Staying mentally healthy as the country begins going back into workplaces.
Life as we knew it has changed and our reality is very different today than it was 100+ days ago. Many of us were in various stages of lockdown for extended periods of time. and even as many of the initial restrictions were lifted , many have still remained and will remain for the foreseeable future.
As we begin to emerge from what felt like hibernation for many, we are all to aware that life is very different and things will never go back to the way they were.
As we start to return to work, and our children return to school there is a lot to think about. Lockdown has affected us all in different ways, and it is normal to feel uncertain about what the future holds.
Many people feel confused, worried and apprehensive about going back to the workplace and even more feel anxious about sending children back to school. Amid this worry there is also the harsh realisation that indefinite lockdown is not sustainable and life still needs to carry on.
Organisations are considering a range of adjustments to the way work is done, to comply with government recommendations. These adjustments will depend on your job, and your individual circumstances.
Everyone’s situation is unique. However, as you return to work, there are some general principles that will give you the best chance of getting back to work and staying mentally healthy over the coming months.
Talk and connect
It is important to keep in touch with colleagues and your line manager. You don’t need to talk about work, but a quick check-in will help you feel connected. We have all been impacted by the coronavirus in different ways. You may have been bereaved, felt overwhelmed or isolated, or been unwell. If you share this with others they will be better able to help you in the months ahead.
Plan and prepare
Think about your job and your situation. Does anything need to change to help you do your job well? If you haven’t been told what to expect, ask what provisions have been made to create a safe work environment. It can be helpful to think through what will happen on the first day back:
How will you get to work?
Will anything be different as you enter the building?
Who will be there?
Will you need to do things differently to get your job done?
Are you on a rotation schedule?
Have a return-to-work conversation with your line manager
If you have not received a return-to-work briefing from your line manager ask for one.
This is a chance to identify your work priorities and raise any concerns or questions that you have. If you have something important you want to talk about, make a note of it for when you have a briefing or perhaps drop your manager and email with your concerns. This is an unprecedented time for all of us and we are all trying to figure things out as we go along. NO one person has all the answers so raise your concerns and ask your questions – chances are you are not the only one who has the same concern.
Try not to panic and slip into a paranoid space
Take things one step at a time
The way we all work is likely to keep changing in the coming weeks and months so we will need to keep adjusting. Don’t expect everything to quickly return to normal. The life you knew and were familiar with prior to lockdown is gone and will very likely never return. We have a long journey ahead. We may never be able to go back to our old ways of working so this could give us an opportunity to do things very differently, and even better. Look out for yourself, look out for others and take one day at a time.
Monitor and review how you are getting on
It is important to have regular check-ins with yourself (How am I coping? Could I do more to help stay mentally healthy?) and check-ins with your team members and manager (How are we working? Is there anything we could do differently to work better together?). This way you can address issues as they come up and start to plan and prepare for the journey through COVID-19 together.
Be mindful of those who may have been directedly affected or infected by this virus. Be supportive and check-in if a team member has had to deal with the illness or loss of a family member due to COVID-19. many of those in essential services have has to deal with unimaginable conditions from and emotional and psychological perspective. Many of them have brought these traumas home and family have had to deal as best they could. so be gentle and be kind with those who are struggling you may not know what they have has to deal with on the home front.
Everyone is finding their own path and things might not always go to plan. It is important to be kind to yourself and to be kind to others as we all find our way. Returning to work is not always easy, but having support can make a huge difference. If you are finding it difficult, ask a trusted colleague or friend to help you work through the questions and identify some concrete actions that you, or they, can take to help you.
We all demonstrate resilience in some form or the other at some point in our life. This is a very ordinary and normal process we all go through when we need to rebuild our life.
Being resilient does not mean that we do not experience difficulty or distress, emotional pain or sadness. Quite the opposite the road to resilience is often paved with considerable emotional distress.
Resilience involves the behaviours, thoughts and actions that we can learn and develop to navigate the emotional distress.
We have all dealt with the death of a loved one, loss of a job, serious illness or some other traumatic event that has left an indelible mark on our life. These are all very challenging life experiences and many people react to these circumstance with a flood of strong emotions and a sense of uncertainty. Eventually though they adapt well over time to these life-changing situations and stressful conditions. What enable s them to do so? It is resilience – the ongoing process that requires time and effort and taking a number of steps to enhance and build their resilience.
Here are Six Strategies that can help you Build resilience
Change the narrative
When something bad happens, we tend to relive the event over and over in our heads. We step onto this merry-go-round and we rehash the pain the event has caused. This process is called rumination; it is the proverbial cognitive spinning of the wheels, and it doesn’t move us forward toward healing and growth.
The practice of Expressive Writing can move us forward by helping us gain new insights into the challenges in our lives. It involves free writing continuously for 20 minutes about an issue exploring your deepest thoughts and feelings around it. The goal is to get something down on paper. You do not necessarily want to create a memoir-like masterpiece.
Research conducted back in a 1988 study found that participants who did Expressive Writing for four days were healthier six weeks later and happier up to three months later compared t those who did not write or those who wrote about superficial things. The act of writing allows us to slow down our thinking and forces us to confront ideas one by one and give them structure, which may lead to new perspectives.
By doing this we are actually crafting our own life narrative and gaining a sense of control. We are also able to find the Finding Silver Linings which requires us to list at least three positive things about the experience or the lessons we learnt through this process. This helps us to become more engaged in our life post the event and increases our optimism over time. This in turn reduces our depression levels suggesting that looking on the bright side is something we have to practice regularly.
Face your fears
The practices above are helpful for past struggles, ones that we have gained enough distance from to be able to get some perspective pn. What about those knee-shaking fears that we are experiencing in the here and now?
The Overcoming a Fear practice is designed to help with everyday fears that get in the way of life, such as the fear of public speaking, heights, or flying. We can’t talk ourselves out of such fears; instead, we have to tackle the emotions directly.
The first step is to slowly, and repeatedly, expose yourself to the thing that scares you—in small doses.
For example, people with a fear of public speaking might try talking more in meetings, then perhaps giving a toast at a small wedding. Over time, you can incrementally increase the challenge until you’re ready to nail that big speech.
This kind of “exposure therapy” helps us change the associations we have with a particular stimulus. If we have flown 100 times and the plane has never crashed, for example, our brain (and body) start to learn that it’s safe. Though the fear may never be fully extinguished, we will likely have greater courage to confront it.
Fears and adversity can make us feel alone; we wonder why we are the only ones feeling this way, and what exactly is wrong with us. In these situations, learning to practice self-compassion and recognizing that everyone suffers, can be a much gentler and more effective road to healing.
Self-compassion involves offering compassion to ourselves: confronting our own suffering with an attitude of warmth and kindness, without judgment. The Self-Compassion Break, is something you can do any time you start to feel overwhelmed by pain or stress. It has three steps, which correspond to the three aspects of self-compassion:
Be mindful: Without judgment or analysis, notice what you are feeling. Name it and acknowledge it. Say, “This is a moment of suffering” or “This hurts” or “This is stress.”
Remember that you are not alone: Everyone experiences these deep and painful human emotions, although the causes might be different. Say to yourself, “Suffering is a part of life” or “We have all felt this way at some point in our life” or “We all deal with some kind of struggle in our lives.”
Be kind to yourself: Put your hands on your heart and say something like “I give myself compassion” or “I accept myself as I am” or “I will be patient with myself during this time.”
If being kind to yourself is a challenge which it can sometimes be. Consider how you would respond if your best friend were going through what you are going through. How would you respond and support your best friend; what would you say or do for your bestie? Now go and do that for yourself.
Once we start to develop a kinder attitude toward ourselves, we can crystallize that gentle voice into a Self-Compassionate Letter. Just as yo would write words of understanding, acceptance, and compassion towards your best friend write those same words to yourself in a letter.
In the letter, you might remind yourself that everyone struggles, and that you are not alone; if possible, you could also consider constructive ways to improve in the future.
As mindfulness gurus like to remind us, our most painful thoughts are usually about the past or the future: We regret and ruminate on things that went wrong, or we get anxious about things that will. When we pause and bring our attention to the present, we often find that things are…okay.
Practicing mindfulness brings us more and more into the present, and it offers techniques for dealing with negative emotions when they arise. That way, instead of getting carried away into fear, anger, or despair, we can work through them more deliberately.
Strong feelings tend to manifest physically, as tight chests or knotted stomachs, and relaxing the body is one way to begin dislodging them. There are thousands of meditations techniques and practices available.The Body Scan is one of the many you can use to focus on each body part in turn—head to toe—and can choose to let go of any areas of tension you discover. Being more aware of our bodies and the emotions we are feeling might also help us make healthier choices, trusting our gut when something feels wrong or avoiding commitments that will lead to exhaustion.
If holding a grudge is holding you back, research suggests that cultivating forgiveness could be beneficial to your mental and physical health. If you feel ready to begin, it can be a powerful practice.
Both Nine Steps to Forgiveness and Eight Essentials When Forgiving offer a list of guidelines to follow. In both cases, you begin by clearly acknowledging what happened, including how it feels and how it’s affecting your life right now. Then, you make a commitment to forgive, which means letting go of resentment and ill will for your own sake; forgiveness doesn’t mean letting the offender off the hook or even reconciling with them. Ultimately, you can try to find a positive opportunity for growth in the experience: Perhaps it alerted you to something you need, which you may have to look for elsewhere, or perhaps you can now understand other people’s suffering better.
If you are having trouble forgiving, Letting Go of Anger through Compassion is a five-minute forgiveness exercise that could help you get unstuck. Here, you spend a few minutes generating feelings of compassion toward your offender; s/he, too, is a human being who makes mistakes; s/he, too, has room for growth and healing. Be mindful and aware of your thoughts and feelings during this process, and notice any areas of resistance. Research suggests that letting go and forgiveness rather than ruminating on negative feelings or repressing them cultivates compassion, more empathy, positive emotions, and feelings of control.
That is an outcome that victims of wrongdoing deserve, no matter how we feel about the offenders.
Develop mental agility
It is possible, without too much effort , to literally switch the neural networks with which we process the experience of stress in order to respond to rather than react to any difficult situation or person. This quality of mental agility hinges on the ability to mentally “decenter” stressors in order to effectively manage them. “Decentering” stress is not denying or suppressing the fact that we feel stressed, rather, it is the process of being able to pause, to observe the experience from a neutral standpoint, and then to try to solve the problem. When we are able to cognitively take a step back from our experience and label our thoughts and emotions, we are effectively pivoting attention from the narrative network in our brains to the more observational parts of our brains. Being mentally agile, and decentering stress when it occurs, enables the core resilience skill of “response flexibility,” which renowned psychologist Linda Graham describes as “the ability to pause, step back, reflect, shift perspectives, create options and choose wisely.” We often tell our children who are upset to “use your words,” for example, and it turns out that stopping and labeling emotions has the effect of activating the thinking center of our brains, rather than the emotional center a valuable skill in demanding, high-performance workplaces everywhere.
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
Engaging effectively with Executive Search Consultants
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 responsibilitiesyou 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
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.
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.
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
Redeployment within a company
Joining the gig economy
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:
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
Develop a strong personal brand that communicates your value
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,
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.
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.
Do you spend half of Sunday night staring at the ceiling or counting sheep(or other animals). Are you tossing-and-turning and just getting more frustrated at the prospect of facing Monday and the week ahead.
Here is what it looks like:-
You’ve had a great weekend. On Saturday morning your kid’s team won their sports match game, you had a great dinner out on Saturday night, spent some time relaxing with friends you haven’t seen in a while and even got that cupboard purged – you know the one that you have been putting off for six months. You look at the wall clock and it is 4:30pm on Sunday afternoon, and a feeling of anxiety comes over you.
Almost immediately your mood turns to impatient, worried and stressed. Over and over, you mentally calculate how much time you have left before going to bed, which you dread because you know you’ll toss and turn as you restlessly try to fall asleep.
From Free and Relieved on Friday to Miserable on Sundays. The Sunday Night Syndrome does not necessarily start on Sunday night it can begin as early as Sunday morning.
While it is NOT a medical or psychiatric disorder, it is a collection of normal feelings and challenges that many people experience. It entails the 3 S’s of Sundays: stress, sleep problems, and sadness, and can be a sign of anxiety about your job.
The resulting anxiety affects your last hours of relaxation, family time, Sunday night dinner, and sleep routines. It makes those tough Monday mornings even tougher.
I used to suffer from The Sunday Syndrome. Sometimes it even hit me on Saturday nights. I even got to a point where I would dread Fridays because these were closer to Mondays.
I’ve learned how to manage it, and I’ve helped my clients make Sundays more fun and productive. Here is my five-step solution to the Sunday Syndrome:
Straighten up your work area as you leave on Fridays to remove the stress of Monday morning catch up. Remind yourself on Sunday that your desk is clean and tidy and chaos free for you. Picture a clean start, beginning the week feeling refreshed and up-to-date with no outstanding work to catch up on.
Schedule your errands, work and fun activities without leaving all the stressful ones for Sunday. People typically over-schedule their weekends or don’t schedule anything. Instead, plan the tough stuff for Saturdays, motivate yourself to get those done early on a Saturday and leave Sundays for the fun and relaxing stuff.
Set the alarm for the same time everyday including Saturday and Sunday. People who sleep later on weekends frequently experience Sunday Night Syndrome when they cannot fall asleep on Sunday night. If you want to sleep in on the weekends, make it no more than 30 minutes. Or let Saturday be your sleep in day and be sure to wake up at the same time on Sunday as you would on Monday.
Savour Sundays by planning an enjoyable activity for yourself or your family. See it as an activity that marks the end of a good and productive weekend. A late Sunday lunch or sun-downers with the family can mark the end of an enjoyable weekend. People get depressed and dread the end of their weekend often because they have not mentally prepared for it to end. Establish a family ritual that marks the end of the weekend. Whether it is a family meal or drinks or school and work preparations like setting the weekday meal menus or sorting out school uniforms and scheduling the weeks activities; you will find the mental preparation helps to settle the anxiety and replaces dread with excitement. Make sure it is something that is enjoyable, relaxing and soothing.
End your Sunday preparation ritual with a relaxing bath or shower before bedtime. Avoid a heavy meal before bedtime and any beverages which may affect your sleep patterns. Switch off TVs and video games and maybe add some relaxing music as well and just get ready for a relaxing quiet evening. Once in bed, pick up a book if you need to. I find my night time reading is a necessity,however I always choose a book I have already read so that I can skim the pages with very little actual engagement and this works wonders to induce sleep. Turn the clock out of your sight-line to remove the reminder of your Monday morning 6 am alarm worries. I personally don’t keep a clock in my room. Give yourself permission to relax knowing that the weekend was good but its over and the work week ahead is planned and will be absolutely fine.
Just as there are many reasons to leave your job to become a stay-at-home parent, there are many reasons why you may choose to go back to work. Many stay-at-home parents go back to work once the children are in school or have left the nest.
For some families, there are financial reasons driving the decision to return to the workforce. Others may find the life of a stay-at-home parent to be challenging and isolating. Whatever the reason, going back to work is often easier than it sounds.
Steps to Re–enter the Workforce
Finding a new job can be intimidating for anyone, but it is particularly intimidating for someone who has been out of the workforce for a few years. Normal fears of a stay-at-home parent may include seeming to be out of touch or behind in skill level. You may even worry that a potential employer won’t be able to relate to you or understand how hard you have worked to take care of your home and children over the years.
Don’t waste time trying to eradicate these fears. Instead, focus your energy on finding a suitable sustainable job. Use this step-by-step process to get back into the workforce with confidence.
Know Why You Want to Return to Work
There may be an obvious and direct answer to this question, but you need to search a little deeper for an answer that will appeal to potential employers. When an employer figures out that you have been out of the workforce for a number of years, the first thing they will want to know is why you are returning. If you tell them it is simply because you need money, forget ever working for them – you need to give them a reasonwhythey should employ you.
Furthermore, you also need to understand that there are many reasons to go back to work beyond a financial need, so find out what these are for you. Having a solid reason, you’ll have the motivation to work hard at finding the right job and the motivation to be a good employee. Consider reasons such as:
Contributing to society to make the world a better place
Using and developing your unique skill-set
Having more responsibilities
Learning more and sharing your knowledge
Interacting with and helping other people
Know What You Want to Do
Knowing why you want to go back to work may help you figure out what you want to do in the workforce. This will increase your passion for finding a job, which employers will notice. If you are returning to work after an extended absence, you also have the unique opportunity to decide if you want to go back to your previous industry or if you would like to try a new career. You can be very selective at this point in your life so use that.
Here are some things to consider when getting back into the workforce:
What do I want to do?
What industries do I want to enter?
Is it important for me to get a job at my previous level, or am I okay with getting an entry-level position?
Is it necessary for me to have a part-time or flexible schedule?
In which geographic locations am I willing to work?
Would I like to telecommute or work on location?
How do I feel about travel?
It’s important to know what you’re looking for, but it’s equally important to be flexible. For example, you may desire part-time work, but such positions can be hard to find. Therefore, it may be more practical to look for a family-friendly employer that will allow you to have a flexible schedule.
Update Your Experience
When you haven’t been employed as a professional for a while, it’s normal for some of your skills to slip. When you are not practicing your skills regularly, you will eventually lose them.
So how do you overcome this obstacle and prove to potential employers that you are just as strong in your field now as you were when you left?
Volunteer. This may be the easiest, cheapest, and most fulfilling way to get your abilities up to par. Depending on your career field and industry, consider contacting a hospital, vet, school, local business, or church to see if you can offer your services or be part of a volunteer program. If you are in a more technical career field, target the skills you would like to regain. For instance, if you want to improve your computer programming skills, volunteer to build a website for a business in need. If you want to relearn or upskill your Excel knowledge, find someone who needs a spreadsheet. There are no rules about volunteering and working for free to gain experience, so be creative.
Take a Class. Take a class, or get a degree or certificate if that will help you take the next step in your career. Keep in mind how long it will take to complete your training in order to plan out a timeline as to when you’ll need to start your job search.
Attend a Conference in Your Industry. Another disadvantage of being out of the workforce is not being up-to-date in the latest happenings and trends in your field. A quick way to get caught up – and to also make some professional connections – is to attend a conference for your industry or career field. Professional conferences are usually held annually, so be sure to plan ahead if you want to attend before your job search.
Research. If you are unable to attend a conference or lack the funds to attend, you can still do your own research from home. Hop onto the Internet and look at reliable sources in your industry. Subscribe to professional journals to learn about the latest research and discoveries in your field. Your timely knowledge would be highly impressive to potential employers.
Schedule Time. If you do not schedule the time to improve your skills, you’ll constantly be telling yourself that you’ll do it tomorrow. Make it a priority, and you’ll reap the benefits.
Strategically Organize Your Resume
When recruiters look at your resume, the time gap in your work experience is going to be a red flag. To ease the impact of this gap in professional work, organize your resume in a way that downplays that fact but emphasizes your skills.
Here are some resume tips:
Use the Combination Format for Your Resume. Put your skills toward the top of your resume and your professional experience toward the bottom – this is known as the combination format. Most recruiters will glance at your resume from top to bottom and note your skills first. Otherwise, they may toss it once they notice the experience gap.
Forget Reverse-Chronological Order. Typically, resumes list experience in reverse-chronological order in order to showcase your most recent work experience first. However, if this is not to your benefit, showcase your most impressive work experience by listing it first.
List Transferable Skills. While this is always important, it is especially important when you are trying to break back into the workforce. In addition to listing all transferable skills, make sure to mention any leadership experience; for example, if you were the PTA president.
Be Honest. Never lie or exaggerate on your resume. Sell yourself while being completely honest.
Check for Errors. It may have been a while since you last put together a resume, so make sure to avoid common resume mistakes, such as grammatical errors. Have friends or even a professional proofread your work to ensure that you have a great resume.
If it has been a long time since you have written a resume, it has probably been years since you’ve been interviewed. The best way to prepare is to go online and write out your answers to sample interview questions. Then, get a friend or family member to perform a mock interview with you. Be thorough yet concise with your answers, and practice until you are able to accurately respond to the most common interview questions in 90 seconds or less.
Often, when it comes to finding a job, it ultimately comes down to who you know, not what you know. Here are some excellent ways to network:
Join a Professional Organization. You may have already done this as a way to re-educate yourself about your career field or industry, but if you haven’t, find a group that you can join. This can be especially useful if you have a local chapter that has meetings that you can attend. If not, use information on the web to let others know you are looking for a job. When I was in college, I was able to land an amazing job working as an industrial engineer at a hospital by emailing members of the Institute of Industrial Engineers and inquiring about job openings.
Reach Out to Your Alumni Association. If you are a college graduate, get in touch with your alumni association. People enjoy working with those who attended the same college as they did. It’s a fun way to relate to your co-workers or employees.
Attend Networking Events Regularly. Networking events are very common, unlike job fairs, which only happen occasionally. Many churches hold networking meetings for those on the job hunt as well. Attend as many of these events as you can. You never know who you might meet.
Get a LinkedIn Account. Although online sites have typically been known as a non-traditional way to find employment, more people are finding jobs though social networking. In fact, in a recent survey, 15% of people found their most recent job through sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. While that percentage is small, as someone returning to the workforce after a long absence, online networking is only to your advantage.
Know that it will be tough going back to work after years of being a stay-at-home parent, not only in finding a job but also in readjusting to the working lifestyle. Also, if you are re-entering the workforce after a long absence, 10 or more years, and you are in your fifties or older, it may be even more challenging to find a job due to age related bias. Being aware of the realities and the challenges of the task you are undertaking will help you have the courage to keep going and be fully satisfied when you succeed.
Have you ever re-entered the workforce after being a stay-at-home parent?