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How To Expand Your Job Search & Increase Your Confidence & Resilience    

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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;

  1. 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)
  2. 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

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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.

Self-Care

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?

Co-Author:  Emma Delahey,Wellbeing and confidence coach for women

emmadelahey1@gmail.com   @emma_delahey

 

Is Fear Holding Back Your Career? How to Identify Where It Is Coming From & Overcome It!

“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

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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
  • failure
  • success
  • 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.

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3 Steps to Managing Your Fears

  1. Explore fears (see the 2 activities below)
  2. Devise strategies to manage your fears
  3. 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.

 

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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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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+!

  1. 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.

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Coaching Support

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

How to Write a Great Personal Pitch!

You are the product! We are all in the business of Marketing Us!

Most of us are familiar with the Elevator Pitch concept, which was developed as a 30 second (an elevator ride) pitch on your business idea to a potential investor. However, many of us neglect to have our own compelling introduction about who we are (our ‘Personal Pitch’) so that the audience knows who they are engaging with.

The Personal Pitch can be more challenging. Rather than being a business idea, which is somewhat removed from us, the Personal Pitch is about us. Most people do not like talking about themselves. However, to build trust we need to show them our authentic self.

‘Your Personal Pitch is Your Amazing Succinct Career Story’

Your Personal Pitch is a summary of your story about the impact you have made in the world to date, your gifts, and talents, your career dreams and the impact you want to have on the world.  It’s about your core skills, personal attributes, values, achievements and it is important and sometimes hard stuff to share, particularly in 30 seconds! This technique is often adapted to personal introductions when networking, introductions in meetings and interviews.

Sometimes people fail to share because they have not considered it important or relevant. Others know their story well and how they want their story to unfold, yet, lack the confidence to share this with others. Both result in the audience missing out on learning about your ‘value add’ to them. We often forget that the audience needs to know who we are to build trust and assess our competence.

‘Don’t be afraid to capture the magic of who you are, & share it in your pitch’

Here’s an example of a CFO’s Personal Pitch used to introduce themselves to a company who is looking to resolve a problem with data accuracy in their business systems.

Hi, my name is John. For the past 15 years, I have worked with dynamic start- ups in healthcare and helped them commercialize and grow sustainable businesses. Currently, I am a CFO of a dynamic healthcare technology company where I am heavily involved in the Accounting, Strategy and Technology system development. Recently, working with our IT team we have created a new technology to improve the healthcare data accuracy within the public healthcare system by 50%. I am excited about the improved healthcare outcomes it offers as well as the time saved in problem-solving.

Crafting Your Personal Pitch

Crafting your Personal Pitch will take a little bit of time and practice. If done well, it will be instrumental in helping you create wonderful career opportunities. Everyone has an amazing career story to share.  You will be surprised how people are interested to hear your story too. The key is to capture your career story in a succinct engaging manner keeping in mind your audience. If your audience is engaged, they will want to find out more about you.  Which is why you need to take into account every audience. Your Personal Pitch may differ at a casual social networking event, to that of an industry conference.

It is important to remember that your Personal Pitch is your amazing succinct career story.   Do not fall into the trap of letting your education, job title or employers brand overshadow you. For example, when networking in person or on their LinkedIn profile (online business networking) most people state their name, occupation and employer! Avoid this at all costs. Own your Personal Brand and your Personal Pitch.

Below is a template to help you start to craft your own amazing Personal Pitch and capture the magic of you and what you offer to the world of work. It will take a few attempts to get it right and deliver it authentically. The secret to a great personal pitch is that is delivered with confidence, authentic and consistent to your personal brand. We recommend that you practice your pitch to gain confidence. Then see the difference it makes in your engagement with your audience.

Your Personal Pitch Template

Imagine you are going to an event. Think about the specific audience at the event and how you want to position yourself. What outcomes are you seeking? What do you want to share with this audience in your pitch to make your personal brand clear & achieve your outcomes?

  1. Introducing you and your background – name, relevant work experience and education that positions you for the career you have or are looking to have.
  2. The value you bring? – skills & talents, key achievements, personal attributes, networks.
  3. Who you are focused on added value to or fixing problems for? types of problems you have solved in the past, or want to be solving, industries or companies you want to help.

Your Personal Pitch              Now summarize 1+2+3 into a short paragraph (see example above)

 


Personal Branding Coaching Support

Crafting an engaging Personal Pitch is a part of building and sharing your Personal Brand with the right audiences. If you are seeking support around developing your personal brand, contact our Career & Executive Coaches at Diversitas to learn more about how we can help you.

Are Cover Letters really needed in the digital age?

computer and emailsEven though online job applications are now the norm, cover letters are still widely used in the recruitment process. It could be argued that cover letters are more important in the digital age as many candidates are job searching across countries and industries where they are not established. New careers are being created so hirers will be looking for candidates who can clearly demonstrate their aptitude for the role and also why they want the role with some sincerity.

You cannot guarantee that every cover letter will be read thoroughly but many recruiters like to see a cover letter in an application as it shows that the candidate has really thought about why they are a suitable candidate for the role and they have considered why they want to work for your organisation. The secret is to be able to put yourself in the shoes of the hirer. What will make them interested to read your cover letter? The answer is usually some evidence that the candidate understands the role and can explain why they want the role with some authenticity.

A good example of this is from one of my clients who submitted a rushed and blandly written cover letter for an organisation she was very keen to join. She was not shortlisted for that role. After a few months there was another role and I encouraged her to reapply, but this time, write a cover letter that is authentic and accurate. My client wrote a really completing argument on why she wanted the role and why she was a great fit too. Not only she got the interview, she got the job and is still working for the organisation five years later!

The simple rule to follow is that if the hirer asks for a cover letter in your application, then write one! If you do not include a cover letter, you may not be shortlisted for the role.

Even though the cover letter is for the hirer’s purpose, writing a cover letter has many benefits for the candidate, for any level of seniority.

Here are five reasons why we recommend that you write a cover letter for every job application and how the process can be highly beneficial to you:

  1. Check that you are a credible candidate for the role. The primary purpose of a cover letter is for the candidate to describe in their own words how they are a good match for a specific role. i.e. do they have the skills, experience and qualifications needed for this role. Have you checked that you have at least 80% of the requirements listed in the essential criteria? If not, you are probably wasting your time applying for the wrong  roles.
  2. Identifies why you want the role. The process of writing the cover letter will help you to assess why you want the role and why you want to work for that particular organisation. Your enthusiasm for the opportunity can come across in the way you write your cover letter. The hirer will be ‘reading between the lines’ to get an impression of your personality and interest in the role. Focus on writing your cover letter with some enthusiasm and honesty. Tell the reader why you are suitable for the role and why you want it in your own words!
  3. It helps you to be objective at a stressful time. It is widely recognised that job searching can very emotionally challenging. Are you showing your desperation to change jobs or focussing on tangible reasons why you want the role? Many candidates waste time on rushed application and wonder why they get a high number of rejections. One explanation for feeling a fraud or not wanting to talk about yourself is the psychological concept of Imposter Syndrome. It is common in high achievers, perfectionists or simply people with a fear of failure. You might like to take this short quiz to see how Imposter Syndrome may be holding you back from writing about yourself. Having a strategic approach to your job search will include writing a cover letter based on your analysis of your fit for the role, including evidence such as achievement stories. Writing a cover letter can help you to manage the emotions of the job search and assist you to objectively evaluate a role.
  4. Keeping your application consistent to your interview. The process of writing a cover letter will also help you to prepare for interviews and help you to form your answers that are consistent to the rest of your job application. For example, ‘Why are you the best candidate for the role?’ ‘Why do you want the role? Preparing and practicing answering these questions before applying for the role will also ensure that you are applying for a role that excites you, and why you want to do that particular job.
  5. Marketing your Personal Brand and skills. Cover letters provide an example of your writing skills and need to be consistent and authentic to your personal brand as displayed in your resume and online profiles. The ability to analysis the requirements for the role and summarise your suitability in a one page, focussed letter will convince the recruiter that it is worth reading your resume. Writing in your own voice will be more compelling to read too.

In summary, the need for a cover letter is alive and well. The process of writing a cover letter will help you to focus on why you are the best candidate for the role and why you want it.  It will save you time by identifying the roles not to apply for! Instead of thinking if a cover letter as a chore, use it as a tool to differentiate yourself in a sea of lacklustre candidates.

Contact us for more information on our coaching programs to help you write your most effective cover letter. Here’s a link to our webpage on career coaching for professionals and executives.

#coverletters #jobsearch #jobapplications #writingskills #executivecoaching

 

Are Your Saboteurs Holding Back Your Career?

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At the Australian Psychological Type Conference (AusAPT) this month, we were fortunate to have some fantastic speakers from Australia, the US, NZ and the UK. Two of the speakers, Jane Kise and Ann Holm, presented an engaging and theatrical demonstration of their Saboteurs, which are self-driven thoughts that hold us back. This presentation was based on the work of Shirzad Chamine, the author of the New York Times bestselling book ‘Positive Intelligence’ and designer of the Positive Intelligence assessments on Saboteurs.

“The Judge is the universal Saboteur that afflicts everyone. It is the one that beats you up repeatedly over mistakes or shortcomings, warns you obsessively about future risks, wakes you up in the middle of the night worrying, gets you fixated on what is wrong with others or your life, etc. Your Judge is your greatest internal enemy, activates your other top Saboteurs, causes you much of your stress and unhappiness, and reduces your effectiveness.”  Source: https://www.positiveintelligence.com/assessments/

I think we can all relate to the Judge saboteur and how it can hold us back from getting on track in our careers. You may refer to it as the internal critic or those negative voices in your head. The one’s that hold you back, cause you to slip up, worry or just bring unnecessary negativity into your life.  There are 9 Self Saboteurs in this tool: Stickler: Pleaser; Hyper-Vigilant; Restless; Controller; Avoider; Hyper-Achiever; Victim and Hyper-Rational.

If you are ready to increase your self-awareness, discover your top 3 Saboteurs and engage and strengthen your inner Sage to fight back then I would encourage you to invest the time to do the assessment and read the comprehensive report.

You may or may not be surprised with the results. I know for me, one was a bit of a shock. However, when I reflected on it, it made sense and I identified several situations where my saboteur has held me back in the past! You may discover some of the answers to why your career is not on track?

To complete this free assessment and read an insightful report on your saboteurs go to https://www.positiveintelligence.com/assessments/

 

How to be Be Happier At Work (and life…)

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Last month I had the good fortune to do a podcast with The Wellness Collective girls, Cecelia Ramsdale & Nat Kringoudis and spoke about our types and how we can be happier at work.

Perception is everything but if we are unaware of ourselves and how other people see us, we can find ourselves miscommunication and certainly not getting to where we want in life. When we know about our own personality type as well as others, we can use this as powerful information to help us get what we want in life.

On The Wellness Collective, Nat & Ceceliachat with me about how we can find out more about ourselves and use it to our advantage in life!

Click to listen to the Podcast.

To find out more you can visit The Wellness Collective 

For coaching support & MBTI personality profiling visit us at  Diversitas

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How Organisations Can Leverage Cognitive Diversity to Benefit Their Culture & Decision Making

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“there is now considerable scientific evidence for the idea that cognitive or deep diversity – that is, diversity in how people feel, think, and act – has significant benefits for organizations” source  Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic  

 

While there are many great interventions within organisations to increase awareness and drive change around social, gender and cultural diversity,  one area that seems to be neglected is cognitive diversity, which looks at the deeper psychological functions of each individual.

As a coach, I wonder why organisations only look at diversity at one level.  Maybe it is all too hard to factor in the time and effort or is the organisation lacking in expertise in People & Culture function within HR? Interestingly, there are really effective tools to help organisations understand the cognitive diversity of their employees.

One tool that has been around since the 1940’s, the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI), which defines and measure cognitive diversity around our four preferences for gathering information (Sensing Vs Intuition) and making decisions (Thinking Vs Feeling).  It stands to reason to achieve a good well-considered decision making you need to factor in all four of the preferences as shown in the Z model image below. Which is very hard for one person to do effectively!

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Yet within many organisational groups we see a lot of ‘group think’ – people who share the same cognitive style, which can at times be a positive thing for collaboration, but does not necessarily position the team for growth!  Particularly if those making the decisions have not developed their self-awareness and effectively used their non-preferred cognitive functions. For example, if a dominant decision-making style is ‘Thinking’, leveraging their logic, yet they fail to tap into their ‘Feeling’ preference and consider the needs of the people around them when making important decisions.

From a workplace culture perspective, given so much of the miscommunication, conflict, and stress can be caused by different cognitive styles, providing employees with an awareness of their preferences and those around them can only be a positive thing.

Rather than simply taking in information and making decisions leveraging their dominant cognitive functions, which provides one perspective only, they can start to gain an awareness and appreciation of the other preferences, all of which are equally as valid as their own. Steering away from the mentality of ‘I am right’ and ‘you are wrong’, that there are various equally valid diverse solutions. Yet in organisations where employees are so often under stress, this can be forgotten (even if it was once known).

Take a moment to reflect on your own cognitive style?  Then consider the dominant cognitive style of those in your management and leadership groups?  It may be time for your organisation to consider adding cognitive diversity to its mix of diversity initiatives and professional development. This training will also give leaders an awareness of a fantastic tool that will help them understand the preferences of their team, colleagues and clients too.

For organisations, leaders, and managers interested in learning more about cognitive diversity and training & development options to develop this please visit us at Diversitas or contact us to discuss your needs.

Kelly Magowan is a Career & Executive Coach, Leadership Development Facilitator, and runs MBTI® Training programs for organisations through Diversitas.   She has built a reputation as a thought leader in the careers space, regularly appearing on ABC Radio.