a capacity gap; so make sure you convince them that the capacity you have can fill their gap.

How Does Career Coaching Work?

Career coaching sounds like a good idea, in theory. We’re familiar with the concept of coaching as most of us have had a sports coach at some point in our lives. Having a personal trainer or workout coach has become a popular trend for many as well. If you’ve ever had a coach, then you know the benefit of having someone there who knows something about your current fitness, your past experiences, your future goals and keeping you on track and focused to achieve those goals.

I don’t know many people who would attempt to get involved in a new sport without the benefit of someone to coach them. Someone who can help them to understand the rules of the game, gain some basic techniques, and understand winning strategies.

However, when it comes to our careers we tend to think or believe  that we can and should go it alone.

At first glance, it may seem that people are too proud, or too confident to ask for help. However, with a little deeper investigation, it’s clear that people don’t really understand what a career coach does, or how a career coach can help their unique situation.

To help clear up some of the confusion, and answer some of the most commonly asked questions, I have answered the top 8 questions for anyone looking for a new job or career transition of any sort.

Q: How exactly does career coaching work?

A. Seeking the advice of a career coach is one of the best ways to lift your job search efforts to the next level, and shorten the time you spend in transition. Whether you’re looking for a new job, or hoping to move up in your current position, career coaches can help you devise the best strategic plan and set actionable goals based on your unique situation, skills, expertise, and career goals.

Q: What can a career coach do that you can’t do on your own?

A: While many of us rely on friends and family to be our sounding board and provide those all important sanity checks these amazing people are not going always able to see us as a hiring manager would. Having an accurate image of yourself in terms of the job market is what a career coach offers you. Coaches are there to see you as hiring managers, recruiters, and your professional networks see you. They provide the advice and guidance you need to establish a professional image and strategy that will get you hired.

Q: How do I find a qualified career coach?

A. Decide what is important for you in terms of what a coach can provide for you. Like many industries there are those who are ‘qualified and certified’. While an alphabet ( CPCC, ACC/PCC/MCC/SHRM/HCRI) of certifications behind ones name is elaborate and impressive the choice should always be based on what you want to get out of a coaching process whether there is an alphabet soup or not. A credible coach is one whose expertise is tailored to your needs.

Ask your potential coach if he or she has experience coaching people through any of these scenarios that are applicable to you:

  • Major career moves
  • Career transitioning
  • Creative retirement
  • Redeployment within a company
  • Joining the gig economy
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Or a situation which you are facing in your career

In addition, look for a career coach that has the industry and functional knowledge that matches your career goals. If you’ve been laid off, or are at a company going through restructuring, you may not necessarily want to find another job in the same industry or in the same role. If you’re ready to transition into something different, be sure your coach has the experience necessary to help you make the change you’re seeking.

Q: Do you have any stories that demonstrate the effectiveness of coaching?

I have so many success stories to share, but here are two that stand out to me.

Carmen’s story: When Carmen started her engagement with one of career coaches she was traumatized and felt that she didn’t have any value. After speaking to her, the coach found out she had several high-revenue wins at her company that simply weren’t valued or acknowledged by management. She consistently made her company several million dollars over five years despite working in the contracts department, which is usually a cost-centre, not a revenue generator. Together, we worked to get her up to speed with her professional image, self-marketing documents, and interviewing skills. In addition to building her self-esteem Jane and her coach worked together for 3 months and she interviewed at six or seven places with multiple rounds, and then received an offer you simply could not refuse.

Christine’s story: When Christine started with her coach, she immediately let her coach know she had very severe environmental allergies and related health issues that literally affected her ability to leave home. She was violently allergic to specific plants and had to use a nebulizer four times a day, which added to her restrictions. In addition she had an immune deficiency which added to and complicated matters significantly. When she had her first call with her coach, she was very concerned and lacked the confidence that she would find an opportunity where she’d have the flexibility to work from home. To start, her coach helped her re-frame her perspective and focus not on her restrictive medical conditions, but on the value she brings an organization. Over the next four weeks, they worked together to create a target company list. Within one month, she was offered her dream job where she works exclusively from home!

My coach provided me the motivation and attitude change I really needed to  effectively search for a job that suited my  needs. She gave me the tools and shared insight and inside knowledge of how company recruiting works so I could modify my approach,” she said.

Q: What advice do you have for someone who has been offered career coaching as part of a severance package?

First, I would say – Accept the help you’re being offered. If your employer has enlisted the help of an outplacement provider who matches you with a career coach, you’ll get the time, support, and expert advice you need to make a successful transition to a new job faster. It’s a mistake to let your emotional reaction to your situation cloud your judgement and ignore this valuable service that is being paid for by your company.

Some organizations may provide you with a coach as part of a structured development and career growth plan. Taking advantage of the opportunity to use a career coach can help you identify growth opportunities and stay on track with a personalized professional growth plan. Your career coach can help you identify professional growth options, such as:

  • Further education
  • Skills development opportunities
  • Openings to expand responsibilities
  • Possible cross-functional duties and projects

Companies that are providing coaching for their employees during workforce transitions may also engage career coaches to provide support related to resiliency. If offered, use your career coach to help you develop the skills you need to process change – whether that change is by choice or by force.

Learning how to deal with change is a skill you can use in many aspects of your life. Companies who do provide coaching and resiliency training understand that when resiliency can be developed as a skill by individuals, the company will benefit.

During a time of transition, your coach can work with you to establish a personal transition plan, set short- and long-term goals for the transition, and identify the benefits and expected outcomes of the transition.

Q: What exactly does a career coach do?

A career coach is there to meet you where you are and move you to the next level in your career or job search. They can provide insightful answers to specific questions, help you address a specific challenge that you’ve identified, such as salary negotiation skills, or give you the advice and guidance you need to polish your job search skills and refine your approach to looking for a job.A qualified career coach will be able to help you boost your image and develop the strategies and skills you need to land a job that best fits your abilities and desires.

Specifically, look to a career coach to provide any of the following:

  • Winning job search strategies
  • Interviewing strategies and troubleshooting
  • Mock interview practice
  • Advice to improve your digital profile
  • Social media image development
  • Networking strategies and advice
  • Salary negotiation skills
  • Career identification
  • Develop a strong personal brand that communicates your value
  • Ascertain opportunities
  • Prioritize options
  • Bring clarity to your myriad of career questions
  • Create a career plan
  • Provide resources and tools to put your plan into action
  • Career goal setting

Everyone needs a coach. A great coach will help you think beyond the limitations you’ve set for yourself and be there to guide you and cheer you on. See yourself as your teammates, recruiters, and hiring mangers see you – through the eyes of a coach who will find the best in you and help you to show your best to others.

The core virtue of career coaching is to help people assess their professional situations with a greater degree of honesty, curiosity, empathy and compassion.

 

Here are the most common misconceptions about career coaching?

 

My top three?

  • That a well-done résumé is all you need to conduct an effective job search.
  • A career coaches will actually find you a job.
  • You only have to attend a single career-coaching session … and your job challenges will be resolved. It actually takes about eight to 10 hours of coaching for the typical client to begin internalizing the key benefits of coaching.

 

Realistic expectations for working with a career coach?

 

 

  • By and large, clients can reasonably expect to gain career confidence, insight, encouragement and inspiration.

  • They should also feel as if the coaching relationship grants them some permission to relax a bit. Job searching can create a fair amount of anxiety, fear and vulnerability in people, and I often work with clients to unwrap those emotions so they can better understand how these factors may be keeping them stuck in the careers they hate.

  • A career coach will hold you accountable to the goals you have set for yourself. You can expect to have a crystal clear, realistic and achievable plan of action to achieve those goals quickly and efficiently when you work with a career coach,

Why Developers Need Career Coaching

Across the board, career coaching has shown to have remarkable benefits for an individual’s career. The Institute of Coaching reports that over 70% of those who receive coaching see improvements in their work performance, communication skills, and relationships.

Executive and senior managers routinely get coaching from consultants, who are hired to help them develop their leadership skills. CEOs including Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Eric Schmidt have all worked with career coaches to hone their communication, develop new concepts, and get feedback on their visions.

Working with a coach, developers and programmers can cultivate new skills, receive feedback on their career trajectory, and learn how to future-proof their resume.

Coaching can take different forms: informal coaching, like a coffee chat with experienced peers, to semi-formal mentoring or joining an organization/team that provides mentorship, to formally hiring a career coach. These are all valuable ways to get career feedback and input into your career decisions and progress. Coaching is critical to freelance developers seeking to stay ahead of the competition. Here’s why every developer needs career coaching along the way.

Develop your soft skills

Tech and coding skills dominate LinkedIn’s 2019 list of skills on employers’ wish-lists. Many developers have a relatively easy time finding work: in the job market. 90% of developers have at least part-time work. Very few developers are unemployed and actively seeking a new job. It’s a great position to be in, but it does mean competition for work at top companies will be steep. How can a developer stand out from the crowd?

Soft skills are among the most in-demand qualifications any employee can have, yet many developers and programmers ignore this area of professional development. Linked-in’s list of most-needed skills includes creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability and time management. These are skills that can make a freelancer stand out for Silicon Valley CTOs and recruiters [as an example] who view dozens of coding challenges for one open position.

“In general, people from the technology sector tend to focus on hard skills but are not as focused on the soft skills currently in high demand. Once an employer has figured out a prospective employee has the hard-tech skills, what will make them stand out beyond that?” asks one expert.

Coaching can help developers by simulating real-world projects that hone communication skills, teach candidates to use agile methodologies, and prepare to work in collaborative teams.

Companies are seeking to hire: and you can command a better position in the job market by becoming a well-rounded candidate with more than one skill set.

Get guidance on your career path

There is always a demand for developers. It is easy to set your career on autopilot. When one opportunity ends, inevitably a few others pop up. A career coach can help freelance developers and tech professionals undergoing a transition navigate which opportunities are worthwhile.

“A tech career coach can help you figure out how you can get from working on small projects to large projects. They can assist you in planning which types of companies to work at in order to work on large-scale projects. If you are a freelancer, career coaching can help you design a plan to turn small opportunities into larger ones,” writes one software developer blog.

Get your questions about freelancing or consulting answered by someone with experience in the tech industry. A career coach can connect you with a larger network of professionals to help you proactively approach your career path.

Future-proof your skill set 

The tech industry is constantly evolving, and as AI, VR, and IoT trends grow. Developers must add new skills to their arsenal. However, when you’re in the weeds of work every day, it can be hard to zoom out and determine which skills you will need to develop next.

One example? Take the growing demand for JavaScript. In 2018, reports Hackerrank, 73% of developers said they knew JavaScript. This number is a marked increase from 67% in 2017 – and it makes JavaScript 2018’s most well-known language.

However, students graduating from computer science programs[generally] aren’t learning JavaScript. Only 42% of student developers are learning JavaScript – it’s simply not taught at most universities. That means most developers are having to teach themselves JavaScript to stay competitive in the current job market.

Coaching can help flag discrepancies like this for developers seeking to future-proof their knowledge and skill-sets. “Coaches can use assessments to identify strengths and weaknesses, both in terms of personality and skill-sets. They can also help job seekers understand how a skill can be applied in a different way to a new job,” writes TechRepublic.

Career Coaches keep tabs on macro-trends in the tech world to tell you where you’re falling behind. Some tech coaches will also take it a step further and place a developer in a job. These coaches know IT recruiters and can help you study for the technical portion of an interview. Developers can take advantage of coaching to stay competitive in the job market, grow their soft skills, and ensure the longevity of their professional status.

Article Adapted from JetCake