If you are considering a career change, it’s important to reflect on what are the definite components of your future work environment.
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If you are considering a career change, it’s important to reflect on what are the definite components of your future work environment.
👉Download your free resource now!
Career transition can be a stressful experience for anyone. Finding a job that aligns with your values, career goals and meets financial expectations at the same time is a difficult task. Fear of struggling financially in making a change is one reason people don’t change their jobs. When you are changing your career or even in unexpected circumstances of losing a job, the concern is always about not having enough money to survive. Discover 5 tips on how to plan financial flexibility for a career change.
Changing your career or switching your career completely might require starting from the bottom, and that often means taking a significant pay cut.
Before you make an actual move, you have to spend some time getting it organised. Big part of it is financial planning and financial security during transition time. It’s important to understand how much you spend each month and how much you need to earn your future job to meet your financial goals.
1. Build up your savings
We all have heard that we should have some savings. But the question is – how much? It is advisable to have at least 6 months of salary. When you don’t have a job for few months, such savings can cover your basic expenses. It also gives you the flexibility to look for the best possible offer, instead of accepting the first one simply because you are under pressure to cover your day-to-day expenses.
2. Understand your expenses and your baseline
Not all of us know how much we spend during a month, and we usually don’t have the habit of tracking it. Build your monthly budget and understand your spendings. Think about anything you can do to lower it down during emergency times and what would be your baseline.
There are also plenty of budget calculators available online:
3. Cover your debts
Make a list of your outstanding debts and create a plan for how you can pay them off quicker. Instead of worrying about them during a change, better to use that energy in the future on finding your next play.
4. Plan your transition ahead
Think about how you can benefit from your current situation, knowing when is the best time to leave. It’s not always possible, especially if you lose your job by unexpected redundancy or another factor. But a good piece of advice was shared by Wladimir Klitschko, during the Web Summit in 2018, who said that “it’s important to prepare yourself in good times for bad times, because the bad time will always go to come up, no matter how good you are at something. Bad times or challenging times always will appear. To prepare for it, you have to do it during good times.”
Take most out of your current role and consider what else you can learn from the current positions. Think about your current employer as your investor, build the right mindset, and don’t feel like you are in prison.
When you are determined to change your career, remember that this will not happen overnight. Use your time in your current role to get the benefits from it. Complete free certification, courses, or ask for additional job responsibilities that can teach you skills useful for your dream career.
5. Increase your financial flexibility- finding a Side Hustle
If you want to boost your finance, you can also consider an additional part-time job, freelancing in the field you want to move to, get valuable experience, and develop your next role skills.
A temporary side hustle can help you gain extra budget to afford career change in the future and create income security during the transition.
Esther opened the Elocution Room several years ago, working with thousands of people to improve their communication skills.
Two years ago, I reached out to Esther myself, looking for help to improve my pronunciation and presentation skills. Developing successful communication skills is an essential part when it comes to building a successful career. Esther worked with me not only on my communication style but most importantly; she helped me to find my voice!
I asked Esther a few questions on her journey of becoming an elocutionist and what she understands behind strong communication skills.
Tell us a little bit about your background and where your passion for communication is coming from.
When I was eighteen, I decided to do a drama A- level alongside other more traditional A-Levels. I didn’t have a particular interest in drama, but I simply chose to do it for the fun of it. However, the teacher, who had just recently graduated from Oxford University, where she had read English and Drama, was excellent. She was able to instil the love of speech and drama in all of her students and brought such life to the course that all of the students in her class became passionate about it.
After completing my A-Levels, I was lucky to get into the prestigious Royal Birmingham Conservatoire to study Drama. That was when my passion for the voice began. Watching the older students play certain characters, particularly Shakespeare and classical characters, and observing what they did to create depth and richness to their voice was amazing.
We used to have 2 hours of voice classes every morning, where I found the connection between your breath and voice. I learned how you could manipulate your voice to sound a certain way, sound a lot richer, and be a lot more in control of the message you wanted to send or how you wanted to come across. After three years of drama school, I returned to Ireland, I wanted to teach as this was my real passion, but I got lots of acting work which I enjoyed. Unfortunately, acting and having a family doesn’t necessarily work well together. I went back to what I love, which was teaching, and I have been lucky to teach ever since. I find that I’m always researching the voice and devising more effective ways to communicate with people. And with that research and learning, I can impart that to other people.
What do you understand as effective communication?
Effective communications are both listening and speaking. Listening is probably the more important of the two. So that you are really listening and hearing what the other person is saying, if you’re waiting to have your turn to speak, you will never listen and communicate effectively fully. Listening, synthesizing what that person is saying, pulling parts from what they said, and repeating parts back to them fully understand what they have said and, more importantly, what they meant. Effective communication doesn’t mean that you only speak. It means that you listen and try to really understand what the other person is saying.
Another important aspect of effective communication is thinking about the person you are talking to rather than thinking about how you come across.
What is the science behind effective communication?
The science behind effective communication is preparing your body, aligning it. You need to make sure that you are holding no tension in your body, and your body is relaxed. I would say, in essence, that is using the Alexander Technique. It is a way of ensuring that your body is aligned to release tension or stress from any part of your body.
The second essential thing is using the correct breathing technique for public speaking. When you speak in front of a group of people or presenting something, the most important breathing to use is Intercostal Diaphragmatic Breathing.
The third thing is turning that breath into sound. And you want to be able to do that clearly, by using your organs of articulations. It would help if you get your organs of articulation warmed up. Like every muscle in your body, if you don’t use them, they start to get tense.
Opening up vowels and consonants, making sure that there is a strong balance between them. That’s where the colour comes from. You don’t want to be over-emotional, and you also don’t want to be over robotic, so it’s critical to hit the right balance.
In essence, that is the science behind good communication skills.
There is also an art to effective communication. It is applying active listening skills to your communication, clearing your head. Once you clear your head, you’re very much here, in the moment, speaking to your client, boss, student, whoever becomes a lot easier. The next part is to analyse the situation to ask yourself who you are talking to? When you are thinking about your audience, you need to think about the problem or issue you are discussing and ensure that your voice is sympathetic and/ or sincere.
Why is effective communication, such a complicated thing?
All communication and speech can be tied to our past, childhood, our school days etc. Simple hurtful comments made to us in the past about our voice or our speech could trigger a response every time we speak in front of other people and make us feel very nervous or embarrassed.
People can get very afraid when they have to talk in front of a group of people. It puts them under intense pressure; they feel they might be judged for their accent or quality of their work when they do a presentation. All comes back to trust. You need to create an atmosphere of trust.
When do your clients ask you how to communicate effectively? What do you say to them?
No two clients are ever the same; there is no one for all solutions. I listen, and I ask them to tell me as much as they can about who they are and what they hope to achieve. With that, I put together an individual program for each client. I build trust between my client and myself, listen to whatever issue they may have, also observing body language and breath control. I focus on relaxation.
Trying to unpack and find exactly what is blocking someone so that we can move forward. I will bring everything to the table, but the client needs to engage with the process fully.
I think it is actually the most important skills anyone can have to be able to speak confidently.
What do you find most rewarding about your job?
I have met so many wonderful people through the years, and I’ve built up some wonderful friendships—the experience of joy when the clients achieve the goals they have set.
Seeing how much happier they are. The nerves are gone; they follow their dream careers and build meaningful relationships. They are moving in directions they want too. I feel so privileged to be a part of it.
I recently completed an MEd in Education, and I look forward to incorporating my dissertation research into my teaching practice.
Excellent Podcast with Dr Edith Eger, Holocaust Survivor, explaining the power of choice and how to break the personal prison to live a happy life.
Meet Grace Coughlan, District Inside Sales Leader, UK Large Corporate and Corporate Acquisition at Dell Technologies.
I had the great pleasure to meet Grace during a Women in Tech Event a couple of years ago. I must say I was always truly impressed with her sales career and how she succeeded in her leadership role.
According to the 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics, women are underrepresented in B2B sales in most industries, and only 12% of that number are female sales leaders.
Grace will share her journey of becoming a successful Sales Leader and share some career tips for any females looking for advice on enhancing a career in sales. #InternationalWomenDay2021
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you started your journey in sales?
Like many young women in their early twenties, I was unsure of my career path. An opportunity arose to pursue an entrepreneurial venture that involved me ‘selling’ my business concept to investors and potential clients. With no previous sales experience and no one else to rely on to get my business off the ground, I quickly learned that sales is essentially the ability to understand your customer, their challenge/need and be able to articulate how your product/service can solve that. To be able to do so with honesty, transparency and ultimately build a trusting relationship with the customer is the essence of a good sales person. I had a natural flair for this, so when my experience as an entrepreneur reached a conclusion after a couple of years, I decided that I should pursue a career in B2B sales. At the time in 2011, technology was and still is the fastest growing industry in the world so I was delighted to be given the opportunity to join Dell Technologies as an Inside Sales Representative. My career has evolved in Dell over the last 10 years from inside sales rep to product specialist to sales coach to my current role now as a District Inside Sales Leader managing a team of incredibly talented sales account managers.
Why do you think there aren’t more women in sales?
I think previously sales was perceived as high stress, aggressive, time-demanding career choice which perhaps led women to fear that they would struggle to balance career and family life however I think there has been a critical shift of this perception in the last few years. I am proud to say in my organization we have an excellent balance of both male and female salespeople and most importantly this equal balance is concurrent in senior sales leadership positions. Dell actually has an excellent mentorship program called Stem Aspire which is a year-long mentoring program for women who are currently at University and who want a career in Technology after graduation. But making the transition from University to that first job in Technology can be so daunting they may never consider it. STEM Aspire sets out to make this transition easier. Many organizations across different industry verticals sponsor similar programs, which is fantastic.
What obstacles have you faced during your career, and how did you overcome them?
My biggest obstacle throughout my career to date has been my own self-doubt. I am aware of speaking with female peers and mentors that this is very common in women no matter what career they are in. It is known as ‘imposter syndrome’. It is an internal experience of believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be. Men can experience this also. However, it is widely known to affect women much more. This has led to me procrastinating too much in the past about taking steps forward in my career due to fear of failure or suffering unnecessary anxiety ahead of key presentations or engagements. I have learned to internally check myself on these feelings, and now I simply ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’! 🙂
What would be a piece of advice that you can give to other women who want to develop their career in sales?
Women have a tendency to read a job spec for a promotion or a new role, and if they do not have 100% of the desired skill or experience, they will entertain thoughts that they are not good enough or not ready. My advice would be if you have even 50-60% of what the job spec is looking for, then go for it! By putting yourself out there, often hiring managers will recognise your drive and ambition to make up for the rest by upskilling on the job, which is very attractive to a potential candidate. I was given this advice early in my career by a male mentor, and he was absolutely right.
What do you think are the most important attributes to be successful in sales today? Do you think it has changed in the past years?
The most important attributes are, as mentioned, the ability to be honest, transparent and the ability to build a trusting relationship with your customer. To achieve this, you sometimes need to walk away from a sale if it is ultimately not going to benefit the customer or perhaps your business. This is key because you may not get that sale, but the customer will see you as a ‘trusted advisor’ and will endeavour to do business with you on other projects. I do think this has changed from times past when naively sales people would aggressively try to make the sale no matter what without much thought of the bigger picture or longer-term relationship with the client.
Any tactics that you would share on how you can grow your sales career and sales skills.
In order to grow your sales career and skills, you must constantly be educating yourself. Educating yourself on industry and market trends (both your own and your customers). Educating yourself on macro-economic conditions of your market. Educating yourself on your product/service and how it can address challenges/needs. Educating yourself on sales communication techniques. Every day has to be a school day, as the saying goes. A colleague of mine once used the analogy that sales people educating themselves continuously are like professional athletes who need to constantly train and stay agile in order to win out on the pitch against the competition.
Why should you read it?
Why can broad experience be an advantage? In a world where we all feel the pressure to specialise very early in our career and become “experts” in a narrow field, David Epstein shows the real value of diverse experience and a broad spectrum of interest and their impact on the professional career. This book has been recommended to me by one of the mentors at the Mentoring Club. It has definitely changed my perspective on early specialisation and the value of the broad experience in professional life. It gives hopes to everyone who struggles to focus on one idea in their career:)
What is the book about?
The author gives examples of professional athletes, science, and business people to illustrate the difference between deliberate training and more broad experience and explain the latter’s advantages. According to the author and his research, the “tendency to rely on the experience of familiar patterns can backfire horribly”. Experience and interest in different fields give us perspective and develop abstract thinking and problem-solving skills, which are highly required in the current job market. Problem-solving skills are linked to the wicked learning environment where rules are not clear, and you can’t find any familiar patterns. In that unfamiliar environment, narrow experience does not improve outcome or performance but leads to poor choices. To develop abstract thinking, you have to gain knowledge in different areas. What’s more, broad experience drives innovation and shifts the attitude towards learning.
The book is a great inspiration and encouragement for anyone to experiment with different things in their career before choosing your speciality early in your life.
A lot of people struggle to craft a resume when they are thinking about a career change. What details should you include? What is relevant, and what is not?
When you consider how many resumes each recruiter or a single company receive daily, you realise that they don’t spend much time reviewing every single bullet point on it. They scan them very quickly, looking for keywords that grab their attention. If you are thinking about a career change, you will have to revamp your CV and show the skills that apply to the new job.
Put yourself in the state of mind that the intention is to create a resume that stands out. Your resume is a “brochure” of what you have achieved and how you can use that for your new employer in the future. Its main purpose is to sell your skills and experience, and the product you are selling is YOU. You have to think about it as your sales pitch.
If you are going into a new line of work, here are some best practices that you should follow when you start working on your CV.
1. Craft your resume based on the Job Description.
Read the Job Description and analyze the keywords, key qualities, and competencies required for the role. Look for matching traits. Use the right language in your resume that matches the language of the Job Description.
2. Write your summary statement to explain what type of position are you looking for.
In a couple of sentences, you have to answer the question of why someone should hire you! It doesn’t have to be long but include a brief description of professional you.
3. Highlight the skills that are directly related to the work objective and position.
I know that the career can be a rocky road, but focus on skills directly related to the role that you are applying for. Don’t use the same standardised CV that includes all you did so far in your life- you limit your chances to be selected to the next stage of the interview.
4. Articulate clearly your previous work history.
It sounds obvious, but it’s a widespread mistake that I still keep seeing. Make sure that your resume includes all company names, length of the service and position titles. If you moved internally in the same company or got promoted, make sure that your CV reflects that too.
5. Quantify your achievements.
Instead of listing your main responsibilities, show your direct impact during the time with the tie company. It’s important to include in your CV your responsibilities, but when you do that, tell the story showing your direct impact on the business within your role and relevant to the role that you’re applying for.
Job interviews can be a stressful experience for anyone who is looking for a new job. There are plenty of different types of interviews, but I’m sure that you’ve heard about behavioural interviews in the past. If you are looking for a job now or preparing for this type of interview, it should be your priority no 1 to understand it. Well build CV can tell the recruiter if the candidate has the skill required for the role. However, an interview is a critical step to evaluate this skill. Don’t panic! We have some practical tips on how you can be more tactical and master your skills here.
What is a behavioural interview?
A behavioural interview, known as competency-based, is an interview where the candidate is asked to give an example from their previous experience to predict their future performance. The best way to answer them is to use STAR methodology to help people structure their answers for behavioural questions in a specific and easy to understand compile way.
Let’s break down the STAR framework.
STAR stands for:
STAR Framework is invisible but gives you structure and strategy to come up with impressive answers. It’s practical in application, helping to articulate your experience and tell a meaningful story. It’s challenging to know what type of questions exactly the interviewer will ask you. Questions are designed based on the competencies that are required for the role and usually start with:
“Can you tell me about the time, when…?”
“Describe the situation when …”
Based on the Job Description, you can predict some of them. Having that in mind, it’s important to have a few examples, you can adapt to a different situation. Mastering how to use the technique will help you organize your thoughts and ideas and build your confidence during the interview.
Nail the STAR framework
Moving to a new country is a big step in everyone’s life and a memorable experience and golden opportunity to discover yourself and expand your horizon. Getting adjusted to the new norm and country routine can be exciting but intimidating at the same time. It’s important to understand people you come to and break into the local community. You might face countless barriers, but mixing outside with the local society, it’s a crucial part in adjusting to a new environment. A good start point is to examine the history of the country and their impact on the nation.
I’ve been living in Ireland for the last 15 years. Still, I constantly learn something new about the country surviving Viking Invasion, the Great Famine, Easter Rising and War of Independence.
The Story of Ireland Documentary explains Ireland’s history and its cultural, social and economic evolution.
Inspiring reflection on the history of Celtic Tiger.
Why should you read it?
We all face problems, either in our professional or personal life. When problems come, we tend to overthink and fear them. Fear blocks us to take essential actions to overcome and solve them. But what if we change problems into challenges and shift our negative mindset into motivation, and create a plan with the actions and desire to improve ourselves and our life?
What is the book about?
I’ve always been a big fan of Wladimir Klitschko. A couple of years ago I was able to attend his speech during a Web Summit in Lisbon where he spoke about his personal philosophy and the preparation to take the next step in his career, after being active sportsman (but I will write a separate article about it).
Challenge Management shows the way how to overcome the challenges (that’s how Klitschko calls problems in his book) in a constantly changing world. Using his own experience as a professional athlete, Klitschko provides a framework which lets you build a successful action plan to overcome those challenges. The framework is easily transferable into business or personal life.
During his journey as an athlete, he developed the philosophy himself, showing 5 steps of success:
This book is an inspirational guide how to change problems into challenges, with a list of the recommendations of action plan to build your positive attitude and motivation to overcome them, by recognising opportunities where others see problems.
...and I am an International Recruiter and Career Coach.
Although I have tried many things in my life, recruitment is something that I really love.
Over the past number of years, I had the privilege of working in different industries, globally hiring from Interns and Grads all the way up to Executive level for the companies like Microsoft, Wargaming, and HubSpot.
For the last 14 years wife to Piotr. Mother to 2 Superstars: Gabriela (13) and Adam (6).
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