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If you’re on the hunt for a new job, we can assume one of two things. Either you don’t like where you are now and you’re looking for a way out. Or you’re okay with your job, but you’re yearning for something more fulfilling. Regardless of your reasons, you’re spending countless hours online searching for the next best thing in your career. During your search, you may hesitate to apply for roles that spark your interest because you’re not sure if you qualify. You start asking yourself questions like, “Do I have enough experience? Do I have the  right  experience? Should I apply even though I’m lacking in key areas?” When these moments occur, try using these 3 simple pre-qualifying steps to make this judgment call. This process will set the groundwork for how you navigate and approach new and intimidating job opportunities. 1. Create a Career-Impact Checklist Creating an impact checklist is a great tool to utilize when you want to gauge how a role will move you closer to your ideal role. Think of it as a moral compass for your career. It will capture, streamline, and measure your career goals and aspirations against the job positions presented to you. This checklist only requires four questions and the answers don’t have to be convoluted. Just jot down a few sentences underneath each prompt: What kind of work do you want to do? What do you want your work to accomplish? What does your ideal company look like? (company culture, compensation, etc) What kind of impact would you like to have at that company? This may sound simple, but these four questions carry a lot of weight. Keeping them in the forefront of your job search can help you decide which opportunities and organizations best align with your life’s work. Now, we’re not telling you to dismiss every role or company that doesn’t fit perfectly into your plans. However, this step will allow you to quickly identify which role and organization is the best fit for you. 2. Evaluate Your Resume; Read In-Between the Lines Most job seekers are aware that their resumes should highlight their strengths, accomplishments, and passion. Your resume should document the story of who you are, who you want to become, and the steps you have taken to reach that goal. If you need support in this area, here are a few tips that will  whip your resume into tip-top shape . But here is the kicker. Though many eager candidates update their resumes, rarely do they take the time to actually evaluate them. Let’s dig deeper, shall we? Evaluating the opportunity gaps reflected in your resume is a strategy you can use to enhance the effectiveness of your job search. What do we mean by opportunity gaps? Opportunity gaps are clearly identified areas of improvement that indicate what needs to be done in order to take you to that next level in your career. So, how do you pinpoint your opportunity gaps? Evaluate each role and the responsibilities that came with it (as it pertains to your dream job). Write down the areas where you would like to grow, advance or shift professionally. If you’re tired of doing the same ol’ tasks you’ve done for the last few years, make a note of it on the side of your resume, and then cross it out to indicate you’re moving on to something more challenging. If there are certain aspects of your past roles you would like to do more of or learn more about – highlight the duties you would like to take on in the future. If you’re thinking about  shifting functions or careers (especially from the private to the education sector), first – circle all of the transferable skills that can be implemented in your next role. If you feel like you’re lacking in experience, education or skill set, write down everything you need to do in order to make yourself competitive in this new space. Then, set tentative deadlines and steps to proactively close the gap. You’ll also want to list out what you liked and disliked about the previous organizations you’ve worked for. Think of the roles you’ve held and the  actual  responsibilities that came along with them. You know, the ones that weren’t included in the initial job description. How did you like the role and how it was structured? What was the leadership like? Did the company culture make you feel like you belonged? Was there room to grow and advance in a way that was conducive to your goals? All these questions are important when you’re looking to join a dynamic team at your future dream organization. Documenting your evaluation process will help you map out what you really want to see manifested in your next role. This information is crucial as it will be the driving force behind how you execute Step 3. 3. Align Your Goals and Your Gaps With Your Research Now that you have a clear idea of what you want to do and what you need in order to get there, use this information as your reference point during your job hunt. As you research new roles and organizations, compare them with the notes you took down on your Career-Impact Checklist and your resume. Bookmark the jobs and companies that align with your areas of growth and advancement. Having your checklist and evaluation notes present during your job search can increase your focus and improve your decision making. Knowing exactly what you want to gain from a role and how you can contribute to an organization will allow you to narrow down, expand and/or eliminate your options in a clear, quick and confident manner. Plus, it will take the edge off of wondering if you’re qualified for a position. At that point, the question will shift from “Am I qualified?” to “Based on my goals, my areas of growth, and my experience – is this truly the right fit for me?” See! Way less intimidating right?
  Looking to start a new job, but overwhelmed and unsure how to start the job search process? If you find yourself asking questions like, “How do I begin my job search?” or “How do I prepare myself for a successful job search?”, here are 11 steps to a strong job search that will help you improve your chances of getting the dream job you’ve always wanted! Reflect on the jobs you’ve had in the past. Ask mentors for feedback on your work ethic, strengths  and  areas  of  improvement. Research and establish what your ideal roles are. Determine where you’re going to job search. Network online and offline. Update your resume. Build on the skills you’re missing by taking on extra, relevant responsibilities. Prep for your interview. Refresh and clean up your social media pages. Determine when to notify your boss. Think of who you’ll want as your references. 1. Reflect Reflection is a valuable and often forgotten aspect of the job search process. Rather than jumping right into the job boards, step back and evaluate  why  you’re looking for a new job. This helps you frame what your next best move should be. You can start by first taking these 3 where's regarding your career into consideration: Where have you been? Where are you now? Where do you want to be? Analyzing  why  you want to switch jobs will bring clarity to what the RIGHT job looks like for you. In addition, think about your experiences in your past roles. Which responsibilities did you enjoy the most and which could you do without? WHY did you like or dislike them? Was it the organizational culture? The work itself? The lack of support and/or experience needed to truly succeed? What did you learn from your past jobs that can help you in your next role? What are your current skills? How have they helped you in your career? Will they be enough to serve you effectively in the next stage of your career? Asking these questions at the beginning of your job search process will help you establish a clear vision for what you want your “next ideal role” to be. Write down your observations to serve as a reference point when you’re conducting your job search. This will help you align your professional interests, aspirations, and skills to the jobs that fit you best. 2. Talk to Mentors Get feedback from the people you know and trust. Set up meetings with your mentors, senior leaders, colleagues or close friends who are familiar with your work and talents. Ask them to give you frank feedback on your skills, strengths, weaknesses, work ethic and professionalism. Make sure it’s someone who isn’t afraid to offer constructive criticism. Sugar-coated advice isn’t good for the health of your career. What do they see you doing? How do they see you transitioning into this dream role you’ve established? Gaining a candid understanding of who you are and how others see you can help you better position yourself for your next best opportunity and identify what you need to refine in order to get there. In addition to receiving feedback, it’s good to get an understanding of what your ideal roles require. If you know someone who has your dream role, ask to shadow them for a day or conduct an informational interview to get a better grasp of what the job entails and how to prepare for it. 3. Research & Solidify Job Preferences   To streamline your job search, it’s important to focus only on the specific types of jobs in which you are genuinely interested. The more the job resonates with you, the more likely you are to stay with the organization, produce good work and optimize your professional growth. Take into consideration all the things you mentioned during your reflection time and how it compares to where you see yourself in the future. Think about: Your Impact:  At the end of the day, what kind of impact do you want to make in your community? How would you like your role to change the lives of the children and families you’re serving? What solution do you want to solve as it pertains to the kid’s educational well-being? If you need help pinpointing this, you may want to spend more time  analyzing why  education is the right space for you. Your Role : What things did you enjoy about the roles you’ve had before? What were the things you were really good at and would you want to do them again? What work would you delegate to someone else if you could? Were you satisfied with the roles and responsibilities you had? What activities, challenges, and responsibilities do you want to do/own in this next role? Your Organization : Did you like the organizational structure of your past jobs? Do you prefer working with smaller, intimate teams who do a little bit of everything or do you prefer working with larger companies where the work is more structured and predictable? Your Location:  What are your preferred locations? Do they provide activities that are conducive to a good work/life balance? Are there opportunities for career advancement there or will professional growth be limited? Are these location preferences must-haves, or are they nice-to-haves? Your  Pay : What is your preferred salary based on your personal and professional aspirations? What is the minimum salary you’re willing to accept? How does it compare with your current and anticipated cost of living? Does this salary match the industry norm? Once you have a good idea of what your ideal role will look like,  narrow down the absolute necessities  of your dream job. By necessities, we mean that if these basic elements were in place, you would be content and confident that you’re in an environment where you both enjoy today and are preparing for your ideal career of tomorrow. Limiting yourself with too many “nice-to-haves” disguised as “must-haves” may eliminate great prospective roles. After you’ve clearly defined your job necessities, pinpoint the roles that most align with your list. Then, research different organization types where you could potentially perform that role. According to your list, you may prefer one organizational type over the other based on structure, culture, work style, a barrier to entry, etc. If you need help finding out where to start, sites like  O*NET  do a great job of explaining what is required for certain positions within the education space including, tasks, technology skills, knowledge, abilities, work activities, work styles, salary and much more. It even shows which positions have projected growth in the future. Here’s an example for Education Administrators.   Summary Report for Education Administrators, Elementary and Secondary Schoo l Plan, direct, or coordinate the academic, administrative, or auxiliary activities of public or private elementary or secondary level schools. Sample  of reported job titles: Athletic Director, Elementary Principal, High School Principal, Middle School Principal, Principal, School Administrator, School Superintendent, Special Education Director, Superintendent, Vice Principal Median wages (2017): $94,390 annual Employment (2016): 251,000 employees Projected growth (2016-2026): Average (5% to 9%) Tasks Evaluate curricula, teaching methods, and programs to determine their effectiveness, efficiency, and use, and to ensure that school activities comply with federal, state, and local regulations.   Collaborate with teachers to develop and maintain curriculum standards, develop mission statements, and set performance goals and objectives.   Direct and coordinate activities of teachers, administrators, and support staff at schools, public agencies, and institutions.    4. Determine where you’re going to look Find out where your next opportunity is and how you’re going to get there! In determining where you’re going to look for these opportunities, take these two things into consideration: How can I find  the most  opportunities? How can I find the opportunities that  closely align with my ideal roles ? One way to optimize your job search is to look for roles on niche job boards and/or professional association websites. If you use websites that specialize in curating roles in the education sector, you’re more likely to find jobs you’re truly interested in, faster! The Spring hiring season is the best time to start applying for roles, but you have to know where they are. If you’re interested in working in education, but you’re looking to exercise your talents outside of the classroom, job searching through teacher-centric job boards can be a little difficult and at times frustrating.  TrulyHired  is a great way to discover the hard to find, non-teaching jobs in education you’ve been seeking. To confidentially stay abreast of current, relevant jobs in education, you can sign up for  job alerts here . Another way to optimize your job search is by using industry-specific staffing or recruiting agencies. These agencies allow you to articulate your professional wants and needs to someone who will seek out opportunities on your behalf. If you’re looking for jobs in education, specifically non-teaching jobs,  WorkMonger  is a great way to receive job matches about a variety of non-teaching jobs that match your professional preferences. All you have to do is complete a  JobSeeker  profile. Managing your job seeking activities is also pertinent to your search success. Organizing your job searching process can help you keep track of: When to follow up:  Know when you need to circle back with an employer so you can stay top of mind during their process. Who to follow up with:  Following up with the right people during the process helps you build rapport with the hiring team which allows you to stand out. Where you applied:  If you see that one website is getting better results than the other, then that’s a good indication that employers are actively looking for candidates on that platform. That’s where you want to be. Communication trends:  Keep tabs of your progress and track communication trends such as which roles you’re getting traction on, which ones are taking a little longer, how people prefer to contact you for different stages of the process and how long it takes for employers to generally get back to you. Observing and acting on these trends will help you be more proactive and strategic in your follow up efforts. Your perceived brand : Once you have good records of all of the roles you have applied for, eventually you will get a good sense of how your resume is performing and how you’re being perceived. For example, imagine you’re applying for both middle management and seasoned leadership roles, but you keep getting callbacks for only the middle-management positions. This likely indicates your resume isn’t highlighting the skills required for upper-level management. Organize and control your job seeking process by using a  spreadsheet like this .  5. Network Another way to optimize your search is to find the people who can help you get there! Reach out to people in your current network to see if they know of any job openings in your areas of interest. If they’re not privy to specific job openings, see if they can lead you in the right direction with a reference, an event to attend or an organization to join. Let them know what you’re looking for, why you’re looking and what you would like to bring to the table. If you’re new to the education space or the people in your circle aren’t connected with anyone at an educational organization, join a  professional association  or a MeetUp group. Likewise, you may want to start getting familiar with people in ed-centered  Linkedin  or  Facebook  groups. These are great ways to surround yourself with people who are familiar with what you want to do. Attending education  conferences  and local networking events can also help widen your net to find relevant opportunities. 6. Update your resume As you’re applying for jobs, you want to make sure you have a fresh, relevant resume that resonates with your audience - the hiring managers. Your resume should tell a story of what you’re interested in, what you’re doing to advance yourself, and where you aspire to go. It should also reflect a track record of your results, skills and how you were able to make a positive impact on both your team and the communities you serve.    A great place to start is to identify a few job descriptions for roles that you are very interested in. Then, analyze the job descriptions in depth, paying special attention to a) the break down of day-to-day responsibilities, b) the experience required, and c) the aspects that you know align closely with your experience, skills, and talents. With this information in mind, tailor your resume to highlight in concrete ways why you’re the best person for jobs such as these. As you’re editing your resume, remember to focus on including the most relevant information. For help on  how to structure and optimize your resume , read this blog. 7. Fill in the Gaps If you start to see a number of gaps between the job description and your resume, you may not be ready for this role, at this point in time. However, there a few suggestions on how you could fill those voids. If the gaps are knowledge-based, seek out an online course, classes or licenses that can help you fill the void and add value to your resume. If your gaps are experience-based, think through how you might gain the requisite skills at your current place of employment. Perhaps volunteer for a cross-functional team or ask your supervisor if you can begin to take on new projects that will allow you to grow in the areas in which you are interested. You can also look outside your current employment for experiential growth, such as serving in small roles in one of the education associations we spoke about earlier. Collectively, these steps can help improve your skills and add the experience you’ve been missing on your resume.   8. Interview prep Practicing your interview skills is a must to help you land the job you’re seeking! Now that you have a good idea of what the role generally requires, find ways to sync your experience and aspirations into your interview storyline. Research information about the organization ahead of time. Then, weave your narrative into what they’re looking for. For example, if you’re applying for a leadership role, be sure your stories demonstrate your awesome leadership skills, such as guiding your team to reach a common goal, delegating assignments based on your team’s strengths, creating an agile execution plan, etc. Review your resume and reflect on your past experiences to determine which stories you’d like to highlight in your interviews. Be able to explain what you’ve done (use concrete, measurable outcomes whenever possible), why you included it on your resume and how it relates to the job you’re applying for. Remember, the only thing the hiring team has to go on is your application, resume, and social media presence (we’ll get into that later). Also, you’ll want to reframe how you think of interviews. Rather than being interrogated by someone on the other end of the desk, think of it as a candid conversation. Anticipate building rapport and making a genuine connection with the interviewer. Remember - interviews are a two-way street; you’re evaluating them just like they are evaluating you. Having the right perspective can help you mitigate anxiety and create an opportunity to have open, insightful conversation about a role you both find equally intriguing and important. To start, try to find out who you are interviewing with in advance if at all possible. Once you know, look up information about them on LinkedIn and on the company website. In addition to making sure you understand their role, jot down the information you can use as rapport points, like universities you’ve both attended, organizations you’re both members of, roles you’ve both held or experiences you’ve shared. Once you have a good idea of who the person is and how they contribute to the mission of the company, figure out what you’re going to say by conducting a mock interview. It’s a great way to decrease interview anxiety and increase your confidence in how you’re going to respond to the interview questions. You can do a practice run with close colleagues. Or, for feedback from talent professional knowledgeable on the education sector, check out WorkMonger’s resume review and interview prep  career services . Since finding jobs in the education sector is our forte, we can help you streamline your story for distinct opportunities you’re seeking. For more great tips on how to prepare before, the day of AND after the interview read  12 Steps to a Great Interview here .   9. Refresh your Social Media More and more, employers are  using social media  as a part of their candidate “background checks”. When you’re working in the education sector, understanding who your candidates are inside and outside of the organization is very important. Not only are you representing yourself but you’re also a reflection upon the kids, staff  and  communities you’re serving, so make sure whatever social media pages you have that are accessible to the public are cleaned up and acceptable for the organization you’re applying to  before  you apply. One of the best ways to positively place yourself on an employer’s radar is by utilizing LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a valuable tool that most professionals fail to maximize. Not only are employers checking your page  after  you apply, but recruiters are also specifically seeking potential candidates for jobs they have available through LinkedIn. If your page isn’t updated, more likely than not, you’re not going to be included in that outreach number. Who knows, an updated and accurate LinkedIn profile could land you your dream job! LinkedIn is also the perfect social media platform to showcase everything you couldn’t fit on your resume. It’s a great way to highlight your knowledge, expertise and professional voice, on your terms. So it’s important to keep your Linkedin updated with current responsibilities, share and comment on industry related news, offer sound advice and opinions on things going on in your field and connect with other professionals in your lane. If you need help figuring out the best way to utilize your LinkedIn Page, here are a few  LinkedIn hacks  to get you started.   10. Determine when to notify your boss If you’re thinking of leaving your current job sooner rather than later, determine when you should give your boss a heads up. Most of us are familiar with the 2 weeks notice rule. But if your position is a little more complex, you may want to reconsider when you need to notify your employer so they can properly prepare to delegate your responsibilities and find a replacement. In this WorkMonger blog,  how to break up with your boss , we break down the appropriate notification time based on your management level: “In most mid-level roles, four to six weeks is appropriate while with more senior roles you might be more around two to three months’ notice, ultimately reaching as much as six months’ notice for c-level positions. Put some thought into how much notice to give though based off your unique situation; too little and you’ll leave on a bad note and not set your organization up for success. Too much and there won’t be the urgency to replace you.” Hopefully, you’re parting on good terms. But in the event that you’re  anticipating a bad breakup  due to retaliation, hostile work environment or other unfortunate circumstances, you’ll want to explore your options and what’s in the best interest of you and the parties involved. This is especially important when you work in such a close-knit sector like education. You don’t want to burn bridges, but you do want to make a clean, cordial and professional break. 11. Think through your references The last step is to create a solid list of positive and supportive references. If the hiring managers and/or recruitment agencies call these individuals, make sure they are talking to people who are familiar with the scope of your experience, work ethic and overall value of what you bring to the table. Choose 2-3 individuals who can offer relevant insight as it pertains to the role you’re applying for. It’s helpful if they can speak on your behalf from a macro and/or micro level point of view. This will give the hiring manager and/or recruiter a well-rounded perspective of who you are as an employee. If you don’t know who to add to your reference list, consider: Your current manager or supervisor Past managers or supervisors Leadership team members you worked with frequently Current peers or colleagues familiar with your work Happy clients Mentors / Advisors Professors / Teachers Friends who are familiar with your work and talent Now, of course, you don’t want to just add your references to the list without telling them. Be sure to notify them in advance. Let them know you’re looking for opportunities and ask if they would be willing to serve as a reference and, if so,  how  they prefer to be contacted. Nowadays, people are reluctant to answer numbers or emails they don’t know, so make sure they’re aware someone might be contacting them to get some input on your qualifications. Explain the overall premise of the jobs you’ve been applying for, what they’re looking for in a candidate and the key points you want them to highlight if and when the hiring team calls. By doing this, your references will have more time to conduct research on the companies, curate stories as it pertains to the roles and properly  prepare  for the reference interview questions.
We've discussed, on a number of occasions, here at Coaching Conversations, the world in which we currently live. At large, we've discussed 'political correctness' and how we are living in a day-and-age where we are all expected to be politically correct; in our speech and in our actions. There is a grey area when it comes to coaching, so it would appear. There is a political and sports-based narrative that exists, whereby, people expect all members of a team to get the same thing (i.e., treated the same, same playing time, etc). In essence, there is an expectation of equality over equity which is its own issue and incidentally, is something I have a huge problem with. What we don't see too much of anymore; however, is authoritative coaches. It's rare that we see demonstrative coaches any longer, let alone coaches who show emotion - It's almost like a bad thing. But, the real question is, are the days of authoritative coaching dead and gone? Let's discuss. Firstly, when we talk about authoritative coaching, what we're really talking about is the coach controlling the entire team with no input from anyone else. In essence, the coach decides on everything by themself and the team obeys. Additionally, there comes a certain level of behaviour and/or demeanour with this style of coaching. Due to the fact that the coach will have full control of the team with no secondary support/input, the coach is deemed to be the dominant figure and will likely hold him/herself in such a regard. More times than not, with an authoritative coaching style, the players and other staff in the team will simply look to this coach for everything and anything. It causes the coach to possess a certain swagger about them due to their level of superiority and level control over everyone. The biggest concern with the authoritative coaching style is that people tend to lose their 'place'. It's easy, in cases of authoritative coaching, to be phased out and/or made to feel less than you are. This is why most teams who have authoritative coaches do not do well - Players fall out of love with the sport/their coach because the function of the team is solely based on the coach. Additionally, there is practically no delegation in authoritative coaching - As mentioned earlier, the coach practically does everything in the team and no one else has a role or say. So, how can one be made to feel apart of the process when they are inherently excluded from it? Impossible, I'd say. From a player point of view, authoritative coaching, historically, strips the players of their individuality. It's incredibly difficult and perhaps next to impossible to express oneself when the style of coaching that exists in an organization is authoritative. It wouldn't even be so outlandish to say that the people in the organization (players, staff, and beyond) are viewed as subjects attempting to reach an objective measure. Most folks would point toward a lack of dignity or even outright lack of respect in this model of coaching. It lacks inclusion, diminishes meaning, and is void of overall purpose for the people involved in the organization. Above all, because the coach has complete and total control of everything with no added help/input, what we can take from it is that this style of coaching is purely out of choice. It is of a coaches volition that they take on this role and this style. The level of human autonomy and personal expression is next to nil. So, we question how anyone can feel any bit welcomed in an organization that has a coach who possesses an authoritative style. In everything I've said, one would deduce and conclude that I am far against authoritative coaching. In many respects, yes, I am. I don't utilize that style because it's not who I am and I know that the people in my particular set-up would not respond well towards it. In fact, I highly doubt that the majority of my players (past or present) would even want to play for me had I possessed such a style. Does that mean this style of coaching is completely dead and gone? No, it doesn't. It is slowly becoming a thing of the past. We are becoming more sympathetic and empathetic as we evolve as human beings. We are becoming more scientifically and technologically advanced insofar that we understand that there is more to performance than athleticism (i.e., sport psychology). Above all of that, we are becoming more socially conscious of our fellow peers/people we work with and their positions on certain issues and ways of being. As I often say, what once was is not what currently is. The authoritarian coach is slowly being phased out but, there are still examples in all ranks of sports where these coaches still exist. In some cases, we see very successful sports teams and lower-level organizations as a result of this style. The thing is, in order for a coach to possess such a style of coaching, the people in that set-up have to be so mentally tough that they do not flinch at the sight of vulgarity or harsh criticism. If these kinds of people are in your set-up, the reality is that authoritative coaching might work - This is why it's so important for coaches to coach to the needs of their team and to know their audience. Could you imagine, in most teams today, a coach absolutely losing their mind and having a real go at players? Probably not. We would call it inhumane, unsentimental, and insane. We would not associate that coach with being a reasonable or kind person. The thing is, some coaches aren't reasonable or kind but, can still maximize the talent that they have at their disposal while getting the most out of everyone on their staff. These people are few and far between but, they exist. Again, to answer the question once more - Is the authoritarian coach a thing of the past? Yes, more and more, this coach is slowly being phased out. But, is this style of coaching dead and gone? Not by any means. This style of coaching is just that - a style. 1 in every 50 or 100 coaches might utilize this style - and you'll know it when you see it because it will be an extreme level of governance in which the person in charge will impose their will and dominion in ways that aren't easily describable by the modern English language. As crazy as it is to say, I've seen it work. But, more times than not, I've seen it fail. We don't see this style of coaching too much anymore primarily because of the world we live in - Whether that is for better or for worse is completely subjective and is another debate on its own. The reality of it is, authoritative coaching isn't prevalent like it was in say the 70's, 80's or 90's - We can even throw the 2000's into that mix if we'd like. We play and coach in a new era of athletics. Chiefly, we live in a new era of expectations. While this style of coaching is still alive, it is becoming less and less evident - We can call it a dying breed. Regardless, let's not be fooled - There are coaches like this out there - You'll know it when you see it. The biggest thing I can suggest is that we don't take these coaches as monsters with no self-regard for human life - This style can be successful but, you need the most mentally tough people that this earth can produce in order for it to work.
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