Supercharge Your Development with a Coach

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Are you someone who wants to grow and reach your goals as quickly and efficiently as possible? I know that’s not everyone’s thinking but since I’ve worked out what I want, I know I’m constantly feeding my mind and looking for ways to accelerate the time to get there.

Recently I picked up my seven year old son from school and still had one of my favourite podcasts playing. After a couple of minutes, with me thinking “I hope some of this subliminally sinks in for him”, Matt asked “Mum, why do you listen to this stuff?” I told him that I wanted to be cleverer to which he replied “Mum, you’re already clever”. While, I wish I had recorded those words because I’m sure that’s not what he’ll be saying in another seven years, his comment reminded me of another situation that had come up.

A few months back, I engaged a speaking coach to assist with a new presentation. We met to discuss strategy, the technical aspects of speaking, issues and insights. One of the most valuable parts of our work was my coach observing me presenting and providing me with super helpful feedback, some validating but also some suggestions for improvement. After the presentation a friend who had hung back said to me, “A few of the ladies I spoke to questioned why you engaged a speaking coach when you’re already a great speaker”. While I was a little flattered by their comment I knew without a doubt that the decision to engage a coach was one of my better ones.

So why would you consider a coach? There a just so many reasons but here’s a few to consider:

  1. Expertise. Many coaches have technical and/or coaching skills that will save you from floundering around and falling into every pothole along your path. With someone who has been there guiding you, you will fast track the time it takes you to be getting the results you want.
  2. Goal setting. A coach can help you to establish what it is you want and support you to identify what you will need to do, or who you will need to be, to get there.
  3. Accountability. Sometimes even when we know what we need to do, we don’t do it. Having to report back has a way of motivating and keeping you honest.
  4. Challenge. It is so easy for us to sit in our comfort zone but a coach is all about supporting us to reach our potential. They will challenge your thinking as well as help you to set challenges for growth.
  5. Independent but invested in your success. Often our friends and partners can tire of listening to our stories and frankly they can be just a little too close to the situation. They often see us in a certain light or can bring their own issues to the discussion. A coach can be the perfect sounding board, is objective and wants you to be successful.

So far I’ve found my coaches through my networks and I’d highly recommend that. If it’s purest coaching you’re after you might try the International Coach Federation (ICF). If you want to get the best outcomes possible in your career, definitely consider a career coach. We specialise in coaching for job search, resume, interview, career management and more.

Contact Donna on 0419 120 601 or email donna@careervitality.com.au to arrange a free 15 minute consultation about your needs and circumstances today.

Insurance against unemployment

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There are quite a few ways to protect yourself against unemployment but one of the most effective by far is creating and maintaining a large network. If you’ve worked with me in the role of career coach before, it might seem like I rabbit on about this a lot but believe me it’s for good reason.

I have seen candidates successfully transition into new roles at the speed of light after sensing a restructure on the horizon, others re-enter the workforce as a result of a school gate conversation and had clients access roles that they might not otherwise be competitive for simply because of a warm introduction via a network contact.

Even if you’re currently in a role it is always in your best interests to stay externally connected. You never know when changes will occur and it can be much more difficult to renew old relationships down the track when you’re feeling vulnerable and wondering whether the contact is thinking you’re reaching out because you’ve suddenly found yourself in need of a new role.

Often I find that clients think of their networks very narrowly but I’d really encourage you to think as broadly as possible which might include current and past colleagues, neighbours, friends at the gym, old school or uni mates, children’s friends parents, community involvement, your church, pretty much any context where you interact with other people. If you have 100 contacts but they have a 100 of their own, all of a sudden you have access to 10,000 people, less some duplication of course. You might consider preparing a network map (check out this short You Tube Video for instructions) to fully appreciate the size of your network.

So how do you maintain said network? I encourage you to keep a coffee kitty to regularly catch up with members of your network but let’s face it, there’s only so many coffees you can fit into a week. Other strategies you might use could include inviting a contact to an event with you, sharing an article that you feel would interest them, connecting them with other people where there’s a mutual interest or advantage, referring them clients or sharing an offer or opportunity with them.

Keeping track of your network is made so much easy nowdays with smartphones, platforms like LinkedIn, and handy apps such as CamCard which allows you to photograph business cards which it uploads to your smartphone as well as offering a bunch of inhouse features.

If you’re got any networking questions, or you think you might need a little career inspiration, give Donna a call on 0419 12 0601. We provide in-person career services in Brisbane and remote services nationally.

5 Podcasts for Getting Unstuck

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Are you looking for some career inspiration? Maybe you’ve realised that something needs to change but you’re not sure how to go about it. Perhaps you’re feeling really stuck and it’s paralysing.

Often some inspirational input can help shift our thinking and open our mind to possibilities. In the old days you might buy a book and hopefully you’d find the time and motivation to read it and get inspired. While books still have a place in my life (mostly on holidays), one of my favourite discoveries as a career coach has to be the world of podcasts.

These free, easy to access and digest, bytes of inspiration have the potential to change your life. I can often be found listening to one when I’m straightening my hair, driving my car, eating my lunch or just going about my business really. Many of my clients have given me feedback on the positive difference inspirational podcasts are making to their lives.

Here’s a few of my favourites that could lead to some career inspiration.

Quote-Of-The-Day – I often describe this one as an anti-depressant without side-effects. Sean Croxton pulls together the best of the best to inspire and motivate you. Varying in length from around 5 – 15 minutes this is the perfect daily dose of positivity. You will be introduced to many amazing individuals who you can then explore further depending on who/what resonates with you.

The Art of Charm – this is a great mix of inspiration and skills development for life and career. These young guys interview guest speakers, share their own experiences and respond to listener’s challenges. The average episode is around an hour and they offer loads of value.

Small Business Big Marketing – if you’re really open to what your next career step might be, this one could be for you. Designed to support small business owners with their marketing, Tim Reid’s guest’s will also inspire the potential career changer. Many have made significant career changes to arrive where they are eg. an aerospace engineer who quit his high paying job to become a very successful Uber driver and an even more successful blogger.

Magic Lessons – aimed at aspiring artists/creatives, author Elizabeth Gilbert, helps people to overcome their fears and to achieve their dreams. The guest interviews, case studies and access to experts such as Oprah’s coach, Martha Beck, will be helpful to many who are looking for career inspiration.

The Tony Robbins Podcast – if you’d like to work with one of the world’s best coaches but are not yet earning what you’d need to pay for it, think about accessing Tony Robbins and his high calibre guests through this podcast. Tony opens your mind and challenges you to go after what you want from life.

In case you’re wondering how to set up a podcast on your phone, it’s as easy as downloading an app from your app store. My iPhone automatically came with one (it’s purple and looks like an “i” with circles radiating out) and I’ve seen an equivalent on android. Subscribe to your favourites and check your feed for the latest episodes.

Need a career coach after all this inspiration, give Donna a call on 0419 120 601 or email donna@careervitality.com.au for a free 15 minute phone consultation to get you started.

How you can create the life you want

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When you find something great do you want to shout it from the rooftops? That was exactly how I felt about goal setting after learning about it from TV personality, Julia Baker, and seeing it work in my own life. A group of our friends actually asked me to run a goal setting session on Fraser Island on the eve of 2017 and, although it was surprising, how could I say no? Everyone got so into it I also ran one back home for the Career Vitality community.

We’re now half way through the year and it’s been totally awesome to hear of the goals that have been achieved between the two groups. A friend recently shared about all the fantastic things that had been happening in her life before finally saying “it all really started with the Fraser Island goal setting”. This particular friend had been a little reluctant and sceptical when we started but she got on board and is now reaping the rewards. Another has said that her career has gone from strength to strength since the activity whilst, one of my private clients emailed to say he has reached his goals of placing in a sporting event and booking a trip to an overseas destination so far.

The process we used is fairly simple and you can read about it in a blog I wrote last year for Schoolhours. You don’t have to wait for a new year, you can start at any time, in fact there’s no time like today! This process is about manifesting what you want in your life (which obviously includes career). I sometimes find the process challenges those amongst us who like to take control and know that they are working on their goals. The risk with planning to the nth degree is that it can prevent you from seeing opportunities as they come up. Michael Wickett explains it really well in this Quote of the Day podcast – “Forget How, Forget How …”. For those who feel like they need a next level down plan, you can check out Zig Ziglar’s talk  on the same podcast but PLEASE remain open to the opportunities that you haven’t predicted.

So what are you going to achieve in the next year? If you need any help on the career front, Donna would love to support you. Services include career advice, resume and interview coaching in Brisbane (and by telephone or skype nationally), and return to work workshops for mums. Call today on 0419 120 601.

 

Being happy helps everything!

Are you feeling ‘stuck’ at the moment? It’s something that many of us feel at some time or another and it’s a situation I come across a lot in my work as a career coach. It’s difficult to separate the different parts of our lives – if career isn’t working for us it’s going to impact on our general happiness and likewise if we’re not feeling happy with other aspects of life, it’s going to influence the way we feel about ourselves and our work. Have you  noticed how exaggerated everything can feel when something seems crappy?

About four months again I initiated a gratitude practice with a group of friends after hearing about Pam Grout’s practice on a Sean Croxton Sessions podcast. I’d been interested in gratitude for a while due to the positive psychology research proving that it can enhance our life satisfaction and wellbeing but had struggled to maintain a daily gratitude diary. Often as my head hit the pillow I’d remember that I didn’t record that day’s gratitudes. While I’d mentally note them, I found it difficult to be consistent.

Our current practice involves a daily text to members sharing three gratitudes. Not only has this helped me to recognise the many things I have to be grateful for, it has created the unexpected benefit of allowing me to vicariously live the joy of each member of our group. Our group recently got together and everyone agreed that the practice was positively affecting their mindset and quality of life. One of our members shared that she used to pray each night for help to fix her problems but as her practice developed has instead found herself thanking God for the great things in her life (what’s more she can so clearly appreciate them now). The accountability of the group, the reminder from seeing someone else’s pop up and the regular injections of joy have been key to success.

Here’s the framework for our practice in case you’re also looking for more happiness in your life:

  • 4 members (will go to a maximum of 5)
  • Each person sends a text containing 3 things they are grateful for each day at a specified time (eg. in the evening or you could do the following morning – we allow either)
  • Ideally we can’t say the same thing twice, encouraging you to dig deeper and recognise more of the great things we take for granted
  • Everyone needs to commit to sending the gratitudes even if they are not feeling it (that’s probably when it has the most effect anyway).

If you have any questions or would like to chat about gratitude or planning a career, reach out at donna@careervitality.com.au or on 0419 120 601. Be happy!

“Every day may not be good but there is good in every day.” – Unknown

Is something holding you back in job search?

This week one of my clients in job search mentioned some advice she’d received – “The people who get the jobs are the ones who don’t give up trying”. While it has become clear to me with years of providing career guidance that job search is best viewed as a marathon than a sprint, I would argue that persistence alone isn’t always enough for success.

One of my past clients spent close to nine months smashing out around 200 applications to find himself shortlisted for just one role. His email enquiry with “Help” in the subject line definitely caught my attention. When I spoke to him in our discovery call I realised something wasn’t adding up and once I saw his resume I quickly realised what it was. This client was exiting the air force and his resume was peppered with terminology such as “garrison”, “regiment” and defence ranks.

Our work together focused on him altering his resume and tailoring it to specific roles so that his target market could understand it and see his fit for their roles. Sadly, there are many other ways that resumes might not be speaking to our audience.  My client went on to secure a new role aligned to his skills and interests about a month later (around his official discharge date), saying to me “Wow if I’d known that was possible I could have been playing golf for these past nine months rather than enduring all that rejection and stress”.

It’s worth noting that the more senior the role the longer it can take to land a position because there are less of them and organisations often apply more rigorous recruitment processes given the importance of the roles. Having said that, there are many occasions where I’ve seen clients at all levels go from what seems like no interest in their applications to having multiple offers simultaneously.

Yes, be persistent but if your approach isn’t working, please keep tinkering with it until you see better results. If you’re still not getting the results after a few months you might consider seeing a career coach to confirm that you are giving yourself the best chance of success.

Go forth and get those jobs!

Yes you can have a career after 50!

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This week one of my career workshop participants asked whether it is actually realistic to think a career change is possible in your fifties, especially after a break from paid employment. It’s not the first time this has come up in my careers practice so I thought I’d share a few thoughts on the topic.

As someone who is turning 50 this year, I can see how my perspective on age has changed over time. I used to think that 50 seemed old but now I’m here I have to say I feel youthful, fit and healthy and love that I have wisdom and significant work experience to complement these attributes. I have absolutely no doubt that I still have a lot to offer the world of work and can demonstrate that.

I guess this brings me to my first point, mindset. What are you own thoughts about your employability? If you think companies are not going to want you, guess what, you’re right! You will go into the process inadvertently looking for signs that they are judging you as too old for the role, particularly if the interviewer(s) are younger, and this will unconsciously impact your performance. It is important that you get in touch with your skills, strengths and achievements and go into the process feeling confident and knowing how you can add value to the target role.

One of my past clients found herself unemployed in her 60s after her position was made redundant. While she wasn’t planning to embark on a totally different career path, she said to me “I don’t think I’m going to get another job because I’m too old”. I had no problem convincing her that I felt she would be successful because she had had a wonderful attitude and many achievements and skills to offer a future employer. While it took around two months, and some proactivity on the part of my client (she took her resume to organisation she was interested in working for), she secured an excellent position with a great company which was replacing a retiring staff member.

Knowing, and being able to communicate, what you can contribute to a company is paramount to success. Take stock of your skills, prepare your achievement stories (refer to my 27 March blog – “How to Ace Your Interview Responses” for a guide to doing this), and focus on establishing a strong link between yourself and the role. These don’t have to be limited to a work context and can be transferable from previous roles.

A few years ago I attended a workshop at the Career Development Association of Australia’s (CDAA) annual conference discussing a study which looked at the outcomes for a group of unemployed mature age adults. Of the 55+ age group (155 people), 62.3% secured employment and 65% of those who placed in a role had undertaken a career and resume review, engaged in job search training and/or career coaching. This information suggested to me that age is likely not what restricts those of mature age from accessing employment.

If you don’t already have a good understanding of career development and what it takes to be successful in job search reach out to someone who does. If you don’t have those skills in your network, the CDAA has a great tool on their website to search for a career practitioner. Of course, you can always call Donna at Career Vitality on 0419 120 601 for local or remote career coaching consultations.

Simple Ideas for Choosing a Career

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Are you still wondering what you’d like to be when you grow up? Believe me, many people are! As a career coach I am often asked to help adult clients to find the answer to this question, or at least what they want to do next.

This used to be my least favourite type of work but I’ve realised that’s changing with experience and achieving some great outcomes with clients – I’m often now excited about going on a journey with clients to discover more about who they are, what excites them and what next career steps they want to explore.

Usually when working with a career change client we are able to draw out a lot of valuable information through conversation and some questions. We can all get so many valuable insights from our everyday lives. On the weekend I was camping with a friend who is wondering what occupations might suit her. I asked her what she had wanted to be when she was a child? What had been easy for her that others found difficult? What held her attention? When she said she had no recollection, I suggested she speak to those who were around at the time – parents, siblings, friends, etc.

Over the course of the weekend she spoke to a chef friend of ours and talked about her love of food – saying how she ‘gets food’. Her face lit up when she spoke. I asked her what her feelings had been towards cooking when she was young and she replied “OMG that’s it, isn’t it – it’s food”. I think she would have worked it out when she reflected upon her childhood but those moments of inspiration and insight can come at any time and in many different contexts and it’s about recognising them when we see them.

Have you ever experienced a strong pull to a particular activity in either your private or work life? I once went to a story telling event at the Woodford Folk Festival and walked away saying to friends that I needed to tell a story. It was the strongest compulsion and in the next few months I spoke at three story telling events and realised how much public speaking excites and energises me. One of our CareerSmart Mums guest speakers shared her experience of immediately recognising that she wanted to be a Lifeline counsellor when she heard a radio advertisement for them – bounding out of her car to write the number down. While not everyone might experience such moments, I suspect it happens much more than we recognise or act upon. Tune in to your intuition.

If you’re still wondering what to do when you grow up, a good starting point might be:

  • Think about what energises or engages you to the point that you don’t notice time passing
  • Consider what you wanted to be as a child
  • Be open to, and seek out, the clues around you
  • Reflect on what everyone has always said you are good at
  • Seek out new experiences, learn a new skill, be curious

If you need some help or inspiration, contact Donna on 0419 120 601 or donna@careervitality.com.au. Life’s too short to not love what you do.

 

LinkedIn, a No Brainer for Job Search

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As I work with career coaching clients looking to transition, I am thankfully seeing less and less resistance to LinkedIn, however, there are definitely still some people who are yet to appreciate LinkedIn’s capability for job search or the role it plays in many a successful job search campaign.

Last week I received a message from one of my career coaching clients who has landed a great new job in her professional field. She got the role by connecting with the principal of the company she’s now working with and then sending her resume to them. The principal contacted her to meet up for a chat which then turned into a job offer. This is far from an isolated event. Another client told me just today that he had been approached by two recruiters in the last week after updating his LinkedIn profile. The roles are both of interest and align well to his skills and experience, which of course were reflected in his new profile.

Past clients have told stories of being headhunted via their LinkedIn profile whilst others have been contacted by connections about roles after adding “Currently looking for opportunities” to their profile headline.

LinkedIn is a key element of your professional branding. If you have a profile you do need to ensure it does justice to your brand. LinkedIn ranks very highly on google so will generally be the first item that comes up in a search for your name. And yes, they really do search, as one of my clients unfortunately discovered before she’d updated her profile.

Here’s my top 5 tips for using LinkedIn for job search:

Use the LinkedIn job search tool, accessible from the main menu, to search for job titles and locations, similar to online job boards. You can set up a job alert to be notified of future vacancies. You can even ask LinkedIn to suggest jobs aligned to your career interests (which you enter and update), with an option to show recruiters that you are open to opportunities.

Create a future-focused profile, ie. one written for your next role. Include a well-written summary with common keywords related to your target role and a catchy headline.

Follow companies you are interested in working for as they will frequently advertise roles on their company page to the base of followers who are interested in the organisation. Some may not even advertise elsewhere.

Build your connections by reaching out to your network. Cast a wide net – the more people you are connected with, the greater the opportunities. If you have a network of say 100, and each of those people has a similar sized network, you might have access to as many 10 000 people, any of whom could know of an opportunity to suit you.

Build your recommendations and endorsements as these can confirm your value to a potential employer. Consider writing recommendations for others which may encourage them to do the same for you but you can also ask people directly.

Want more detail on LinkedIn for job search, check out the LinkedIn Guide on the Career Vitality website Toolkit? If working with a career coach sounds like it’s for you, call Donna for a no obligation conversation on 0419 120 601 or donna@careervitality.com.au.

 

Getting your superhero on for interviews

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Have you ever suffered from nerves before or during an interview? It’s a very common experience and one that my career coaching clients often raise. Of course it’s usually a sign that you’re interested in the role and that there is a bit at stake in the process. Ideally you do want to keep the nerves at bay as much as possible so that the interviewers get the best opportunity to see the real you and what you can offer.

One of the main anecdotes for nerves is preparation and you’ll find I’ve written a couple of past blogs to assist you with taking a structured and logical approach to your interview preparation. While this style of preparation is essential, here are a few other techniques that I often share with clients to help with nerves.

  1. Prepare to take some notes in with you. It is fine to refer them but often they act as a safety blanket and just knowing you have them is enough.
  2. Do some visualisation in the lead up to your interview. Picture yourself at the interview with everything playing out perfectly. See yourself calm and relaxed. Watch yourself answering all their questions well, observing the interviewers nodding while you speak. Consider playing this video over and over again in your mind as it acts as a great form of practice.
  3. Be present and breathe. Often our minds can be our worst enemy at an interview, worrying or projecting our fears. Get grounded by feeling your feet on the floor and/or bum on the seat and notice your breath coming in and out of your body. Fully being in the room can help to calm you down and focusing on your breath should leave little room for other thoughts that might unravel you.
  4. Think about the interview as a ‘conversation’, one in which you need to share certain information about yourself so that the interviewer(s) realise that you have what is needed to perform well in the role.
  5. Watch Amy Cuddy’s Power Posing Ted Talk (http://bit.ly/1gENuLB). I have had clients pose in the bathroom before their interview, on the drive there and in their bedroom before their video interview! These clients strongly believe the strategies in Amy’s talk improved their interview performance. I saw power posing used with my son and a group of other children learning how to do a rocking stage entrance at a festival event and am a convert after witnessing him standing on a chair, hand up, wanting to get on stage, behaviour that was completely out of character.

If you experience interview nerves, why not give these tips a go and let us know how it works out. If you think you’d benefit from some interview coaching Career Vitality would love to help you. Call Donna on 0419 120 601 or email donna@careervitality.com.au.