Stop looking for jobs… and start looking for a career!

July 31, 2020

Since lock down I have been listening to more podcasts, vlogs and webinars than ever before – many are dull or repetitious but every once and a while there’s a gem that piques my interest.

I recently watched an interview with Holly Fawcett (Social Talent) with Melkeya McDuffie (a US based HR thought leader, career coach and author) which covered many topics but most interesting to me was the discussion for those looking for work at this time. I think some of the excellent points covered should help anyone here in Cayman focus on their career search.

Start at the very beginning (a very good place to start)

Firstly, we all want careers and not just jobs. It’s a long working life as we well know! So, if you’re looking now ask yourself – what is your next move? Do your research on the perspective employers you’re thinking of targeting. Ask yourself, do you like their messaging and is this somewhere you see yourself fitting in? By honing in on this you will be able to position your next move.

Melkya’s 3 key pieces of advice:

  • Positioning – take time to do due diligence and investigate companies that interest you/ types of roles they have/ do you have the skills/ and what do you need to do to obtain skills to become a better fit.
  • Process – ensure you are leveraging your professional network. Get on LinkedIn! Now is the time. Let your LinkedIn profile speak to your personal brand and make sure it is consistent.
  • Perseverance – essential when making a career change or if you’ve been unexpectedly laid off. This is a marathon not a sprint! Don’t get disheartened even though you feel like you’re screaming into a black hole.

Make no mistake job seeking during a recession is tough. Sending multiple applications and not hearing back is challenging and demotivating at times. As a job seeker you’re obviously under pressure to earn a living. In my experience, having dealt with countless candidates searching for work and finding themselves out of a job for a myriad of reasons, it’s imperative to have an open mind and above all else resilience.

So how to keep motivated?

Mental discipline! Melkeya stresses that knowing you have value to bring to an organization but also recognising that it takes time for the match to be made and isn’t easy is crucial. I really agree with this, it’s so important to remember the rejections and delays are not a reflection of your worth. Keep going!

How to stand out?

  • Quality not quantity. Be strategic in your approach. When you’re writing your resume make sure you’re highlighting where you’ve added value in your former employment and where you can add value to your next. Be familiar with the companies you are targeting – be specific in your selling points and tailor your CV accordingly.
  • Recognise the need for both IQ and EQ.
  • SQ (Style Quotient) is tough to address as it is a sensitive topic. This is not about being someone else – you need to be comfortable and authentic – this is about understanding the organisation you want to be a part of and their culture. What is expected? Dress the part – whatever that may be. 
  • Skills and talents must remain relevant. Make an investment in yourself.

Making a career change during a pandemic

Melkeya’s key advice is to understand where your purpose lies and follow it. Pay attention to what you are naturally drawn to and able to execute flawlessly and there’s no limit to how far you can go. You can keep anxieties at bay by engaging in temporary or contract work as you’ll be generating income while you focus on the bigger picture – your career plan.

The here and now

They say patience is a virtue! As Melkeya notes, finding the perfect career may take time and we don’t always have time when we have bills to pay (which is totally understandable). Temping is a fantastic way to ensure you have income for a defined or ongoing period while you tailor your search for that perfect job. It’s not impossible to find dream roles in this market but it is a slower burn even for the most experienced and so temping can ease a lot of financial burden and keep skills up to date while you do it.

Sometimes a temp role is the angle that will allow you to get positioned inside an organisation high up on your wish list. Once in, it’s not uncommon for top performing temps to be made perm or noticed for other parts of the business. I’ve seen people start covering reception for a maternity leave, meandering into assisting with an urgent remediation project (gaining new skills) to then getting offered a full-time spot on a compliance team, all in under a year. And that’s just at the junior end. There really is no limit to the potential but even if it is “just temp” it is a means to your end.

Working with US!

At The Agency we endeavour to learn as much as we can about your situation and career aspirations to better understand your needs. This ongoing consultation means we can shift and tailor our search for you as your life and needs change.

For anyone looking for work right now whether you’re a dedicated administrator, legal eagle, compliance whizz, accounting guru or anything in between – your search and personal situation is totally unique. Looking for work is exhausting and a job in itself. Let us share the burden – that’s what we’re here for! Meet the team.