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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

Resilience

Resilience – Super Glue of the Psyche

tree of hope

You know you are having one of those months when the crow’s feet have turned into vulture’s claws, when your sense of humour has completely failed you and you feel like you are stuck in some bizarre combination of the twilight zone and groundhog day.

You get times like that don’t you? My current blame du jour are the retrogrades, that those in the know predicted would throw all unfinished business and all that has been emotionally papered over, into deep fractures.

Change is one of life’s inevitabilities and as much as we are digging the vintage vibe or doing the ostrich thing to the stuff we can’t bear; change is the only constant.  We are all having to dig deep these days. Not just profoundly into our pockets but into our psyches too, to help mend and make do and get through in these volatile and uncertain times.

Redundancy, relationship crises, health issues and financial worries are becoming an increasing life burden for all of us. When the future is foggy, we struggle to find an anchor to keep us from feeling like we are drifting aimlessly and uncontrollably. We want black and white answers when those 50 rainbow shades offer an overwhelming and altogether unsexy prospect.

So, the buzzword to hold on to is Resilience.

Simply put, it is the ability to dig deep within ourselves to find that reserve of energy and resolve we need to help us through the tough times. Resilience is a skill and it can be practiced just like practicing to play a musical instrument or a sport.

Easier said than done for many, especially when you feel like jelly and you find yourself on shaky ground. Where is that strength you need to draw upon?

It is right there at the core of your being. You must have faith in your own instincts and abilities which will help guide you along the way. Digging deep into hitherto unknown reserves of self is what Japanese author Haruki Murakami writes about in his book on spirituality, philosophy and marathons What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.

Keeping the goal in mind and consistently reminding yourself that things will get better; as you take baby steps each day towards it. Coaching is great for this. Ordinarily we seldom, if ever, need to dig that deep for our everyday lives. It is however, worth creating systems which you can turn to when you feel the ground shaking and your nerve is heading for the Exit with someone else’s coat.

Here are a few coaching tips to help consolidate Resilience.

  • Maintain good relationships with your family and friends. Accept their help in times of stress. Offer help to those who are less fortunate than you are – and YES there are always others in a worse situation than you are. Give generously and earnestly, especially when you feel you have little to give. We feel at our best when we are able to help those less able than ourselves. The smallest act of kindness done in earnest will open the door of abundance.
  • Try to look at the big picture of life and avoid viewing difficult times as insurmountable. Take small steps toward your goals and take one day at a time. Avoid the pitfall of trying to solve tomorrow’s problems today. Deal with what you can deal with today, do it well – tomorrow is not guaranteed. Stay focused on what you can manage today, right here, right now. Remember there are things you can control and there are things you cannot. So do what you can do, manage what you can manage and keep moving forward.
  • Accept that change is a part of life and acceptance of what is – is key. Keep working toward your goals every day, and keep asking yourself “What can I do today to move in the direction I need to go in? Small consistent acts in the right directly get results.
  • Maintain a positive view of life and visualize what you want. When we feel like our resolve is fading, often times our energy levels tend to wax and wane as well. It is critical at these points to take care of yourself. Eat well, sleep and exercise to keep yourself healthy – even if you only do a quarter of what you would normally do. This is especially important during times of stress. There will always be an obstacle or hurdle that we will need to navigate in our lives. Learn to navigate these hurdles with confidence in your own abilities is key. Fear and anxiety will always rear their heads – it’s perfectly okay to recognise that you are fearful or anxious. The trick however is to not allow it to paralyse you into inaction.
  • Make the Decision to Prevail. This too shall pass. As the Good times come and go so too, do the Bad times. Nothing is permanent – as sure as day follows night these periods of volatility and uncertainty will pass.

 

Being resilient does not mean that we do not experience difficulty or distress, emotional  pain or sadness. Resilience involves the behaviours, thoughts and actions that we can learn and develop to navigate the emotional distress. Learn and practice self-compassion and recognize that everyone suffers. Being gentle and kind to yourself is a much more effective road to healing. If your best friend were going through a rough time you would be kind and gentle with them; NOW go and do the same thing for yourself.

Another sure-fire way of developing some psyche superglue is to hire a coach. Book your 30-minute trial telephone session today by emailing me at renatafester@career-coach.co.za

 

 

Coaching Package to Choose From

During these unprecedented times we all need a little help. Here are a few packages which may tickle your fancy and provide some help along the way to redefining your normal.. If any of these sound like something you may be interested in doing click here to connect with me and we can schedule a FREE consultation session with no obligation.

If this is not what you are looking for let me know how I may be of Service and we can tailor make a packed to suite your unique needs.

Click here to connect with Me  

4-Week Coaching Packages
4-Week Coaching Packages

Coaching

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.

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

Warning: 5 Unexpected Changes that come with a Promotion

 

Promotions come with several changes many employees don’t consider until they’re in their new role.

Every year when companies schedule their annual performance reviews, there are discussions about promotions. Promotions come with several changes many employees don’t consider until they’re in their new role. In my work with CEOs, one of the most common and disturbing trends in today’s workforce is the attitude of entitlement.

Employers and employees perpetuate an attitude of entitlement. Employers want to demonstrate their loyalty, and often one of the most common ways to do this is to promote an employee that has been with the company for a long time. While well-meaning, this often results in the activation of “The Peter Principle” in which companies promote employees to the highest levels of incompetence.

This ultimately leads to termination, and initiates a painfully slow unravelling of an employee’s confidence, engagement, and ability to perform.

Employees in turn perpetuate an attitude of entitlement, by getting themselves into a corner that has no escape, by telling themselves, “I deserve a promotion.” They allow their egos to drive their career advancement. They are often drawn to the idea of a higher-ranking title and a higher rung on the career ladder.

The Fallout of Unwarranted Promotions

Promotions come with significant changes that both employers and employees overlook until it’s too late, and staff have been moved around.

Two current clients are dealing with the fallout of promotions that should have never been granted and promises that should have never been made. We’re working diligently to:

  • minimize/contain further damage,
  • shift the culture from high entitlement/low accountability to low entitlement/high accountability, and
  • save a valuable, loyal, long-term employee with vital institutional knowledge from walking out the door.

Changes That Accompany Promotions

Promotions are not just about rewarding loyalty, and moving employees up a ladder. To set up everyone for success, employees must think about the following criteria prior to accepting a promotion position:

  • New job requirements

Do YOU (the employee) pass the “GWC Test?”

Do you Get it:  Do they truly understand their role, the culture, the processes and systems, the pace of the organization, and how all of these elements come together to form a well-oiled machine?

Do you Want it: Do they genuinely like their job? Do they believe in what they are doing? Are they excited about coming to work to see the progress that is occurring? Do they want to use their experience, talents, and ideas to further the organization?

Do you have the Capacity to do it? Capacity is a multi-pronged word. It applies to mental, physical, emotional, spiritual (in some cases), and intellectual capacity, as well as having the capacity of time to do a job well.

  • Integrating the demands of the new position into your personal life

    It’s likely that the new position will require additional travel either locally and or Internationally and very possibly longer hours. Employees must consider this carefully. They should also have these conversations with their “significant other” who may need to pick up the slack in their absence.

  • Giving up responsibilities you really enjoy

    Promotions often involve movement from a hands-on practitioner role to a management/supervisory role that takes employees out of the trenches where they are doing what they love. Leaving behind the work they love doing may sound glamorous initially however, not doing what you love doing permanently can be a source of significant stress and unhappiness.

  • Learning tasks and responsibilities you may not enjoy

    Conversely, you will likely have to become knowledgeable in areas you may not have naturally pursued. This is common when companies promote rock-star sales employees to a sales leadership position. They move from being in the field responsible for themselves, to being in a corner office responsible for others. Being a team leader may not have been something you would ordinarily have wanted to do however the promotion position requires that you manage a team. Now you have to learn how to do that.

  • Changing the dynamics of office friendships

    This is one of the most surprising and difficult challenges that accompany promotions.

    With any promotion comes a very real change in dynamics and relationships with colleagues. Where once you were able to sit and bemoan manager with your colleagues because you were one-of-team(us) and shared many of the same frustrations – that is now different. You are one of “them”. The guys you once believed didn’t “understand” or was “divorced from what was happening on the floor.” You may have developed good friendships along the way and now that you have moved up the ladder the line has to be drawn in the sand. As a member of the management team, you may well be privy to many sensitive and confidential conversations about your friends that you will not be able to share. Be sure you are  willing to establish the boundary and change the dynamics of your friendships? This is a question only the employee can answer for themselves.

Promoting Strategically and Effectively

Ambitious employees can do many things to set themselves up for successful promotions, including:

  • Leading or engaging in initiatives outside of their traditional roles
  • Being coach-able and open to feedback
  • Mentoring others
  • Delivering on what is expected of them and being known as someone reliable
  • Engaging in professional development and sharing this knowledge with others

Employers must think about career trajectories and organizational impact far in advance of  scheduled performance reviews. Consider why you are offering the promotion- Is it a loyalty decision? Is it a competency based decision – remember the higher up the ladder you go these less technical skill is needed and the more strategic skills ( e.g. soft skills- people skills, negotiation skills) are required.

Perhaps an employee is a good promotion candidate, but requires some coaching and training to step into the new role. This training is often not about how well the person can do the job – because lets face it; the reason the promotion discussion is even on the table is because the person has already proved their technical competence. So what else does the person need to be set up for success? These steps must be executed in advance of the promotion so that business proceeds with minimal disruption..

Unsuccessful promotions leave a trail of disappointment, broken trust, and failed executions. These can also be a costly exercise both financially and reputation-wise for the company.

When thoughtfully executed, however,  successful promotions yield tremendous benefits for everyone involved, empower the company to attract & retain great talent, and propel and promote continued growth.

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

The first steps to any Career Pivot

The first step to any career pivot is to get a clear understanding of what is important to you so that you can then figure out what the right career is for you.

Often career changers ‘jump in at the deep end’ of career change, trying to list job options they would consider before thinking about what exactly they want to get out of a career change. This can result in a lot of frustration, and rarely results in a good career change.

 

Why? Because picking a new career without understanding your basic ‘me-criteria’ is akin to closing your eyes and picking a career at random. No wonder people spend years going around in circles trying to decide what to do next.

With a real understanding of yourself you can create a list of your career ‘must haves’ and ‘deal breakers’.

  • Do you will have criteria for deciding which careers to explore and which to eliminate?
  • Do you understand how to filter your search by what makes you tick, what motivates you, what environment is right for you?

Here is a three step process to help you:

Step 1: Get clarity

  • Your passions are important but not the whole picture. Remember to maintain a balanced lifestyle so that you are able to give attention to all aspects of your life that need it.
  • Identify what stage of the career change journey you are at and how that can help you know what the next steps are. Spend time evaluating your current job satisfaction and reoccurring themes of dissatisfaction. Which aspects of your current job do you like and dislike? Are your dissatisfactions related to the content of your work, your company culture or the people with whom you work?
  • Remember you can’t figure it out by figuring it out. The simple reality is that if the solution to your career change lay in more analysis, in making more lists, reading more books, taking more psychometric tests, or simply figuring it all out in your head – you’d have found it by now.

Step 2: Generate & filter ideas

  • Be practical  if you don’t know where to start
  • Choose the best ideas, if you have too many
  • Start testing your ideas without leaving the safety of your current job
  • Don’t try and do this alone – having bursts of energy to do something about your career, followed by periods where you get swept back into ‘life’, surfacing weeks or months later and realising nothing had changed is not a useful roller coaster. Seek out others who also wanted to escape and did;  enrolled a career coach; and  start to meet and hang out with different types of people. The net effect of different ideas, different connections, and accountability will all lead to forward movement.

Step 3: Draw a road-map

  • Don’t Rush the decision.

Before you commit to the decision to change careers, make sure you are positive—absolutely positive—that you’re doing it for the right reasons. The following qualify as the right reasons: Your industry is dying. Your life priorities have evolved. You fell into your career by accident, simply because it was convenient at the time.

  • Decide on your priorities and do your research e.g. Salary, flexible working conditions, remote working should be considered

If you’re in a low-paying field and the current job is no longer keeping the lights on, running the numbers doesn’t mean you’re money-hungry—it means you’re realistic. The mistake however would be choosing your new career solely on earning potential, rather than how well it matches your interests, values, or strengths (you know, the good stuff). In the end, salary may be part of the reason you’re unhappy, but it’s probably not the only reason.