The Job Hunting Experience
Episode 69 - The Job Hunting Experience, featuring Amber Knight
About our guest, Amber Knight
Ocean Swimmer, inflexible yogi. Passable cook and endlessly curious, Amber Knight is a senior commercial and marketing executive with over 20 years of experience in creative industries – specifically film and television distribution. Starting with a career in ad agencies, she has spent the bulk of her career with two of the world's most successful and respected media companies – the BBC and The Walt Disney Company. After being made redundant in late 2019, Amber started an MBA program with AGSM at UNSW and spent 2020 in a frustrating job search. Amber is going to be participating in my subsequent online coaching programming and is contemplating a portfolio career.
The pandemic and job searching
Redundancy and job searching are a reality to be expected by most corporate professionals at some point in their careers. But when a pandemic of global scale interferes, the experience can become heightened as the number of unemployed worldwide is at its peak.
In this episode of the Job Hunting Podcast, I interviewed Amber Knight, an honest podcast listener and someone who experienced redundancy during the pandemic. Amber has been job hunting during 2020, and we discuss her experience, frustrations, learnings, and the steps she has taken to keep herself resilient and on track to achieve her career goals.
Searching for a job in a time of crisis
Amber was made redundant at the end of 2019, a few months before the pandemic hit. She expected that she would find a job in 3 to 4 months, so she took some time off and went on an international family vacation before looking for work. In hindsight, Amber would have done things differently, even without the pandemic's impact, if she had better career guidance when she was made redundant. Examples are being more conservative with her family budget or understanding how long it takes to find another job in her sector and executive level. She has since learned these planning strategies by doing the Reset Your Career Program, my program designed for professionals who have left their jobs or are considering leaving their jobs and careers.
Amber mentioned she did sabotage her job search by spending too much time on online platforms such as LinkedIn and Seek.com, checking for jobs, and checking profiles. But she also did some positive strategies: she networked and kept in touch with former colleagues and peers.
In our chat, she mentioned how she discovered and binged on The Job Hunting Podcast and said how much the free Optimized Job Search Schedule helped her build her daily routine. Amber will be doing the Job Hunting Made Simple online course & group coaching program. This program is open for enrolment now, and enrolments close very soon on Monday, 22 February. So go to my website and check it out ASAP!
What difference can a career coach to your job searching journey?
A mentor and coach can get you started on the right track, check your progress, advise you on what to do until you reach momentum, and continue achieving your goals.
During our chat, Amber mentioned she didn't know what she didn't know, and this is often very true when it comes to job hunting and career advancement! If she had a dedicated coach from the very start, Amber says she would have done many things more differently. I can't wait for her to join the Job Hunting Made Simple course to provide her with the framework she deserves; this will be so exciting!
Job hunting may take longer than you think, and it requires knowledge of things that have nothing to do with your profession, discipline, and patience. I can help you in this process and guide you on the steps you need to take.
The Job Hunting Made Simple Online Course & Group Coaching Program
Job Hunting Made Simple is a 7-week online course + coaching program created by Renata Bernarde that shows you how to plan and advance your career in an intentional, inspiring, and fun way. It is a proven blueprint for creating a prosperous career and attracting your next job.
Looking for work and taking the following steps to advance your career can be a stressful and lonely experience. The information overload we experience every day drains our capacity to think and plan strategically for our lives, careers, and future happiness. The Job Hunting Made Simple program provides a framework to make sense of all the options, opportunities, and steps ahead in an intentional, inspiring, and simple way.
Job Hunting Made Simple was created for you if you are:
serious about your future career progression, but unsure how to achieve your goals
in-between jobs and not knowing if you're putting time and effort into the right strategies
returning to the job market after being without work for an extended time and feeling like the pandemic has taken away your confidence
with the same organization for a long time, and you haven't looked for work outside of your organization in a while. Or if you have, you've been unsuccessful.
ready to look for new job opportunities, but can't find the time or focus on doing it!
you feel overwhelmed and pulled in different directions, and you wish you had guidance and a framework you could follow.
Resources mentioned in this episode
The Job Hunting Made Simple Program: Enrolments Closing Soon
The Job Hunting Podcast Interview With Recruiter Anita Ziemer "Let me call you back" - Recruitment trends shaping the job market in 2020
Amber's favorite free resource: The Optimized Job Search Schedule
Timestamps to guide your listening
03.50 - How Amber found The Job Hunting Podcast
06.40 - Amber's career journey
12.06 - Amber's job hunting experience
15.20 - Amber's daily routine
18.23 - Other activities to help in the job hunting journey
19.48 - Frustrations that Amber encountered in job hunting
26.32 - Technology and interviews
31.28 - The difference having a mentor/coach can do in your job hunting success
33.33 - 35.56 - Amber's vision for 2021
40.57 - About Job Hunting Made Simple
Transcript of this episode
Renata: In this episode, I called a real podcast listener, someone who has experienced redundancy during the pandemic and was job hunting during the entire year in 2020. Amber Knight is a sales and marketing senior executive who was made redundant at the end of 2019 when the Walt Disney company - for whom she worked as a director - merged with 21st Century Fox. Restructures like this are very common. And as a result, Amber and her team lost their jobs. What happened next, a pandemic of a global scale was not expected. I asked Amber to come to the podcast and answer a few questions I had about her experience. These are questions that I have asked hundreds of professionals, and I based my programs on their answers and their pain points and challenges in finding a job. This is how I built my seven module program - The Job Hunting Made Simple program. Amber will be doing the Job Hunting Made Simple online course and group coaching program, which starts later this month in February 2021. Now let's listen to my conversation with Amber Knight.
Amber: Hi Renata.
Renata: How are you?
Amber: Hi, I'm really well. How are you?
Renata: I’m good too. It’s so nice to see you again.
Renata: This is what I need to do now. Can you see this?
Renata: I think trying to kill this, this stupid fly for about 15 minutes now, and I still haven't been able to. You know it's an Australian podcast when you're trying to kill the fly. It's so annoying. How have you been? We're recording. I just want to know how you're doing?
Amber: Yeah, I've been, really well sort of glad to get the year started again. It felt like a very long summer holiday. And I think that's perhaps after a year at home, you know, at the end of a busy year being out and about you're craving that time to just be at home and then to have your summer holiday at home. I was very much looking forward to everyone getting back to business as usual, I guess, or as usual as it can be in a pandemic.
Renata: I wanted to, first of all, thank you so much for the fact that you've been mentioning the podcast on LinkedIn. And this is like, there is no amount of words to say how much I appreciate it. It's so important to me that somebody else is talking about it. And not me. You have no idea.
Amber: I can’t even remember how I came across your podcast. But I do remember I was walking along and I was searching podcasts and, I don't know. I was looking at the Apple podcast app, and it came up, and I went, ‘Oh my god, that looks amazing.’ And I listened to it. And I think that might've been your interview with Anita Zimmer, who's amazing. And who I had sort of met via a job opportunity that Slade was representing. And I was really impressed with her, and I thought, ‘Oh, okay.’ And I listened to it. And I just went, ‘Oh my God, what an incredible resource. And it's free.’And it's, and I went to your website and I just, then I just obsessively listened to them. And I just think that what you're doing is just a really great sort of independent resource that's available to everyone. And I know you do one-on-one executive coaching, and you have lots of, I guess, strings to your bow, but just in the year, that was 2020. Lots of people who are job hunting and very desperate, for me anyway, at that time, it just felt like a lot, a bit of a life rafter, a calm voice, you know, a sensible voice. Like I said in my comment, it's like your best friend and a mentor and your favorite teacher, all-in-one.
Renata: Thank you so much. That's exactly what I wanted to convey on the podcast. And it's sort of, it really made me really happy and quite emotional when I read it, I'm like, ‘Oh, it's resonating.’ and you know, writing about it. So it really is special to me. And this week, I posted the first one for 2021 because I did a few, and you know, it's a labor of love. It's really time-consuming just to get it organized. But it's also the way that I personally catch up with my network and make new friends. Some people I, you know, didn't know, like Susan Hunter, reached out, Gleb reached out. So those are great new connections for me as well. But most of them, it's just great to connect with people and have, instead of having a private conversation, having a conversation that other people can listen into as well. So that's, you know, that's great.
Renata: Okay. Why don't we start with you telling us about your career, tell us what you do and in your career so far.
Amber: Okay. I've worked in media and entertainment for most of my career. And, I've been so incredibly fortunate to work for a respected and arguably successful media and entertainment company. For the last eight years, or until September 2019, I was with the Walt Disney Company. And prior to that, I was working for the BBC and working for the commercial part of the BBC. And in both of those roles, I was involved in program and film distribution. So essentially negotiating rights to distribute films and television content to broadcasters and platforms here in Australia. And also, during my tenure at both of those organizations, I had the opportunity to work in whatever, a broader sort of brand guardianship roles. So my skill set, I suppose there's a commercial element. And then there's also that marketing element. And prior to that, I worked in advertising and worked in agencies in account management.
Amber: And, prior to that, ironically enough, I graduated university in the last recession that Australia in June, the recession we had to have. So in many ways, I feel I’ve come full circle because I graduated into a really, really tight job market. And in, I guess, a defense city, I went to university in Adelaide, and I was fortunate. I got a role straight out of university, but it was with a company called British [inaudible]. There's a lot of defense industry in Adelaide. We just wanted jobs. It didn't matter who it was with what I was doing. and I was there for a year, and then my role was made redundant. So I guess that was my only other experience of redundancy was pretty much straight out of university. And then, from there, I moved to Sydney, and with many more choices, I just got really lucky and fell into advertising.
Amber: And then I left advertising and did a course at the Australian film, television and radio school and was again, was incredibly lucky. I've got a job at the BBC and had very long successful and happy stints there. And from there went to work for Disney. And in September 2019, my role was made redundant at Disney when Disney merged or acquired Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox assets. And with almost all mergers, two plus two doesn't equal four. It usually equals 2.5. And so myself and my team were made redundant. So for a year in September that I've been made redundant, I was extremely philosophical about it. I thought this is a great opportunity. I decided to do, I was going to do an MBA, and I was only going to do it part-time. That's what I plan to do. And so I started my MBA studies and really enjoyed that.
Amber: And I'd sort of given myself permission to take the summer off, and I would start actively and aggressively job hunting in February. We went on a family holiday to Japan, and almost as soon as we got home, the pandemic hit, and that together with the way in which the television and entertainment industry has been disrupted by streamers and really just sort of threw what I had previously known up in the air. And I felt very adrift and untethered. And I think that was when it came up on your podcast, and I’d had a conversation with another career coach and, I received this advice before that it was about networking. And I had been networking during that time that I knew I was going to be made redundant, and I already had a very robust network. And then with COVID, I'm just, I didn't know what to do.
Amber: And I think I explained to you that it just felt like a math problem I didn't know how to solve. Because I had all this experience, I wasn't a university graduate anymore. You know, I've had a wealth of experience and in reasonably senior roles and had been extremely lucky in getting new roles and being promoted within organizations. And look, I'm not Robinson Caruso, but yeah, it was this, brave new world where, you know, one of those situations where I think the previous thinking had been, if you don't, even if you don't fit all the job criteria that you're 80% there, you know, kind of by ten people who could a hundred percent meet the job criteria. So that made it all the more difficult to pivot. And yes, during that time, I felt incredibly unstable and untethered, and kind of didn't know what I knew anymore. Like I felt like I don't know anything about job hunting.
Renata: I think a lot of listeners and professionals will relate to that if they were, you know, in between jobs like you, how did you job hunt? What did you then do once you got over the shock of, you know, the pandemic and how everything was turning upside down? Tell me how your routine was like. What is it that you did?
Amber: Okay. So I did everything wrong. I have to admit I'm sometimes guilty of this today. Well, I think it's like any social media platform. It was just like this sick addiction that I didn't regulate and wouldn't constantly be looking at the same jobs over and over again, and, felt like a pointless hamster wheel just, and again, like, I mean, LinkedIn's an amazing platform. Still, it just felt to me coming from quite a vulnerable place, like lots of people, humble bragging, and me just, you know, the comparison is the thief of joy. And I was just constantly comparing myself to all these people who were still gainfully employed and doing great things, and for whom I'm genuinely happy. But it just, you know, in terms of your mental health, spending hours a day on LinkedIn is just, it's not a good thing.
Amber: I was still networking, and certain opportunities came up, and I would be given the opportunity to have conversations with people or even interview with people, and of course, I pursued those. I think job hunting is a combination of a couple of things, or success in job hunting, I think, is a numbers game. I think there are heaps and heaps of luck involved and, networking is critical. And I think what has made my job search also challenging is that the industry that I work in is changing really, really quickly. So, and because it's ad-supported, much of it in a challenging economic environment, the number of opportunities were diminished.
Renata: In terms of search and those platforms, like you said, it's a double-edged sword because you have to look at them, but then you get addicted to them. Were they Seek and LinkedIn mostly, or were there other platforms that you were using as well too?
Amber: No. Seek and LinkedIn, and I think if you're going to post a job to those platforms, they tend to go to all of them. Like I looked a bit on Indeed, but that seemed to have the same roles. I certainly didn't discover anything on one that wasn't on the other. So yes, I think LinkedIn and Seek probably the main ones.
Renata: Okay. Well, those early days when you were actively looking, what was your routine like? You know, you said you were networking, you were applying for jobs. Was that something that you would, you know, sitting down and doing every day, or was it something that you had to squeeze in between taking care of kids? Because it was really a tumultuous time with kids working, studying at home, and lockdown, how were you able to fit everything in? And also, you were doing your MBA as well.
Amber: Yes, well, I'm a really early bird, so I enjoy getting up early, and I'm more productive in the morning. So I was getting up very early to study. So I'd get up early, and I do a couple of hours of study, and then I would search those job sites and earmark roles that I was so saved roles that I was going to apply for and tended to apply for. And then, you know, family house stuff. And then, later in the afternoon, I'd return to my desk either to study some more and then work on my CV and letters of application and reaching out to people. I did a few networking meetings over the zoom, not a lot. I certainly stayed in touch with people via messaging services and email, but I didn't really network over zoom. It was just keeping in touch with people. And once things opened up a bit more, the intention was that I'd set up face-to-face meetings then.
Renata: And have you moved into setting up face to face?
Amber: Yes. Yeah. One of the things that I really appreciated, one of the tools that I know that you share on your website is, and which I think is a really great guideline, is a way to structure your day when you're job hunting because it can feel so incredibly aimless. And that timetable is just a really great guide.
Renata: Oh, okay. Oh, I didn't know you were using it. Okay, good. The Optimized Job Search.
Amber: Yeah. And I really appreciate the way that you've structured it to incorporate people who might have children. My children are a bit older and can sort of fend for themselves. I don't need to fix the meals and supervise their homework, but I think you provide three options, which I think, you might not adhere to religiously, but it's a really great guide to go, ‘Okay. All right.’ You can stick it to your wall or in your diary, and that's how I'm going to structure my day. And I think that's a really great tool.
Renata: So that worked for you. What else did you think worked for you? I mean, if you look back and you think, ‘okay, now these things are quite good ideas. and I could see myself doing them again.’
Amber: Yeah. Certainly, during the lockdown period, I lent very heavily into my own meditation practice. And that is because I'm the sort of person who's in my head. And during that time, I think we'll all in our heads, much more than usual. So I really kind of doubled down on my meditation practice and, just really looking after myself, exercising. I think taking care of my mental health and exercise is a critical part of that because job hunting can be a real mind game. It can feel incredibly personal. You apply for something, and you might be perfect, and you've done three interviews. And at the end of the day, you're not the one. And you go, ‘why aren't I the one?’ And my experience has been that feedback can be pretty ropey or non-existent. So I don't ask for it anymore. I do ask for it, but I don't ask for it expecting anything useful to come back because my experience has been that nothing useful has come back.
Renata: Yeah. That's a major frustration for you and to many others, the lack of feedback, once you are not chosen to take on the job or even, you know, going from one stage to the next, in the selection process. What are the frustrations you can pinpoint in this whole recruitment and selection process? Because you've gone through a couple of rounds. Are there other things that you didn't expect to annoy you, but they have? I'll give you an example from my background. I tend to get really invested in applying for a specific role. And I knew I had to have a plan B and a plan C and look at all the jobs and a couple more applications, especially because you're a senior executive. I was applying for senior roles, and these roles take a very long time to go through the whole process of selecting a candidate.
Renata: And it really frustrated me that I had to apply for other roles since I have like a favorite, and I didn't want to spread myself too thinly. Because it takes a lot of energy, doesn’t it? To apply and all of that. I'll mention another frustration of mine is the amount of IP that I have given away during the interviewing process. Because if you're applying for senior exec roles, you usually have to do presentations. And I'm like, ‘okay, this is a lot of work.’ And I can see in some cases, and I’ve been around long enough to see that, yes, they have used some of my ideas. I'm okay with that. But I find it frustrating.
Amber: Yes. Yes, exactly. And particularly when your, I guess you come second. They really loved you, and you’re a great cultural fit, but, okay, well, I just gave them a hundred-day plan.
Renata: Yes. I totally agree with that.
Amber: So yes, I think for me that the big ones, and again, there's a lot of self-management involved. And part of that is, you know when you are a great fit and you, and you initially get lots of really positive feedback and I future cast, and I go, and I creatively visualize myself in the role and what I'm going to do and how it's going to be. And then you don't get it, and you're like, ‘Oh, okay. Right. I hadn't creatively visualized that.’ It’s just tempering my own enthusiasm, I think, is something that I need to do. And I think the other thing that sometimes, and look, you don't know what you don't know when you start this process—having been gainfully employed for many, many years. So as part of my redundancy, I was with a big multinational, as you know, and I was given an outplacement package with a big international firm.
Amber: And I was given one of the senior consultants who was the person looking after me. And I don't know, maybe naively. I said, ‘so how long do you reckon it'll take me to get a job?’ Bear in mind; this was September 2019 pre-pandemic. And she very casually, very confidently said three to four months. And I kind of bank that. I went okay. Yeah. Okay. Take me three to four months. And I can't tell you how much I wished. And I was listening to your podcast today, actually Renata on the train. And you said that it takes a long time and it takes longer than you think. And I really wish you'd said to me, and I've spoken to other people since, and their experiences echoed my own is that it can take two years. Maybe it can take two years. And with that in armed with that information, there are lots of things I would've done differently.
Renata: Oh yes. Yes. And it's, I feel it's criminal. And I hate saying this because it seems like I'm criticizing my competition, but I have gone through outplacement as well. And, most, I would say 50% of the clients that I have, have gone through our placements still are working with me regardless. And I, things I hear a really disheartening, I have to say though that before COVID, we didn't expect COVID. But even before COVID, you shouldn't say that to a candidate.
Amber: I think realistically, and look, there were other senior executives who left the organization before me, and it did take them longer than that. They may have had sort of short-term consulting opportunities come their way, but I just sincerely wish she said it's going to take a lot longer than you think. And you set your expectations that it's going to take longer than you think. So I was naive. Perhaps I really attached myself to this. Well, three, four months is quite a long time in my view, so, okay. Well, I'm going to give myself a bit of time off, to start my studies, go on a family holiday, have Christmas. Then when I get back, it'll be another three or four months, and that'll be amazing. And, you know, I was very fortunate, and then I had a great redundancy package, but I would have been far more prudent with that money. Had someone said to me, it's going to take a lot longer than you think.
Renata: Have you done the Reset Your Career program that I have? I can't remember. I don't remember if you, the Rest Your Career is an on-demand program now that we're having like masterclasses that I'd done with; you mentioned Anita Zimmer before with the team at Slade group.
Amber: Yes. I think I signed up for it, but I think I was in the middle of delivering big projects for uni. So I don't think I tuned in, or maybe I tuned in for the first one but then wasn't able to make the others.
Renata: Look. I would recommend you go back and do at least the first masterclass before you do the Job Hunting Made Simple. I think you're really going to enjoy it because it was recorded live with the Slade team. So we have a recruiter’s panel, and then we have a few masterclasses from me. And my first masterclass is called Reset Your Career. And it's designed for people who have just been made redundant or people who are, you know, those who have jobs but can't stand their jobs anymore? They cannot wait to resign. I have a few clients that booked consultations with me at the end of last year because they were resigning. They were going to resign. I can't stand it anymore. You know, this happened at the end of the year because you were so stressed out, and that conversation in this master class is really to bring about some truths and some misconceptions and some myths. And the one about how long it takes is a big one, understanding how it can financially impact you when you're looking for work is really important. So okay. So those, those frustrations, yeah. I can relate to them. What about the recruitment and selection process? You mentioned the lack of feedback, but you went through interviews as well, and you know, all of them are assuming have been through zoom. Am I right? Or did you have any face to face last time?
Amber: Yeah, no, I did have face to face. Just the one. Yes. Some of them were pre-recorded videos, which I found really strange.
Renata: Oh, you had to prerecord the video. Yes. Okay. Yes.
Amber: And there's technology. There was one role in particular, and I think it was, you know, you've made it through, I've sent him my CV, and a cover letter was via seek. And obviously, I'd made their first round. And so they said the next round is to do this video interview. But the interview is kind of with a bot. It's not actually with a human person. And you have no prior knowledge of the questions they kind of serve to you. And that was so bizarre. I felt deeply uncomfortable. Yeah. That was very, very strange.
Renata: How did you practice for that? Or did you practice for that?
Amber: Yes, I practiced. They give you a practice thing, but I just found it on the day. Because you don't know what the questions are either. So they give you a go of using video technology. but yeah, I don't, I didn't present, I know I wouldn't have presented my best self for that video interview and
Renata: For those listening, I'm going to add a link to the episode show notes. But LinkedIn has a great application on LinkedIn jobs to help professionals practice for questions that are straight to camera. And they have an artificial intelligence botty thingy that analyzes your videos and gives you feedback and dozens of questions. So they have some generic questions, and then they have questions that are specific for different types of professionals. So, you know, marketing professionals or finance professionals. So there's quite a lot, a big library of questions are on LinkedIn, and you record it, and they analyze it using their bot. And okay, so I'm a big fan. I'm not a big fan of the resume builder on LinkedIn. If people are listening, I don't like it just so, you know, a lot of coaches don't like that. And not because we, you know, we do resumes ourselves, but because it just doesn't look good. The interviewing botty thing is pretty, pretty spectacular, I think. Okay. So this is great because it addresses this question that I had for you. in terms of the lost time, you know, had you had good mentoring and coaching at the beginning of your redundancy, you would have done things differently potentially,
Amber: A hundred percent, a hundred percent. And that's why I say you don't know what you don't know, you know? It sounds really obvious, but it's kind of not. And particularly when, you know, you've had lots of experience, but I had no experience being between roles really, and not for many, many years. And I, you know, maybe it's one of those things just shopping around. I was provided with this outplacement service. They were kind of pitched, as you know, they're an international group. And I thought that I was receiving a blue-chip service. And that's not to say it was all bad, but I feel like there are a lot of home truths that weren't really, I don't know, just weren't addressed a lot of fundamentals and look, I don't know whether that was my own arrogance in thinking, ‘Oh, you know, I'm a senior executive, and I'll be fine, and something will come along, and I've got a robust network.’ But just, you know, for someone to go, right, okay, we're going to, we going to really forensically look at your LinkedIn profile, or you need to go away and do a mind map.
Amber: I was essentially given a booklet, ‘here, work through this.’ I had, you know, a one hour consult once a fortnight, which, and again, maybe it's just, I didn't know the questions to ask, you know, you don't know what you don't know. And that's why as soon as I found your podcast, I shared it with my network because my team, all of my team had lost, had been made redundant as well. They're at different stages in their career, but there were so many, it was just so helpful that I wanted to share it with them. And anyone else who either, like you say, was looking because it just felt to me there were lots of home truths uncovered that.
Renata: Yeah. Good. I'm glad.
Amber: I hadn't, which this, you know, the outplacement company either didn't address or, yeah. I don't know.
Renata: You didn't know how to ask so they could address, but you didn't know. Okay. Yeah. Tell me about your situation now.
Amber: So I picked up a part-time role with a small independent video production company, looking after their business development and marketing. And it's two days a week, which is fantastic. And I think more than anything else; it’s just a really great hands-on opportunity. They're a small business, and they are looking to grow. And the founders are both incredibly talented creative people and have done a great job growing their business today. But their children are off at school now. And so they want to, I guess, take it to the next level and weren't really sure how to do that. And so I came on board and just said, ‘okay, before we do anything else, that's really let's look at your purpose and who you are and, look at your mission statement and what you want to achieve.’
Amber: And really, so we got very granular in that, which was what they needed to do, and which was really rewarding for me to be a part of and guide them through. And we pulled together a strategic plan for 2021, which we're putting into place now that sort of businesses back up and running. So that's been a really great thing for me to do, and I pulled together an SEO strategy for them and, you know, a PR strategy. And I've been leveraging my network of contacts to really get them out there. They've relied almost entirely on word of mouth, which is the best way to get new business. But given they need to grow, and that's their ambition then, that's what I'm doing now. But it is part-time, and whilst it's amazing to have something to do and to be doing something meaningful, it's not my ideal situation. I do want to have a full-time role. And so I continue to network, and I continue my job search,
Renata: What would be the dream solution for you? So if you could, you know, choose how 2021 ends, what would that look like for you?
Amber: It's funny you should ask that because it feels like it's such a process, job hunting, Renata. And I know that when you start, people ask you questions like that, ‘now, what do you want?’ And that changes, your experience of job hunting changes. So I have worked in big multinationals for a long, long time have had the most amazing experiences a person could have, and I've loved every minute of my time in those organizations. But, I reflect now, and I think, ‘do I want to work for a big multinational again?’ And I'm not sure that I do. If it was the right role, I think for me at this stage, and I'm not ruling anything out, but it would be all about the management and the purpose of the role. In addition to the part-time job that I spoke about before, a couple of potential opportunities have come my way where I've been providing advice on script development for a couple of TV series.
Amber: And at this stage, it's unpaid, with perhaps potential for that to turn into, I don't know, a retainer or a share of a distribution backend or a consulting fee, but those opportunities have come about because of some of the networking I've done. And, you know, people used to say to me all the time, which again, actually, this is one of my frustrations Renata, was people would say, ‘well, you should become a consultant.’ And I think, ‘how do you become a consultant? Like, how do you, what do you do? You go, Hey, I'm a consultant. Can I do some consulting for you?’ Like I just, people would throw it out there. Like it was the easiest thing in the world to do. And I just thought, ‘well, I suppose I could, but I don't know how, and I didn't know who to talk to about it, or how, how do you even do that?’
Amber: so that seemed like a really, it seemed like a bit of a throwaway line, maybe for someone buffed by other people, for someone at my career stage to say, Oh, you should, you should consult with me, like, okay. But I don't know what that means. But then, as a result of the networking that I've done, a couple of opportunities, potential, cause they haven't realized themselves fully yet, have come along and they've been there really interesting, and I can add some value, and I'm also learning along the way. So that's kind of, I guess, turned my eye a bit. I've gone, ‘Oh, okay. Well, maybe that's a thing. And maybe I can, you know, this portfolio career, maybe I could do that. I hadn't considered that before.’ and I think that sometimes it's almost like when you raise children like I know you've got kids and you might have one child who you just say, please don't touch that, it’s hot.
Amber: And they go, ‘okay, mom, I'm not going to touch it because it's hot, and I might burn myself.’ Then you have another child. And this is certainly my experience. He goes, I know you've told me it's hot, but I want to find out for myself, and that's how I'm going to learn, and they touch it, and they go, ‘Oh, it's hot. I hurt myself.’ And I think that has been like I said, I didn't know what, I don't know what I don't know. And it's all sort of unfolding in front of me and around me. And, I feel like I'm doing, I've got the tent poles of the things I need to be doing. So I'm networking, I'm talking to people, I've worked with you on my LinkedIn profile, and that's something that I am mindful that I need to tweak regularly.
Amber: And I do. And I go in, and I check on it, and I try and post to LinkedIn with things that I think are going to be interesting to my network and relevant and, you know, feed the algorithm, which unfortunately is a thing. And I apply for the things that are suitable. I don't apply for everything. I’m not one of those job seekers that just sends out 50 job applications every day, just like a machine gun approach. So, I think the kind of tent poles are there. And then it's, so this is a really long way of answering your question about what would the end of 2021 look like? I don't have a view of exactly what it would look like, but it would see me, I suppose, doing something I'm good at and I enjoy, and I’m financially rewarded for.
Renata: Excellent. So, you're going to be doing the Job Hunting Made Simple with me. And I think that the benefit of doing that, it's going to bring all of that together into a framework for you. Because my understanding and correct me if I'm wrong, like when I listened to you, you have all of these learnings from having put your hand in the fire last year, all of these, sort of wisdom that you've collected and a better idea of what it takes to get your next job, but it's all are floating around in your head and what the Job Hunting Made Simple framework does it sort of place every piece of the puzzle into its place and in order. We go through a step-by-step process that tends to work for my clients. So I'm pretty confident that it will work for you too.
Renata: Some of the things that you've mentioned, for example, how do you become a consultant and you know, what to do about that and how, you know, what is the portfolio career? So we're going to have Jacinta Whelan, who is an expert in portfolio careers coming in to do a special master class. So that's a bonus addition to what I provide. So she'll do that. My long-term friend and coach, and mentor, Sue Zablud, will come in and talk about the importance of the first 90 days in a new job. I really wanted Sue to do this because this is her expertise, helping executives step into new roles. But because the first 90 days will be possibly very different from 2019. And many of my clients and the people that I expect will sign up for the Job Hunting Made Simple has been out of work for the entire COVID time.
Renata: So Sue is going to address that and, just putting some sort of framework around that, your pitch and how you're going to identify the mechanisms to get you this new role, and also move forward with the rest of your career. But you will see how important it is now in terms of how mature you will be when you're actually making plans for the future now. Can you see how much more mature you will be much wiser you will be when you're making your plans? I have a feeling it will be very different from the plans that you would have done back in 2019.
Amber: Yes. Yes. And I love the idea of a framework.
Renata: I'm all about frameworks.
Amber: Yeah, no, I love the idea of a framework because of job hunting; I’ve said this to you, it just feels like a naughty mess and an unsolvable puzzle.
Renata: I agree, and it's so structured for the other side. You know, if you think about how positions are advertised, you know, the podcast this week is all about giving the job candidates more awareness about what goes on the other side of the field, but you have strategists and HR managers and the actual manager for the role you're applying for and an HR consultant, a recruiter, all of them looking for you, the candidate. So the whole team involved, and everybody knows what's going on, and the candidates have no clue what's going on most of the time, right? Even if there are internal candidates looking for a promotion, they're just sitting there and waiting forever. And they have no idea why it takes so bloody long for things to happen. And, I think that that is a real bias. And, it's a real systemic issue with the structure of recruitment and selection of people.
Renata: Much about making professionals aware of the problem, aware of the challenge, and what it takes, and sometimes even how long it takes and the fact that you really need to invest in your career every now and then for it to keep on providing you with income and happiness too. Because it, sometimes you go on and on and on without even realizing that you're extremely unhappy with what you're doing every day, and it’s taking a toll. It doesn’t seem to be the case with you, but you know, sometimes people tell me, ‘Oh, thank goodness. I was made redundant. I was hating what I was doing anyway.’ So, that's another issue that some people can use the redundancy to address as well. So yeah. All right, my friend, anything else you would like to share with other job hunters all around the world? Ideas, tips, inspiration.
Amber: I think you really need to, and it's far easier said than done, particularly if you work in a small industry and it's people within your network, but it's not personal. And I think I read you might've commented on something that someone said in LinkedIn, that if you don't get that job, you might feel a bit down in the dumps or whatever, and wallow in it. And I think it's perfectly fine to wallow in it, but I think it's also really useful to maybe have a more sort of philosophical view of it. And maybe in not getting the job, that was exactly the right thing. Maybe you dodged a bullet. I know that I missed out on a role that I ticked every single box. I was the perfect candidate and ended up that I wasn't the perfect candidate because they didn't select me, and I was heartbroken. And then I kind of had to allow myself to be heartbroken for a bit and then step back and go, ‘you know what, maybe I've dodged the bullet. Maybe that wasn't the perfect role for me. Maybe I would have, I could have taken that role and then been really unhappy in it.’ And I think it would be worse to be in a role and feel trapped and desperately unhappy.
Renata: There's no way to know Amber. It’s that sliding doors moment. It’s like that movie with Gwyneth Paltrow that breaks my heart. I don't watch it anymore because the ending is terrible.
Amber: That's why I say I have to remind myself that it's a numbers game, and there's so much luck involved. You know you can meet someone, or you can apply for a role, and you meet someone, and you do your zoom call if you're lucky. If you're somewhere, you can do it face to face, and they see what you have to offer, and they want it. And you go, ‘that was incredible. it's meant to be.’ And other times, you do your best singing and dancing, and you have all the right answers, and there's just not that connection. You just know. I've got off zoom calls and gone, ‘Yeah, no, she doesn't like me, or he doesn't like me. He doesn't get me.’ Or, he doesn't like the cut of my [inaudible]. I just know. Well, that's okay. I'm not for them. They're not for me.
Renata: But there is a lot of that, and it's a lot of humble pie eating when you're job hunting. Because, as I was explaining to a client I was talking to earlier today, many times when I've been in the recruiting and I did not choose my favorite candidate, and it broke my heart. Sometimes you have a favorite candidate, and you really like that candidate, but you choose the other one. And that's because there's more at stake than me making a personal choice. If you have gone all the way to the end together with one or two other candidates, rest assured that you all have a reason to be there, and you would all possibly very well performed that role, but the choice is made because of the fit. In my case, for example, you know, is this person going to fit with the team?
Renata: How is the set of skills and experience complementing the ones that I already have? If the team is very small and there's a lot of duplication of experience and skills, then I need to actually diversify. And if the other candidate has a slightly diverse set of skills from the ones that my team already has, then that's what I need. So, you know, you have to make those very tough decisions in the end. And that's really what you're calling luck. I actually call it more of a strategic decision. And also, from a candidate's perspective, in terms of the numbers game, I look at coincidences to form patterns. So you have to play the numbers game so that you have enough samples to actually look back and reflect and review what you've done and say, ‘okay, why is it that it's not converting? Where is the bottleneck in here? And how are we going to then remove this bottleneck?’ So, until you play the game and you have a few failures behind you and a few successes, right? So, you know, you've succeeded in converting from a conversation to an interview or from an application to a conversation.
Renata: Wherever you have stopped in the process, that's your bottleneck, and that's what needs to be addressed and go on from there. So that's where you start making your luck is when you're strategic about looking backward and identifying where you're getting stuck and then being very efficient at focusing on where you are getting stuck and moving that along so that you move to the next stage and the next stage. That's what we're going to work on.
Amber: Yeah, again, all of that having that framework is so useful. And, you know, like, I almost think it's a sort of stuff that needs to be taught in school at some point.
Renata: There are some people doing that better these days with career counseling at school. There are some people I'm following, even on LinkedIn, they are doing amazing jobs with young professionals and teenagers, you know, sometimes refer people back to them because I only see more mature professionals.
Amber: Yeah. I think there's a lot of resources around building your CV or doing a cover letter, but it has that framework that takes you through the entire process. I think this is what makes your service so unique and so valuable. And I think with the group coaching that you're going to be offering and currently are offering that much more accessible. And to your earlier point, having a career coach is a luxury. And for some people, it's a necessary luxury. But depending on your financial circumstances, that just might not be an option for you, but having something that is at a price point that you go, ‘okay. Yep. I understand.’ And I can see the value there and look, and for anyone, if they just simply don't have that sort of money, the free resources you have on your website are fantastic as well. And the fact that podcasts exist and, you know, have a back catalog for people to consume is fantastic.
Renata: Thank you, Amber. You're very kind, and it's wonderful to have you on board. Thank you so much for joining the podcast, and I will see you soon.
Amber: You're so very welcome. Thank you for having me.
Renata: You see, a lot of people think that one-on-one coaching is the holy grail of personal coaching, but that's not necessarily true. Group coaching like the Job Hunting Made Simple program can be a better solution because you get the benefit of an experienced coach, me, and you also get the benefit of a peer group from whom you can get feedback, input, accountability, and you get people that will celebrate the wins with you. Amber, if you're listening, thank you so much for coming to the podcast and sharing your experience with us. Ciao for now, everyone. Bye
About the Host
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.
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