Career coach says people are starting to find a new direction during Covid lockdown
With 11 years experience working across various recruitment and career-consulting positions, career coach Angela Burke has a wealth of understanding of the job transition process. She uses this insight to help people navigate career change in a very practical way.
Magazine+: Has Covid-19 spurred people to reconsider their careers?
AB: 2020 has definitely brought about a lot of food for thought. When we're moving through life at 100 miles per hour, there isn't much room for reflection and active decision-making. Instead, you tend to move on autopilot mode and go with the flow. Due to the slower pace of life that Covid-19 has introduced, many people are now realising that they have just fallen into each job without considering if it's actually what they want.
Magazine+: What are people struggling with when it comes to their career at the moment?
AB: Some people are struggling to secure a job, having been laid off due to Covid-19, while others are finding it difficult to figure out what direction to move their career in. When it comes to changing jobs, it's very common for people to just start sending out CVs and applying to jobs similar to their most recent one.
The problem with this approach is that it doesn't allow for a sense-check on what job would best suit their personal and professional needs at that moment in their life, and unfortunately, this can lead to job dissatisfaction from the get go.
Magazine+: How can people get more clarity when it comes to their career choices?
AB: It can be as easy as taking the time to ask yourself some very practical questions. We don't take the time to do this though, do we? Through my Career Clarity Workshop, I provide a virtual environment over two to three hours for people to take stock and figure things out before investing time and money on changing jobs.
Through various exercises, they figure out why they actually want a change in the first place, what's not working for them currently, what's missing from their current work situation, and what they need from their next job in order to align their career and lifestyle aspirations.
Magazine+: What if people don't know what their job and career options are?
AB: This is something many people experience, particularly as there are so many different jobs and careers to choose from - it can cause analysis paralysis. During my Career Change Workshop, I guide people through this process. We start with identifying what's in their 'Career Toolkit' that they can leverage when assessing options. By outlining your experience, skills, qualifications, interests etc, you can start exploring different options that match your toolkit.
I always advise people to start having career conversations. Instead of small talk, ask people what they do and how they developed a career in their line of work. Carry out research on jobs boards and become aware of what type of jobs are available and whether the requirements of the job match your toolkit. Don't worry if you don't match all the requirements, you probably have transferable skills that can help bridge the gap.
Magazine+: What advice would you have for jobseekers who are struggling to secure employment in the current environment with the impact of Covid-19?
AB: If it's taking you longer than it usually would to secure a job, it's important to remember that there is an external factor at play here and to try not to get too disheartened, although I know it's so tough and worrying for people. In the current environment, there is going to be a lot of other applicants with very similar profiles to you, so it's never been more important to stand out. A strong CV that quickly helps the recruiter see that you are a suitable candidate is very important. Don't leave it up to the recruiter to figure out whether you have the skills and experience necessary to do the job, ensure your CV tells them that very quickly.
You could also think about what you can do outside of the online application to establish relationships with your employer of choice. If your situation allows, it's also worth assessing whether the job in question aligns with your needs, like we spoke about earlier, to ensure you're setting yourself up for job satisfaction.
Magazine+: That's interesting, how can people assess whether the job is actually right for them?
AB: You can't guarantee for sure, but there are lots of things you can do to assess and eliminate the risk as much as possible. When I talk about this during my career workshops and consultations, people are usually very surprised that there is scope to assess their compatibility with a job.
Research the company, seek to understand its values and mode of operation, and avail of opportunities to ask the recruiter and hiring manager questions while taking note of how you feel during those engagements.
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