PART II: THE PROFESSIONAL
Last week we unpacked some tactics to support small business owners in their struggle to keep their doors open during a truly momentous occasion in history. This week, we’ll be focusing on you – the working Professional. I’ve put together my Top 12 Tips to support you.
C-19 has demonstrated a critical lesson that we may not have wanted to face: every-single-one-of-us-is-disposable. If you have not lost your employment, I’ll bet my bottom dollar you know someone who has. Although I will be largely targeting those who have found themselves now part of the unemployed population group, I would encourage the ‘lucky’ ones who still have employment to take heed of my advice. You never know if you’ll be next to get the axe…
**Side note; although I refer to the term ‘Professionals’, this encompasses all individuals who are economically active – regardless of age, background, skills or education.
Tip 1: Get your CV in tip top shape
Whether or not you have the ‘luxury’ of time right now, find a moment to ensure your CV is in tip top shape, ready to hit market should you get retrenched, or if you are currently looking for work.
Most of my clients have introduced a moratorium, and yes – the bad news is there are very limited opportunities…now more than ever. However, there ARE companies that are still running assessments, which of course means they are still hiring. Think Retail, Manufacturing, Distribution, Information Technology, Medical Services and some Financial sectors.
Some practical tips with regards to your CV:
Need some help with regards to this? Holistan is here. Click here for more info.
Tip #2: Make sure your Digital Brand is on point
Whether you like it or not, you CV alone is not the only thing you are going to need in your arsenal kit when navigating through the war world of work.
With regards to your Facebook and Instagram accounts, I would encourage you to set them to airtight privacy. The most inconspicuous comment or photograph of you may count against you.
If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, or if it’s a juvenile one, you are committing career suicide. Having a LinkedIn presence is pivotal to growing your personal brand and facilitating the networking process; it’s also proved to be one of the most successful professional social media networks that allows you to highlight your current and prior work experience, upload your portfolio, connect with likeminded professionals, gain exposure to professional opportunities and advance your career. Its most powerful function is to not only find employment opportunities, but to get head-hunted!
Here are my top tips in this regard:
Also – to keep top of mind, search for companies / people / subjects you are interested in. Follow them, like their status updates, share their articles, etc. Do this at least daily if you can. And use hashtags for topics you are interested in.
Tip#3 Online Recruitment portals and Professionals
Now’s the opportunity to proactively invest some time into getting your profile on your nominated career portals looking spick and span. I would suggest nominating no more than three, and copy and paste the details from your CV into the designated areas.
This may seem tedious at first, but once it’s done, it’s done. It makes applying for jobs a whole lot smoother. However, make sure you review your profile every 1-6 months (depending on how long you’re on the market for) and tweak as you deem necessary.
The top career portals in South Africa (in my opinion) are:
Tip #4 Your cover letter
Create a template cover letter that you can change, adapt and tweak for every job application. The general structure should outline your cognitive capabilities (e.g. demonstrate a time you solved a complex problem), your personality profile (e.g. give examples of how you have negotiated a tough deal) and your leadership abilities (e.g. recall a time you coached and mentored a peer to achieving success).
Don’t just say you can do XYZ… DEMONSTRATE it with real life examples, keeping them as relevant and recent (the past 5 years) as possible.
Tip#5 Coach yourself
Get yourself interview-ready by coming up with answers to typical questions that will likely be posed in an interview. Practice in front of the mirror. Role play with your partner.
Some examples of high level competency based questions include:
As much as you may want to come across as humble in the interview (and please endeavour to!) DO NOT down-play your accomplishments or achievements. This is the time to shine.
A word of advice though? Always ensure the significance of whatever example you nominate demonstrates how it benefitted the organisation as a whole – not you as an individual (even if they ask you, ‘What did that mean to you?’ or ‘How did that make you feel?’).
If you do get lucky enough to land a second interview, and progress through to being invited for psychometric assessments, you can prepare by reading our articles here and here.
Tip#6 Expand your personal brand
Welcome to Industry 4.0. Finding work is NOT a case of sending off a CV. Now more than ever, it’s a collection of who you are, what you’re about and what niche skills you can offer. The more of a credible persona you can project, the better. Do yourself a favour and quickly Google your name and surname. If you don’t exist on Google, you’re treading on thin ice.
So how exactly can you expand your personal brand?
Need some more insights into building a powerful personal brand? Click here.
Luckily, this is one of Holistan’s specialities, so if you need some more ‘hands-on’ guidance, check out our offering here.
Tip#7 Be careful to under value yourself
Given our current set of circumstances, you may demonstrate a bit more flexibility in terms of your salary expectations. I do caution you, however, to be careful about significantly dropping on your market value. Things will return to normal in due course, and although there is room for flexibility, you don’t want to be on a back-foot when things do (eventually) return to normal. More on negotiating your salary here.
Tip #8 Don’t stop learning
There are a plethora of resources available to upskill on virtually anything you can think of. Especially during lockdown, plenty of paid-for websites (like Udemy.com or Alison.com, for example) are providing free courses to support the public.
If you really are in financial dire straits, you may need to consider doing some freelance work to keep your head above water. First world countries contract professionals just like you to do almost anything you can think of. Virtual assistant? Creating Copy? Putting together Power-point presentations? You can literally make a few hundred dollars for a few hours work.
Check out my favourite sites here:
Tip#10 Reach out
Get in touch with family, friends and ex-colleagues if you are actively on the market. Don’t be shy to ask for introductions. Ask for references from previous bosses. As the old saying goes, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
Tip#11 It’s time for that rainy day
If you are part of the minority that have saved for a rainy day, it may just be the thunderstorm that warrants dipping into those savings. Or perhaps call up your financial advisor; you may have an income protector as part of your portfolio that you could have forgotten about. Or, research avenues into claiming for UIF.
Tip#12 Keep your chin up
Everything in life is cyclical. You may be money poor but time rich. Aggressively look at your budget, cut all luxuries, if need be, take a payment holiday on debts, and apply your mind to some out the box thinking.
Get outside (if you have a back-yard) and get active. Take note of what you consume - not just food wise, but with regards to the news too. Don’t watch every video or read every article sent to you on WhatsApp. Only read trusted news sources. And limit your screen time. Get your hands on one of your books on your bookshelf that you’ve been promising to read forever. Or take a look at some useful info right here to fill your mind with some of my favourite content I’ve curated over the years:
Roadmap to Success
Personal Development and Growth
Becoming Your Most Authentic You
Four Tips to Get Your Mojo Back
The 5 Second Rule
7 of my Personal Tips to Survive Trauma
Are you a Polymath?
I would like to extend my deepest appreciation toward every single one of you. Many of you reading this are my clients, ex-clients, or a part of my network. Making an impact on your life or business is my passion. Having the opportunity to support you through my (free) content or (paid-for) services not only puts food on the table, but it feeds my soul. C-19 has taken many things away from you and I (seeing family, about 60% of my income, a trip to the gym, etc.), but it’s injected a new-found love for my profession.
Honestly? I feel more inspired and energised now than I have in a very, very long time. Work-wise, I’m busy evolving my business into a 100% digital friendly, Industry 4.0 offering, collecting ideas to publish my second book and creating more courses. Personally, I am spending bucket loads of time with my husband, precious son and dogs; and reconnecting with old friends in the virtual space. I hope I don’t sound facetious, but I honestly feel blessed. After all… how do you know true happiness if you’ve never experienced sorrow?
We are all collectively in this shit-storm together. If you need some active support at this time, reach out to me. Holistan offers coaching that is practical, impactful and supportive. Click here for more info.
It may take time, but we’ll make it through. Far more resilient and ambitious than ever before. But you need to choose that mindset.
Our contributors collectively boast a wealth of experience in assessments, HR, organisational development, change management and more!