my advice

 

If the New Year (or recent election) has got you thinking about overhauling your career – whether it’s a sideways move to a different sector, a push for a higher-level position at a new company, or a complete professional U-turn – you’ll be needing a strategy.

As I regularly tell my clients and the audiences at my speaking events, dream jobs don’t just land in your lap. It’s all very well sitting at your desk daydreaming about a new start in a perfect role, but if you want to actually make it happen, press pause on the wishful thinking and start planning to make those wishes come true.

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As this great article on Forbes points out, ‘your actions + what others say about you = your reputation’. It’s a formula that I tell all my jobseeker clients to write on a sticky note and pin to their desktop. Why? Because your reputation is your currency and it has a major impact on your employability – especially in the social media era.

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‘I’m experienced, educated and articulate – so why can’t I get through interviews to a job offer?’

If I had a fiver for each time I’ve encountered a jobseeker with that problem, I’d be meditating on a beach rather than tapping away on a keyboard! Selling yourself on paper – whether through the traditional CV or on LinkedIn – is a skill in itself, and here at Walk of Life, we’ve written plenty on how to do it. But wowing the interview panel and making a strong impression in person is a different challenge altogether. Which is why you should take a strategic approach.

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Creating and marketing your personal brand is key to finding a new challenging job in sustainability. I can tell you where to start this process, which is actually very similar to dating. In order to differentiate yourself in the job market or the dating market, you need to develop strong personal brand that reflects the ‘authentic you.’

Here some pointers about how to do this for impact-related careers.

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Does your CV profile say something similar to this: “I’m a former project manager with wonderful people skills and organisational abilities and a passion for sustainability. Having spent ten years in telecoms, I have a thorough knowledge of the sector, and am committed to using my experience to further the sustainability agenda?”

If it does, it’s time to hit delete.

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Recently I explained why your CV should be all about the market: appealing to the market, meeting the market’s needs, using the market’s language, communicating what the market wants to hear. Now, I’m going to help you take a deep, analytical dive into the job description to figure out what the market really wants and tailor your CV to nail it.

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How many times have you started writing a CV or resume before you did a search for your dream job?

More than once? Every time? Neither response would surprise me. As a career coach with many years’ experience inside the HR department, I’ve seen the hallmarks of this approach arrive on my desk all too often. Which is why I’m going to give it to you straight and say: “Not so fast!”

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