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International Coaching Week – Ask the Career Coach

Working on tablet coaching in backgroundTo celebrate International Coaching Week, we’ve gathered together some of the most asked  questions we receive from the people we support.  Here’s a selection of the questions with answers from our Career Coaches:

What tips do you have for making sure a CV gets through Applicant Tracking Systems? Answered by Francesca Mercier

A large percentage of online recruiters these days use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to select candidates for interview. ATSs use algorithms to search for the key words that are in job descriptions and person specifications, and if a CV does not contain enough of the key words you will not be selected. Good practice is to assume that ATSs will be used every time you apply online and you therefore need to ensure that your CV matches the requirements sought. Additionally, ATSs prefer a plain format so avoid tables, boxes, colour and shading.

Consider using a search engine to find 2 or 3 job descriptions/ person specifications for the type of role you are interested in. What are the common themes, skills and experience that are being sought? Are there industry/job specific phrases and terminology that are being used regularly? Using this information, consider producing a master CV. This master CV should incorporate the core skills you have identified, together with examples of targeted, relevant achievements, demonstrating the value you would add in the role. You then tailor this master specifically to each role you apply for.

How can my LinkedIn profile help me secure a new role? Answered by Mike Prenton

There’s really one over-riding reason to be on LinkedIn: To be Found. Why? Because – as in many other areas of our lives – recruitment has been revolutionised by the web. And many hirers will now start by sourcing LinkedIn with targeted keywords and ‘smart search’ – before (or even instead of) posting a vacancy online.

You’ll need your profile to be looking forwards rather than backwards- giving prominence to the skills & expertise you wish to use most in your future career. Don’t forget accreditations and specific ‘tools of your trade’ – recruiters often deep search with this in mind.

You should look to personalise the headline under your name – it may well be the first thing a recruiter ever learns about you. This can be developed by developing your “elevator pitch”. Then look to add your broader skill set and many more juicy keywords in your “Summary” or “About” box.

The best sense check is to ask yourself – are the words in my profile matching up with those in the vacancies I wish to apply for? It’s all about the match. Don’t forget to add the key words again in the skills section at the foot of your profile in the same way – they are especially useful in boosting you up the applicant list when applying through LinkedIn for a role.

I am thinking of changing career but not sure what to do next. How can I find a job I enjoy? Answered by Julia Gardner

Review your story so far – the good times and the not so good.  What specifically contributed to those ups and downs and what clues are there in your story-line to help you identify enjoyable work? Gather up all the positives hidden in your story. That includes your strengths and skills, knowledge and expertise, what you value, your qualifications, passions and interests.

Einstein once said … ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge’.  Get creative and visualise a brighter future.  What does it look like?  Where are you? What are you doing? Who else is there? What’s the evidence that you’ve had a good day?

Capture what you need from work and what’s most important – this is your all-important criteria check-list for focusing on a realistic way forwards. Who’s around to help progress and cement your thinking? Have conversations to gather information, check assumptions, spot opportunities and notice where your energy builds…there will be a reason why!

I am considering becoming self-employed, any tips? Answered by Mark Eyre

Get clear on what you’re selling.  What is your product or offer?  Who are your target customers?  Are they business or personal customers?   Why will customers use you rather than someone else?  While staying flexible helps make a living, you need some clarity on these questions.  Your answers will also help decide how best to market.  Do you need a business website?  Will a good LinkedIn profile suffice?  Will you market in other ways instead?

There are some important decisions to make here, starting with Limited Company or sole trader?  A Limited Company is a more formal set up, sole trader less formal.  If you plan to sell to business customers or organisations, you will almost certainly need a Limited Company.  Other issues need sorting too, like getting an accountant or book-keeper, a business bank account, business insurance, and business driving insurance.

Get clear how much you can live on.  Depending on your plans, it could take 6-12months to start earning.  How are you going to live before then?  Putting realistic timescales on business start-up plans is important. Self-employment can be lonely, so make sure you get out regularly.  Join a business network, which can be a social life and a great way to pick up tips.

Renovo  the UK’s leading outplacement and career transition support specialist. We work with both organisations and individuals to support all their career transition requirements. If you would like to understand how Renovo can help you please call 0800 612 2011 or email info@renovo.uk.com

Last modified: May 7th, 2020 by Renovo