May 20, 2020 in Career Coaching
"Your job search is a marathon, not a sprint."
Learn about what it takes to get the career of your dreams and get hired during this period.
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Cindy Makita is an Online Career Strategist & Coach and founder of Hired Institute. She has a passion for helping people and most of her time outside of work was spent lending her leadership and expertise to various non-profit UN organizations, namely UN Women USA - Miami and United Nations Association - Miami as a board member for both. Cindy uses proven strategies to help her Clients land their ideal jobs. Let's get to know more about Cindy:
WikiExpert: With COVID-19 at large, many people are considering remote jobs. How do you help and advise these people about working from home and how they can have a successful career from home?
Cindy Makita: Working from home has many benefits, but it also presents an extra layer of challenges. One has to be very intentional and strategic about setting schedules, at home productivity, and limiting distractions. The benefits of remote working include some levels of autonomy, not having to commute for work which saves time, and flexibility.
To successfully work from home I always advise people to create their ideal workday. This includes a clear morning routine, set work schedules, and incorporating self-care into their daily routines to ensure work-life harmony.
Working from home also presents the need for more clear lines of communication between co-workers and supervisors.
WikiExpert: Also, many people are out of jobs due to COVID-19, how can they transition to remote work?
Cindy Makita: If one has been laid off as a result of COVID-19, I advise adopting a job search as their new full-time job. Similarly, as you would set a work schedule when working from home, job seekers can create a job search schedule to ensure they devote time and attention to strategically tackle their job searches.
By taking an intentional approach, job seekers can avoid the overwhelm that comes with jobs searching and get more done in less time.
WikiExpert: In your opinion, what are the most important skills to have during this current pandemic situation?
Cindy Makita: As a job seeker (and any professional for that matter) the most important skills to be aware of are one’s transferable job skills. These are the skills that can be transferred from one job into another. Being aware of one’s transferable skills can help them be flexible to the needs of the changing job market, but also be flexible in case they need to pivot their career and transition into a new industry or job role.
WikiExpert: How can people still make progress and make their careers a success during this period?
1. Make sure you have clear career goals. Career bumps and hurdles will happen, but making sure you have clear career goals and have an end goal that you’re working towards can help keep you aligned when making career decisions;
2. Knowledge of your transferable skills (as mentioned above);
3. Focusing on fostering existing professional relationships but also being intentional about growing your professional networks. Your network is your net-worth.
WikiExpert: What would your advice be for job seekers out there during this period?
1. Work on your Self-Marketing Materials: Resume, Cover Letter, and LinkedIn Profile. This is a prime opportunity to use the additional time that you have to really work on your marketing materials. These materials are what is going to be on the front line marketing you to your potential employer.
- Resume - Include your key skills and key work experiences that match the job description and that showcases that you are the best person for that position. Less is more;
- Cover Letter - Show that you are a great cultural fit for that position and why you want to work there. What can you contribute;
- LinkedIn Profile- Be sure that your LinkedIn profile is up to date and optimized. Now is the prime opportunity for every job seeker and professional to be on LinkedIn. Not only can you be found by recruiters, employers who are hiring right now will also use your LinkedIn profile as a way to screen you as a candidate.
2. Practice your video interviewing skills. Everything is turning to a remote and virtual environment to avoid human contact. Hiring managers and employers will be utilizing video interviews to screen candidates. You have to be able to effectively sell yourself through a video interview. To nail your video interview, you have to practice beforehand! Don't wait until you get called in for a video interview to start practicing. You can do this by:
- Recording yourself to feel more confident in front of a camera;
- Speaking directly to the camera; observing your gestures and how you communicate;
- Replaying the recording back to yourself to pinpoint areas in which you can improve;
- We don't know for how long everything will be virtual. Now is the right time to strengthen your video interviewing skills and ensure that you're able to effectively sell yourself on video.
3. Build your network.
Professional networks and connections are so important within your job search. LinkedIn is a great place to start. Now is a great opportunity for you to get on LinkedIn and grow your network, connect with people from your dream companies or ideal employers, and foster existing relationships and professional networks that you have.
WikiExpert: A lot of people have lost hope due to the COVID-19 and as a result gave up on their job searches, how would you advise them and what steps should they take?
Cindy Makita: Your job search is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time, effort and dedication. The more strategic you are about your job search, researching companies, applying for jobs and following up on your job applications, the more results you will see from your job search.
In addition, seek help where needed. Use your network to ask for advice, feedback on your marketing materials, and direction. You can also seek the advice of a Coach to help you.
Your mindset is crucial during your job search, so keep positive, confident and uplifted.
WikiExpert: How do you help your Clients to prepare for successful virtual/video interviews?
Cindy Makita: My process includes sending my Clients a list of interview questions to practice and craft career stories based on their industry/job role. We then do a one-on-one video call as a “mock interview.” I give my Clients advice and feedback on how to better answer the questions, help them perfect their career stories and be more confident.
Preparation is key to nailing an interview.
WikiExpert: What makes a resume/CV stand out? What do recruiters look for?
Cindy Makita: Recruiters and Hiring Managers are looking for someone that is going to be a close match to the job description requirements. The more easily a job seeker can convey they are a good fit, the more likely they are to be called in for an interview.
That’s why it is essential for job seekers to tailor their resumes based on the jobs they are applying for and highlight key skills in their resumes that the job description highlights.
Also, a resume that showcases results over responsibilities can make a candidate stand out. Employers want to see what results a candidate has been able to achieve in the past, not just what they’ve done. So, by highlighting results achieved can really make a candidate stand out.
WikiExpert: What does your typical online career coaching session look like? What do you cover in these?
Cindy Makita: Before I get on a call with a Client, I send them a questionnaire to better understand their needs. Based on their responses to the questionnaire I tailor a one-on-one session with an end goal in mind. For example - if a Client needs more career clarity, I tailor a one-on-one session that will enable them to leave with more clarity.
We do a video call for 50-minutes that involves dialogue, questions, and Expert advice and guidance. I also leave my Clients with “homework” that enables them to go even deeper to get the help they need in their careers.
Each session includes unlimited email support afterward.
WikiExpert: How would you advise someone who wants to switch careers later on in their lives?
Cindy Makita: Career transition is possible. Being bold enough to take the risk and confident to take the leap is key. Identifying one’s transferable skills can help them better identify what skills they possess that can be transferred or utilized in another position.
If someone is going to make a career transition later in life, I believe they should find what it is they are passionate about and at the same time a career that will enable them to utilize the wealth of strengths and skills they have accumulated throughout their lives.
WikiExpert: How do you help your Clients with optimizing their resumes and helping them to shine?
Cindy Makita: First, I make sure their resumes have the most essential sections like Professional Summary, Key Skills, Work Experience and Education.
I then make sure that my Client’s resumes are tailored to a specific job or industry, and that it highlights their key skills and achievements. This positions them as top candidates.
I also ensure their resumes are Applicant Tracking System-friendly so they can easily pass through online applications.
I specialize in concise and powerful resumes.
WikiExpert: You published an article on WikiExpert, College Grads Can't Find Jobs: Here's WHY. Do you feel that experienced candidates stand a better chance than college graduates? Why so?
Cindy Makita: Yes and No. Of course, experienced professionals stand a better chance simply because they are “proven” i.e. they have experience under their belt to show the potential employer what results and value they have brought forward in previous job roles.
Recent graduates, however, have the amazing advantage of not being proven yet. This means they are flexible, moldable, bring fresh insights and perspectives, and are open to learning.
There are companies that are looking to hire specifically entry-level talent for these reasons, and I believe college graduates just need to know how to effectively sell themselves to land these positions.
WikiExpert: Another great article you published here on WikiExpert, How to Overcome Job Rejection. How would you encourage someone who hasn't landed their dream job not to give up and lose hope?
Cindy Makita: It goes back to the notion that the job search is a marathon and not a sprint. You have to be relentless in the pursuit of your dream job. The people that win i.e. land their dream jobs are the ones that don’t give up.
I see this all the time. People that land their dream jobs have put in work, have been relentless, consistent, and have wanted it more than anything. That spirit of never giving up and being so passionate to pursue their dream has driven them to success.
Maybe the first job you get is not your dream or ideal job, but when you have a bigger vision and end goal, you know you are working towards something greater. It takes time, focus, and an attitude of never giving up. Those that don’t give up - win.
WikiExpert: If someone is underqualified for a job, would you advise them to still apply or further their skills?
Cindy Makita: If you are an 80-100% fit for the required skills or “must-haves” of a job then you should apply. If you are not, I believe it is best to build your skills and experiences first in that real first before applying for such positions, or, seek another position more suited to your level of experience.
Many people disqualify themselves if they don’t fit 100% of what the entire job description is looking for. However, most job descriptions are split into required skills(what I call must-haves) and desired skills (what I call nice-to-haves).
If you have 80-100% of the required skills you can definitely apply for that position.
WikiExpert: When someone is constantly rejected for jobs, what would be your approach to helping and what are the most common reasons for this?
Cindy Makita: Most times when someone is constantly being rejected for jobs it is because they are not effectively showing the potential employer that they are a good fit for the role. This could be as a result of not tailoring their resume to the specific role (by using one standard resume to apply to many positions), and by not strategically applying for jobs that fit their skills and experiences.
Job seekers can avoid multiple job rejections by taking a strategic approach to their job search.
- Write out a list of 10-30 companies you would like to work for;
- See if they are hiring by visiting online job boards and the company website;
- Connect with people who work for the company on LinkedIn and seek their advice;
- Apply for the roles that fit your skills and experience and tailor your resume to match the job description.
WikiExpert: You also help employees to land promotions, tell us about this and how you help?
Cindy Makita: I help driven-professionals climb the ladder by identifying areas of their career that can be improved, and teaching them how to position themselves as prime candidates for their next opportunities. I take a strategic approach to career advancement and helping professionals succeed in the workplace.
Now, let's get to know more Cindy:
WikiExpert: What do you enjoy the most about your career?
Cindy Makita: Helping people land their dream jobs is my passion. I believe everyone can be in careers they love, most people just don’t know the steps to get there. I pride myself in helping people get the direction and guidance they need to thrive in their careers.
WikiExpert: What has been the most difficult and challenging part of what you do?
Cindy Makita: Encouraging job seekers to be patient and positive about their job search, especially during uncertain times, is challenging. Also hearing the stories of people who have been laid-off, jobless for x amount of time, or hopeless because they are in a career they hate.
This is the most challenging but it also motivates me, even more, to use my expertise to help professionals succeed in their careers.
WikiExpert: What would your ideal day look like?
Cindy Makita: My ideal day consists of my morning routine of prayer/meditation, exercise, and coffee with my husband, followed by a speaking engagement or a one-on-one session with my Client. Ending the evening with a lovely home-cooked meal and my favorite show! These are all my favorite things wrapped into one day!
WikiExpert: When you're not helping others, where can we find you? What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Cindy Makita: I love reading books, walking by the water, going to the gym to lift weights, and traveling.
Do you want to get the career of your dreams or ace your interview and resume? Message Cindy Makita for free today to book a session!