Reprinted from Careerwise by Ceric: https://careerwise.ceric.ca/2019/04/19/insider-tips-on-job-search-from-a-recruiter-turned-career-coach/#.XMh15ehKjIU
By Sara Curto
I spent the first 15 years of my career recruiting top talent, working with some of Canada’s largest organizations to fill their staffing needs. I was good at my job, but I wasn’t having the impact I knew I wanted to have on the world.
My goal was to always coach or counsel people, to bring value to their everyday lives. For a long time, I resented my younger self for taking me so far off my goal of coaching and counselling.
But then something changed. I started to recognize the value in my recruitment experience.
Instead of it being a detriment to my goal of helping people, my 15 years spent recruiting was my differentiating factor. It was a knowledge set that I knew I could leverage as a career coach. I could use my insider knowledge to ensure my clients’ applications would get noticed, that they had strong interview skills that would help them build connections, and that they had the tools to assess whether the offer and onboarding processes were right for them.
I lean on my previous experience every day and it makes me better at my job in so many ways.
ResumesOver the course of my career as a recruiter, I probably read more than 100,000 resumes (a number that boggles my mind). I have also used Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).
As I create marketing documents for my clients, I know how to add keywords that will help a resume get past the ATS. But I also know that at the end of the day, a person will still read the resume. That person, probably a talent acquisition specialist/recruiter, is ruthless in their approach. A candidate only has six seconds to stand out – to get put in that “yes” pile. Using my experience and the knowledge of what recruiters look for in those seconds allows me to make sure that information is easy to find and highlighted.
A hiring manager will take a little longer, looking for different things. As someone who talked through applications with hiring managers, I use that knowledge to include content in my clients’ resumes that is sure to get hiring managers interested in interviewing them.
Cover lettersRarely does a cover letter get someone an interview; that’s the resume’s job. Honestly, as a recruiter I never read the cover letter and I know I’m not alone. So, when writing letters for my clients, I make sure that they are focused on the right target audience: the hiring manager.
To a hiring manager, a cover letter is a sign of the applicant’s interest and due diligence. It often gets a hiring manager excited to meet someone, which can be powerful once the client gets to the interview stage.
LinkedIn profilesAs a Talent Manager filling roles for companies, I almost exclusively used LinkedIn to find candidates. I used keyword Boolean searches to find those candidates.
For clients who don’t have much time for job searching or who are in a job that they like but want to be kept in the loop about the market, I optimize their LinkedIn profile with the proper keywords so that they can be found.
Using a mix of knowledge from my own time spent hunting candidates and the training I’ve had from LinkedIn themselves (as a recruiter), I ensure that they have all the necessary pieces of their profile updated to increase search appearances, profile views, connection requests and messages.
I counsel my clients on the importance of their LinkedIn network and how to grow it so that they are three degrees of separation from almost everyone in their region and industry.
InterviewsI’ve conducted about 10,000 interviews of all types (phone, face-to-face, senior level and client group). There are a few interview questions that tend to raise red flags for employers:
When my clients get offers, we break them down to determine their priorities. I let them in on the pieces of an offer that are most difficult to negotiate and we develop talking points that advocate for their worth while showcasing the value they bring to the table.
My journey to becoming a career coach took a lot longer than I expected, but that doesn’t bother me any more. I know now that the knowledge and experience I gained brings more value to people’s lives than I ever thought possible. I am so proud to be a Career Coach and to help guide people on their own journeys to discovering a career that brings them that same satisfaction.
When interview nerves get the best of you.
So what did I do?
I prepared a lot. But way in advance of interviews. I really began to think about my career as a story and would practice coming up with stories to talk about my successes, how I made a difference and things I was proud of.
That way when it came time for an interview, I didn’t need to prepare as much – I just needed to review my stories and think about how I would frame them for this particular job. Years later, interviews are almost a piece of cake b/c I have gotten so used to “storytelling”.
I also prepared for the worst to happen. Like rambling or my mind going blank and thought about how I would handle it if it happened. And it still occassionaly happened but I was able to overcome it quite easily b/c I had already figured it all out.
I also focused on using my nervous energy as just regular energy to show enthusiasm. After all, the same nerves are firing!
Watch the Q&A to learn more!
You hate your job. But you don’t know what to do about it. You are so overwhelmed, stressed out and anxious. You are well on your way to getting burnt out.
Thinking about a new career used to be that light at the end of the tunnel but now it just feels like another weight being added to your shoulders, weight that you just can’t handle right now.
The danger is complete and total burn out. Of remaining stagnant and things getting worse instead of better. Of being so afraid of the journey that we don’t do anything.
You just need to get started.
But on what? When you are so overwhelmed and your head is spinning it can be extremely hard to think about that first step because you can’t help thinking about ALL the steps you may need to take to achieve your goal of a new job or career.
You are over complicating things. Let’s bring it back to basics and make it super simple for you.
Let’s figure out your first step and not even worry about the rest. And it is easier than you think.
ACCEPT THAT YOU NEED TO CHANGE
Staying where you are is not the answer to the problem. Yes there are ways to love the job you hate that will put you in a better mindset for leaving your current job but you need to 100% accept that things need to change, you need to change.
Things are not going to magically get better, in fact they will more than likely get worse the longer you stay. Leaving your job is no longer optional.
PROPEL YOURSELF FORWARD
You are feeling all the crappy feelings right now. Good. Don’t try and ignore them or rationalize them or repress them. Feel them. And use those crappy feelings to push you forward towards your goal of leaving your job behind you.
WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?
Grab your phone or a pen and paper. Just write. Write about all the problems, all the ways life is getting in your way of going after your career dreams.
HOW CAN I SOLVE IT?
Write down solutions, at least one for each problem. Don’t judge them, don’t try to action plan them. Just write all the ways to solve each of the problems.
TAKE THE FIRST STEP
Look at that list. Think about all the different options. Think about how they make you feel. If thinking about a particular solution makes you feel stressed, or overwhelmed or trapped then scratch them off for now. What can you do TODAY. Just one thing.
But maybe you are so lost and overwhelmed that that long list is too much for you to handle right now. So what are some of the things on that list that will give you the biggest bang for your buck? Here are some ideas:
1. Ask for Help
This is a great first step. At work you can ask your boss or a colleague to help with the workload. Or at home, you can ask for help around the house so that you can free up some time to find your new job. Set up a free call with me, maybe there are some free resources or a way that we can work together that will lighten your load.
If you are in the throes of a burn out then this could be tough. But trying to get your 7-9 hours of sleep will help get you in the mindset and give you the energy to take a career change or job search on!
3. Take Care of Yourself
This is an extension of sleep, but I wanted sleep to be its own. This is eating, relaxing and moving. Perhaps your first step is to eat 5 vegetable servings, or to take a walk or to meditate for 5 minutes. Little wins lead to big wins and taking care of yourself gives you that confidence boost while also setting you up for success.
4. Talk to People
If you have an idea of what you want to do or where you want to do it, seek out people to talk to. Ask for more information. This will give you the knowledge of whether or not it is worth investing your time into that particular path, plus it will get you excited to know you are doing something and give you the information and a networking connection that will help make your dreams a reality!
5. Create a Plan
Sunday morning, figure out how much time you can devote to a career change/job search for that upcoming week. Be realistic and easy on yourself. Any time is better than no time.
Then figure out when you are going to use that time. If it is 2.5 hours, are you going to do 30 minutes of work per day or a 2.5 hour chunk of time? Use my Dream Career Planner to help make it even easier!
6. Build a Support System
This goes hand in hand with asking for help. But this is thinking about who in your life can help you out – who can cheer you on, hold you accountable, or give you guidance? This can be one person or many people. It can be a mentor, a peer, a family member or a coach like myself. You don’t have to do this alone!
Life goes by so fast. Which means it is so easy to stand still, in a situation that we hate and have hated. The old classic quote of a journey of a thousand miles starts with just one step is one we all know but not one we live. Because we can’t stop thinking about the rest of those steps needed. But we must remember the alternative. Staying put.
Don’t let that be an option. Pick one thing. And do it. Take that first step.
And of course, if you need help or want to talk it through, never hesitate to set up a complimentary strategy call with me.
Sara Curto, Career Management Specialist. Working with you towards Career and Job Search Success.
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