How to use your downtime to boost your job search

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to use your down time to boost your job searchWhile we don’t know the exact fallout of the COVID-19 crisis yet, we know that it could be a slow time for the job market. But don’t let that slow you down! Now might be the perfect time to kickstart your job search by getting organised for when things start picking up.

Here are seven things you can do to supercharge your job search.

  1. Research your options: Review job ads on sites such as Seek and LinkedIn. Seeing what is out there now will help you tailor your approach and perhaps you’ll identify new areas of interest. Play around with search options using different titles, industries and keywords. Open your search out to other locations or industries. While you may not find exactly what you’re looking for, some positions will be a close match. Read relevant ads to understand requirements. This will help you decide what’s important to include in your application and determine if you have any major skills gaps that you need to think about how to address.
  2. Get organised: Use your downtime to establish automated job searches, identify relevant recruiters, update your application materials (see tip 4 for more on this) and enhance your online presence. Having these things in place will help you stand out from other candidates when it’s time to apply. For tips on developing a structured job search strategy that helps you connect with recruiters and employers, read our previous article, ‘Winning Job Search Strategies’ and start planning.
  3. Understand the hidden job market: Many available jobs are never advertised, so accessing the hidden job market is an important piece of the puzzle. The key here is building your networks. Establish connections via LinkedIn with recruiters and others in your industry – create a standard pitch that explains why you want to connect and what you can offer. Start building your profile through LinkedIn Groups and contribute to discussions. Write a list of companies you’d like to work for, visit their careers pages and follow them on social media.
  4. Update your application materials: This includes your resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile. Our career advice blog is packed with tips on writing a great resume that will get you noticed. We also recommend writing a customised cover letter for every job you apply for, which addresses as many job requirements as possible. Use this time to prepare generic cover letters and/or paragraphs that can be modified to suit specific roles. Many recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates, so optimise your profile with keywords, so you can be found. Include a current professional photo and try to complete every section. Use your headline to grab attention with career-focused keywords that capture your value. Don’t waste your Summary (About section) – use it to highlight your key skills, experience and strengths, and create a picture of who you are and what you have to offer.
  5. Prepare for interviews: Many job seekers make the mistake of not preparing for the interview. Use your downtime to brainstorm potential questions and think about examples that demonstrate how you have handled different work situations. Having a bank of examples to draw on will increase your confidence and improve your performance. To help you formulate your examples, read our article about using the STAR approach. You can also find numerous articles on preparing for an interview, as well as our ‘How to answer’ series, which looks at common interview questions.
  6. Build your network: Connecting with existing and new contacts is a powerful way to uncover work opportunities. While now might not be the best time to reach out to everyone, you can use the time to plan how you could grow your network when it feels right. For example, you might draft emails that can be sent later, write a list of people to call, learn how to use LinkedIn more effectively and research face-to-face and online networking groups you could join.
  7. Assess your social media: Many recruiters and employers research candidate’s social media pages as part of their screening, so ensure your privacy settings are appropriate. Also ensure your feed content won’t hurt your chances of securing an interview if viewed by a recruiter.

There is no doubt we will experience changes to the Australian job market because of COVID-19. Despite the uncertainty around what job opportunities may be available in the future, it is important to understand the skills you have built in past jobs and how this experience equips you to work in a range of different jobs you may not have previously considered. Take advantage of the quieter time to get organised and develop a winning job search strategy, so you’ll be ready to go when the time comes!

Do you need help developing a standout resume, detailed job search strategy or professional LinkedIn profile? Perhaps you’d like to work on your interview skills? See our Resume Writing, Job Search Coaching and Interview Training services to find out more.

How to bounce back from redundancy

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to bounce back from redundancyIf you’re going through a redundancy or have in the past, you’ll understand the enormity of change it can cast on your life. In today’s business climate, redundancies are common and usually out of our control. As technology evolves and workplaces change, restructures occur and redundancies become inevitable. Then there are national and global events that no one can prepare for.

Being made redundant is generally a stressful time, with the loss of income and uncertainty about your next steps. But it can also give you a chance to pause and reassess your career path. It can be the catalyst for positive career change and ultimately take you down an exciting new road.

Read on for our tips on how to bounce back.

  1. Don’t panic! Resist the urge to spring into action immediately. Take some time to regroup and reflect on your new direction. Remember, you’re not alone – many people go through a redundancy at some stage. In fact, there was a 45% increase in redundancies from 2017 to 2019, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. And it doesn’t necessarily reflect badly on you, since many companies have downsized or restructured in recent years, and there are often circumstances beyond your control.
  2. Reassess your career path. This is an opportunity to evaluate your career path and goals. Make the most of the time you have now to set a new course for the future. Look back on your career to assess previous roles and reflect on what you enjoyed. Consider different factors for your next role – for example, market sector, location, company size, organisation structure, responsibilities, salary and benefits. This can help you pinpoint your preferred path. And once you start searching for a new role, this information could provide a perfect recruiter brief, helping recruiters to understand what’s important to you and where you want your career to head.
  3. Consider studying or retraining. If you’re interested in a change of career, research the skills needed to make that change. Look at online and face-to-face courses and get a clear idea of what’s needed to move into your chosen area.
  4. Update your resume and LinkedIn profile. When you’re ready to kickstart your job search, your first task should be to update your resume, LinkedIn profile and other relevant profiles. Nearly every industry uses LinkedIn to research candidates, so make sure your LinkedIn profile is more than a storage place for career contacts – it should be an evolving record of your professional life that helps market you as a great candidate. Make sure your work experience is up to date, your profile picture is current and your contact details are displayed. You can also set your profile to ‘Looking for a job’ which makes it easier for prospective employers to find you. Once your LinkedIn profile is up to date, you can align your resume with it, adding more detailed information about your responsibilities and achievements. Having your resume ready to go means you can take advantage of opportunities as they arise.
  5. Start your job search. After preparing your LinkedIn profile and resume, it’s a good idea to brush up on your job application and interview skills. You should also register with relevant recruitment agencies and set up automated job searches on Seek and LinkedIn. If there are specific companies you’d like to work for, visit the careers sections on their websites and send them your resume. Or you could try connecting with current key employees on LinkedIn.
  6. Reach out to your networks. Leverage your network of connections by letting them know you’re looking for a new opportunity. Email them, call them, organise a coffee catch-up – you never know where it may lead. Taking advantage of your network can be key to securing your next position.
  7. Maintain a positive routine. Your mental well being can take a hit when going through a redundancy, even if it’s voluntary. Work provides a huge amount of structure to your life, so when you no longer have that, it’s important to create positive routines for yourself. This will help you maintain a healthy body and mind and a professional presence. Do things that make you feel good such as exercising, eating well and catching up with friends and family where possible. Redundancy doesn’t last forever, so staying positive and focusing on your well being alongside planning your next career move will help you progress in the right direction.
  8. Stay open-minded. The job market constantly shifts, salaries fluctuate and competition can be fierce. While it might not seem ideal initially, being open to compromise when it comes to your next role or salary can help you find the right opportunity. It won’t always be as simple as walking into a similar role in a different company or jumping straight into your dream job. Use your redundancy as a chance to assess different types of roles that might be a good fit. Think laterally, considering your transferable skills and what you enjoy most. Your next role may not always be what you expect – but it could be your best yet!

Finding your way forward after a redundancy can feel overwhelming. If you’ve lost your job, you’re considering changing careers or you’re unsure of your next step, our Career Counsellors can provide guidance and clarity. Our team of professionals can also assist with LinkedIn profile writing, resume writing and interview training and coaching.

7 ways to balance work and study

Article by Belinda Fuller

7 ways to balance work and studyWorking while studying means you can keep paying the bills, while gaining the skills to advance or change your career. But this combination can feel overwhelming. Read on for our tips on balancing work and study while staying motivated to get it all done.

  1. Make your study meaningful: There’s nothing more motivating than studying a topic you are really passionate about. Whether you’re wanting to advance or change your career, make sure you choose a course that’s meaningful and worthwhile. This will help you stay focused from day one.
  2. Establish a dedicated study space: There are so many things to do at home, from watching TV to cleaning the floors, it’s easy to get distracted. You need a quiet space where you can hide away and focus solely on your studies. Whether it’s a whole room or a corner in your bedroom, fill your study space with inspiration, such as quotes and images that remind you of your goals. Keep all of your study materials in this space, so you don’t waste time searching for things.
  3. Get creative to carve out more study time: There are many ways you can schedule study into your day around work. If you catch public transport to work, consider doing some study on your commute. If you drive to and from work, audiobooks could be a good option. If you’re able to find a quiet space at work or in a nearby park, try to squeeze in an hour of study at lunch. For parents juggling children, you might be able to study while waiting to pick them up from their endless after-school activities. Think creatively to find those opportunities outside of traditional study time.
  4. Set a study goal: Know what you’d like to achieve in each study session and use your allocated time to work towards that goal. Prioritise your tasks and start bigger assignments in plenty of time. To keep our brains performing at their peak, some experts recommend studying for 50 minutes, then taking a 10-minute break. Having short study sessions every day, or every few days, ensures the material remains fresh in your mind, and gives you time in between to digest what you are learning.
  5. Delegate household tasks: It can be challenging to focus on study when you get home from work and have to cook dinner, do the washing and tidy the house! So delegate what you can to your partner, children or flatmates. Sharing the load should create more time to study after work or in the evenings. If you find it difficult to delegate, set yourself a time limit to complete what needs to be done, so you have time left for study.
  6. Keep healthy: When we’re busy, it’s easy to stop exercising and eat more fast food, but at these times it’s more essential than ever to stay healthy. To make sure you can stay on top of your work and study, stick to a healthy eating plan and get some exercise each day. Exercise boosts the chemicals in our brains that help us deal with stress. It also releases endorphins, which make us happy and reduce anxiety. Cardiovascular workouts can even help create new brain cells and improve overall brain performance!
  7. Reward yourself: It’s important to reward yourself when you meet your study goals. This keeps you motivated and gives you something to look forward to. So take yourself out for breakfast, go for a bush walk or buy that shirt you’ve been eyeing off. You deserve it!

Are you considering studying, but you’re not sure what the best courses or qualifications are to help you change or advance your career? Our Career Counselling services can help set you on the right path.

7 ways to boost your job search this Christmas

Article by Belinda Fuller

7 ways to boost your job search this ChristmasThe end of the year is typically a slow time for the job market, but don’t let that slow you down! While you may be unlikely to receive a job offer between now and the new year, the holidays are the perfect time to get organised and kick-start your job search for 2020.

Here are seven things you can do over the festive season to supercharge your job search.

  1. Research your options: Review job ads on sites such as Seek and LinkedIn. You don’t need to actually apply, but seeing what’s out there now will help you tailor your approach when the time comes. Play around with search options using different titles, industries and keywords. Open your search out to other locations or industries. You may not find exactly what you’re looking for, but some positions will be a close match. Read each relevant ad to understand all the requirements. This will help you decide what’s important to include in your application and determine if you have any major skills gaps that you need to think about how to address.
  2. Get organised: Today’s job market is competitive and multifaceted. Use your downtime to establish automated job searches, identify relevant recruiters, update your application materials (see tip 4 for more on this) and enhance your online presence. Having these things in place will help you stand out from other candidates when it’s time to apply. For tips on developing a structured job search strategy that helps you connect with recruiters and employers, read our previous article, Winning Job Search Strategies and start planning.
  3. Understand the hidden job market: Many of the jobs available are never advertised, so accessing the hidden job market is an important piece of the puzzle. The key here is building your networks. Establish connections via LinkedIn with the recruiters you identified in the previous step, and create a standard pitch that explains why you want to connect and what you can offer. Write a list of companies you’d like to work for, then read their websites’ careers pages and follow them on social media. To start building your profile, look for opportunities to network with others in your industry, such as through LinkedIn Groups, and contribute to discussions.
  4. Update your application materials: This includes your resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile. Our career advice blog is packed with tips on writing a great resume that’ll get you noticed. We also recommend writing a customised cover letter for every job you apply for, which addresses as many job requirements as possible. Use the holidays to prepare generic cover letters and/or paragraphs that you can then modify to suit specific roles. Many recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates, so optimise your profile with keywords, so you can be found. Include a current professional photo and try to complete every section. Don’t waste your About section (previously called the Summary section) – use it to highlight your key skills, experience and strengths, and create a picture of who you are and the value you offer.
  5. Prepare for interviews: A big mistake many job seekers make is not preparing for an interview. Use the holidays to brainstorm the types of questions you might be asked and how you can articulate your successes. Think about examples that demonstrate your strengths, accomplishments and how you’ve handled different work situations. Having a bank of examples to draw on will increase your confidence and improve your performance. To help you formulate your examples, read our previous article about using the STAR approach. You can also find numerous articles on preparing for an interview, as well as our ‘how to answer’ series, which looks at common interview questions.
  6. Build your network: Connecting with existing and new contacts is a powerful way to uncover work opportunities. While the holidays might not be the best time to reach out to everyone, you can use the time to plan how you’ll grow your network in the new year. For example, you might draft emails that can be sent later, write a list of people to call in the new year, learn how to use LinkedIn and Facebook more effectively, and/or research face-to-face and online networking groups you could join.
  7. Assess your social media: Many recruiters and employers look up candidate’s social media pages as part of their screening process, so ensure you’ve set privacy settings to an appropriate level. Also make sure that if potential recruiters and employers can see your feed, the content is appropriate and won’t hurt your chances of securing an interview.

Today’s job market is competitive and complex so being prepared is key. Take advantage of the quiet holiday period to get organised and develop a job search strategy, and you’ll be ready to go in the new year!

Do you need help developing a standout resume, detailed job search strategy or professional LinkedIn profile? Perhaps you’d like to work on your interview skills? See our Resume Writing, Job Search Coaching and Interview Training services to find out more.

Katie Roberts gift vouchers are also available and make an inspiring Christmas gift for friends or family.

How to turn your hobby into a career

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to turn your hobby into a careerYou probably know at least one person who dreamt of being a painter or a musician but was persuaded to pursue something ‘safer’ and more financially secure. But doing something you’re passionate about can be just as important.

Have you ever wondered if you could turn your hobby or special interest into a real job? It may seem like a pipe dream, but what if it was possible?

Here are some tips on how to turn your hobby into a career.

  1. Do your research: Investigate the types of jobs or other opportunities that take advantage of your skills or passion. Once you have some ideas of realistic career options, you can find out what’s needed to succeed.
  2. Talk to an expert: Speak to someone already working in the area you’re interested in. Approach them as a fellow hobbyist and use your shared passion to start a conversation. Ask them about the path they took to get there – what did they study? Who did they know? What sacrifices did they make? And do they still love what they do, or has it just become work?
  3. Seek professional advice: If you’re having trouble figuring out how to turn your passion into a career, a career counsellor can help. Through a career assessment and one-on-one coaching, a career counsellor can help you identify the types of jobs that are right for you. The results may surprise you and could open up career opportunities you’ve never considered.
  4. Develop a business plan: If you’ve decided to start your own business based on your hobby, you’ll need to create a business plan. This doesn’t have to be lengthy or overly difficult – this article gives a great overview of the one-page approach. Start by thinking about who your customers will be (your target market), the problem you’re going to solve for them, what your product or service looks like, and what you’re going to charge.
  5. Save some cash: If you’re planning to switch careers or start a business, it’s a good idea to have a financial buffer to cover general living costs in case you don’t have an income. Starting a new business or new job is stressful enough without adding financial worries.
  6. Take a course: You might already spend hours on your hobby, but are you largely self-taught? If you’re looking to turn it into your career, it’s helpful to have a qualification you can list on your resume. Investigate short courses offered by TAFE, community colleges and other registered training providers including online.
  7. Stay open-minded: Things don’t always go to plan, so maintaining a flexible mindset will help you deal with any setbacks. And remember that your ideal career may not look exactly how you expect it to look. Be open to different opportunities.
  8. Start small: You don’t have to immediately quit your job and go all in – it may be better to take some small, simple steps instead. For example, you might start by following our tips above, then look at volunteer or part-time opportunities.

Turning a hobby or passion into a career may seem too good to be true, but if you approach it in a practical way and follow our tips, you may discover a whole new world of possibilities.

Do you have a hobby, passion or skill that you’d love to turn into a career? Our Career Counselling and Coaching Services can help. These services are available over the phone or in person in locations across Australia.

Katie Roberts gift vouchers are also available and make an inspiring gift for friends or family.

Feeling lost? How to uncover your perfect career

Article by Belinda Fuller

Feeling lost? How to uncover your perfect careerChoosing the ‘right’ career is no easy task. You might be new to the workforce and unsure which path to take, or unhappy in your current role and looking for a new challenge. Wherever you’re at, when it’s time to make a choice about your career, it’s common to feel stuck. Here are our top tips on narrowing down your options and choosing a career that suits your personality, preferences and skills.

What we do for work can be one of the most important decisions we make. Many of us will spend around a third of each day at work – and sometimes more – so finding a career that aligns with our values and preferences is important. If you’re not sure which direction you should take, or you want to feel more fulfilled in your job, read on for our tips on finding a career that suits you.

Tip 1: Think about what excites and energises you

This is a great first step. We all want to like and enjoy our job. And while passion isn’t the only requirement for being content in your career, it will help you stay motivated and engaged, and keep you going through the tough times. But you may not feel that passionate about any specific career, or perhaps you’re interested in multiple areas and can’t decide on just one. So instead of focusing just on jobs, think about your personality and what you do (and don’t) enjoy doing.

Even if you don’t know exactly what you want to do, you probably have an idea of what you like or dislike, work-wise, and this can help narrow down your options.

For example, perhaps you enjoy travelling and dislike working in heavily structured environments, or maybe you don’t like big cities and the idea of working remotely appeals to you.

 

Start by making a list of likes and dislikes. Do you like working in a team or would you rather work independently? Do you value structure or do you prefer flexibility? What appeals to you about certain workplaces and what do you find off-putting? Once you’ve written down as many likes and dislikes as you can think of, you’ll start to build a clearer picture of the type of work that suits you. All these little personal preferences can help lead you towards your perfect career.

Tip 2: Evaluate your skills

Think about the life and work skills you already have, and those you would like to build on. Which skills come easiest to you? For example, communication, self-management, teamwork, problem solving or analysis? Every career needs these skills, but some more than others. For instance, great communication is especially important in sales, marketing and management careers, while analytical skills are more important in finance or IT roles.

Tip 3: Research career prospects and trajectory

If you’ve identified that a certain career would be a good fit for you based on your personality and preferences, make sure you consider all the facts. For example, have you thought about your prospects? How easy will it be to find a job in your chosen area and what sort of compensation can you expect?

You should also consider career trajectory and what your role might look like five or ten years down the track. Would you still enjoy the job if you ended up managing people and had less time to create things or work directly with customers? It’s also a good idea to research the types of promotions you could expect over the coming years and whether you’ll have a chance to grow and expand your skill set.

Tip 4: Get some practical experience

Experiencing a career firsthand is the fastest way to determine whether or not it’s a good fit, and having some practical experience can also make you more employable once you begin your job search.

If you’re still in school, work experience placements and internships offer a chance to try out certain jobs and industries. And if you’re already working, you can gain practical experience by volunteering or taking a course that allows you to develop new skills and make contacts in your industry of interest.

Tip 5: Talk to other people

One of the best ways to discover a new career is to ask other people about theirs. Use your existing contacts as a reference point for information about different roles and careers. Your LinkedIn network can be a good place to start seeking information.

Tip 6: Consult a career coach or mentor

It may also be a good idea to consult a qualified career coach, who can take a solution-based approach to helping you discover a career aligned to your personality, interests and values. With experience across a variety of industries and extensive knowledge of a wide range of occupations, a good career coach can be invaluable.

By using tools and techniques such as personality profiling and career interest assessments, a career coach can provide new insight and information on careers that might suit you. They can also help you explore your options and create a realistic and personalised action plan.

Tip 7: Consider your short- and long-term goals

Now that you’ve spent some time thinking about a career that’s right for you, your next step is to define some achievable goals. To make your career dreams a reality, what are you going to work towards in the coming months and years?

In a document or spreadsheet, list the steps you’ll need to take to achieve your goals, and a date you’d like to achieve them by. Your goals can be small or large, but make sure they’re realistic. Taking time to define the steps required to achieve your career aspirations, and breaking them down into manageable goals, will help you turn your daydreams into a rewarding, long-term career.

Are you ready for a change but feeling unsure about what kind of career would suit you best? An experienced career coach can be invaluable in helping you create a better future for yourself. See our Career Counselling Services to learn how our career experts can support you through the process of choosing a career and taking your first steps.

 

8 tips for returning to the workforce

Article by Belinda Fuller

8 tips for returning to the workforceHave you had an extended break from the workforce? Are you looking to return to full- or part-time work, but unsure where to start? The process can seem daunting after a long break – but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s how you can you achieve a smooth and successful transition back into work.

Many people take a break from their career at some point, whether it’s to study, travel or start a family, or for health or other personal reasons. Whatever your reason for taking time out, returning to the workplace can feel daunting. In this article, we look at some first steps you can take to help make the transition back to work a positive experience.

  1. Consider the type of work you’d like to do: Make a list of what you’re looking for when you go back to work. What type of position would you like? Do you want to return to what you were doing before or are you looking for a change? Do you want to work for a company with promotion opportunities, or would you prefer a job where you can go in, do your work and head home without having to worry about your team? The clearer you are about what you want, the easier it will be to find something suitable.
  2. Update your skills: Before you start working on your resume and applying for roles, a great first step is to update your skill set. This will help boost your confidence while giving you a stronger resume. Look for opportunities that help fill gaps in your experience, such as taking an online course, completing an internship or doing some volunteer work.
  3. Refresh your resume: When you’re returning to work after a significant break, creating a functional resume, rather than a standard chronological resume, can work best. This involves focusing on your skills and successes rather than the precise dates of your employment. You can showcase your experience under headings such as ‘marketing experience’, ‘project management’ or ‘leadership’ and then list your achievements accordingly. To find out whether a functional resume is right for you, and how to create one that helps you shine, read our recent article here.
  4. Don’t underestimate yourself: Focus on the great skills and experience you have, and think about any new skills you may have acquired during your break. Recruiters and employers value these skills, especially when they’re relevant to the role you’re applying for, so include them in your resume. For example, you might have developed new skills through activities such as: managing a large house renovation; contributing to local sporting clubs, committees and coaching teams; volunteering for your local community or charity organisations; assisting with local fundraising activities; and creating or managing side projects, such as events or a small business. All these activities require skills such as relationship building, communication, organisation and prioritisation, and often the ability to create something with little or no budget. These are all valuable skills in a workplace.
  5. Update your social media profiles: With more than 645 million members around the world, LinkedIn is a great tool for promoting yourself and seeking out potential employers. It’s also a widely used tool among recruiters and employers. As well as checking out applicants’ LinkedIn profiles, recruiters will often Google applicants’ names, so it’s a good idea to see what comes up when you search your name. In addition to creating a professional, SEO-optimised LinkedIn profile, make sure your personal digital footprint helps rather than hinders your application. You can read our previous article for tips on how to clean up your social media.
  6. Tap into your networks: You can often find opportunities to re-enter the workforce through your existing networks. One way to do this is to send an email to family, friends and former co-workers/managers and attach your resume. Let them know the type of position you are seeking and ask them if they’d mind forwarding on your details if they hear of any relevant positions. This may feel daunting, but most people like to help when they can. To grow your networks and open up more opportunities, you could also research and join local networking events and online groups.
  7. Consider part-time or temp work: If your job search is taking longer than expected, consider part-time work or find an agency that offers temporary or contract positions. Do an online search for agencies in your area and contact them to request an interview. If you get your foot in the door with the right company and prove yourself, you have a good chance of receiving a full-time offer down the track. Plus going part-time initially can be a good way to transition, giving you time to adjust.
  8. Consult a career coach: If you’re considering changing careers on your return to work, a career coach can help. Experienced career coaches have extensive knowledge of a wide range of occupations and offer professional, independent advice on your options. They can help you build your confidence and give you the support you need to make the transition.

 

Re-entering the workforce after an extended break can be tough, but there are things you can do to make this change feel less daunting and more positive. Follow our tips above to take your first steps, and things will flow on from there.

Are you feeling daunted by the prospect of returning to work after taking time out?  Do you need help assessing your skills and experience, and presenting yourself in the best possible light to secure the job you want? Our Resume Writing Services and Job Search Coaching Services might be just what you need.

 

Why a career coach could be your secret weapon

Article by Belinda Fuller

Why a career coach could be your secret weaponIf you’re stuck in a rut in your current job or keen to make a change, but unsure of your direction or purpose, you might be relieved to know that you can call on expert support.

Career coaches are experts in their field, with a wealth of experience across a variety of industries and occupations. They provide professional, independent advice on career and/or training options, and help people to embark on new careers aligned to their personality, interests and values.

Let’s look at what you can (and can’t) expect from working with a career coach, what a typical consultation involves and how to get the most from your investment.

 From planning to action: how a career coach can help

  • Career planning: Career coaches use a range of tools and techniques, such as personality profiling and career interest assessments, to assess your interests, values and personality. This helps them to identify the careers, industries and work environments that may best suit you. They can also provide advice and information to help you explore those career options and create a realistic, personalised action plan.
  • Advice on further education and training: Career coaches can help you identify your current skills and explore ways to improve them or develop new ones. They can advise on further education and training opportunities, and can also help you to market your current skills to internal and external recruitment decision-makers.
  • Resume and interview advice: Career coaches can support you during the job-search process by helping you prepare for an interview and providing advice on writing resumes and cover letters. They may also be able to find job opportunities for you that you weren’t previously aware of.
  • Support in taking that next step: A career coach will support you through the process by providing direction, helping you to establish clear goals and advising you on how to achieve them. This will help you to build your confidence and find new inspiration.

What not to expect from a career coach

  • A career coach is a facilitator, not a prophet. Don’t expect them to tell you what you should do with your career. They are a guide and mentor, there to help you make long-lasting changes, position yourself for success and make the most out of your skills and knowledge. But it’s important that you’re accountable for your own career decisions.
  • A career coach can’t do everything for you. You need to listen to, and learn from, your career coach’s advice, but you also need to be an active participant in the process. Coaching doesn’t work unless you do. Your coach won’t come with you to interviews, nor will they find you a job or rewrite your resume every time you need to update it. Be prepared to take action!
  • A career coach won’t change your life in an instant. Major change takes time and commitment. Your coach will support you through this process until you feel comfortable to take your next career step. Be patient and prepared for challenges!

What happens in a career coaching consultation?

Your career coach will cover a range of topics, and your consultation may include:

  • Discussing and assessing your current situation.
  • Identifying your career goals and key values.
  • Personality assessments and career interests profiling.
  • Discussing career options that fit your personality, interests and values.
  • Identifying your strengths and transferrable skills.
  • Identifying work tasks and environments that will suit you best.
  • Feedback on your resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile.
  • An action plan for taking practical next steps.

A career coach can help you find the clarity you’ve been lacking and move towards your dream job or career. If you’re interested in working with an experienced career coach, see our Career Counselling Services and discover how our experts can support your success.

 

How to decide if a career change is the best move

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to decide if a career change is the best move Gone are the days of lifetime jobs and gold watches on retirement. Research shows that today’s teens may have up to seven careers in their lifetime, and the impacts of digital transformation mean some jobs today will be obsolete tomorrow. If you’re considering a career change, but you’re not sure where to start, our step-by-step guide will help you on your way.

Step 1: Know your purpose

Ask yourself why you want to change careers. Is it really your career you need to change or is it your current role? Think about all the things that satisfy and motivate you, make a list of your core strengths and weaknesses, and determine your likes and dislikes in your current environment. We often work with clients who are great at what they do and in a job that should be a good fit for them, but the organisation is not right.

This step is important because it will help you ensure you address the right issue before embarking on a complete career change. Perhaps a similar job in a different industry or environment could make you happier than a complete change? If there are certain aspects of your current role you dislike, there might be an opportunity to diversify and take on a role with different responsibilities.

Step 2: Leverage your strengths

Once you’ve decided you want to change careers, go back to your list of ‘likes’ and ‘strengths’, combine that with your current skills, experience and education and think about how you could transfer these assets to a different career. Look outside your current role, industry, and/or company to determine what work might suit you better.

Research different careers using online resources – take a look at our Useful Career Resources and Tools for ideas – and identify what experience, knowledge, skills and qualifications you need to succeed.

Step 3: Get support

The next step is to involve some trusted people – career experts, family, friends and work colleagues – to help you identify and clarify your new direction. You could consider taking a career assessment to better understand your interests and personality, which can help you identify and/or narrow down new career choices.

A career coach can also help you identify the careers that best suit you. Many people who use our Career Coaching Services have no idea where they want to take their career, but through personalised career coaching they discover new possibilities and pathways. You could also talk to people involved in your area of interest – they may be able to introduce you to potential employers, provide valuable support in making the change or at least offer a view on their own experiences.

Step 4: Do your research

You may have a lot to consider before deciding if and when to make a change. Financial, family and study considerations are key. And remember that many careers look great to an outsider, but the reality of the day-to-day job isn’t so interesting. Find ways to experience the job you’re considering before you have to commit, such as taking up a relevant hobby or investigating opportunities for volunteer work.

Step 5: Look to the future

When you’ve decided on a career change, it’s important not to dwell on the years spent in in your current career. These weren’t ‘wasted’. Many people who have spent time working towards a certain career or role are reluctant to throw it all in, but if that career is no longer right for you, focus instead on the years you have ahead of you and the career happiness that may be possible.

Changing careers can be very rewarding, but requires courage and conviction. It may also involve lots of hard work – especially if you need to do additional training or study. Taking an honest look at why you want to change careers and what you hope to achieve is a great first step to ensuring a successful transition.

Would you like help deciding whether or not to change careers? See our Career Counselling Services to find out how our career experts can support your success.

How to answer: “What interests you about this role?”

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to answer: “What interests you about this role?” The latest instalment in our ‘How to answer’ series looks at the question “What interests you about this role?” This very general question can seem tricky to answer – exactly what should you focus on? Often it’s another way for the recruiter to ask “Why should we hire you?”. It’s not enough to simply say “I’m a great fit for the role”. Instead, your answer needs to touch on your relevant abilities, skills and experiences as well as demonstrate your interest in the company. It’s an opportunity to show why you’re ideal for the job and why you’re excited about it.

You should ideally frame your answer in a way that shows enthusiasm (for the role and the company) and understanding (of the role, the company and how you can add value). It’s essential to research the company and role beforehand and have a strong answer prepared. When considering your response, we recommend you focus on three key areas: the job, the company and how you fit. Here are some ideas to get you thinking about these areas and what your answer might sound like.

The job

  • Talk about your priorities and preferences – identify three key things you really like about the role.
  • Discuss areas of the role in which you excel and support those with examples using the STAR technique. These examples should demonstrate your accomplishments and success in the context of the role you’re applying for.
  • Mention the opportunities the role offers to further develop special knowledge or skills.

Example: This role really interests me because I’d be responsible for X, Y and Z. In my current role, I manage X and Y, and I’ve excelled at providing X to various internal and external stakeholders. I’m keen to continue building on that success while also developing specialist expertise in the area of Z.

The company

  • Mention the company’s reputation or history of success (if relevant) or discuss a recent innovation.
  • Demonstrate an understanding or appreciation of the work culture (based on what you’ve learnt through friends, colleagues, media etc.).
  • Talk about a problem or issue that you know needs to be addressed (and your interest in supporting or participating in that process).

Example: I also value the company’s long history of success in the market and recent innovations that are seeing significant market share gains. I heard about the issue with distribution of ABC – I faced a similar problem in my last role, which we solved by rethinking the customer experience. I’d love to be able to contribute to something similar again.

Your fit

  • Compare the job description with your experience, and explain how you’ll be able to contribute, again using examples from your past to demonstrate success.
  • Discuss your fit with company culture.
  • Mention your interest in career progression (if relevant).
  • Talk about any experience you have with the company (for example, that you use their products or services).

Example: My previous experience and success would help me to achieve some quick wins in certain areas, including XXX. I’m also excited at the prospect of learning more about XXX. The company’s mission aligns with my own professional values and I believe I’d be a great fit culturally. I loved what I read in the recent article by the CEO about the initiatives the company is undertaking to ensure ongoing enhancement to culture and employee engagement.

As with all interview questions, remember to answer the “What interests you about this role?” question strategically and with enthusiasm. Give the recruiter something to think about – a point of differentiation from the next candidate. Work out a response that includes something about the role you’re going for, the company and your suitability, and you’ll come off looking great.

Do you struggle with answering questions like this during interviews? If you’d like some help preparing for a job interview, so you can build your confidence and increase your success rate, take a look at our Interview Training and Coaching Services.

 

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