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:
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
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:
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 ebook ‘The 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.
Tackling business including how to achieve goals, set priorities and improve skills is often helped by a great cup of coffee (or tea or juice). As a business/career coach, I sometimes treat clients and colleagues, as I advise them on many career and management issues. And one place I used to go was a local coffee-deli-restaurant-bakery I’ll call BCW (now closed and replaced by a new business). What happened to BCW – and could a business coach have helped? Keep reading to find out.
Though it was a social venue, it often was, like many cafes, a meeting place for business meetings. Its very location was a kind of ‘how to succeed’ geographically. BCW was located on a main street, near a busy intersection with a streetcar and bus stop. It was spacious, yet intimate, with a summer patio. Yet, sites like Reddit and Yelp had no shortage of opinions as to why it’s good riddance.
Amidst the raves for certain menu items, there were dozens of comments and complaints about the service, the food, the size of the place and dealing with difficult people including the owner. Maybe she was overwhelmed at work. Many ‘posters’ recommended the nearby Starbucks as the better place to go. As I read the complaints, I began to get a picture of what *might* have caused this angst. ‘What not to do’ morphed into ‘how to manage well, reduce stress at work, meet and exceed goals with great service’, and overall ‘how to succeed’ in a business.
New Perspective from a Business Coach
Good decisions, bad decisions – sometimes it helps to have an outside-inside professional, like a Career Management and Business Coach to help you manage the myriad of issues in your working day. I generally work with corporate executives, but doing business day-to-day involves people from all disciplines. There are some things big corporations can learn from small business and vice versa.
As for what you can do when you’re at the mercy of review sites, and people dumping on you just because they can? Not much, because the web is all about democracy. The owner of BCW is still seeing these reviews, even though her business has shut down.
When (and if) you should defend your reputation online is something I’ll address in another post. For now, try envisioning your business as a main-street café. Where everything you do/don’t do contributes towards success or failure of that business. Where the world has a front row on how you prep and implement throughout the day. Your workplace ambiance has to be pretty darn good for people. That it’s the kind of meeting-place that succeeds with customers and clients.
Would you like to talk about your business issues over coffee? Consider the initial meetings as the appetizer before the ‘entree’ into complete career and business coaching! Book an appointment today.
Summer is here and many of us are enjoying the sunny weather. It’s time to relax and enjoy for sure. Just because it’s the summer, though, you can’t completely forget about work. If you are searching for new opportunities, you still need to do career research and planning. The time for your job search is now.
People often tell me that they will apply for jobs in the fall. They often ask, why look for a new job in the summer, when the fall is when employers do their hiring?
I often respond by paraphrasing my grandfather, who was a successful businessman in Nova Scotia – “What you plant today, will be part of your harvest tomorrow.”
As with anything else, there is a lead up and planning time to secure work in your chosen field. Statistics show (depending upon what web site you are on), that 70 to 90 percent of job seekers find work by building and growing their professional network. Summertime is a great time to reach out to your personal contacts. Take this time to set up coffee meetings with employers and company representatives. Moreover, this is the time of the year, in many organizations, where the pace is slower. Leaders and Managers are using this time to develop their financial and marketing plans for the fall and winter.
This summer slow down may be the perfect opportunity for job seekers to learn more about various industries and organizations and where you may fit. I suggest that you use this time to have introductory and information meetings with employers and people of influence. They may consider you for upcoming jobs or refer you for roles in other organizations. Summer may be the a very good time to look as employers are receptive to meet and grow their professional networks – and possibly hire.
To learn more, contact me today.