Recently I was invited to speak on Broad Radio, with Jo Stanley taking about Women & Careers at and beyond midlife (35years +) To listen visit YouTube Broad Radio Episode 7 with Guests Marina Go, Kym O’Leary & Kelly Magowan – YouTube
The reality is virtual meetings are here to stay, and no doubt we will find ourselves during our work week in both physical and virtual meetings moving forward. What is interesting from my experience is that some of the negative behaviours from office meetings seem to be just as prevalent in virtual meetings. I will explore these later. I am also shocked to see how so many professionals seem to have forgotten about their personal brand and their audience and the fact that they are at work! It does not take much to set your home office and yourself up for success.
While I appreciate that there are many articles and posts about setting yourself up on Zoom and the like, it does not seem that many people are taking action from them! The amount of ultra-casual folks who look like they have literally just rolled out of bed, sitting in dimly lit, messy rooms with poor sound quality for meetings confounds me. As such I have done a quick list of how to set yourself up if your concerned about having and keeping your professional personal brand. (There might be financial or physical limitations in implementing the below, but it is important you address which ones you can – it all helps)
Physical Basics of Virtual Set Ups
- Head positioning: have your screen set up at eyeline, use books or a computer or laptop stand to have it set up correctly with your head centered
- Backdrop: a professional backdrop matters, no one wants to see a messy room unless there is a before and after shot! Use a blank screen, virtual backdrop, wall etc. Keep it professional and neat!
- Sound & lighting: invest in a studio selfie light stand (Kmart sells these for under $15), set up your computer with a lamp behind it, and your light stand to create a professional look. Use ear-phones if your laptop / computer has a tinny sound. Watch this short youtube video on lighting to learn more. HOW TO LOOK BETTER ON ZOOM [ How to Light & Angle Your Screen to Look Your Best] – YouTube
- Presentation matters: think about your personal brand, how do you normally dress for work? Make the same effort when presenting from home. People can make the choice to focus on this or not however when it comes to your career think about your audience and personal brand and what makes sense. Dress for your next job, or at least your job when you went into an office!
Once you have a great professional physical set up, the next step is how you show up and present yourself during the meeting. Ideally the boss or the meeting organizer should be agreeing with the team on setting the expectations for the meeting. If done up front the meetings will be far more productive. Encourage the team to do regular debriefs about what is working well and what can be improved in the virtual meetings. It is a learning process for everyone.
Setting the Virtual Meeting Expectations
- Be on time: generally in the west it is disrespectful to be late for meetings in person as much as it is virtually. Everyone is busy and in turns makes the effort to be on time. People who are frequently late for meetings could be using it as a power play or are maybe disorganised, rude or it may be a cultural difference. It is important to understand the why before judging the behaviours. The group can collectively call out the behaviour or the leader of the group once the ground rules have been established. If it is the boss then, you likely have a leadership problem.
- Stick to the schedule: if the meeting is scheduled for 30 minutes ensure it stays to this and have an agenda that is shared prior to the meeting. Even have a person monitor the chat, agenda and the time. This can be rotated each meeting. When meetings go over, it can be seen as disrespectful and unprofessional. Move anything that is not relevant to the meeting to another time and carry what needs to be carried over. It puts those who showed up on time and who manage their diary well in an uncomfortable position having to leave at the pre-agreed meeting time, which should not be the case.
- Listen to others: as with offline meetings there tends to be the same voices that dominate the conversations. Which is not a problem so long as the rest of the group has an opportunity to have input. As a group consider using the chat as another ways for people to be included in the meeting and have someone monitor the chat to share the other comments and ideas that are being shared. As the wonderful quote goes – “If you don’t know what an extrovert is thinking you were not listening. If you don’t know what an introvert is thinking you did not ask?” Be sure to facilitate meetings in a way where everyone’s voice can be heard, not just the loudest person in the room! Create a psychologically safe team environment where people feel comfortable sharing. Most of the time everyone will have something of value to contribute if they feel safe to do so. More than ever before with so many people experiencing loneliness and anxiety due to covid we need to be more considered about ensuring our team meetings are places for work and building positive connections.
- Screens on or off: meeting participants need to decide as a group if they are comfortable having screens on or off. In addition, the same applies with the sound. In physical meetings we are expected to show up physically likewise online. If you need to turn your screen off for any reason, notify the meeting participants in the chat (i.e. Will be back in a moment for x,y, z reason). If you are requested to join the meeting you need to be there fully, not having your screen and sound off doing other things. This could indicate any number of things – you should not have accepted the meeting request, you don’t value the other meeting participants time, you should not have been invited to the meeting in the first place, your disengaged and in the wrong job, etc.
If you are called upon to present to a group, deliver a presentation or interview there are a few things you can do to make a more positive impact.
Presenting to the audience
- Look at the camera: you have to work extra hard to engage a virtual audience, one way to do this is to look at the camera when you are speaking. It is hard to hold a groups attention at the best of times, so when you are speaking looking down, out the window, at your dog or children this will ensure you lose them. Consider your eye contact, tone of voice and the energy you project.
- Rehearse your presentation: if you are sharing information, delivering a presentation or interviewing you can rehearse both what you are going to say and show. Including practicing each of the technical steps on the computer – shifting screens, recordings etc. Do a run through so you are not caught out during the real thing. You can even record yourself to see how you come across.
- Mix it up: invite questions comments, experiences. Show videos or clips if relevant. Keep it interactive where you can. Less slides and more engagement. Silence is also ok. Give people time to think. Leverage polls, the chat box and the break-out rooms for people to engage and explore the topic in more detail. Allow people to connect and go deeper. If things are kept too transactional you will lose your audiences attention very quickly.
- Consider your communication & interaction style: when presenting reflect on how you generally walk into a room, set up to present, how you engage with the audience, the early arrivals, ask questions, use your body, your language and your tone of voice. These can translate into virtual presenting sometimes in a positive way and sometimes in a negative way. Think about your audience and the best way to engage with them, which may require you to adjust your style somewhat. You need to work harder to engage with a virtual audience and create a safe and dynamic space. For example – if you are at a standing desk and leaning over your desk and taking up the screen with your head and upper body, the impression that the viewer gets is of someone looking down and talking down to them. If you add to this a strong directive tone of voice, the result can be one of dominating or intimidating the audience. If you are trying to create a collaborative team for example this approach would not be advisable. Reflect on how you typically show up – are you looking at the camera front and center, are you looking down at your keyboard or are you looking down to your audience. What tone of voice are you using, can you be heard? Are you asking questions and listening or are you directing and dominating the meetings?
While everyone is adjusting to working remotely and virtual meetings most of the rules from face to face meetings apply, with a few new ones. Be sure to consider your audience and how you are engaging with them and don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. We are all on a learning journey with this new way of working.
I would love to any tips, advice or experience of virtual meetings and presentations here that may help others.
It is not news for any professionals or executives who are job seeking that job ads are down. In turn, recruitment agencies are reporting being down on assignments by 60-70%. Of the roles being advertised, many are being pulled at different stages of the hiring process and, some are of questionable authenticity (which has always been the case). What’s left is a small amount of job ads where an appointment will ultimately be made.
Given what the market is doing, it is easy for job seekers to become disillusioned about their job prospects, particularly in the short term. I would encourage you to look at the bigger picture and the next 6-12 months when there will be a more positive picture and what you can do to position yourself well for this time. It is going to require a much more strategic approach and less applying online to job ads, which tends to be the default of most job seekers and it is not working anymore.
The Job Search Game Has Changed
Job ads have traditionally been the go-to source for recruiters to advertise roles. However, particularly with professional and executive level roles, LinkedIn and the Seek Profile Talent offering has changed things.
Shrinking Job Ads
While recruiters will post job ads, they are not as reliant on them anymore as there are many more services to use that get good results.
When they post a job ad, the recruiter will get 150-200 plus applicants, which creates a big administrative process of potentially replying to every applicant, returning 100 calls per job ad and so on. They have a big pool of applicants to whittle down to 5-10. The recruitment process is an exclusionary one. They are looking for reasons to knock your application out of the game to get it down to the last few to call and take through to interview.
This is done in a number of ways – including by parsing software that looks for key words and humans that look for key words that match the clients job brief. The human may be an experienced recruiter, or an administrative assistant who has little understanding of the role and your experience. At this point in the process, there is a high probability that you are included or eliminated if the wording you have used and/or your experience matches the brief. It has nothing to do with your capability. It is simply a case of ‘how does your experience compare with the client brief?’ How close a match is it? If it is not next to 100% you will not progress to interview stage.
It is important to remember that the recruiter has a detailed client job brief that they must match if they want to get paid and remain employed.
Warning – not all job ads are authentic. Be sure to only apply for job ads that have considerable detail and only meet with recruiters who can provide information about the organisation they are hiring for, position descriptions etc.
The growth of LinkedIn has been terrific as it has forced job seekers to look beyond having often a dry and traditional resume that details their past work history. LinkedIn is a more dynamic way for job seekers to sell their experience and potential. It is also more empowering in that if you have a great LinkedIn profile it enables you to be found and approached about jobs, rather than having to chase job opportunities which can be exhausting and demotivating.
The purpose of your LinkedIn profile is therefore different. It is to be found. So, your profile needs to be geared up for this if you want to receive approaches from hiring managers and recruiters about the jobs your targeting.
Recruiters are now heavily using LinkedIn as the numbers make sense for them. They can reach out to 20 plus candidates and will hear back from two thirds of them. They then can do a phone screen and take 5 of the candidates to interview. The administrative process is shortened significantly they still get the talent and get paid by the client.
The take-away here is you still need a great resume plus you need a great LinkedIn profile.
Staying Positive & Focused During Your Job Search
Even the most resilient job seeker can find the emotional journey of job seeking a tiring and testing battle.
To show up every day and put yourself, your resume, and your LinkedIn profile out in the marketplace for job opportunities is taxing, particularly now with so few jobs at the professional and executive level. There is the continual rejection with smatterings of hope as you get called in for interviews.
Certainly, keep up the activity as it is essential, however be mindful of how and where you dedicate your time.
Below are some suggestions for how to spend your time that will help you get that next job.
Get to know a lot of recruiters – recruiters are busy people however they are also there to help you. Get to know a lot of them (12+) and build solid relationships. Keep in touch. They do want you to keep in touch as they need you. Even if it takes them awhile to get back to you.
Spend less time applying online – while it seems easy in theory to apply online, unless you fit the job brief 100%, don’t bother applying. Each day you spend applying for a job ad is often a waste of a day. Also, don’t apply for jobs your overqualified for they will never consider your application.
Networking matters – while you don’t want to hear it, now is the time to be networking and building up your networks for the future. Companies are hiring directly – if they are hiring and a great way to get in is through referrals be it for contract or permanent roles. Leverage your work colleagues, former bosses, university alumni contacts and more. You need to be out there creating networks and in turn opportunities for yourself.
Look after your mental & physical wellbeing – it is hard work job seeking and the days can blend into weeks when applying online for job ads. Don’t. Make sure you have a routine each day that involves your job search, exercise, catching up with others, networking, researching, hobbies, study, volunteer etc. You want to be in a positive state of mind when you get called for interviews and present your best self!
Have a support group – it is tough togo it alone in thismarket. Be sure to ask for help, speak with family and friends about how they can support you. Meet up with others you know job searching and help one another. Go along to networking events, seminars, presentations etc. If you need further support engage a counsellor or career coach.
You will get a great job or contract however it is less likely to happen if you spend 80% of your time applying for online job ads. The market has changed and how companies source talent has shifted significantly. Be sure to approach it strategically and give yourself the best chance of success.
Most importantly remember, how long it takes you to get your next job is not a reflection of how employable you are.
Complimentary Live Workshop
- Keen to learn more about how you can improve your job search odds?
Join us in August 2020 for ‘The Job Search Game Has Changed! How to Stay Motivated & Get That Next Role’ live workshop. This is a complimentary 1 Hour event. We ran the workshop in June & the feedback was very positive.
“I just wanted to thank you for such an informative, punchy session. More advice in certain respects than I have received through outplacement!” Jane
“Thank you for such a great workshop.” David
EMAIL – Nicole, email@example.com to register your interest
It is easy to get overwhelmed by all the models and theories around change, stress, emotional intelligence and so on. Particularly during the current climate of uncertainty, heightened stress and endless challenges at home and work.
I always find ‘The Response Scenario Triangle’ one of the most effective and useful models for understanding how we typically respond during times of stress, change or conflict. It is such an accessible model for people, and one that can be applied quickly throughout the day when we find ourselves defaulting to unhelpful responses or behaviours. It is also useful to gain greater insight into our bosses and colleague’s behaviours, especially when they are under stress!
Take 5 minutes to think about how you typically respond when your stressed?
Where do you go to first? Action, Emotion, Thinking?
Example: Action, I like to be busy and feel as though I am dealing with the problem in a direct and tangible way. I just jump in.
Why do you go there?
Example: It gives me a sense of control initially, forces me to not to dwell on how I am thinking or feeling about a situation. I like to be busy doing. It is where I am most comfortable.
How long do you typically stay there for? What makes you leave that position and move into the next phase?
Example: often too long! I will tend to go to the position of Thinking when what I am doing is not working or be bringing about the right results I desire as quickly as I want them. Or, when it is pointed out to me that I have overlooked something. Then I will move to the Thinking phase. I go to emotion last, and only if I have too! I do not like to focus on how I am feeling and the emotions of others too much. This is where I am least comfortable.
Having reflected on how you typically respond to change, conflict and/or stress, what have you observed?
- Do you miss any of the three phases?
- What can you commit to doing to ensure you approach change and conflict in a more emotionally intelligent way?
- If you are not sure how you respond, ask friends, family members, and colleagues what they observe about your behaviours when under stress.
The purpose of this activity is to learn more about your default responses to stress, change and conflict and to put in place strategies to address those unhelpful responses or behaviours that impact us and those around us.
At Diversitas (Div-er-sit-as) the Latin word for “diversity” our focus and expertise is around the value of diversity in thinking, cultural perspective, personality, interaction styles, experience and creativity that make the world of work rewarding. We have a track record of successfully supporting organisations to develop their leaders and create engaged and productive teams. To find out more about our leadership and team development programs contact our team.
We received such positive feedback about the live workshops we ran in April 2020 , that we are running them again for those who could not make the April workshops.
“I just wanted to say a big thank you for today. I really enjoyed your session. It reminded me just how powerful this tool is and how under-utilised it is.” Linda
“I really enjoyed the session and also picked up some fabulous new tips. Look forward to participating in any other future ones that you might hold.” Karen
It is not uncommon for people in their mild life (35-55) to consider joining a board or committee. Which makes sense as you have no doubt developed some great skills and experiences that would be highly valuable to an organisation, however, it is difficult to know how to go about securing your first role. It is very much like when you first entered the job market – it was likely a challenge to find that first organisation or person to give you a go!
Before embarking on your board or committee search have a think about the following:
- Why do you really want to join a board or committee? For example: develop new networks, help to make a career transition, apply skills learnt through post grad study, give back to the community etc
- What types of boards or committees are you most interested in, and why? For example: a board position within the disability services area, as I have a family member with a disability and am passionate about the insights and experience, I can bring to improve the services provided.
- What tangible value do you offer? What your transferable skills or key capabilities to a board or committee? If you are not sure do some reflection of your skills and some research on what they look for! For example: Risk & Governance, Finance, Talent Management, Corporate Strategy etc.
There are many channels available to search for board and committee roles. The key really is to select the right channel/s for you and where you are at in your life and career. There are other channels available I have just included those that I have used and can recommend.
Board Membership Organisations
Organisations such as the Australian Institute of Company Directors and Women on Boards are terrific however do require a financial investment to join.
Not for Profit Board & Committee Roles
If you are looking to give back to your community and are happy to start in an unpaid board or committee role, Our Community is fantastic. There is no fee and they offer an extensive range of Board and Committee roles across Not for Profits in Australia. I secured one of my earlier committee roles via this site and to this day am thankful for the opportunity.
Government Board & Committee Roles
For Government related board and committee roles see your local state government site such as Get On Board for the Victorian State Government.
There is the Victorian Women’s Register where women can register there interest in opportunities. Check your state for equivalent government initiatives.
It is important to remember you will need to create a board CV or adapt your general CV to make it relevant for board or committee roles. Also remember, just like when your job searching, a great cover letter is required and reason for why you want to join them and the value you can bring. Boards and committees are just as selective as other employers when looking to appoint talent so be sure to keep this in mind.
Being on a board or committee is a wonderful thing to do both for yourself and the boards or committees you are contributing to. Wishing you the best of luck with securing your first board or committee role.
Unsure if your CV is Board Ready?
Not Sure Your CV is Board Ready? If you are unsure and need support email or call one of our coaches today.
Why Your Big WHY Matters
At least half the working population is not happy at with employee satisfaction survey results ranging from 50-70% of Australian workers are unhappy or dissatisfied with their jobs. It is a sad statistic particularly for Australia which is considered the lucky country where people generally have a lot more choices around education and employment than they do have in many other countries.
So, what keeps at least half the working population in jobs they really don’t enjoy or may even hate? There are many reasons as you can imagine from financial commitments, to lack of confidence, fear and the list goes on. A big reason however is that they don’t know what else they could do, and they don’t know their Big WHY? They have not spent the time reflecting and looking inward to learn more about what a meaningful job or career would look like for them. If you don’t know what your Big WHY or purpose is it is unlikely you will have the motivation and confidence to take action to drive a career change.
The Golden Circle
he work of Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle – starting with why Is a wonderful starting place with a great simple visual model to highlight how it all stems from the centre, in this case your centre. Before we can make a career change, we need to start with our WHY and then we can move outward to the HOW and the WHAT. The work in the ‘The Career Clarity Program’ will help you to clarify your BIG WHY? It will require a lot of drilling down to get to the essence of your Big WHY or purpose. It is very much an iterative process and one that I would encourage you to stick with. You will go through stages of overwhelm and just wanting an answer or direction, the pieces will eventually fall into place if you go with the process.
We can take your Big WHY to a deeper level by using the ‘three whys’ to really define your purpose when it comes to our careers.
For example, you can start by asking why to the first question and drill down 2,3, 4 or even more levels until you get to the deep answer.
- Why do I want to change careers? E.g. I am not challenged or motivated. I know I have more to offer.
- Why am I not feeling challenged or motivated at work? E.g. If I reflect, I don’t think I have ever felt challenged or motivated in my role as an engineer. I cannot recall waking up excited to go to work. I studied and worked in engineering as my parents wanted me to. I did like building things with my hands as a child.
- Why did you like building things as a child? E.g. When I think about it, while I did not mind the ideas and design part of building something, I was much more a get in and build it through trial and error person. I loved the actual building part and using my hands, being hands on and tactile. I don’t get this in my job it is all office based and computer based.
The Golden Circle has three rings, the WHY in the centre which we have explored which is your purpose when it comes to work.
What jobs or careers are aligned with your Why and sense of meaning and purpose you will derive from your work? Remember you will spend 1/3 of your life at work!
The HOW in a career context looks at your process and method of making the career change. This is what the careers work in the ‘The Career Clarity Program’ will take you through the process of how to make the transition, looking at researching industries, exploring study if relevant, career vision and goals, information interviewing, then working on your personal brand and personal branding tools (CV, LinkedIn etc).
The WHAT looks at the results and what you need to do to get these results to achieve your career goals. This is closer to the external world. The WHAT is when you deliver on your goals in the form of networking, interviewing, attending events and all the activities that will lead you to securing the next job or start of a new career path.
Having a Big WHY Focus
‘The Career Clarity Program’ will focus largely on the WHY?
The reason being is that many people skip this step and go straight into the HOW or WHAT. If you don’t have your WHY clear you are unlikely to find a career path that gives you the sense of satisfaction and purpose that you seek. The WHY is the uncomfortable part of the process, yet it is only through this discomfort and reflection that we can look to find the deep answers we desire.
Defining your WHY at a deeper level is the foundation of all the subsequent careers work.
It enables you to find work and a workplace aligned with your values, a place where you can be the ‘true’ you without wasting energy trying to confirm. You will work with purpose and happiness and can achieve your career vision and goals, your definition of success.
The HOW and WHAT will be covered in subsequent programs and/or with your career coach.
To find out more please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0417 330 673.
The Wellness Collective Radio Show, is a show with radio personality Cecelia Ramsdale & Health Educator and Dr. of Chinese Medicine Nat Kringoudis who come together to slice up and serve health and wellness information like never before.
This is a podcast from a couple of years ago, however people may find it helpful in reflecting on their careers (whether currently working or not) and thinking about how they want their work life to look in the future after this global health crisis. It is so important to take stock of what matters most to us and how we want to live and work beyond 2020.
To download this free podcast visit The Wellness Collective
For coaching support & MBTI personality profiling visit us at Diversitas
Traditionally job searching has been something that we do solo. Which makes sense to a degree given we own and manage our careers however good career management is about having a support crew about you also – family, friends, colleagues, mentors, coaches, recruitment consultants you have built solid relationships with and trust.
Online job searching largely is a pretty deflating experience and one that is not good for our confidence. While we may initially get excited about how a job ad reads and feel that is us to a tee, having spent many hours a week online applying for jobs this sense of optimism soon fades. Even if we get a call back or interview here and there, the process leaves most people feeling low. In turn we end up losing our confidence in applying for those more exciting jobs and scale back to those that we can do with our eyes closed. This is not all the time however in my experience personally and with clients I would suggest it is a pretty normal experience for most job seekers.
The above is why we need a support crew to help us with our job searching. We need people who see the best in us and know what we are capable off to push us into applying for those jobs that seem a bit out of our experience yet largely match up with our transferrable skills. We need to have them encouraging us to contact recruiters and companies direct to network and to apply for those jobs we would like to but are too afraid to for fear of rejection.
Job searching takes time whether your employed at the time or not. For professionals and executives, it is about 6-12 months to secure a new role. This is why you need a support crew to keep you going and staying positive throughout the roller coaster of emotions that is job seeking until you land your next role.
Throughout my career as a coach I have frequently sent friends, family and clients job opportunities that may appear left of field yet thought may be of interest to them to explore. Sometimes this has been successful other times not so much. However, while we know ourselves, we can get stuck in a set way of thinking about ourselves and the jobs we can and cannot do. We get set in our comfort zones with our careers for many reasons, such as fear of failure, lack of confidence, financial commitments, fear of networking etc.
Two of these that I want to focus on are;
- The investments already made in terms of money and time spent on education & training to get where we are – logic tells us it does not make sense to change (even if we are not happy)
- The addiction of a monthly pay cheque
Below I have fleshed out these two reasons in a bit more detail as to why we stay with the jobs we have done before in terms of our applications. There are a multitude of different reasons why this occurs however the two I have highlighted are those that perhaps don’t receive enough consideration and are where having a support crew can help us with our job search.
- Investment in Current Career
A common reason why job seekers are reluctant to look a bit left of field is that we have created an identify for ourselves as X. We have spent money and time in educating ourselves, joining industry associations, attending functions and building (actively or passively) a personal brand as X. A such we are often reluctant to change our set path, particularly once we have achieved a management level position or above. Regardless of how happy we are in the role we stick with what we know and doing the same or similar role. Having another person to job search with may encourage you to take a few risks with your applications and networking.
- The Addiction of the Monthly Pay Cheque
A quote from Tim Ferris that I heard on one of his podcasts was “that one of the greatest addictions people have is a monthly pay cheque”. If you ponder this thought a moment it is true. Another reason why we stay locked in our comfort zones when job searching. That desire to fix the addiction with another job quickly! Which is in part also due to the reality of living expenses. Having a job search support crew to check in with, challenge you a bit can also maybe help you consider other job search options that the ‘addition’ may not allow you to see.
It is good to think of having a support person or crew as someone to help open your eyes to more career possibilities – to take you out of the dark and set way of thinking about your career and skills and to show you new opportunities.
Tools to Help
So how can you help yourself or others who are job searching and loosing motivation?
LinkedIn now offers some great info on Job Ads about Skills relevant for the roles. As your no doubt aware with the job recommendations they send you based on your profile they send you mostly things aligned with what you have done before! Not ideal however a reason for us to send on jobs to friends, family and colleagues we think may resonate with them.
I always suggest if applying online look to have an 80%+ plus match. Knowing that hirers and recruiters are looking for a 100% match to meet their clients wish list! If networking for your job search or researching new careers you can look for a lower match 70% as growth in a role is important.
ONET & Research
A great site for looking at what jobs really involve is ONET https://www.onetonline.org/ it is a way to confirm or dispel your thoughts about particular jobs you can and cannot do as it details the skills that are most relevant for the positions, key tasks etc. Too often people have un-justified perceptions of what jobs involve, without doing enough research. Expand your thinking and seek extra information about jobs, professions, training required etc.
Email / Phone
Don’t be afraid to ask friends, family and colleagues for help when job searching. Be it job ads they see that maybe of interest, coming around one night to help you screen job ads or send applications, motivate you to network etc.
Job searching can be such a lonely and emotional process. Consider we have support from family and friends in many other areas of our lives and that this too is an area of our lives where success and confidence come from the support of others. Identify a couple of key people to support you if your job searching or if you know someone job searching why not reach out and offer to help.
Wellbeing and Confidence Coach, Emma Delahey, says its important to prioritise self-care while job searching. “Being active in other areas of your life can help keep you motivated and positive during your job search. Make exercise a priority and perhaps even set yourself some small goals. It’s a good time to try a new activity, train for an event, join a sports team or commit to regular exercise with a friend. Equally important is spending time with family and friends. Regular catch ups provide fun and care. And helping a family member, friend or neighbour in need is a wonderful way to support your community and lift your spirits.
“Even though you’re focussed on a big goal, to find the right job, remember to find your joy too. Continue to do things that engage you and make you smile, whether it’s cooking, writing, gardening or the playing the guitar. And try to savour job search wins, both big and small. Feel proud of your well-crafted resume, networking efforts, interview preparation and professional follow-up. Relish the positive feedback, second interview and interest in your expertise.
“If you have moments when you feel discouraged, remember the job search experience is universal. Show yourself kindness with how you talk to, encourage and comfort yourself. Try to appreciate the great things in your life: family, friends, health, interests and sunny days. Perhaps you could write/type/draw/ a ‘hit list’, where you record personal and professional achievements over the past few years, list your top personal and professional strengths, note some challenges you’ve overcome, and jot down your favourite compliments. This exercise will enhance your confidence, give you a happy boost, and provide an uplifting resource to draw on.”
Have you helped someone with their job search before & how did it go? Would you offer to help a friend, family or colleague with their job search?
“Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.” ― Jim Morrison
As humans, we can be skeptical about new things as we assume that they will negatively impact our lives. For most of us, change represents different degrees of ‘fear’. Fear is a double-edged sword, while it can guarantee our safety as a primal instinct, it can stop us from having wonderful life experiences. This is certainly true when it comes to our work lives.
Throughout my work as a Career & Executive Coach, for nearly all the clients I have worked with, the topic of ‘fear’ in its different guises has arisen. This fear has led to them stuck in jobs and career paths that provide little satisfaction beyond the regular pay cheque.
According to my experience, the sources of the problem can be from fear of:
- the unknown
- what others will think or acceptance
- loss of status
- loss of income
- wasted education
- being a fake
And the list goes on……….
Another area of ‘fear’ in the career context is other’s ‘projecting’ their ‘fear’ onto those who looking to;
- Take a career break
- Change careers
- Engage in further study
- Start their own business
- Create a portfolio career
Take a moment to reflect, as you may have experienced this yourself or un-intentionally done this to others.
It is not uncommon for people looking to make career changes, to find those around them (friends, family, colleagues) less supportive than they would have imagined about their career choices. There are certainly many reasons why others do this, however, their comments are more often than not based around their own ‘fears’ which they project onto or transfer to the person looking to make changes.
For example, a son who is taking a career break from his engineering career may find his parents ‘acting’ supportive in some ways, while they also make unsettling comments around the length of time he has been unemployed and the impact it will have on him ever securing another ‘good’ job. He may also find his friends and colleagues questioning his decision to take a career break for such an extended period of time and what this will do to his career prospects if you’re out of the industry for too long etc. The son, while initially feeling reasonably confident about his decision to take the career break, becomes increasingly unsure about this decision if he listens to other’s fears.
In this case, the parents fear is coming from a place of parental concern about their child. From a desire to protect them. Or, it may come from a fear of what others will say if their son has a lower status career or is unemployed for a lengthy stretch of time.
The comments from friends and colleagues are often coming from their own fears, which they are projecting. It could be their anxiety levels if they did not have secure employment or what others would think if they were not working. Or it could be a genuine concern for their friend’s / colleague’s welfare. They could also be coming from a place of jealousy, in that while they are not happy in their career, they don’t have the money or confidence to take a career break and potentially make a career transition too.
It is normal to have fears around making major changes in our work lives. What we don’t expect when we decide to make changes, is how much the comments of others who doubt and question us, make us question our decisions.
3 Steps to Managing Your Fears
- Explore fears (see the 2 activities below)
- Devise strategies to manage your fears
- Seek support to work through key fears
When making any changes in your work life be sure to spend some time reflecting and understanding your own fears or blockers as they are sometimes referred to.
Also, be mindful to monitor the comments of those around you from friends, family, and colleagues. Don’t take on board their ‘fears’, instead focus on strategies to overcome yours and even call out unhelpful comments and advice.
Homework – for those who dare to look their fears in the eye and move forward!
When it comes to fear holding you back from making a change, below are 4 questions to ask yourself? Grab a pen and paper or your computer and write down your responses.
- How much do you want to make this change in your work & life?
o Is it a burning desire or nice to do! If there is no drive then re-assess what you think you want.
- What are you willing to give up, to make it happen?
o No pain no gain, everything is a trade-off and sacrifices will need to be made.
- How uncomfortable are you willing to be in order to make this change?
o On a scale of 1-10, 10 being willing to walk on hot coals! You need this to be 5+!
- Who is going to support you and how do you need them to support you?
o Who is your support crew? Great things don’t happen alone! Find people who are true supporters.
The answers to these questions can help you create your strategy to look through the fear and focus on your long-term desires or vision.
Fear & Blockers Activity Sheet
We also have a free Diversitas Blockers Activity Sheet you can download in the resources area of the Diversitas site to help you identify your top fears (what are real and what are perceived) and put in place steps to manage them more effectively. You will be surprised by how helpful these activities will be to your confidence and overcoming and addressing key fears that are holding back your career and happiness at work.
If you find you need further support with identifying and managing your fears or Career & Executive Coaching support, please give us a call or email to discuss your situation and how we can help you in achieving your goals.
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” ― Nelson Mandela