Category Archives: Career Information for Executives & Professionals

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Career Changes & Fear – Where Is It Really Coming From?

03B65705As humans, we can be sceptical about new things as we assume it can 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, it can also lead to us missing out on wonderful life experiences. This is certainly true when it comes to our work lives.

Throughout my work as a careers professional, 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 staying in jobs and career paths that provide little satisfaction beyond the pay.

According to my experience, fear can be;

  • Fear of the unknown
  • Fear of what others will think
  • Fear of loss of status
  • Fear of loss of income
  • Fear of wasted education
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of success
  • And the list goes on……….

Another area of ‘fear’ in the careers 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

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 the person looking to make changes.

For example, a son who is taking a career break, 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.

The son, while initially feeling reasonably confident about his decision becomes increasingly uncertain. Even though he has a plan behind the career break.

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 could be 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 genuine concern for their friends / colleagues 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.

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.

On the topic of career breaks, they are very common these days for all manner of reasons – travel, study, family and a desire to simply take an extended break to recharge.  Which makes sense given how hard and long most people work.

When making any changes in your work life be sure to spend some time reflecting and understanding your own fears. Also, be mindful to monitor the comments of those around you – friends, family and colleagues. Don’t take on board their ‘fears’, instead focus on strategies to overcome yours.

Job Sites for Flexible Employment Options in Australia

Happy relaxed young female working on the laptop while at homeAt different ages and stages of our lives we look for flexible working arrangements.  Be it returning to work after children, or taking a career break, embarking on further study or transitioning into retirement.

Below are some great niche job sites to research, dependent on your situation. Some offer paid employment, others include franchise and business opportunities and volunteer work.


careerparents.com.au

mumandworking.com.au

hiremymum.com.au

mumsatwork.com.au

careermums.com.au 

wahm.com.au


lifestylecareers.com.au

adage.com.au

ourcommunity.com.au 

BoardLinks


Design your career & lifestyle your way!

 

5 Ways to Communicate More Effectively When Job Searching & Networking

02A16Y0YWhile technology is great and facilitates many amazing discussions, connections and content sharing, it also leaves many people lost when it comes to the basics of general communication. Perhaps it is because we live in an age where everything is so rapid and where we can communicate anonymously should we wish.  However, if you want to build and maintain a positive personal brand, be sure to stick to the basics – a polite introduction of your name and purpose of the communication when reaching out to others is imperative.

I cannot tell you how many people when applying for jobs leave a message on the voicemail without leaving a contact number, full name and putting some context around the call. This does not leave a professional impression and would not result in the application progressing to the next stage. The same applies if it was a networking reach out – it would not led to a meeting.

If you are preparing for a job search related ‘meeting’ of any description (be it face to face, email or over the phone) go through the following checklist before reaching out;

  1. Clarity around the purpose of the communication (your objectives & potentially theirs). Keep it concise. What are you looking to achieve from the meeting or reach out? Is it to speak with them to then potentially gain a meeting? Is it to gather specific information?
  2. Understand who the audience is and the best way to communicate with them (phone, email, twitter, face to face, text etc.)
  3. A clear timeframe for yourself and for the audience. if you want to meet, ideally looking to arrange a coffee within the next two weeks etc.
  4. Being clear about the outcome you are working towards (they don’t necessarily need to know this however you do – tying back to the purpose). Why are you reaching out – to ultimately secure a job with company x, to learn specific information about why? Etc.
  5. Leave a ‘calling card’ that is aligned with your personal brand. This includes contact information in addition to the impression you leave behind from any form of contact you have with others. What do you want this to be?

Whenever you apply for a job or conduct networking activities, please be sure to revisit these five steps. Remember to introduce yourself and consider your audience rather than just launching into what you want or need. While it all sounds simple and logical, in the haste and potential pressure attached with job seeking, we can sometimes lose sight of the obvious.

As they say “You only get one chance to make a first impression”. What do you want that lasting impression to be?

Why ‘Employer Rating Sites’ are a must to research your next employer!

03D05724Gone are the days of joining a new employer blindly so to speak. In the past you joined an employer on good faith that were going to be a great and fair place to work. That they would deliver on all those ‘verbal promises’ sold at the interview.

Employer rating sites offer a great source of information about how the marketplace views employers – which for some organisations can be an amazing endorsement that confirms that all the hard work they have put into offering a great workplace is working. Whilst for others it can be a bit of a wake up call. Employer rating sites are terrific for job seekers as they provide you with a current marketplace barometer of how employees really view working at that organisation. You will find a lot of the bigger companies,  however you may not find as many small to medium-sized businesses.

Now in addition to doing your usual Google search and asking about your networks, there  are a number of good employer rating sites you should be using before you start your next job, such as;

Glassdoor 

It is one of the original employer rating sites and has some terrific data on the organisation, key staff and even salary data.

Rate My Employer 

Rate My Employer is a similar site to the above for the European market.

CareerBliss 

This site has reviews of most listed companies. You can use the research salary data feature to find employee salary information. A hub of great data.

I encourage you to spend some time doing your due-diligence on these sites when you are going through the job search process.  They offer a wealth of information about what the employer is really like (however you may need to read between the lines with some) and it provides some terrific salary data to leverage at the the salary negotiation stage.

About the author

Kelly Magowan is a certified Career Coach with her own Career & Executive Coaching Practice. She has built a reputation as a thought leader in the careers space and has published a book on Amazon,‘The Busy Women’s Guide to… Salary Negotiation’. 

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How to Adopt an Agile Approach to Your Career

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The world of work is no longer predictable. We live in a time that has been termed VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity & Ambiguity).  For a lot of professions, the way that we once managed our careers is no longer applicable. The traditional ‘ladder style’  career management model may work for some, such as those who join accounting or legal firms and look to follow the partnership path.  However, for a lot of us, we need to adopt a more agile approach to how we manage our careers if we want to experience a personally and financially fulfilling career.  Our professions may be in flux, evolving and new streams emerging, or we may look to adopt a portfolio or flexible approach to how we manage our careers – all of which require an agile approach.

Realistically we can expect to change jobs every 3-4 years, which may involve a job or career change through choice or redundancy.  I use the analogy of a game of snakes and ladders to represent the agile career management model.  It is certainly a positive model as it represents fun, opportunities and choices.  We may be climbing one ladder to find that we have reached the top and look to take on a new challenge in a different field. We may lose our job and slide down a snake, however there are lots of ladders (opportunities) around us that we can jump on board.  The key theme around an agile model is to ensure that your values are being met and that you are experiencing a sense of purpose in the work that you do.  It requires a letting go of the old ideas about how a career should look!  Your career should look just as you want it to. There are no right or wrong careers, there are only people who are engaged and satisfied in their work and those who are not!

Working in today’s market requires a degree of self-awareness, understanding where you can add value and having a more opportunistic and strategic approach to your career. The ability to re-invent ourselves as the need arises and ensuring that we have a positive and accurate personal brand in the marketplace. It is about working in your job and also making time each week to be working on your career.

What style of career management will work best for you?

Career Triage – Does Your Job Make You Feel Unwell?

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A question I sometimes ask clients when they are presenting with a high level of dissatisfaction in their roles is, “Out of 10 how engaged and happy are you in your job?” 10 being they are engaged and very happy, while a 1 being they are very miserable and struggling to get through each day.   No doubt you have encountered a similar approach when you entered an emergency room of a hospital. The medical staff will assess the level of pain you are in to allocate the appropriate wait time and medical staff to assist you.

It is not uncommon for me to encounter clients who report a response of 2, 3, 4, or 5 out of 10. If you think about it, when someone says 5 they are just OK. They are going through the motions and that is about all. It is fine!  Anything below they are really struggling and often they report that they are not sure how long they can keep it up.  While it is easy for some to dismiss it and brush it off with a fly away comment such as “No one likes their job – get over it” or “Its a first world problem” the reality is for some, it is not that easy and it has negative impacts on all areas of their life.   It is near on impossible to split who we are at work and home – we are the one being. 

If you think about the saying “How we spend our days, is how we live our lives” when someone is so unhappy and disengaged in their work, it is taking a lot of energy  – emotional and physical to get through each day, As a consequence, sadly a lot of their life is not being spent living at their optimum.

If it were a friend or family member I am sure you would not like to see them experience such negativity and pain day in day out. The same rings true for yourself. If you are reporting a 5 or below when it comes to job satisfaction it may be time to consider making some changes.

To help get started review some of the great career resources on my site. 

The Most Important Questions to Consider Before a Career or Job Change

Business people walking outside a congress centerSo you are thinking about making a job or career change – which is fantastic.   Chances are you have been thinking about this for a while and that you have lots of thoughts and idea’s running about your head.  Before taking the step to engage a career coach or engage professional support, spend time considering the below questions. Even if you are not ready to put pen to paper just focusing your thinking a little may help provide you with some clarity and confidence to take the next step towards action!

The Position

  • What salary do I want?
  • What benefits am I seeking?
  • What hours do I want to work? I.e. days, evenings, part-time, etc.
  • Do I want to manage staff? If yes, what type of people?
  • Do I want to work autonomously or in a team or both? If both, what will the percentage be?
  • Do I want my role to involve travel? If yes, where? International? National?
  • Do I want one role or to have a few roles?
  • Do I want to work for myself or someone else?
  • How much flexibility would I have in my role?
  • What skills would I be using?
  • What challenges would I be encountering?
  • What types of people would I be working with?
  • How do I feel about these people?
  • How do I want to feel about the work I do?
  • What work life balance looks like for me?
  • Would I be learning?
  • If I was learning, what types of things would I be learning?
  • What are the pros and cons of the roles I have had in the past?

The Physical Work Environment

  • What does the office I work in look like? I.e. the style of building, levels, décor etc.
  • What is the location of the office?
  • Do I want to drive to work and will there be parking?
  • What space will I be working in? A cubicle, office, open floor, etc?
  • Do I want natural light?
  • Will there be music and a lot of noise and activity?
  • Do I want tranquility and peace?
  • Do I want to work in a high rise office tower?
  • What are the immediate surrounds of the organisation? I.e. parks, shops, gym etc.
  • What are the pros and cons of the work environments I have had in the past?

The Organization

  • What is the people size of the organization?
  • What is organisation’s culture?
  • What is the leadership of the organization like?
  • How will they manage their staff?
  • What are the organisation’s vision / goals / motto?
  • How is the organisation viewed by the community?
  • What are the values of the organisation?
  • Are they a prestigious organisation (well known to everyone) or an unknown entity?
  • If I want to create my own organisation, what will it look like?
  • What are the pros and cons of the organisations I have worked for in the past?

The Industry

  • What is the industry I am working in?
  • Is it a new industry for me?
  • Is it a growth industry?
  • Am I working across multiple industries?
  • What appeals to me about the industry/s?
  • How is the industry perceived by the general community?

The People

  • What will my co-workers be like?
  • What will the management of the organisation be like?
  • What will my boss be like?
  • What type of boss will I be?
  • What will my customers and clients be like?
  • What types of people do I work best with and why?
  • What are the pros and cons of the colleagues and managers I have had in the past?

My Personal Needs

  • What are my key interests – work and personally?
  • What do I enjoy doing most?
  • What am I great at?
  • What do others say I am great at?
  • When have I felt the greatest about what I was doing?
  • If I could change the world, what three things would I like to see?
  • What would I have to do to bring these into my work?
  • What are my own personal values that I live by?
  • What values do I expect a business that I work for to uphold?
  • What will I and won’t I tolerate at work and in life in general?

Actions

  • Write in a book or on paper your answers to some / all of these questions.
  • Go through your resume in chronological order and look at all the roles you have had to see if there are any patterns. Think about what you enjoyed doing and why?
  • Using job sites print out jobs that appeal. What are the things that appeal? Why?
  • Talk to people who work in roles and industries you are interested in working in.
  • Research courses that relate to roles and industries you are interested in.
  • After you have spent some time thinking about these questions do your research – are there any patterns or themes?
  • Talk to friends or family about your discoveries.
  • If you still feel unsure about where to go from here, contact a Career Coach or Career Counsellor to assist you with gaining some direction.

Dowload PDF_ TheMostImportantCareerChangeQuestions

Professional Careers Support

If you are looking to engage a Career Strategist to assist with your career change, I invite you to contact me to find out more about how I can assist you. I have successfully supported hundreds of professionals and executives in securing terrific new roles and in making life changing career transitions.

Kelly Logo

How Chanel’s Style Advice Can Help You in Your Next Salary Negotiation

quotescover-JPG-62While fashion icon Coco Chanel is remembered largely for being a style icon, she was also an incredibly savvy self-made business woman. She had an impoverished upbringing, yet she was clear about her unique creative gifts and the value she had to offer the world.  She was willing to back herself in business which was particularly unusual in 1913 when she opened her first store with the financial backing of a made (is made correct?) admirer (she paid off the loan a few years later). She also was an innovator and took calculated risks, from establishing and growing high end fashion stores, to creating the perfume Chanel 5 in a time when perfume was not worn by most of the population.   Chanel made many bold decisions over her career, which were largely the right one’s that led to this amazing lady creating one of the most renowned fashion houses in the word.

Chanel has many wonderful quotes that relate to fashion, business and life with one of my favourite quotes being, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off”.  It is one of the quotes which transcends fashion and is just a pertinent to how women should approach salary negotiation. Let me explain.

Just as Chanel is highlighting in her quote that sometimes women can overdo it when we dress up to go out by adding too much to our outfits – the same applies to when women enter into the salary negotiation. We can overdo it by having too many items we want to negotiate and being too verbose and over justifying why we deserve them in the salary negotiation process.

My advice is to approach the negotiation as the great Chanel would have done. She would go in confidently, clear of her agenda and business case and she would execute the negotiation with just the right amount of information.  She would be sure of the value that she brings to her current or prospective employer and would be confident in asking to be paid her worth – because she would know exactly what it was.

As highlighted, being too verbose in salary package discussions is an approach that women sometimes use, but that is off-putting to decision makers. Having long lists of wishes and lengthy justifications for a pay increase can result in an immediate “No”. Consider your audience and their work style. If your boss is sharp and straight to the point, your salary negotiation pitch should also be sharp and to the point. Being clear and concise will more likely result in achieving the outcomes you want.

The three key things to remember when negotiating your salary package include;

  • Confidence – even if you have to ‘Fake It Till You Make It’
  • Business Case – research & prepare a compelling business case to justify the increase
  • Keep It Simple – don’t over complicate it or over personalise it

The financial situation for women has advanced since Chanel opened her first store over a hundred years ago, however women still remain underpaid in contrast to their male contemporaries.

When negotiating think of Chanel. Don’t overdress and certainly don’t over justify and overdo the salary negotiation discussion.

Kelly is the Author of The Busy Women’s Guide to… Salary Negotiation which you can purchase on Amazon. Start being paid what your worth! 

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The Reality of Job Seeking & How to Remain Resilient

03B64721As a job seeker, one of the key challenges is to remain motivated particularly given how challenging the job search process can be. More and more employers and recruiters seem to have dropped the ball when it comes to providing a professional and respectful service to job seekers. For all the talk of employer branding over the last few years – one of the key areas that seems to be ignored is the experience prospective employees receive when they connect with an employer brand.

If employer branding is as important as companies say, you would expect employers to acknowledge applications and/or indicate if an application is unsuccessful. It is not uncommon to have an interview and never hear back. It can be disappointing for job seekers. However, it is also a good way to rule out organisations as prospective employers as it could be indicative of their approach to people in general!

Unfortunately the recruitment process is becoming increasingly automated with the onus on the job seeker to spend more time applying, thus saving the person hiring time and money engaging with prospective talent. This is evidence by all the online application processes and the growing trend to use video recording interview software in the early stages of interviews.

This week an online service site I use has merged with another company and has been renamed. A real person emailed me to provide a phone and email address if I needed any help. Wow I thought!  When job seeking, you rarely get the phone number or email of an actual person to call regarding a job ad. You simply send your application into the ether or spend hours filling out useless online application forms that a system screens for key word searches and then it has only slim chance of being seen by a human. How little regard is shown to prospective employees’. Crazy stuff really.  Yet an online service can provide such an amazing level of service and make me feel like a valued client.

Given the impersonal nature of job seeking, it can be tough to remain positive and focused. My recommendation however is to always take a professional approach – even if you are not experiencing one at the other end. By having a well written, relevant resume and cover letter and by applying for jobs that are within your scope, you are doing all the right things. You will likely not hear back from many of the people and companies you apply to but some will engage with you – the right ones!

Know that you are not alone. Job seekers at all levels, from graduates to the C suite are all experiencing this poor service and it is not helping their confidence or motivation levels. Again, revisit your career goals and strategy and stay focussed. Ideally you should not rely too heavily on job sites. Find recruiters through referrals who are professional in their approach. Where possible, network, which can appear as a more time-consuming approach but ultimately will be more effective.

If you are inclined to follow-up on applications sent (which I recommend where possible), I encourage you to read the article ‘5 Follow-up Emails That Scare Hiring Managers (and What to Write Instead)’ 

While job seeking can seem a challenging process, and one that can easily get people down, it can also be an empowering process if you approach it with the right mindset. Remind yourself of the realities of how the job search process works, which can hopefully keep it all in perspective.

Desiderata – Keep Interested In Your Own Career…..

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The wonderful poem Disiderata by Max Ehrmann written in 1927 includes so many beautiful profound  and inspiring lines about the realities of life. However give the work I do in careers the line that resonates most strongly with me is below.

“Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.” 

If you have not encountered this inspiring poem I would encourage you to read Desiderata (desired things).