Job Search Advice from The Success Coach

Job Search Advice from The Success Coach

People just starting their careers are impacted by COVID. People who were climbing the executive ladder are impacted too and so are people who aren’t ready to retire yet. With companies downsizing, sending some of their workforces off-shore, it has never been more important to stand out. We recently sat down with career coach, Brian Epstein AKA “The Success Coach” to get the inside scoop on the steps that you need to take in your job search. Epstein, a career management and leadership coach with over 20 years of experience, shared his tips to help in your job search:

Networking and How to Find That Network

Networking is important because statistically, you have between 65%-85% greater chance of getting a job. People feel more comfortable hiring someone that has been referred to them. That personal connection builds trust with the person that is hiring.

Whether you have lived in Canada or have recently immigrated, you can build a network through friends and personal contacts. If you are new to the country, there are people within your own community who may be able to help you in your job search. Remember, you are speaking with people all the time. They don’t have to be part of a formal network. It can be someone from your apartment that you chat with on a regular basis. Be open, for example, you can state that, “I am an IT professional and I’m interested in learning more about what’s going on in that field. Do you know anyone who works in that field that can provide me with more information?”

By speaking to more people, you can find out more about what’s happening in your field. People in your network can help spread the word that you are looking for a job and maybe able to provide the connection that you need in your job search.

Building Your Resume for ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) and for Hiring Managers

Make a T-Chart or use Word or Excel table. On the left-hand side list what the employer is looking for if there is a job description available. On the right-hand side, list the skills that you have and try to make a match with what you have done in your past and how it fits with that specific role. If there isn’t a job description, speak to people and build that network. Try to find people that work or have worked in that particular company or in that industry. They may be able to provide some insights into the key attributes that are most important in hiring for that position.

There are online tools that people can use to find the ideal keywords for resumes. You can add in the job description and it will tell you the percentage of the match between you and your prospective job. If the percentage is too low, you can change some of the wording or review the description again. You can look at sites that give you insight into ATS tools like Jobscan as well.

Tips for Creating Your Cover Letter

Sometimes people actually provide too much detail in their cover letter. Keep in mind that we are living in a fast-paced world and people want things brief. Epstein recommends having four paragraphs:

  1. A brief introduction of what skills that you have and why you are excited about the position. Make sure that you express that passion and enthusiasm in the introductory paragraph
  2. Go into more detail about your skill-set versus what the job is asking for. Then, stress how your experience makes you the right fit for the role
  3. Do research about the company and the industry restating that you understand what the company’s core values are. Then, reinforce how their values align with your own
  4. The final paragraph should include that you would welcome the opportunity to meet at a suitable date to discuss the role

Refer back to the job description to ensure that you are hitting the keywords. Be careful not to copy and paste everything verbatim from the description. You want to have a match but not have all of the wording be the exactly the same.

LinkedIn – What You Need to Know

One of the biggest mistakes that people make with Linked In is just copying and pasting their resume. Recruiters and hiring managers want to see a narrative of your background. On a resume, you shouldn’t use personal pronouns. On LinkedIn, however, you can be more personal in your background. The background should give very high-level details about you. That way, if a potential employer reads nothing else, they get a good sense of what you have accomplished in your career.

Underneath each position that you held, give an overview of your accomplishments, key strengths and skills that employers would be interested in. Remember, statistically, 93%-94% of employers will research you online and LinkedIn is one of the top places that they will look. LinkedIn may be even more important than your resume in getting you that job. People often Google candidates to see what comes up. LinkedIn is almost always at the top of the search results.

Acing a Virtual Interview

Focus on having good eye contact. Remember, you have to rely on reading facial cues versus body language. Try to make sure that you are looking at the camera instead of trying to look at people’s faces in the computer screen so that it doesn’t appear that you are looking down. Choose a professional looking background. If you can, make sure that your phones are off and that there are no other disruptions.

Are Thank You Notes Essential?

They are and outside of the pandemic, it is nice to send one by regular post. It’s really important to send an email within the first 24 hours after your interview. Reiterate your skills and experience in the thank you note and why you are the right fit for this role.

To learn more, or to book a consultation, visit https://www.epsteinsuccesscoach.ca/ or follow Brian Epstein on Instagram.


Originally published JULY 6, 2021 by JILL SCHNEIDERMAN

Job Search Advice from The Success Coach

The New Business Landscape: Keeping Your Distance

The New Business Landscape: Keeping Your Distance

The new business landscape that we are in, has an awful lot of us separated in our togetherness. Working remotely is the  new norm, rather than the luxury or rarity it once was. But how do we prepare for this new reality?

Key Learnings

In this April 26, 2020 article, there are two things of note:

1) A Norwegian economist study estimating that about 36% of jobs can realistically be performed from home.

2) A recent PWC study showed that about half of businesses expect a dip in productivity during the pandemic due to a lack of remote work capabilities.

Additionally, 56% of companies worldwide allow remote work (to whatever degree). A recent survey of 5,700 Harvard Business School alumni found that 52% believe the typical company will employ fewer workers three years from now.

Many of us are still in shock in the wake of this huge human tragedy. At the outset of the pandemic, stock markets plunged to dizzying depths. A global recession was in the making and our future is still uncertain. We are still feeling the ramifications of Magna International Inc.’s 2020 outlook, withdrawn because of the “high degree of business uncertainty” caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The New Business Reality

Many businesses are now almost unrecognizable in how they operate in this fast-changing and uncertain time. Working remotely creates a need for new processes. This is to adjust and adapt to a world in a digital-first economy with new efficiencies. Along with the changing processes, new experts will have to coach people on adapting to the new technology that will be part of their day-to-day.

“Because the tech world has the highest saturation of knowledge-based workers and due to the type of tasks that they complete, they’ve been able to accelerate and incubate remote work at a higher saturation level than other industries,” remote-work strategist Laurel Farrer said in a recent article, So what we can now do, says Farrer, is take the best practices and strategies of those fully-distributed companies, and adapt and share them with other industries.

Even tech experts need advice for best practices in our ever-changing world. The new business reality is that we so dependent on tech, demands have become greater and business strategies will need to adapt.

The new business landscape makes this a challenging time for you and your company. Would you like to create a plan and develop the right strategy to help your business thrive?

Contact me to learn more!

Good For Business: AI and the Human Factor

Good For Business: AI and the Human Factor

You are likely finding that you and your business have become more reliant on technology. You may also find, like the tech industry did, that remote work is less expensive and more efficient with average savings of $11,000 on a part-time basis alone.

It makes economic sense to outfit workplaces so that employees can work remotely. Many companies are already using IT services to ensure that their employees are able to work from home. I recently spoke to my cell provider, FIDO and learned that most of the company’s customer service representatives in Montreal are now working from home rather than from the company’s offices. These employees are using new digital platforms, systems, services and processes. Employees need to learn new skills to work with the new technology. The changes in how services are being offered to their clients are creating new employment and contract opportunities for existing workers and new hires.

Flexibility, resourcefulness and creativity are what workplaces need. Look at how companies have gone beyond their own identities to make critical items during the pandemic. Distilleries churning out hand sanitizer and clothing companies making reusable cloth masks are just a couple of examples how companies were flexible in proactively responding to COVID-19. Technology helps to make the changes possible, but it is the people who see the needs and power the workplaces.

An April 27, 2020 article focuses on how Microsoft and its partners are “helping to transform the manufacturing industry by putting people firmly at the centre.” The article shows how artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA) are bringing in a new era of collaboration between people and technology.

According to Microsoft’s Future Computed study, much of the AI technology created is not intended to replace humans, but to help them to increase productivity, collaboration and to enable better and faster decision-making. We can say the same about collaborative and cloud technology like Zoom, Teams, Office 365, Remote Assist, Skype, Skype Translator and HoloLens.

But what about the prediction that machines and workplace algorithms will gut 75 million jobs by 2022? The World Economic Forum’s 2018 Future of Jobs report suggests technology can also create 133 million new roles. AI helps open up employment opportunities and leading global companies know it will help them attract top talent as well as boost existing worker output.

It is difficult not to see that digital technology is changing business in so many ways as well as being the catalyst for new business models, products, services and experiences, says Colin Masson global industry director, manufacturing solutions at Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise. “But people are at the heart of successful digital transformation, and the most successful manufacturers will be those that transform and empower a changing workforce with the skills they need to thrive in the digital economy.”

This is exciting and encouraging for all of us. There’s more to come on the subjects of working remotely, AI and human technology.

Contact me to learn more.

Coaching – The Perfect Grad Gift For Your Biz-Whiz Kid

Coaching – The Perfect Grad Gift For Your Biz-Whiz Kid

Career Coaching – it is the ideal grad gift for your children. I figure that this is the optimum time to talk about this subject – for two reasons.

I am certain that over the last few months, you’ll have read about the great college admissions scam, with parents bribing mega-bucks (up to $500,000!) to get their kids, with false credentials, into posh, hip halls of learning. These young people, as well as their parents, could possibly benefit from a good career management coach. It also inspired me to write more about ethics, which you will see in my upcoming posts.

But right now, it’s springtime –  when a young person’s thoughts turn lightly or heavily to graduation – and parents, godparents and other relatives and friends wonder about the perfect gift to celebrate and reward student achievements. How about one of those gifts that keeps on giving (a cliché, maybe, but true)? I’m talking about Career Coaching. It can take your adult child much further than that car or bike or vacation he/she/they want.

On May 19th 2019, billionaire Robert Smith in the United States made an announcement as he was addressing a graduating class at Moorehouse University – that he was going to pay off all of the student debt for the graduates. For a man who has a few billion dollars, this gesture to pay off 40 million dollars for the grads at this university was rightfully praised by so many people.

This gift by Mr. Smith will enable graduates to start the next chapter of their lives, whether continuing their education or launching their careers, with clear heads and less stress  about the debts they have to repay. The $40 million given by Mr. Smith is a small cost to him, but to the students it means a lot and it will help them to establish and progress in their careers.

You, as parents, have already invested your savings into your children’s future by ensuring that they receive the education they need. To complement the money that you have already spent on their education,  why not make a small additional investment once they graduate for objective, professional coaching. This will help them to make appropriate decisions and to move successfully ahead in their careers.

I have worked with students and graduates as a Graduate Placement Advisor at a local community college and as a career coach at a university. I have also coached some students and graduates in my own private practice. Working with young people is a pleasure for me because they are so optimistic and idealistic .

After these young graduates have completed 3, 4 or more years of specific areas of study in college or university, I have always appreciated how motivated and enthusiastic they are in finding the right career path for them. At the same time, I have found that some graduates and students may lack confidence and need support as they make major decisions about their continued studies or the job market they wish to enter.

I have found the coaching relationship has been beneficial to graduates and rewarding for me. We work together making decisions about post-graduate studies, in programs that may complement what they have already learned. We also discuss if they are ready to launch their careers.

When required, I have assisted graduates and employment seekers prepare their branding, resumes, LinkedIn profiles and cover letters. I have coached them to be the best that they can be in their interviews and I have supported them as they have transitioned into their new work roles. I admire the increasing numbers of colleges and universities that offer some genuinely applicable coaching – as I’ve read here.

The best career coaches, I believe, also build upon the coaching students may already have received in school. An astute coach can take the knowledge and understanding gained in the academic environment, and extend and adapt it for use within the corporate business world or in other organizations and institutions that graduates may begin to work in. Good coaching can focus on how to work as a team player, which is essential in any work environment. There’s also the need to learn negotiation skills, how to achieve balance and avoid burnout.

I feel grateful to have coached grads from almost every profession and career path. I have directed them to demonstrate the required professionalism for their chosen path.

Coaching can be a great grad gift. But it’s also the gift that keeps giving all year round, and at any time of year. Contact me to learn more.

I Want to Quit My Job as a Manager!

I Want to Quit My Job as a Manager!

As a Career Transition or Outplacement Coach, I have met many managers over the years who were not happy with their jobs.  Interestingly, they became happy once they were laid off from their role as a manager! These clients felt that they were executives and managers in the wrong organization, so when they were laid off, it was a relief.

Of course, I asked the question: ”Why didn’t you leave sooner if you were not happy with your job?”

Clients often have said to me that they realized that their work or role as a manager wasn’t the right fit for a long time, but they still stayed where they were. Maybe they had bills to pay and they didn’t want to risk unemployment.

Perhaps you can relate.  As a manager or executive in a company, you have provided the best service that you can. You have put your knowledge, skills and competencies to good use, to make the company that you are working for profitable. Due to a change in leadership or a merger/acquisition, you may find yourself in a situation that makes you very unhappy.

So, a layoff may now be almost welcome. And as a coach, I can help you *before* you receive a layoff notice or if you want to quit your job.  I can support you as you proactively begin your work search.

I am working with a client right now who believes that there is a good chance that he could be laid off at any time. He wisely began preparing for his search before he is downsized from the company that he works for.  Along with helping prepare his resume, Linkedin profile, and cover letter, I have effectively coached him on the best ways to look for a job and to build a professional network. This week, we are preparing for future interviews.

Some questions to ask yourself:

      • Are you ready now to dedicate time to your job search?
      • Do you have the flexibility and autonomy to take time off during work hours to look for a new job?
      • Or do you have a new job lined up to start in the next couple of weeks, but need help making the transition?

    Some outside professional advice may be needed. As a Business and Career Coach and Consultant, I can support you in conducting an effective career search and ensure that your transition into your new role is successful! Contact me for more details.

5 Things To Do To Be A Happier Manager

5 Things To Do To Be A Happier Manager

If you want to be a happier manager, you’re not alone! In a 2011 Berrett-Koehler survey of 150 leaders, a stunning 68% of managers confessed they don’t actually like being managers. So what can you do about it?

The best leaders can see it as the signal to make a change.  An effective manager or leader doesn’t make excuses and stay stuck in a rut. They figure out how to extricate themselves and reconnect with their sense of passion and meaning  so that they can be a happier manager. Here are 5 things that you can do to be a happier manager:

Be a Happier Manager By Recognizing Myths At Work

First, is it possible you’re managing by hit or myth? (myth meaning a long-standing belief that could be debunked).

The book, ‘Myths of Management: What People Get Wrong About Being the Boss’ (by Stefan Stern and Gary Cooper CBE (Kogan Page 2018) presents 44 of what the authors say are faulty beliefs:

For example, some myths include: that leadership is more important than management/that there is one right way to lead or manage/that you must keep up with all the new management ideas and give them a try. Stern and Cooper gently kill off these myths, while sharing how to find the balance. That’s my goal as a career consultant and coach, as well – to find the balance that works for you.

Be Authentic – and Flexible

I’ve been reading another book – ‘Managing For People Who Hate Managing: Be A Success By Being Yourself’ by Devora Zack (Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc. 2012).

According to Zack, success as a manager comes through finding the managing style that fits who you are. This is not to say you can do whatever you want. As she says, “Be who you are – just flex your style to manage others.” Whether the approach you take is tough or mild, it’s about a range of techniques – being versatile in how you lead, communicate and motivate. The ideal is “maximizing your rapport with others while maintaining your core of integrity.”

Be Accountable to Be a Happier Manager

You may dislike of being a manager because you are not taking charge of and ‘owning’ what you do. As I say in my ebookThe Top 5 Advantages of Hiring A Business Coach Today’ accountability means owning responsibility for all your decisions and actions regardless if the outcome is good or bad. Accountable leaders do not point fingers to try and shift responsibility to others when things go wrong. They focus on fixing the problem and making things right.

The Value of Learning and A New Perspective

Could you benefit from research, a refresher course and refreshed relationships with colleagues? In my work with executives and entrepreneurs, I have often found that those who remain open to learning and flexibility are more likely to ‘close’ in on success. Approach struggles and setbacks as great opportunities to refine skills, grow professionally, and meet and conquer challenges

While you may not enjoy what you’re doing, doing it well can provide a lot of satisfaction. Of course, if you dislike being a manager at your current company, there may be issues that are too major to overcome. This month I’ll be writing more about how to find a new position, professionally.

Improve Your Managerial Skills With A Business Consultant + Coach

You may be an expert in terms of education and experience in your specific field, but you may not be proficient with the management skills needed to run an effective team. A business consultant/coach can help you develop those critical interpersonal, strategic and management skills that are essential to be effective at any level.

I can help you pinpoint the cause of why you are overwhelmed and becoming unproductive, and help put you on the path to make changes. Please download my free ebook, and let’s arrange a 30-minute initial meeting. It’s easy to manage and can help you significantly improve your managerial skills.