The secret to a successful career
Episode 151 - Five key strategies to guide you towards your new job
Note: This Podcast is a rebroadcast of Episode 75.
Whether you've been job searching for months or you have just started, I encourage you to press reset, sharpen your focus and go through the list of critical success factors below. Make sure you are reviewing and addressing them every day during your transition. I hope that by being strategic and building a healthy job search routine, you will - like my clients - have a shorter growth that leads to the best possible outcome for you in 2021.
Regardless of the magnitude of your career goals: be it finding a similar job or making a bolder career change, the strategies below will help make your pitch crystal clear to recruiters and hiring managers:
1. Understand who you are as a professional and what you offer to employers
Find out what your strengths and transferable skills are. Even though different sectors require different expertise, they need common essential skills, such as communication, analytical skills, people skills, etc. Please write down your transferable skills and include them in your job search materials, not as a jumble of words, but as the most relevant competencies applied to you. Whether it be an interview, your resume, or your profile, ensure you can speak confidently about the skills you listed and that you have robust examples to back them up.
2. Ask yourself, what industry, sector, and organizations do you want to work for?
If you are unsure where to go next and curious about industries and companies you don't know, investigate. You can read about them, and most importantly, talk to professionals who work there. Draw on your network, or start building one. For example, you can tap into your university's Alumni, former colleagues, and friends. Think outside the box, talk to people from different areas and sectors. Then make sure you make these decisions before you start your job search. Yes, you can revisit later. You should be reviewing your job search strategy constantly. But sharpen your focus on the industries, sectors, and companies before going to market. Otherwise, there's a great chance you will feel overwhelmed and pulled in too many directions.
3. Once you identify your preferred industry, find out what hiring managers value knowledge, qualifications, experience, and skills
Your research will provide you with important clues that you should use to draft your cover letters, resumes, LinkedIn profile. It should also guide the way to interact with recruiters and even which recruiters to interact with. Good sector analysis will help you learn the sector's language to better explain in writing and conversations how your strengths and transferable skills can support your new career transition. You will feel more confident about your prospects at this stage.
4. Find a coach to support your transition or at least a mentor
It is not easy to shift sectors, and having a mentor can help access information to support the transition. And learning how to play the game and win as a job candidate in a sea of highly qualified peers is a steep learning curve. Investing in help at this stage can shave off weeks or months of unemployment, as well as keep you operating at high performance and low-stress levels. It is a competition, and there's no way around it. The top players usually have to help. Be one of them.
5. Know your values
What sort of culture and what kind of organization brings out the best in you? For example, do you work better in an organization where there is a lot of autonomy? Or do you work better in an organization where you're part of a team? Use the interviewing process to learn more about the organization, the same way they are using it to learn more about you. Values alignment will make a difference in how long you stay in that organization. Don't just take the first thing that rolls up along the aisle because it could be a disaster. Transitions can be stressful, but you don't want to regret your move a few months down the track because you took the first offer, and now you're miserable again. I'm assuming you can have the privilege of making the most out of your transition period. However, if your situation requires you to find a job quickly, it may have to be first in best dressed. In that case, don't forget to keep working on your future career steps and don't take too long to move again.
Keep in mind: success occurs when opportunity meets preparation!
Resources mentioned in this episode
The Job Hunting Podcast Episode 73: How the vaccine rollout will get us back to work, and what we can learn and do now to prevent a future global crisis - featuring Israeli entrepreneurial ecosystem builder Amir Eldad.
Timestamps to guide your listening
06:56 - 1. Understand who you are as a professional and what you offer to employers.
09:09 - 2. Ask yourself, what industry, sector, and organizations do you want to work for?
13:32 - 3. Once you identify your preferred industry, find out what hiring managers value what knowledge, qualifications, experience, and skills.
15:47 - 4. Find a coach to support your transition or at least a mentor.
19:55 - 5. Know your values.
Transcript of this episode
Renata: Hello, everyone. Welcome to The Job Hunting Podcast. If you're new here, I hope you subscribe. If you've been listening for a while, thank you so much. I'm getting so many great feedback, emails, and messages from listeners saying how much the podcast is helping them get their career back on track. So I am incredibly happy and excited about this podcast. And I wanted to do a very chit-chatty episode today, not like an episode with a guest, just me talking to you. And it's an important time here in Australia. This week is the end of the job keeper government program that has supported a lot of organizations that wanted to keep their employees employed while we underwent quite a heavy lockdown here in Australia. One of the reasons why the pandemic has been quite mild here because we have had some many big lockdowns and control mechanisms in place.
Renata: And one of them has really revolved around the job keeper program, keeping people employed. Well, that program is ending. It has ended by the time I upload this podcast. And for that reason, I felt like I really wanted to have a chat with my listeners. Only 40% of my listeners are based in Australia, 60% are overseas. And I know that you know, it hasn't been easy for a lot of professionals to be unemployed during the pandemic. The ones that are employed are probably working extremely long hours and worried about their job prospects and career transitions in the future as well, rethinking their plans, you know, and we're still in the middle of things. It’s a good time to keep a finger on the pulse of what's happening. But I have some perspective that things will start to come back to a new normal once we roll out the vaccinations, which in some countries are going really well.
Renata: You may have already listened to my podcast with my friend, Amir from Israel, and in other countries are going quite slowly and still underway. So we need to wait a few more months until we understand what's going to happen to corporate jobs in the near future. And I'm here for you. I'm here every week. We have lots of episodes planned that I think will be interesting for you to listen to. Next week, you will have an episode with a wonderful recruiter based in regional Australia, talking about what it takes to make a successful transition out of the city and into a country town. And I think that that is a great episode. And the week after that, I have an international guest once again. So keep in touch, subscribe, and today what we're going to talk about is probably strategies I have already discussed either by myself or with a guest in this podcast. But still, they're important things to understand and for me to repeat, and hopefully, you will take something away from this session and put pen to paper, start making plans, start getting yourself organized.
Renata: If you have a job, or if you are currently in transition, it doesn't matter. You have to pay attention to your career and make sure you find the time to make those important plans and develop strategies to keep yourself always an important asset to your organization and future employees as well. And bringing that income in, which is what we all want to do.
Renata: So whether you've been job searching for months, or you have just started, I really do encourage you to press that reset button. There's a reason why one of my online courses is called Reset Your Career. I think it's important to sometimes get out of your comfort zone, get out of the rat race and sharpen your focus and go through a list of, you know, success factors that people like myself have already identified through years of experience, years of working with clients that they do work. Make sure that you are then reviewing and addressing them every day if you are in transition and every now and then if you are employed. I hope that by being strategic and building a healthy job search routine or career planning routine, you will be like my clients. And have a shorter transition when you are in between jobs and have better career outcomes in the future.
Renata: So regardless of the magnitude of your career goals, be it finding a similar job, the one that you have now or had in the past, or making a bolder career change, moving towns, moving careers, moving professions. The strategies that I'm going to talk to you about today will help you ensure that your pitch is crystal clear when you're talking to recruiters, hiring managers, and having any type of important conversation that leads to better career outcomes for you.
Renata: So, first of all, number one is understanding who you are as a professional and what you offer employers. You have listened to this idea before, just top of mind, I'm thinking here of my interview with Donna Burr a few weeks back. And she mentioned that sometimes employees go to headhunters and recruiters and say that they can do anything and everything under the sun. And that really isn't helpful for somebody who's trying to position you against the brief from a client against, you know, an opportunity that's coming up or that they already have, and they're looking for people. You really need to be more specific than that. So find out what your strengths are, what your transferable skills are. Even though different sectors require different expertise, they need common, essential skills, such as communication, analytical skills, people skills, et cetera. Please write down what your transferable skills are and include them in your job search material. Not as a jumble of words, but as something that has been thought through that you can explain that you have already done, achieved, put some metrics to it.
Renata: And find those most relevant competencies that are applied to you as a professional. And whether it be in an interview or your resume or on your LinkedIn profile, ensure that you can speak confidently about those skills that you have listed and that you have robust examples to give, right? So it's, again, not a laundry list of everything you can do. It's not a very long listing fact, but it's a list that has some good information to back up the claims that you are a good professional. So make sure that you make that exercise a priority for you.
Renata: Second is to ask yourself what industry, sector, and organization you want to work for? If you are in transition, or if you're thinking about taking your next step, this is the time to really ideate, to really put pen to paper and dream, and, you know, be a bit bolder than what you're doing right now. If you are inside a job, you really have to pay attention to that job and do it well and so on. But if you're thinking about moving on, or if you are in transition, you can think outside the square. Now is the time. And we have interviewed several people in the podcast before that have mentioned how important redundancies are for that time when you reflect. So after you go through the grieving process, after you go through the sadness of losing your job, it's a great opportunity. See the silver lining. And if you are unsure of where to go next, and you're curious, or you don't know much about other industries and companies - investigate. You have the time. Treat this time as a project, and you can read about different industries and companies, but most importantly, it's great to talk to professionals that work in different sectors so that you really get on-the-ground information.
Renata: And sometimes, when we read things, we still don't get the whole picture, but when you talk to somebody, it makes it more real, and they can give you really great feedback. Validate those feedbacks by talking to more than one person so that you have a better, more validated perspective of that sector or company that you're interested in. So draw on your network, or start building one. Go back to people and say hi, and let’s talk. And this is not really about asking for a job. It's not even asking for advice or help. It's just to learn, right? This is a very important first step to reconnect to people that you haven't spoken to in a while or to make new connections. So for example, you can tap into your university's alumni, former colleagues, associations, professional associations, friends, you know, ask what people do, where they work, and think outside the box as I said, by opening up the horizons and considering what else you can do with your career.
Renata: Then make sure that you make decisions about where you want to go next before you start your job search. Yes, you can revisit later. In fact, you should be reviewing your job search strategy constantly. But having that sharp focus of being able to tell a recruiter or people in your network, look, I'm interested in these industries, and I’m interested in these companies. It will crystallize and make it more interesting for you even to start developing your or job applications. But also because once you look for jobs, there are many opportunities out there, and it can drive you insane, you know, it's very overwhelming. I find that job boards can have the same effect as social media has. You just get lost in them, and you don't have any focus anymore. But if you've made those sort of important strategic first steps of understanding who you are as a professional, understanding what your key strengths and transferable skills are, your core competencies are, then you say, okay, I want to work for this sort of sector, these types of companies. You are going into the job search with a sharp focus, and it will be less stressful for you. And you'll be better at selling yourself as well when you're positioning yourself in job applications.
Renata: Number three, once you identify your preferred industry, find out what knowledge, qualifications, experience, and skills are valued by the hiring managers in that industry. So your research will provide you with important clues that you should use to draft your cover letters, resumes, and LinkedIn profiles. Remember that different companies and different sectors, they have different ways of telling a similar story, but it's up to you to adapt if you want to change lanes. So if you're moving out of government and into the corporate sector, maybe there are skills that you have learned to speak about them in a certain way. But once you look at a corporate job ad, you say, okay, I can do this, but you forget to adapt the narrative to that new corporate jargon and wording. You need to do that. You need to do that adaptation. It's really important. It happens when you move countries. It happens when you move industry, sectors, companies even, have different cultures. So make sure that you read the position description, and then you read it. By reading it, I mean you then adapt it, and you can find the nuances of the tone and the words and the jargons, and then adapt your marketing material. What is your marketing material? Your cover letter and resume for sure - to that new narrative, a new way of explaining key responsibilities and achievements, and so on.
Renata: A good sector analysis will help you learn the sector's language so that you can better explain - both in writing and when you're having conversations - how your strengths and your transferable skills can support your new career transition. You will feel more confident about your prospects if you do these steps.
Renata: Number four, it's really important to consider either finding a coach to support your transition or at least finding a mentor. Because it's not easy to shift sectors and having a mentor can help access information to support that transition, it’s also not easy to be in transition. So if you haven't applied for a role, if you haven't been unemployed, if you haven't really had to sell yourself in an interview experience, or you've done that over five years ago, seven years ago, you may be out of touch with what you need to do to actually be successful and have a shorter transition period. And this is really the sort of work that people like myself do. And there are others too that do that. And learning how to play that game of recruitment and selection is really important to win as a job candidate in a sea of very highly qualified competitors. They’re your peers.
Renata: And learning how to do that is a steep learning curve. So you will be applying and missing out, applying and missing out until you go; oh yeah. Okay. I get it now. And then you'll learn, but it could take months. So if you can accelerate that by having the support of a coach or at least having a mentor if you can't invest in a coach, that will really help you. Investing in help at this stage can really shave off weeks or months of unemployment, as well as keep you operating at a very high performance and low-stress levels. Why? Because you know there's somebody there to support you, right? You know that there's somebody there that you can go to if you have a question. If you're working with a coach, they probably have a. I have a framework. So I have a system that is successful that has helped lots of people.
Renata: And we go through that systematic way of not only positioning your application but then reviewing that overtime to make sure that it gets better and better. And we shave off as much as possible that transition period for you. Because recruitment and selection, it's a competition. There's no way around it. There's nothing I can do. And the top players usually have top help. So be one of them, okay. And if you want to work with me, you know where to find me, just go to the episode show notes, and you will be able to find out more details of the sort of services I provide there. And I also have lots of free resources that you can download and use them. And they are really invaluable. They are not just free for, you know, they're free because they're resources that have worked really well for my clients.
Renata: And I want to make them available for everyone because I'm hoping that once you start using them, you will see the importance of having more of those resources. Right? And so that's the whole point of me trying to connect with you and offer you this opportunity by giving you some free resources. They are really, really useful, especially - Oh, I like all of them - but I think the one that's been downloaded recently is the Optimised Job Search. Definitely that one there, people really love. And the other one that I like is the email template for recruiters. That's one of the key templates that all my clients use, and we adapt it for other purposes, but that one is free, and you can download it. So working with a coach is having access to all of these resources, templates, frameworks that will make your life easier. That’s the whole point.
Renata: Number five, know your values. Knowing your values may sound like a privilege when you are unemployed, and you just need a job, and all you want is money in the bank again. But if you are in a position where you can choose, and that's a position that I like my clients to be in, then what sort of culture and what kind of organization brings out the best in you? Right. So, for example, do you work better in an organization where there's a lot of autonomy, or do you work better in an organization where you're part of a team? Use this interviewing process. First of all, don't self-select out of interviews because you think you're not going to be a great candidate. Investigate, do your research, talk to the recruiter, talk to somebody that works at that organization. And if you have 60% of all the requirements for that role, I would recommend that you apply. Then, use that opportunity if you are catching up with the recruiter, if they have shortlisted you, if you're going through the interview process, think about that as they're interviewing you, but you were interviewing them as well.
Renata: And if it gets towards the middle or the end of the process, and you're not a hundred percent sure that this organization is for you, it's fine. Right? You don't have to take the job just because they offered the job to you. That's the truth of the matter. And you are also analyzing and assessing values and culture. And was this a good experience for you, or was it a terrible experience? Do they make it easy for you, or did they make it really complicated and confusing? These are clues about what to expect next once you join the organization. So don't just take the first thing that rolls up, you know, and that could be really a disaster in the short-term or even long-term. You want to be in a position where you can be choosy. And transitions can be stressful, but you don't want to regret your move in a few months down the track because you took the first offer, and now you're miserable again.
Renata: But I'm saying all of this, assuming you can have the privilege of making the most out of your transition period. So if you've done Reset Your Career, which is my short on-demand course that I have, you can sit down and do it in one go, and then it kicks starts 31 days of action for you. It's very inexpensive. It's the most inexpensive service that I have. And it's because I think it's so good. I want everybody to have access to it. I did it in collaboration with recruiters, and you can find it on my website. But if you've done that, you know how in the first masterclass inside that program, I explain the importance of being careful when you're resigning if you are opting out of an organization. The importance of being careful with the redundancy package that you receive and how to stretch it out, and how to build yourself your runway, and how to make the most out of that opportunity so that you are prepared for more months without a job so that you can make those the best possible decisions for you and land the best possible job for you as well.
Renata: The part of the work that I liked the most is actually the negotiation, the salary. I have a client, and he just texted me to say he got an offer and he's going to earn $15,000 more than he was expecting. And that's great, he negotiated it up, and he has some other benefits that he wasn't expecting. Plus, he really wanted to get out of the job that he has at the moment. So all of these things are better to do when you have a coach to guide you through it, right? Not to feel pushed and not to feel anxious about just taking the offer without negotiating it. So all of these things you can do more confidently if you have somebody supporting you like a mentor or a coach. And sometimes, there is no room for negotiation, and you don't want to be too pushy because it's not going to end up well for you.
Renata: And it's just going to be that sort of awkward vibe when you first start. So sometimes I say to my clients, look, I don't think there's room here for us to negotiate. So just knowing what the best strategy is when you're signing up with a new contract is so great. I wish I had that when I was doing my transitions. So keep in mind that success occurs when opportunity meets preparation. I don't think it's the first time I say this on this podcast. I have it written here in front of me, but it's so true. Success occurs when opportunity meets preparation. And I will be here for you with weekly podcasts. There are lots of content on my website, both free and my services. And I really do hope that with all of this information, you will be better prepared for the next stage of your career. It's exciting.
Renata: It's exciting to plan ahead and to take control, you know, take control back. It's your career. It’s your salary. It’s where you spend most of your day. Even if you're working from home, apparently, we're working even longer hours from home. So it's important to take control. And that's what I hope that you do. And I'm here for you. So if you want to learn more from me, go to my website, https://www.renatabernarde.com , continue listening to this podcast. It's such a, you know, pleasure for me to almost every day, wake up and say great emails or messages saying, Oh, I listened to it, I've listened to your whole catalog, and then I got a job and thank you. I got a message from New Zealand the other day saying thank you, got a job, have been listening to your podcast. It made a huge difference. It's so good. You have no idea how much it warms my heart. So thank you to all of you listeners who are following me on this project. I love it. Talk to you soon. Bye for now.
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.
Contact Renata Bernarde
I’m determined to help you! I want you to feel empowered, nail your next job, and have the career you want.
My free resources for job hunters: The Optimized Job Search: Weekly Schedule & Masterclass.
Learn more about my services, courses, and group coaching: RenataBernarde.com