Your career does not have to be static. I wish the eighteen years old me struggling to figure out what degree to pursue would have known this, ha! Choosing a career path can and often does feel very binding, and while it is, to an extent, it’s important to know that the career path you start with doesn’t have to be what you do for the rest of your life. Our passions, interests, and strengths evolve, and sometimes, that informs our decision to pursue different careers.
Many of the clients we have coached to transit from one phase of their career to the next, agree that knowing your strengths and unique ways of contribution is a prerequisite of making this life-changing decision.
Today, we outline below 3 ways you can discover your core strengths and why it’s important to have this knowledge before embarking on a career transition journey.
1. Seek honest feedback – When considering transitioning into a new career, asking for honest feedback from people you have a trusting relationship with is key. This could be your supervisor, peers, clients, or anyone else who cares about seeing you grow in your career. You want to make sure you’re talking to people who care about your growth so that they’re honest about your strengths and areas of development. This is why it’s important to cultivate meaningful, trusting relationships with the people we engage within our professional lives. Usually, people around you will have observations that can give you additional data to use in making career transition decisions. Here is a guiding article you can use to get honest feedback, spoiler alert; it takes time, building trust and effort.
2. Follow what keeps you in-flow/energized – As explained here, “flow is the mental state in which a person is engaged in an activity where they are fully immersed with a feeling of energized focus, involvement, and success in the process of the activity”. What are these activities for you? How do they fit into the goals you have set for your career goals and the next career you’d like to have? Simply, what type of tasks do you enjoy doing and how can you tap further into those strengths to create a foundation that will help you begin the career transition process? This also makes it easier/smoother and you pick up things faster, which helps you identify what next steps you need to take, for instance, if you enjoy sharing knowledge and information, you could reach out to a coach in your area of interest who can be your mentor and hopefully connect you to learning opportunities, or you could start a blog or social media page where you share said content and seek engagement.
3. Work with a career coach – Working with a coach enables one to reassess their strengths through the provision of tools and resources customized for this very need and one is able to get an objective perception of their strengths. Further, one can also learn more about the skills needed for them to thrive in the next phase of their career and know which best next steps they should take to fill any gaps before or during the transition period; this usually will include setting clear goals, coming up with an action plan, and the confidence to pursue these goals. We wrote more about the importance of working with a career coach here. This is a good way to ensure you’re making informed decisions that will ultimately benefit you personally, and professionally.
Looking to transition into a new career and are not sure where to start? Reach out to us today; email@example.com. Follow us on our social media for more similar content: LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube
The hiring process can be and often is an intensive process. In recent years, the selection process for many organizations has grown to include a variety of methods used to assess candidates such as customized application forms, take-home tests, personality tests, and so forth. This of course has made the selection process more competitive for candidates.
For candidates who get to make it to the shortlisted stage, the hope is always that they will get hired, and for some, this ends up being the case. However, when one finds themselves being in the shortlist for different organizations several times and never getting hired, it’s fair to wonder what might be the cause of that. If you have experienced that, below are four reasons that explain why that may be happening to you.
1. Strong candidate pool – This is the most obvious reason. Different criteria set by the hiring team determine who the best candidate is; how they conducted themselves throughout the selection process, how clear and concise a candidate communicated, whether they connect to the vision of the organization, and so forth. Consistency in all of this matters because the hiring team uses all the stages of the selection process to make an informed decision. A candidate may have appeared great in the first two interviews, but showcase blindspots in the last interview or interaction with organization team members that the hiring team may not overlook, such as how their communication style to team members does not align to the culture of the organization, as will be discussed in point three below.
2. References done were not as optimistic as the candidate – Usually the last stage in the selection process, sometimes the referees you provided might provide the hiring manager with details that raise concerns about your candidature. At this point, the hiring team has to weigh your application against other candidates into consideration. Such concern may not necessarily be dramatic such as past conflict or poor performance. It could easily be something like a candidate needing a lot of supervision, and in a role where one may be required to work autonomously, this may be a problem and therefore, your chances of getting hired may reduce depending on how the cons in the reference checks weigh against the pros.
3. Incompatibility in culture fit – Many organizations hold this criteria in high regard because it determines how well a candidate may fit within the organization, how they will interact with the rest of the team(s), and how committed they are to the achieving the goals of the organization. Depending on; the managerial style you prefer, whether or not you prefer too much structure or can navigate little to no structure, results of your psychometric test if any, the kind of questions you ask, etc, the hiring team is able to establish whether or not you’re able to succeed in their current set up.
4. It has nothing to do with you – Yes this is also true a lot of the times! Sometimes, things such as the salary budget being allocated elsewhere, withdrawal of huge funds or sudden loss of revenue, your potential immediate supervisor resigning thus you not having anyone to guide you through the new role among other internal changes. Certain organizations may be transparent with you and inform you that they suddenly lost revenue/funding, or that they are undergoing/underwent a restructuring that eliminated the role. In conclusion, sometimes, it absolutely has nothing to do with you, and it does not take away from your qualifications and fit for the role. And while it’s not easy to believe that this may be the case, always live room for the possibility that it was not your fault that you were disqualified. This will allow you to approach other opportunities confidently and with optimism.
Our job hunt hustles section contains multiple blogs and resources that will aid you in succeeding in the selection process if you’re in the job hunting phase. If interested in our career coaching services, email us today, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The world has certainly changed for many of us, and as always, we continue to hope that we’ll see an end to this sooner rather than later. For organizations that are still hiring, assessing candidates virtually is now the new norm, and passing the phone interview is a key step to making a good impression as a job seeker and hopefully proceeding to the next stages of the selection process.
Usually, the phone interview stage is where candidates are pre-screened by the employer to make sure their experience, skills and knowledge are aligned with the needs of the organization. So how do you make sure you excel and proceed to the next steps?
Below are a few tips you can use;
- Review the JD – Before the phone interview, review the JD to familiarize yourself with the skills and qualifications required of the position you applied for, and note down how your competencies align to the same. During the conversation, you need to be able to articulate why you should be considered for the position, thus having the information at the tip of your fingertips is critical.
- Research the organization – This will always be a pertinent requirement. Make sure you understand the services/products offered by the organization, their vision, history, etc. Having this knowledge will help you customize your responses and tie the value you would add to the aspirations they have as an organization, come up questions you can ask for anything that may be unclear and also assess if you would fit into the organization culture. Here’s a guide you can use.
- Prepare answers for possible questions – Usually, the first phone interview can be fairly brief, so you want to make sure you’re being very concise and are answering questions as asked. Because it’s a phone interview, research potential questions on the internet and draft up your responses so that you’re not struggling or taking too long to answer the questions. Make sure your motivation to join the organization, your list of accomplishments, skills, and the value you would bring to the organization are noted down and are clear and persuasive.
- Find a destruction free environment – Considering most of us are at home right now, not all of us live alone. Therefore, if you’re living with others. please inform them early in advance and right before your interview that you’ll be on a call and they should not destruct you. Even if you live alone, make sure you find a place where there is minimal to no noise coming from outside that would hinder you from having a peaceful conversation with the interviewer, remember, first impressions are everything.
- Have a list of questions for the interviewer(s) – It’s important to keep in mind that the ending of the interview matters as much as your responses to the questions asked. This is an opportunity to blow away the interviewer and make them shortlist you for the next stage, so your questions have to be brilliant, and not having any questions is a potential dis qualifier. We recently highlighted 3 questions you should ask after every job interview in an article, have a read. You can, of course, find many more questions on google 🙂 so don’t be afraid to utilize it.
Other tips include:
– Confirm the interview date and time and put it into your calendar to avoid any confusion.
– Find out who you you will be talking to. You can research them on the organization website or on LinkedIn to learn more about them and their role in the organization, do NOT request them on Facebook :), too soon.
– Ask about the next possible steps after the interview. Although you won’t find out whether you were shortlisted immediately, it’s good to tentatively plan and know when you can expect to hear from the employer.
What other tips have helped you excel in a phone interview?
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If you’ve experienced a performance review, then you know how daunting it can be. This is especially exacerbated if the review does not go as well as you had hoped. Ever been told that your performance did not meet the expectations set for you at your job? It’s not a great feeling, is it?
However, it does not have to be the end of the world. There are certain things you can do to make sure you don’t end up losing your job, which is the worst-case scenario. So how do you work your way back to getting a glowing performance review?
1. Understand your blind spots – Take time to reflect on the feedback, don’t let your first reaction be defensiveness. Pay attention to the feedback and take time to internalize it without hurrying to point a finger to other factors. Then, ask for clarifications where need be, understand how your shortcomings may have affected expected outcomes and the impact they may have caused to your department or organization. This can all feel very uncomfortable, however, it’s a critical step that will feed into how you can work on improving your performance.
2. Create SMART goals – Once you have understood what past behaviors led to a bad performance review, it’s time to come up with clear goals that will meet set expectations, to improve. This should be a collaborative process, and so you should work with your supervisor to draft them, leaving no room for assumption. Ideally, you should take the initiative in coming up with these goals because this would make you feel in charge of your development plan, and also shows that you understand what areas you need to work on. Here is a guide to creating SMART goals you can use, which is also applicable to managers/supervisors, for any of you reading this.
3. Have your own Personal Improvement Plan (PIP) – What is a PIP? It’s a tool designed to help you work towards achieving specific goals. It’s a clear plan/strategy for how determined goals will be achieved; what resources will be needed, support required and from whom, expected performance outcomes (KPIs) and timelines, and should have an agreement on when reviews to track progress can be done. You can find multiple templates here. It’s important to point out that PIPs can also be used in other cases, such as when you’re transitioning into a new role, or you just began working in a new organization. In fact, we recommend you try this because it’s a good way of documenting your progress and assessing your performance on your own, in case this is not a standard practice where you work.
4. Put in the work – This simply means that you need to be intentional in the steps you take towards achieving expected goals. This could include but is not limited to; taking up online courses to improve on particular skills and setting aside time to do so, asking a peer to help you learn more about a certain area that you’re weak in, or even shadowing them in certain tasks, etc. If there are any resources that your supervisor should provide you with, make sure you ask of them early in advance, preferably, as soon as you have your PIP created and approved.
5. Ask for feedback periodically – Ideally, the onus is on you to request for feedback from your supervisor(s). Markup days on your calendar (informed by timelines on PIP) where you can talk to them about their views on your progress thus far. This will let you know whether you are on the right track, or if there needs to be a revision of set expectations. You can also request feedback from your peers, who may be helping you in this journey.
Ever received a not so stellar performance review? How did things go?
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Interested in working with a career coach? Contact us today; email@example.com!
Has a recruiter approached you before on LinkedIn? If you answered yes, this means you’re probably doing LinkedIn right. If not, and you’re currently job hunting, you’re in luck today.
Here’s a cheat sheet you can use to up your game and have recruiters approach you.
1. Your profile picture – This goes without saying. A professional profile picture is the equivalent of “first impressions matter” and determines whether or not a recruiter will approach you. While a cute family picture may look cute on Facebook, the same should not apply on LinkedIn seeing as it’s a professional platform mostly centered around career-related content and information.
2. Headline – Recruiters use diverse headlines to filter out profiles or industries they’re hiring for. It’s critical that your headline depict the kind of career path or industry you’re in so that you come up in the search results. Avoid using complicated terms or jargon to not hurt your chances of being discovered.
3. Summary – This feature lets you highlight and sum up your career experiences, accomplishments and qualifications, and possibly, what you’re looking to do next. Don’t know how to create a good eye-catching summary? Here’s an article with 5 templates you can use to update your summary if you haven’t already.
4. Career experiences – This includes; your position titles, description of your responsibilities as well as accomplishments and how long you’ve been/were there. Just having your position titles and period of time you were there is not enough. A recruiter wants to get the full list of your work experiences so that they can make an informed decision of how to approach you, or if they need to.
Other things recruiters look for on your profile are:
- Your location; determines how a recruiter should approach you depending on the location of the job they’re hiring for
- Listed skills, endorsements and recommendations from people who have worked with you in the past
- Education and any professional certifications, including any affiliations to professional bodies
- Whether you’re open to new opportunities
Currently, job hunting and wondering how you can utilize LinkedIn to land your next job? Read our blog for 5 tips you can use to possibly get your dream job.
Ok guys, how did you get into the career you are into today?
Although rarely admitted, one of the underlying reasons that people end up in careers that are misaligned to their true selves lies in the fact that our careers are often imposed on us by our guardians, and/or though sometimes rebellious we still manage to succumb to family pressure because that line of work is “marketable” or “it runs in the family”.
Feeling like you belong in the above categories? Don’t worry! Today, there are numerous tools that can help you start gaining clarity to guide your career decisions. We found some to kick you off!
* Sparketype is a self-discovery tool that helps you understand what keeps you in flow. You can then use this information to explore the right jobs/tasks for you. More details here
* In his popular TED talk – Start with Why; Simon Sinek expounds the importance of asking yourself the question; WHY? In his case studies; he shows how important it is for you to feel connected to what you do and how this inspires others. Listen and reflect discover what really matters for you!
* Want to learn more about your personal preferences and tap into these to add value to your team? What gives you energy? Understand how you make decisions? Take the classic Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Assessment here today and start your journey to self-discovery!
And of course, if you want in-depth analysis and support in figuring out your career direction, feel free to talk to us today! Wondering what to do with your career? Halla at firstname.lastname@example.org