How a Career Coach can help
Episode 186 - From job applicattions to interviews: common roadblocks and how a career coach can help you
Are you feeling stuck in your job search or unsure about your career prospects? As a career coach, I believe that sometimes clients are just one conversation away from figuring out something crucial about their job search or career. In this article, I will share the four most popular reasons why professionals reach out to me for private career consultations and explain how talking to someone about these issues can make a significant impact on your career.
As a career coach, I offer a range of services that cater to the needs of my clients. Sometimes clients need long-term strategic coaching to prepare for career advancement, while at other times, they need someone to help them figure out something in just one hour. That's where my 1-hour consultation service comes in handy. This service is versatile and popular because there are so many things we can resolve in just one hour.
The power of a one-hour career consultation in unlocking career success
Here are the four most popular reasons why people come to me for career consultations:
Preparing a job application: Resume, cover letter, and other documents If you're preparing to apply for a job and want to ensure your application stands out from the rest, a career coach can help. You may need tactical and practical advice on how to create the best possible job application within a reasonable timeframe. Sometimes, we can't wait too long because some roles have deadlines. A coach can also help you prepare a job application that you can recycle if you don't get the job.
Preparing for an important job interview By far, the most popular reason people come to me for consultations is to prepare for an important job interview. If you've done a few interviews but feel like you're stuck in the interview phase, working with a coach can help. Interview styles and methods, questions, and even cultural nuances can vary from country to country, industry to industry, and role to role. A coach can help you prepare for unexpected questions and provide advice on how to optimize your performance by feeling calm and relaxed during the interview.
Understanding what is wrong If you're not getting the results you want from your job search, it can be frustrating and demotivating. Sometimes, you need to work with an expert coach to help you reset and refocus. A coach can help you identify blind spots that may be obstructing your view, understand and translate feedback, and figure out what's going wrong so you can rinse and repeat until you succeed.
Losing focus: Applying for jobs is a continuous improvement process. You may not land your dream job on your first attempt, but you can build momentum, gain knowledge about how to apply, and find your mojo. A coach can help you stay focused and motivated throughout the process so you don't give up before you reach your goals.
In conclusion, investing in your career and seeking guidance from a career coach can make a significant impact on your job search and career prospects. Whether you need tactical and practical advice or long-term strategic coaching, there's a service out there that can help you achieve your goals. Don't wait until your dream job is advertised to start investing in your career. Build your skills, gain knowledge, and find your mojo so that when that big opportunity comes up, you're ready for it.
Resources mentioned in this episode
Other resources from RenataBernarde.com :
About the Host, Renata Bernarde
Hello, I’m Renata Bernarde, the Host of The Job Hunting Podcast. I’m also an executive coach, job hunting expert, and career strategist. I teach professionals (corporate, non-profit, and public) the steps and frameworks to help them find great jobs, change, and advance their careers with confidence and less stress.
If you are an ambitious professional who is keen to develop a robust career plan, if you are looking to find your next job or promotion, or if you want to keep a finger on the pulse of the job market so that when you are ready, and an opportunity arises, you can hit the ground running, then this podcast is for you.
In addition to The Job Hunting Podcast, on my website, I have developed a range of courses and services for professionals in career or job transition. And, of course, I also coach private clients
Timestamps to guide your listening
Preparing a job application - 04:21
Preparing for an important job interview - 12:25
Understanding what is going wrong - 18:48
Losing focus when applying for jobs - 25:02
I feel that sometimes clients are one conversation away from figuring out something quite crucial about their career prospects and job search.
So today I'm going to fill you in on the 4 most popular reasons why professionals just like you reach out to me for private career consultations and I will explain to you the reasons why talking to someone about each of these issues can make a huge impact in your career as well, so let's get started! I feel that sometimes clients are one conversation away from figuring out something quite crucial about their career prospects and job search.
So today I'm going to fill you in on the 4 most popular reasons why professionals just like you reach out to me for private career consultations and I will explain to you the reasons why I believe that talking to someone about each of these issues can make a huge positive impact in your career as well, so let's get started! When I started working as a career coach full-time, I decided to establish a range of services that I would have liked to have had in my time as a corporate professional.
So I created something for myself but for you, I hope that that makes sense, I really would want to access, if I could, the jobs that, as I, when I started developing this idea of becoming a, when I decided to develop this idea of becoming a full-time career coach, I established a range of services that I would have liked to have accessed when I was looking for a new job and I was looking for career guidance back in my time as a corporate professional.
Because sometimes I needed something very quick, an easy fix, somebody that could please, can you just give me one hour of your time to help me figure this out? And sometimes I needed a couple of months of support, somebody that could be alongside me, onboarding me into a new role or helping me find another job.
And those are two different types of investments of time and money and I totally get it.
So this is why my one hour consultation service is so versatile and so popular.
There are so many things that we can resolve in one hour and if you're sitting at a crossroad at the moment and you don't know how to move forward, you can get unstuck with a consultation service like the one I offer.
To learn more about it, go to my website and click on the consultation service to learn more and book yours if you want to.
Because the podcast is not really coaching, it's not tailored to your needs, it's general and it's ad hoc and my purpose with the Job Hunting podcast is to provide you with education, like an eye opener to you on the possibilities that you may be missing out on your career, not considering or not paying enough attention to.
And this idea that you may not know that other professionals do invest in people like me and that it gives them an upper hand.
So it's something that you can afford as well to consider there's a range of services there like I mentioned before.
So it's not just for senior executives as some of you may think.
It's really quite affordable to a range of professionals.
So have a look at that and consider including this on your wish list, on your Christmas list.
I really, I think it's lovely.
It's Mother's Day.
I should have thought of this before.
It's Mother's Day in Australia this coming weekend and I love it when people gift my services to their loved ones, friends and so on and it makes me so proud.
So something to consider there.
Now the consultation, when people book it with me, it's about their specific situation, not anyone else's and it's so much easier for me to provide the sound guidance and advice because it's specific, it's also private, it's confidential and all of that makes for a great hour of conversation and I really enjoy doing those consultations.
So here is a list of things that people come to me for, okay? So I decided to go for four things.
There are some different ones that I didn't include but these are definitely the most popular reasons why people book consultations with me.
So number one, preparing for a job application.
This includes a preparation of resume, cover letter and other documents as well.
Sometimes job applications are much more thorough and extensive than you may think.
Some may include portfolios.
In Australia we have something called addressing the selection criteria which is usually a third document but even if it's an online application doing it properly can really make or break your application.
Lots of things to consider like the ATS system used, the country where you are, the level of the role that you are applying for, all of these things are quite unique and a tailored job application is really necessary to ensure that you are shortlisted for the second stage, usually a phone screen or an assessment or a job interview depending on the process.
It really depends.
So I received, in fact I'm doing one tomorrow in preparation for a job application.
This client wrote, I hope to commence soon as this would coincide with me wanting to put myself forward for a senior manager role, a great opportunity.
I'm in the process of finalising my CV and cover letter that targets this role today and tomorrow.
So this person contacted me because he wanted a six month private coaching programme with me and he wanted to commence it like yesterday because he had a role in mind.
So I replied back to him and I said, look, I understand that we may want to work together for six months but that's not what private coaching is.
Private coaching is a strategic process, right? It's a coaching process where we do a lot of self reflection and strategic thinking about the long term plans for your career.
I can't initiate a six month career coaching process by doing a job application the next day.
That's not how it works.
It's much more strategic and long term focused than that.
It's an important part of getting ready for career advancement, for also being successful long term in your career but it's not done overnight.
So what I suggested to him is why don't you go to my website, book a one hour consultation and let's solve this tactical, practical, last minute problem that you have, let's say not even a problem, opportunity that you have right now in front of you and that's an emergency.
We need to deal with it today and then we will talk about the six month coaching programme later.
Let's deal with these two different things and that's exactly what he did.
He booked a consultation.
I'm seeing him tomorrow.
In a way, I wish that this client would have worked with me for months before this dream job came by because by then I would have had lots of exposure to his dreams, to what he wants to achieve, to his personality so that I can work on a narrative for let's say the cover letter and prepare him really, really well for the next steps.
When somebody works with me as a private client, which is different from a one hour consultation, it's very unlikely that they won't progress from a job application to a job interview because we ensure, we make sure that it's almost impossible for the employer not to select this person for the next step forward, right? So we get to a point where the coaching is so in sync that we make sure that whenever they are applying for a job, chances are we are converting and we're already getting ready for the job interview, right? So this is where we want to land.
We want to land with that conversion being almost automatic.
So in this case, the one hour consultation, a lot of people come to me to prepare for job applications.
I get requests every week for that and we do the best we can.
We are going to send tomorrow the best possible job application within the timeframe that we have.
We don't have long.
We can't wait for too long.
Some roles, they have a deadline that we can work against.
So for example, if today is the 1st of May and the deadline for the job application is the 27th of May, we know we have 27 days and they will not close it beforehand.
Most roles these days do not have a deadline and you can't wait three weeks to send your job application.
You can't even wait a week, right? You have to be ready and send it within two, three days, five days max.
Most roles, especially if you're in the US, you don't want to wait too long.
So we do the best we can and we maximize that opportunity as much as possible by, you know, I asked the client to send me their resume, the job application, the job ad, sorry, the resume, the COVA letter, whatever they have drafted and the job ad, the position description if they have more information about the role ahead of the consultation time so that I can review it.
So if you want to maximize that investment on that one hour, so send me things ahead of time if you can.
That means that I have something to work against and just proofread and refine it and make it better and better.
Starting from scratch within a one hour consultation is hard.
It's hard for me.
It's hard for the client.
It's hard for everyone.
So applying for jobs require time and commitment and carving out the time and understanding that if this is a really great role and you don't want to miss out, you may need to take time off work.
You may need to eat instant soup that night and ask someone else to take care of the kids or the dog or whatever because you want to prioritize this and the coach will step in to refine the work because I can't stop from scratch on a resume and a COVA letter in one hour.
It's just not possible for me as much as I would have loved to do it.
I wish I could.
There are ways now also of using ChatGBT to assist and support.
So if you have access or if you don't, you should definitely have it.
If you have access to ChatGBT, there are things that you can run there to make your application better but it reaches a limit and you can't expect ChatGBT to fix all of your problems for you.
There is still some tailoring and personalization that you will need to do to get the job application in the best possible format, especially because you want to showcase your personality and your authenticity when you're applying and the use of AI for COVA letters and resume alone without you proofreading it and without you tailoring it can make everything very generic and vanilla and you don't want to do that.
And even the best ways of using ChatGBT for things like this, I can teach during the one hour consultation and I can show a client how to best use AI to support them when they are applying for jobs.
So if you book a time with me to prepare for a job application, you will probably get not only a great resume template and COVA letter template but a lot of an understanding of how to do this again if you want to continue to job search on your own or if you see another job that interests you in a few days, weeks or months from now.
So it is a good investment of your time in that sense.
All right, so what else do people contact me for when they book consultations? The second reason why people book consultations with me is preparing for an important job interview.
This is in fact the most popular reason why people book a consultation with me.
So here is an example, this is a copy paste in my notes from an email I received a few months ago.
Hi Renata, I am a huge fan of your podcast and the newsletters, I am a certified project manager, I have an interview in a few days with a hiring manager at a big corporation for an incredible position that would be a dream come true for me.
So that is very, very common, right? You have converted from job application to job interview, by far the most popular reason people reach out to me for consultations and what it means is that the first conversion is already great from job application to interview but I find that most people get stuck in the interview phase, usually they have done quite a few and then they reach out to me to do an interview prep with that one hour that they have with me.
They feel like they need to work with their coach, most of them come from the podcast or listeners of the podcast and then they say all right, I can't get beyond this point, I need someone to help me, let me reach out to Renata and I do consultations, interview preparations all the time.
And this is really important because especially post pandemic, who would have thought like for the pandemic, this wasn't so much of an issue, but people who are applying for jobs overseas and interview styles and methods, questions, they change from country to country and also from industries and from industry to industry and different sectors, there are different trends.
So, for example, an interview in the Middle East could include questions such as are you married? What's your religion? It's common and I just today spoke to a client about this, whereas in the US this would never happen.
And, you know, other things that can happen is varying types of interview formats according to the seniority of the role.
If you go to my consultation page, there's actually an interesting testimonial there from years ago.
I actually need to update my testimonials about this lovely woman who booked for an interview preparation with me.
I think this was even pre-pandemic and we did the consultation and then it was for a more senior role.
And then the next interview was a coffee catch up with the owner of the organization, I believe, and she really had never experienced that informality of that final touch point and she didn't know how to prepare for it or how to behave in that sort of situation.
So that was a really interesting example there.
Today, I did a session with a client and tomorrow will be her first interview of a four step process.
So she has an interview tomorrow with her immediate manager if she gets the job and a colleague.
And then there's an assessment and then there is an interview with the CEO and then potentially a final interview and she doesn't know with him.
And that's all noted in the candidates pack that she received from the recruiter.
So it's a very thorough process and that's for a senior position.
So, again, according to seniority of the role, according to the country, according to industry, if your government, you know, it's a different style and the questions are more structured.
If it's a start up, it's less structured.
So all of these things, you know, if you're not sure, it's probably best to work with a coach in preparation for that interview or the series of interviews coming up.
I have worked with a few clients that have come back to me every time that they go through interviews, even for internal promotions.
And they say, OK, Renata, time for us to catch up again.
There's another role internally I want to apply for.
I would be tapped on the shoulder.
I need your help.
And then we will go through those steps, you know, those internal interviews or interviews step by step for them to get the role.
So working with a coach can help prepare for the unexpected as well as hone in the answers to the common questions that you often get.
You know, you get those questions every time and you know what the questions are, you know, you know, tell me about you, you know, what's your leadership style and what is your weakness? Those questions that we don't like to answer, we brush them off and we never really properly prepare for them.
It's really good to book a one hour consultation and just refine them, make them crisp and clear, refine your pitch, that introductory answer that is so important because so many decisions are made within minutes of the interview taking place.
And as a coach, I can also provide advice on how to optimize your performance by making you feel more relaxed and calm.
You know, that makes your brain work so differently if you're feeling calm, confident and relaxed in an interview as opposed to being fight and flight mode.
It really, you know, fight and flight mode for an interview.
I know it's it's what usually happens, but it narrows your cognitive ability to the point where you don't think creatively, you forget things you can't, you know, draw on all of that amazing skill set and knowledge and experience that you have because your brain is just not working as well as it can be.
So we, you know, I listen to the client, I understand their personality.
I listen to, you know, the things that are the source of anxiety.
And then I prepare and present to them a list of techniques that are appropriate for them that they can utilize in preparation for the interview taking place, even things that you can do minutes before getting into an interview or inside the interview room or days before the interview.
So I have a whole bunch of techniques that I share with clients during those consultations.
OK, so the third reason why people reach out to me is to understand what's going wrong.
So here's an example from an email I received.
Hi Renata, I hope all is well.
I thought it best send an update on where everything is at so we can get the most out of our session next Wednesday.
Plus, I think I just need a session with you to take stock of everything.
And then this client described what happened in the three last opportunities that he had applied for and the feedback that he had received if he had received any and the questions that were sort of in his head about the reasons why.
And he wanted to explore those reasons with me so that he could be more successful in the next interview that he went through.
So this is really a great way of using that one hour.
I think it's sometimes so important to work with an expert coach that understand the difficulties of job searching that can help you reset and refocus so that you don't spiral down, you don't get into a negative loop thinking, you know, this will never happen.
And that sort of anxiety exacerbates the negative wiring in your brain that can really affect negatively your performance in future job interviews.
So a client who I just saw this afternoon wrote to me just now before I started recording, and she said, thank you, thank you, thank you on all fronts.
Good to chat and debrief, get things out of my head.
It has felt a bit like a blur trying to prep for all of the different roles today was very helpful.
That is exactly what I want to achieve when I see a client that reaches out to me to understand what's going wrong, to figure out how to do better next time.
Because job searching and applying for a job is is a competition and you you can lose focus.
You really sometimes it's hard also to see.
So what happens when your job hunting is that you can lose focus and you can't see the blind spots, that area where a person's view is obstructed and you can't figure out what what's wrong and you can't understand or translate the feedback that you're receiving as well from recruiters because it's so generic and vanilla.
Most of the time, you know, we live in a liable society and they have to be careful what they say and you don't really get much back from the feedback that you've received or you haven't heard back and still need to understand what's wrong.
My experience, look, you're very good at what you do, right? I know that all my clients are amazing at what they do, their experience, their super professional.
They have amazing skills.
I am good at this and you need to trust me when I say this.
And it's even weird for me to say that.
But, you know, I have such a weird amount of geeky knowledge about the recruitment world and even if you can take notes about what the recruiter said, what you've experienced inside the interview, how the process went, I can translate that back to you and explain a few things that you may have missed out.
You know, that you may have missed out and I can say, look, this is what I think happened.
This is why I think you didn't get this job.
And this, I think, is gold and it's something that took me more than a decade to achieve, and I can't wait to share that with people because what else am I going to do with all this information? Right.
And I love geeking out on this and I constantly check in with recruiters to make sure I'm, you know, I'm on the right sort of path and I validate everything that I do.
So, you know, I love doing these sessions, especially these sessions, because it gives people more energy and motivation to carry on and get the jobs that they need to get.
So applying for jobs is all about continuous improvement.
Rarely you will have a job that you see that is a dream job and then you apply and you get the job.
Rarely that happens.
That's very unusual.
Usually, you know, you go through a few bad application processes and then you go through a few interviews that, you know, you're learning from, you're getting the hang of it, you're getting your mojo and then you succeed.
In fact, with this client that I have tomorrow, with that job application that I explained before, I have a feeling I'll have to explain this to him because it's very uncommon and people just don't seem to get it or don't know it or they think that it will be different with them.
And I understand that that's very instinctive of us humans to be overly optimistic about the results of things.
I've said this before on this podcast.
All you need to do is watch Grand Designs, everyone.
Just watch a couple of episodes of Grand Designs and you will know what I mean.
So job search is the same.
So if you can work with somebody that can speed up the process for you so you don't, you know, learn it the hard way and you can bring forward that opportunity a few weeks or a few months, then you're already winning, right? I always say this, don't wait for a dream job to be advertised to start investing in your career.
You should be investing in your career way before you see that dream job advertised so that when that big opportunity knocks on your door, you are ready for it.
So this is really important.
So if you're feeling like there's nothing happening right now, this is probably the best time to be investing in your career.
So good that you're listening to this podcast, isn't it? Thank you.
Keep listening and subscribe and follow and sign up for my newsletter because I think you're doing the right thing.
OK, now the fourth and final reason today, you know, I could possibly keep going and talk about a few more reasons, but, you know, the final reason that I'll talk to you today as to why people book a consultation with me is to choose between two job offers.
Now, this may sound like a first world problem to have, but it's a real problem and it can be a real big source of anxiety.
So this is something I received a few days ago from a client I saw recently.
Hope you're well, I've listened to some of your podcasts and I read your blog for a while now and I think you're great.
I'm facing the prospect of choosing between two quite different job offers for my new job, sorry, for my next job move, and it's paralyzing me for all sorts of reasons.
So I've booked a one hour consult with you.
This is a great like it's the sort of brainstorming that a career coach just dreams about having.
It's a great problem to have, let's be honest.
But still, it can be anxiety inducing.
It's a sliding door moment, you know, and you you fear that that fear of closing one door.
You know, it's letting go of a dream, right? It's letting go of a dream.
Those sliding door moments happen a lot during a career coaching program.
So people working with me for three months, six months or 12 months when we are sort of working on strategic plans for their careers, you know, we're opting for specific paths when we're in a crossroad and closing some doors, at least momentarily, at least, you know, to give that project that they are signing up for a real chance of success.
And, you know, on a sort of a sharp or more sort of instantaneous way, choosing between two job offers can have that same effect.
Look, there is no perfect option.
There is always a pros and cons list that need to be created for you to decide between those two offers.
And you need to take your time and consult with the recruiter, let them know that you're thinking it over, find out, you know, how long you can think it over.
Don't just leave them hanging.
This is really this would be unprofessional and very risky because they don't hear back from you.
They might just choose the second best candidate for the role and you're going to miss out.
So take your time, but do consult with the recruiter, let them know that you're going to think over, look at the contract over the next two, three days, for example.
And the other thing that I want to make sure you understand is, do you really have two job offers? Are they really on the table or do you have a job offer, but you have another role that's still kind of going? It's, you know, a process that hasn't yet been finalized, because sometimes, again, people are overly optimistic.
They feel that because they've done two, three interview rounds with an organization that they are the preferred candidate.
But chances are you have a 50 percent chance if they haven't yet offered you the role, they have at least one other candidate, most likely.
So you may not have two job offers.
So think about that.
Make sure that you do have two job offers.
This client did.
She really did have two job offers.
They were both great.
And in that case, you're reaching out with, you know, for an expert coach to brainstorm those opportunities and analyze them both in the short term benefits, you know, salary wise or flexibility and all the things that you might want to negotiate, plus the long term implications of choosing one offer versus the other.
You know, is this a different sector? Is this a sideways move or is it more an upward, you know, move that will give you more mobility? Is the sort of succession planning internally in this role more well understood? Are there other opportunities for you to progress in the organization or not? So, you know, these are all things that you can discuss.
You can discuss this with mentors or, you know, professional friends.
They understand, you know, the sort of environment you work in and the sort of sector that you're moving to if it's a different sector.
So try to find people that can really help you have a better understanding of what those two offers really are.
But especially if you want to use the two offers as leverage to negotiate, then you have to be really careful and should really work with an expert so that you don't miss out on any of the opportunities.
I think this is really important to consider.
I sometimes, depending on the seniority of the level, would even advise getting legal support, kind of really go through the contract thoroughly and make sure that you are signing up for something that won't come back to bite you in a few years time.
So, look, these are the four things that I wanted to talk to you about today.
I love doing consultations.
They are a great investment.
We're close to the end of financial year here in Australia.
So I tend to get really busy in the May and June because of that, because, you know, it's possible to tax deduct that sort of investment.
You have to check that with your accountant.
But, you know, that's what my clients, I know that they around this time of the year, if they have misplaced their invoices, they email me to get a new one.
And I just got an email today, so it reminded me to mention this as well.
I'm always on your side.
My goal is really to help professionals like you to access all of the opportunities, all the tools and resources available to you.
All the things that can make a career really thrive so that you are feeling excited and energized by the job that you do now.
And most importantly for me, having control of the future paths that, you know, will eventually happen in your career.
And I now want everybody's career futures to be something that you take control of and not give out the control to other people.
I'm really passionate about that.
So reach out to me if you need.
There will be a link in the show notes to my website.
Otherwise, don't forget to subscribe to this podcast and keep in touch.
Sign up to my newsletter as well, because then you will hear from me weekly and you can always reply back and send me some ideas of topics that you would like me to talk to in the future.
The next episode is already decided, by the way.
Episode 187 will be Q&A.
You have sent me questions.
I hear you and I will answer those questions next week.
So talk to you then.
Ciao for now.