Insightful Career Coach Tips that Will Change Your Life
Today’s job market is more competitive than ever. With increasing availabilities to higher education and more chances to hone your skills with free courses online, it seems like getting a great job is not as easy as it was a decade ago.
As a remote worker, landing your perfect job is even more difficult. You no longer have to compete with the locals, now there’s Mary from Idaho, Kinga from Poland and Erik from Sweden, all out for one job.
However, there’s no need to worry – all you need is some help from your career coach to get the best career advice. Whether you work from an office or as a member of a remote team, here are some tips that will help you launch your career into stardom.
Let’s dig in.
- 1 Career Coach Tips – The Job Position Requirements Aren’t Firm
- 2 Pay Rises Won’t Happen on Their Own
- 3 Move Around a Bit
- 4 Don’t Fear Feedback, Demand It
- 5 Have a Plan
- 6 Find Out What You’re Not Good At
- 7 Your Current Job is Not The End of the Road
- 8 Pick Up New Skills to Advance Your Career
- 9 Keep Your CV Sharp
- 10 The Cover Letter is a Great Chance to Capture Attention
- 11 Get Some Certifications
- 12 Don’t Forget Your Soft Skills
- 13 Always Think Like You’re Seeking for the Next Job
- 14 Never Say “That’s Not My Job”
- 15 Network
- 16 Career Coach Tips – Get a Good Work/Life Balance
- 17 Start a Remote Career
Career Coach Tips – The Job Position Requirements Aren’t Firm
Have you ever read a job ad and got to the requirements part and gasped when you saw that the entry-level position requires 10 years of experience? Situations like these are unfortunately not uncommon.
When putting together job ads, companies and HR teams simply throw a list together. It contains the ideal characteristics of an employee for this position, including experience, job roles, character traits, hobbies, hair color, cat/dog preference… In other words, it’s as subjective as it gets.
Where many companies make a mistake is that they envision their ideal candidate, a purple squirrel, a person that probably exists but they’re already working for someone else.
Or they don’t exist at all.
When browsing through job descriptions, understand that there are items that are must-haves and others that are nice-to-haves. Many times, I caught myself not applying for a position because I lacked one year of experience or I didn’t have the knowledge of a certain program.
In reality, these requirements are quite flexible and companies do consider applicants that don’t tick all of the boxes. As long as you feel that you have what it takes to do the job and you have the relevant experience, don’t be discouraged from applying. It may just as well happen that there are no applicants that fulfill all of the requirements.
When it comes to remote positions, many companies list previous remote experience as a requirement. However, if you’ve never had remote experience, it’s kind of a Catch 22. Most companies will hire you without previous remote experience, as long as your track record is solid.
Pay Rises Won’t Happen on Their Own
If I ever had a career coach, I wish they had told me this when I was just starting out. In some lines of work, pay raises are detailed in your contract. I.e. after a certain amount of time, you’re guaranteed a raise if you stay in your position.
For most careers though, a pay raise is something that won’t happen on its own. Only after you’ve brought it up with your superiors can you expect a pay raise discussion – not a pay raise itself.
Debating (and getting) a pay raise is an art form and there are numerous articles, essays and books written on it to help you out. For starters, bring up the topic with your boss after a certain while.
After all, the worst thing that can happen is that you get turned down.
Move Around a Bit
As a remote worker, the majority of your friends probably have more traditional, location-based jobs. One of the things they most often admire with remote workers is the flexibility of time and place to get work done – while remote workers take this for granted.
If you already have the opportunity to take your work anywhere you want, why not do so? Instead of working from your home, try taking your work outside. Whether it’s your local coffee shop, park or a coworking hub, expand your horizons. You don’t have to go full digital nomad and visit Bali for three months – just leaving your bedroom will be enough.
By trying out different working environments, you’ll be able to find out where you perform best. Grab your laptop and use the remote lifestyle to its fullest – you’ve got nothing to lose.
Don’t Fear Feedback, Demand It
Here’s another useful tip from your career coach – feedback is necessary. When you’re just starting out in your career, you may fear feedback. After all, nobody wants to hear if they’re not performing well or that the way they do work is not up to their boss’ standards.
Consider feedback as a way to measure how you’re progressing in your work and how much you’re growing professionally. Feedback doesn’t have to be negative – it’s just that most of us aren’t wired to accept any discomforting truths.
Instead of anxiously awaiting feedback, demand it, so you can find areas for improvement. Moreover, feedback doesn’t have to come from your managers only. Ask your coworkers for their thoughts as well, as they will provide unique insights that your managers won’t have.
Have a Plan
If you’ve been in a job interview in the past decade or so, you must have gotten the infamous question:
Where do you see yourself in X years from now?
Although this is a canned HR trick to get long-term plans out of applicants, it actually is a good question to ask yourself. Where do you see your career in the future? And what are the steps you’re taking every day to get to that spot?
Set a clear timeline, with goals you want to accomplish and the steps needed to get where you want. Once you have your key goals written down in front of you, it’s much more likely to adhere to your plans. As a plus, you’ll always have an answer to this dreaded interview question – win-win.
Find Out What You’re Not Good At
Speaking of annoying HR questions, another one that pops up often is…
What is your greatest weakness?
Here’s the thing – HR managers are pretty good at seeing through lies and canned responses. Something along the lines of I work too hard won’t really slide. It might sound counter-intuitive, but to get ahead in your career, you need to find what you suck at… And work to improve it.
If you’ve followed our previous tips and collected feedback on your performance, you’re well on your way to figure this out. Make a note of your shortcomings when it comes to your position and put together a list for each. If you’re not willing to actively work on improving yourself every day, you’re doing your future self a disservice.
Your Current Job is Not The End of the Road
Up until recently, it was completely normal for people to stay working with a certain company for years, up until decades. You could advance in terms of position, but your employer stayed the same.
In the recent years, it’s become expected that people not only change several job positions in their career, but a few career paths as well. In other words, today’s job seekers are much more likely to quit and find a new place to work, as well as find a completely new line of work.
More than ever before, you are no longer tied to one employer and one career. Whether it’s a change of environment, a salary hike or simply getting rid of that annoying boss, a job switch is no longer something unordinary.
Pick Up New Skills to Advance Your Career
If you’ve ever had a career coach, there’s probably one thing you heard – nobody’s irreplaceable. No matter how skilled, qualified, experienced you may be, the management could replace you with someone else. Granted, this person may not do as good of a job as you, but they don’t have to keep you around at all costs.
If you pick up new skills, you may not make yourself irreplaceable, but you are making yourself harder to replace. If you hear your boss saying that they need a new marketing manager that is familiar with social media automation, do yourself a favor and start learning immediately.
While this may take some additional effort, you’re doing yourself a favor on two fronts. First, you’re making yourself more valuable in your current position. Second, you’re improving your skill set for future employment.
Keep Your CV Sharp
As much as we loathe it, the CV is here to stay. Resumes have their shortcomings, but they are still the number one hiring method for many companies and HR managers out there. Without a solid CV, your chances of landing a job (any job) are slim to none.
There are thousands of blogs out there on how to make your CV great, so we’ll just cover some basics here to get you started:
- Mind your spelling, grammar and overall design layout
- Don’t lie or exaggerate (seriously)
- List only relevant experience
- List your references
- Keep it short – 1 page is ideal, 2 pages is maximum
As I’ve been on the receiving end of many CVs, there’s one fact I have to stress – always adjust your CV for the position you’re applying for. Not all of your education, skills and experience will be important for every role you’re applying for. The average recruiter spends only a few seconds looking at your CV, so make those seconds count.
The Cover Letter is a Great Chance to Capture Attention
The resume and the cover letter are the bread and butter of the modern hiring process. While many employers replace them with skills-based tests, they are still as relevant today as they were a decade ago.
Here’s what a cover letter is: a chance to show off and tell more about your experience; a chance to go in-depth about what makes you the best hire for the job; a chance to show off your writing skills; a chance to wow the recruiter with your impeccable grammar and spelling.
Here’s what a cover letter is not: a place to re-hash your CV; a piece that you write and send over to 20 different job applications; a piece that talks about anything other than why you’re the best person for this particular job.
One of the biggest mistakes that candidates made in the cover letters I read is that I could easily tell when someone sent in one and the same cover letter to my company, as well as all other companies out there. Recruiters can spot this from a mile away – so take the time to cater your letter to the position you’re applying for. A couple of extra minutes spent on writing can go a long way.
Get Some Certifications
Here’s another useful tip from your career coach – you career is a never-ending learning process. Just because you’re out of high school and college, that doesn’t mean you should stop learning and advancing your skills.
There are numerous things you can do every day to learn more in your field of work. Some of them even come with a certification – and you should definitely take a chance to get official confirmation for attending a course and passing a test.
You don’t have to look far – there are numerous useful courses on Udemy and Coursera. In my case, I found a whole range of interesting certifications on HubSpot – inbound marketing, content marketing, email marketing and others.
While some courses will require you to pay to attend them and take a test, there are plenty of free courses online, such as the aforementioned HubSpot, Google Adwords and many others.
Don’t Forget Your Soft Skills
When it comes to career advancement, most people think that picking up some new work-related skills is the path to climbing the career ladder. However, soft skills are just as important, if not even more.
While learning how to write better code or close more sales are great skills to learn, on their own, they won’t be enough for any meaningful jump in your career.
Besides these, focus on improving your soft skills, such as communication, empathy and critical thinking. No matter how high you are on the totem pole in your company, having excellent soft skills will put you ahead of a coworker who only knows how to do their job.
Always Think Like You’re Seeking for the Next Job
One thing I’ve often seen with colleagues across industries is that they relax after working after a while in one company. They become comfortable and they feel secure in their job, not worrying about looking for another opportunity.
While this is perfectly fine, it’s also dangerous.
It’s not necessary to constantly look for the next best thing and find a replacement job for your current position. However, you do need to keep the jobseeker mindset.
This means keeping up with the industry – the latest trends and movements and what’s in demand. Fields such as marketing change rapidly, and one skillset could be in demand one year and completely obsolete in just a few months.
Likewise, just because you’ve landed your dream job (hopefully), this doesn’t mean that all your side projects should go to the bin. If you have your own blog, stick to it and be consistent – it just may be the thing that launches your career upwards in five years.
If you’ve been consistent with your LinkedIn networking before you got the job, don’t suddenly stop. There is immense value in networking and you will be recognized as someone who nurtures their own personal brand, unrelated to their position.
Never Say “That’s Not My Job”
Working in a startup or two, you get used to multitasking. If you work for a smaller company with limited assets, chances are high that your duties go well beyond what the job description said you would be doing.
There are two schools – the one that says that you shouldn’t do anything that’s unrelated to your skills and another one that says you should give it a go and pick up some new skills. As your career coach, I’d recommend going in the middle.
Do try to do things unrelated to your job and try to pick up new skills. However, make sure you are not judged on those skills – your performance should be measured for the tasks you were hired to do.
Even in those cases where you really have to say that something is not your job, there are far better ways of saying it, such as “this is beyond the scope of my capabilities”.
There are two way you can get ahead in your career – on your own and with the help of others. While it’s commendable if you want to tackle it all on your own, it’s useful to connect with others and make your journey easier.
In order to find your next career move, it’s best to venture outside of your workplace and connect with people from your industry. You can do this through various events, primarily conferences and workshops.
Why would you attend conferences? First, you’ll find out the latest news and insights from your industry. Second, you’ll meet new people, who may be willing to work with you or hire you. Third, you’ll get to see a new city or perhaps even country. Finally, many companies are willing to invest in their employees and they will pay you to visit a conference.
Another way to connect with people from your industry doesn’t even require you to move from your office chair. Simply find out who the shakers are in your industry and connect with them on LinkedIn. By following them and keeping up with their content, you will be in the loop and you’ll have higher chances of bumping into your next career opportunity.
Career Coach Tips – Get a Good Work/Life Balance
While this is one of the most (ab)used HR phrases, it’s also one of the most important. A balance between work and free time is necessary to perform well at your job and have stable mental health. Unfortunately, it’s not always in our control.
However, you can and should do your part. While you can do all-nighters and finish up work for the upcoming week in two days, you can also balance it out and get all the work done in time without the stress and tiredness that comes along.
While most of us were fed the belief that managers love hard workers, the reality can be much different. Many CEOs prefer workers that get their job done and have quality free time to spend with their families, loved ones, or doing anything that makes them happy. Only a happy, satisfied individual can make a good worker, so a quality work/life balance is a necessity.
Start a Remote Career
As the final tip from your career coach, there’s only one tip – start working remotely. Remote workers enjoy the flexibility in time and location and they choose the way to do work. Moreover, they have better work-life balance and they’re happier with their work in general.
You don’t have to go far to find your new remote job. At Anomadic, we’ve created a job board specifically for remote positions. As remote workers ourselves, we know how challenging it can be to find meaningful work that you can do remote.
Join our board today and browse remote jobs which you can do from anywhere – as long as you have the skills to do the job.