Career Advice

Conversations with a Career Coach

Posted by Jane
min read
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Reading the numbers and hearing the news about job losses, we decided to pose some frank questions to Alisa Bartholomew, Director, Careers By Design – to find out about what she is seeing right here, right now, when it comes to job-seeking.

Alisa, a Career Coach and employment expert of some 18 years is well- known for her sensible, practical, calm and non-political responses to questions. We met on ZOOM, one sunny day in May.

Jane Kennelly: Alisa, what are the trends that you seeing right now in this environment? What is top of mind?

Alisa Bartholomew: Well – we have been very busy with a lot of one-to-one coaching so it’s good to see this support being made available to people. But we have found that a number of companies working through redundancies have realised that they may have moved too quickly. Levels 1 and 2 seem to have created an easing in some areas – so some companies are now finding they need to turn around and ask people to stay longer. It is a shifting market, it’s unpredictable.

JK: Where are you seeing the job opportunities at the moment?

AB: Recent analytics I checked out suggested that the top four hiring categories are:

  • Trades.

  • Information, communications and technical.

  • Health care/medical.

  • Manufacturing, transport, and logistics.

There is a strong trend in the technology area which needs analysts, technical specialists, functional specialists, SAP, ERP… Positions are being advertised – so the best approach is to keep applying. Behind the scenes I am seeing that the banking sector is employing although more under the radar plus marketing people are getting positions and so are salespeople.

JK: Why the difference between public jobs and less obvious?

AB: It comes down to networking.

JK: Tell me more about networking?

AB: Networks are crucial in this market. Being active and reaching out to people in your sector or ex-colleagues or connections; people who can ‘handshake’ you into a business introduction, is the way to go. And I do not mean getting on the phone and asking; “Have you got a job for me?”
It’s more about finding out what’s happening by doing some market research through conversations.
I’d liken it to having chats with people about; How they are? What’s been happening? How are you doing? … which will lead to opening a conversation about what’s available in the market and suggestions about who to talk to or connect with.

JK: What else is standing out to you?

AB: I am seeing hundreds and hundreds of applications for positions. Even senior ones – I noticed a senior level operations advertisement had over 400 applications. That’s a lot of anxious people. We need to be patient.

JK: We know that anxiousness has been heightened Alisa, any comments regarding how people are feeling?

AB: Yes, these are anxious times – so I personally believe organisations have an additional duty-of-care towards those people exiting their business; because of the situation we are facing.
Those facing redundancy at the moment won’t be able to rely on getting the support they need at home or from friends and family – so emotional reliance could be missing.

JK: Maybe it’s time we re-wired kindness into our conversations?

AB: Yes, it is time for this. I suggest we cut people some slack for being human. It’s hard for everyone because we are all frustrated, anxious or stressed – so, it’s a time to be kind.

JK: And a few final hints for job seekers Alisa?

AB: Yes, I have a few practical tips that I believe are useful to remember:

  1. Remain positive. I know it’s easier said than done – but a good headspace helps with getting a job. It helps your voice to be strong and confident. We are all being impacted by this so don’t be afraid to hold your head up high.

  2. There are jobs out there.

  3. Don’t be too rigid about your ideal position. Build flexibility into your career plan and pathway because it’s not forever.

  4. The old tools still apply such as an updated, well-written CV and LinkedIn profile.

 Alisa Bartholomew is a Career and Outplacement Coach specialising in coaching solutions that help people shape their career and navigate the job market. You can contact her on 021 802 188 or