Posts in Resume
Tangible tools to help you explore your ideal career
 
 

Having a job or business that you love starts from first gaining balance, energy, and focus in order to obtain clear direction for your career choices. Besides professional success, changing careers can also ignite an all around transformation, so get ready for an exciting journey.

Once you have your sights set on what you would like to go,  you can begin to take actionable steps to reach that destination. Here are some tangible tips & tools to help you along the way:

 

1. Network and connect with the right people

Networking, especially in-person, is critically important to making a successful career change . Since half of all job openings are never posted publically, chances are you will not find your ideal role from browsing online jobs boards. Instead, get the name of someone that works at an organisation you are targeting so you can reach out directly or be introduce via a friend.  Have a coffee with someone working in a role you’d like to learn more about. Attend conferences and other events related to your interests, and follow up quickly with the contacts to make there so they remember you. There will be no more valuable resource for you going forward than who you know.

 

2. Follow thought leaders

There are many approaches to personal and professional growth, and just as many books, articles and exercises out there to support the process. It’s important to find leaders/mentors who you find inspiring and follow them on LinkedIn and meet with those you know, to listen carefully to their advice. 

 One favorite book of mine is What Color is Your Parachute by Richard N. Bolles for finding an ideal job.  Originally published in 1970, an updated version is released each year and it continues to be one of the top books available for job seekers.

 

3. Use assessments and feedback

You may find that you need extra support, whether to figure out what you want to do or to make the actual change. After all, unless you know what drives you, it’s hard to gain clarity and make progress. One tool we use with our career change clients is Harrison Assessments. This was developed based on occupational psychology and has a 90% accuracy rate in predicting job success, compared to only 55% for most other personality tests. We can generate a variety of reports based on your responses, such as the Career Options Report – which identifies your strong interests and work preferences, or the Career Enjoyment Analysis – which compares your preferences and interests to the tasks and interests related to work satisfaction and success for a specific career.

 

4. Update your CV

A strong personal brand is becoming increasingly important in today’s digital and social media infused world, and can result in better job and business opportunities. Data shows that on average an employer takes less than 10 seconds to read a CV/resume, so don’t leave it up to them to make sense of your past. This can be a challenge if you are breaking into a new role or sector. 

We work with clients to develop a tailor-made CV design, based on a Personal Brand questionnaire. In the end, you have a visually impactful CV that tells a clear, logical story and focuses on your achievements that matter most.

5. Find coaching support

If you are still not sure how to get on the right track or how to find a direction that will make your happy in the long term, you may want to consider enlisting some extra support. The role of a career coach is not to ‘have all the answers’, but rather to act as your sounding board through your career change or transition. By providing guidance and advice along the way, we facilitate our clients’ process of self-discovery using a combination of coaching, consulting and assessment tools. This can mean anything from developing a primary action plan to making sure your CV is flawless to mock interview preparation. We offer a variety of packages to give you momentum and keep you inspired.

Are you interested in learning more about how career coaching can help you find your ideal career?
Contact us today to set up a complimentary 30 minute consultation to find out more.

 

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Kully Jaswal

Kully is Ignition Coaching’s founder and an Executive, Career Coach and Facilitator. Kully works with new graduates and senior leaders alike, helping them find
careers they love. She is passionate about assisting individuals and teams to maximise performance, at personal and professional levels. Achieving greater resilience and drive in the workplace, as well as in life, is her main goal. Before changing her own career, Kully worked for over 12 years with Deloitte as a Director in the firm’s London office.


 
Seven Questions to Ask in a Job Interview
 
 

You spent hours on your resume, targeted the right employers and positions, tackled the dreaded cover letter, and made it through the initial screening process.

Then you landed the interview — congratulations! You are getting close to the finish line but still need to give a great interview before you land your dream job.

Here are my top seven questions to ask in a job interview:

1. What is the one- to five-year plan for the company?

Interviews can be stressful and sometimes it feels like the magnifying glass is focused exclusively on you. But try to remember that you are interviewing them too! Learn as much as you can about the company’s plans for the future. If you are offered the job, you want to make sure it will be a good fit for you today and down the line.  This also shows your interest in the long-term and your commitment to them already

2. How will the company support my long-term career development?

Before walking into your interview, you should have a strong sense of how you visualize the next few years of your own career. Ask this question to make sure that the company will help you develop and grow in the way you have envisioned for yourself.  But be careful here because you don’t want to look like you need to be developed in order to do the job.  This question needs to be in the context of your goal of staying long-term with the firm.

3. What have you most enjoyed about the culture here?

Interviews are a chance to look behind the scenes at how company really operates, to look past what they say on paper. This question gives you a chance to personally connect with the interviewer during your conversation and also can help you determine whether or not the company truly “walks the talk” about employee life.

4. What will you expect me to achieve in the first six months?

Would we set these KPIs together?

This two-part question can help you get and idea of how they see your growth oath within the role and the company. It helps you and your potential employer to establish clear goals and also helps paint a clear picture of how your responsibilities will develop during your first year in the position. It also shows that you are already thinking about meeting those objectives.

5. What constitutes success with in this company?

A question like this one will show that you are looking forward to a future of growth and success within the position and will give you a chance discuss some of your past successes as they relate to this new role.  It also shows you are looking at your role/team as integral to the bigger company’s objectives.

6. Who would my key stakeholders be, both internally and externally in this position?

The people you work with have a huge effect on your day-to-day life in this role. Make sure to ask a bit about your potential team and develop a solid understanding about who you will be reporting to and who will be reporting directly to you.  Also who you will be expected to influence and persuade with your empathy and listening skills.

7. What are the next steps?

You made it to the end of the interview, but if all has gone according to plan, the conversation isn’t over yet! Ask this final question to get a sense of how to best move forward.  But let them lead on this.  If they start talking about further interviews, start dates, salary, that is a good sign but nothing is sealed and delivered until you have a written offer letter.

And don’t forget to always write your contact a personal thank you letter outlining your three top points for why you are amazing (concise one line bullet points) within 24 hours!

I know interviews can be nerve-wracking. But armed with insightful and thoughtful questions can help you nail any interview.

Need a little more help preparing for an upcoming interview? Get in touch today!


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Shannon Houde

Shannon is passionate about unleashing change makers’ potential to lead with conviction, communicate with empathy, and drive scalable impact. With decades of executive recruitment experience, she helps to improve commercial performance, personal branding and career strategies. She offers a unique and holistic talent approach through designing people strategies, managing assessments of top talent, and on-boarding staff for increased retention. Shannon has been focusing on Career and Executive Coaching for more than 6 years, following 15 years in various Management Consulting and Analyst roles at Deloitte, WWF and Barclays.


 
Five Resume Design Tips for Non-designers
 
 
 
 

When refreshing your resume, content is king.
No matter how beautiful it looks, securing an interview will be difficult without the right content.

In addition, when you upload a resume online, robots scan it for specific keywords — especially when applying for bigger corporations. Without these keywords, your resume won’t even make it to the HR department.

Thus, before diving into a few practical tips on resume design, I assume that you

1. identify the key focus areas of your future position,

2. cherry-pick relevant past experiences and

3. quantify your successes. This ensures your content is concise
and aligned with your future role. You’re proud of your  accomplishments and want your resume to reflect that confidence.

A well-balanced resume design will maximize its impact. It increases legibility and credibility. On top of that, you will be able to inject personality into the final result. It shows future employers you’re worth noticing and meeting for an interview.

 
 

#1—Maximize space

Work with two columns to fit all content on one page. Studies show that people read in F-shaped patterns, so your design should follow suit. Place important information near the top and less important information near the bottom.

The columns should not be the same width. Your work experience column, whether it’s left or right, should be wider (around 75% of the total width). According to studies, recruiters spend about 6 seconds scanning a resume.
When you make you make your documents easy to scan, you improve your chances of being noticed.  


#2—Fonts matter: family, style & size

Selecting the right font family will make or break your design. Your font should be legible and scalable. There are two types of font families: serif and sans-serif. Serifs are the little extensions at the end of each stroke. Serif fonts (e.g. Bodoni MT) are more traditional, while Sans-serif fonts (e.g. Gill Sans MT) are more modern. You could combine both if it makes your content stand out. 

You can find some more examples here.

It’s important to note that non-traditional fonts only work on the devices that have the font style installed. Save your documents as a .PDF instead of a .DOC, to guarantee your reader gets the full experience.

Use bold to make your titles stand out. Don’t use underline or italic font styles.

Font sizes matter as well. Depending on your font selection, 12pt for the body text and 14pt for the titles seems to work pretty well for most font styles.

Never use Comic Sans. Never.


#3—Avoid silly line breaks

If a recruiter decides to read your resume in more detail, make sure to respect natural eye movements. The optimal number of characters per line is 50-75. It eases the reader into reading and it follows the natural movement of the eyes. Avoid one-word-lines.

Also, if you notice a lonely word, try rewriting the sentence so it becomes longer or shorter.

#4—Layout matters too

Remember #1 Maximize space? Don’t push it. If you have too much content for one page and you’re unable to cut it down, use two pages. Allowing for white (blank) space helps to structure information and convey confidence. 

Human brains prefer structure. White space creates invisible lines between different chunks of information. Hence, our brains will process this information in a more structured way. A structure will invoke a sense of balance in the reader. It will improve legibility, understanding and the desire to continue reading.


#5—Print

Before you send out your resume, print it. If you used color, check if the black and white version looks good too. Share it with friends and family and ask what they remember after six seconds. Improve your design until you hear the correct keywords.


Extra #6—Avoid bias

As a rule of thumb, don’t include a date of birth, gender, marital status, exact address or pictures. You want recruiters to focus on your professional achievements. If you must include a picture, don’t use a selfie you took during your holiday in Thailand.


Extra #7—Online consistency

Take some extra time to align your LinkedIn profile with your resume. Recruiters will cross-check this information and you will avoid embarrassing questions dates, titles or companies.


Final thought

When professionals design resumes, they use Adobe InDesign or even Adobe Illustrator. If you’re not familiar with the software, Microsoft Word still allows you to apply most of the
above tips.

Ignition Career Coaching: Resume Building Example

Ignition Career Coaching: Resume Building Example

 
Ignition Career Coaching  Resume Content Example

Ignition Career Coaching  Resume Content Example

 
Ignition Career Coaching : Resume F-Shaped Pattern of Reading 

Ignition Career Coaching : Resume F-Shaped Pattern of Reading 

 
Ignition Career Coaching  Resume Content Structure Example

Ignition Career Coaching  Resume Content Structure Example

 

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Michiel Den Haerynck

Michiel is the managing director of Club Soda, a Hong Kong-based digital marketing agency. Ignition Coaching partners with Club Soda to provide CV and resume design services.

 
 

 
Feeling stuck in your career? Take action!
 
 

Do you enjoy your current job?

Do you feel like you are progressing?

Do you feel satisfied and fulfilled in your professional life?

If your answer is a clear “no”, then it may be time to take that first step and explore your options. However, this can be easier said than done and at times may even feel impossible.

If you are feeling stuck and still trying to figure out why, there is most likely one of four possible reasons that is stopping you and we have summarised the crucial steps to help you overcome these challenges.
 

1: You don’t think you have the skills or capacity to make a career change

The first step: Change your mindset

Changing your career may seem like an insurmountable obstacle, especially if you have spent many years gaining the skills, experience and network needed to become successful in your current role. However if you are going to take on this challenge, your mindset will be absolutely crucial as it is our mindset that will ignite our success. Mindsets are beliefs—beliefs about yourself and your most basic qualities. 

Carol Dweck a Stanford University Psychologist, believes there are 2 mindsets, a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.

People with a “fixed mindset” assume that our character, intelligence, and creative ability are static givens which we can’t change in any meaningful way, and success is the affirmation of that inherent intelligence, an assessment of how those givens measure up against an equally fixed standard; striving for success and avoiding failure at all costs become a way of maintaining the sense of being smart or skilled.

A “growth mindset,” on the other hand, thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of unintelligence but as a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities. Out of these two mindsets, which we manifest from a very early age, springs a great deal of our behavior, our relationship with success and failure in both professional and personal contexts, and ultimately our capacity for happiness.

So if you believe you have a fixed mindset, start to focus on the  things you can do as opposed to the things you can’t do.  Write down all the great things you have achieved, the skills and experience you have gained, the things you would like to learn and what you would like to achieve in your next career.

 

2: You think it might get better with time

The first step: Accept how you feel

While changing your mindset can be powerful, it won’t eliminate the underlying problems you face. You may be thinking that if you just hold out in your role a bit longer something will shift. Perhaps you are close to receiving a raise or promotion, or a new team member is about to start that might shake things up. The truth is, successful people don’t wait for perfect conditions, they create opportunities. They draw energy and motivation from their challenges, believe they will achieve what they want, and keep on track. If we take a ‘wait and see’ approach, we can spiral down and potentially reach burnout point. Pay attention to and trust how you are feeling now.

It’s also important to consider all the factors at play, what if the job is making you feel this way and things are unlikely to change, ask yourself the following questions. Do you enjoy the actual work? Is the company culture the right fit?  Are your values aligned with the companies values?  Do you like the people you work with?

Be true to yourself and ask if these things are likely to change.  If not take the first step.

 

3: You feel heavily invested in your current role

The first step: Identify what is transferrable and create a career narrative to fit your ideal career

One thing we often help our career coaching clients with is how to translate their current skills and experience to a new field. When we start exploring and writing everything down on paper, it’s easy to create links and build a career narrative that identifies our core skills and how these can be transferred to different roles or industries. While you may need some additional training or experience, a strong story can make a big impact when you are ready to start your search.

This is also a good time to reflect on exactly what is working and not working for you in your current role. Then, you can figure out if you want to make a big change or small side step as often the idea roles are within our current companies.   The criteria for your ideal career might be closer to what you have now than you think and with some negotiation (additional training, more support, working from home one day a week) you might begin to gain a deeper sense of satisfaction. 

 

4. You are afraid to make the wrong choice

The first step: Try something

Perhaps you know why you’re stuck, you’ve identified what you need to change, but fear is holding you back. If you don’t know what the perfect things is, you can’t change anything at all. This false choice can be paralysing, leaving us stalled in the middle of an intersection. However, we cannot realise our fullest potential in the intersection. So, take control! Pick a direction and get moving. Shadow someone working in a field you are considering or register for a class to see if it is a good fit. You may have to turn around at some point, but that is ok.

Also, consider that you may have unknowingly already made the wrong choice. Staying in the wrong job doesn’t just affect you. If you are in a leadership position, your attitude and mindset will trickle down. If a leader is filled with stress, conflict, anxiety, and negative emotions, it spreads like a virus. On the other hand, a positive leader can be a source of motivation, encouragement that make teams thrive and excel in what they do. So taking care of yourself will translate to happier, more productive teams as well.

What is one thing you can do this week to help you take the first step? If you are still unsure, take this free quizto help you identify your key strengths and possibly ideal career


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Kully Jaswal

Kully is Ignition Coaching’s founder and an Executive, Career Coach and Facilitator. Kully works with new graduates and senior leaders alike, helping them find
careers they love. She is passionate about assisting individuals and teams to maximise performance, at personal and professional levels.