The following questions were asked during the just concluded CAREERSHIFT event which held January 29. I believe sharing everyone of them with you would provide some valuable insight for your career.
- A working business mother who wants to fulfill all her responsibilities and have a great career. How does she do it?
The reality of having several responsibilities is something a lot of people are having to deal with these days. A simple model that will help in this regard is using the principle of prioritization and then planning your time around these. In your case, for example, priorities for you include being a Wife, Mother, Worker, Business Owner etc. These have to be listed in order of importance and ideally, about seven of them should enjoy 80% of your time. At the beginning of each week, outline the activities that you must carry out under each priority and assign a time to them during the week. Some of the activities will be routine and so have their time already. You will then need to slot in other priorities and their associated activities into the free times you have (starting with the most important). The thing to note is that you don’t have any ‘free’ time. Even relaxation must become a priority for you and should have its assigned time. You will not get into this rhythm immediately but if you stick to it, you will get the hang of this. By the way, since you are building a career, one of your priorities must be time for development along the career path you have chosen.
- My husband wants a change in job but because he has no degree, it became an issue. What can he do to find his strength?
Since the lack of a formal degree is now an issue, he then needs to get the degree by all means especially if it is a requirement for a path he wants to tow. He can enroll for a part time program which can allow him work at what he is currently doing while preparing for getting his qualification for the careerpath he is interested in. On the other hand, for his strength to be discovered, he can identify this through observation (based on past experience; what did he enjoy doing that he had an unusual ability to do easily); feedback (what do people say are his strengths? Especially people he has worked with closely over time) and lastly, he can take an assessment that can help give strong indications about his strengths.
- I am very interested in NGO jobs. I studied Biochemistry but I usually do not see vacancies for such. I also love to speak, organize things, manage resources and write. I really want to know how and where I can use these skills efficiently as I am finding it difficult to define my career path clearly
If you review your question, you will be able to identify your interest separate from some of your abilities. Typically, your abilities should be utilized in the area of your interest. You do not build a career around your ability primarily but rather around your interest. Therefore, you can utilize your abilities (speaking, organizing, managing resources and writing) in an area within the Biochemistry field and I am certain that these abilities will position you above the average worker in that field.
- What is the greatest character trait needed to excel in sales?
There are several traits that can be of immense benefit for excellence in sales, however, resilience is one that has been of great help to me. The ability to keep trying to make a sale in spite of rejections is a definite character trait that is needed to excel in sales.
- How do you sell a very poor (not too popular) brand?
Well, I believe your guess is as good as mine. Selling a poor brand is very difficult except you are selling it to poor people. I would assume in this case that you have a job with the responsibility of selling a product/service that has a poor brand. In this case, my first question will be this; do you have the authority to work on the brand directly? If you do, then I would suggest that you identify the challenges leading to the poor branding and identify ways to address them first. If you do not, I will suggest that you put all your ideas together and forward them to someone in your organization who has the authority to make necessary changes. Indeed, you can attempt to sell a product with a poor brand but your results will be limited.
- How do you sell a product you do not believe in but it’s your job to sell it?
Now this is a challenge. Selling requires that the salesman believes in what he/she is selling. The question will be why don’t you believe in what you are selling? Is it a quality issue? Or is it that the product actually does not do what it says it can do? Or is it that selling it is at variance with your personal values? Whatever the case might be, the question is this, ‘do you want to stay with the job or not?’ If you want to keep it, then you need to find something to believe about it. Alternatively, you can also identify the deficiency the product has and make suggestions to management on how it can be improved upon also mentioning the attached benefits of making the changes. It is certain, however, that you cannot excel at anything you are not fully convinced about and so the fundamental reason for your disbelief has to be identified and addressed.
- How do you overcome your parents’ emotions or emotional involvements in your life and career goals without necessarily creating strife?
The first thing I would like to say here is that the first assumption you should have is that your parents do want you to succeed and their care for you emanates from their concern about the uncertainty you want to venture into. Their seeming antagonism should be interpreted as a reflection of their lack of confidence in what you are about to embark on and in this way, it is easy to focus on things that can build their confidence. I had to go through this personally when I decided to step out to start my own firm and what I am about to recommend worked for me. To build their confidence, they need some time, information and proof of your capability (the reason I am recommending an approach to try to get them on your side is because they usually are a very good support while you might be going through the teething stage of what you are embarking on). Adequate time ahead will give room for them to express their concern and for you to address them as best as you can. Information about what it entails, the prospects and why you are going into it can help boost their confidence in it. Lastly, do you have any results to show that you will succeed in this new chosen field? Is there anything they can see that says to them, ‘if he/she can do this, then this other one can be possible’. This is just a simple model you can follow. Lastly, I would also like to say that you should recruit those who quickly accept what you are proposing and request for them to speak on your behalf to them.
- As a Graphics Designer and the only experience I got is designing a lot of things for people, how do I get my CV packaged if needed?
For a Graphics Designer, if you are applying for a job where this skill is required, I will ask that you attach copies of jobs you have carried out in the past to your resume when applying for work. If however, you are moving to another filed where this skill is not needed, you will have to identify your other transferable skills which you utilized on various projects and use these are your selling point. Did you undertake any job where you have several designers working with you on a project? Then you could state that you have some level of leadership capability as this enabled you to carry out the project successfully. Your CV is a brief document that basically shows that you have what is required to perform the job in view. You should therefore edit it to suit what you are applying for using the skills and experiences that you have.
- I am a freshman who studied Petroleum Engineering and trying to get employment opportunity in the industry. How do I go about it?
Well, you need to study the industry and understand the different players within it and the recruitment process for each of them. This will expose you to their basic requirements and then you can position for it. I believe your resume should also be structured in a way that highlights your educational background and your project title (especially if it’s a relevant one). Apply to as many as you can within the industry and so you will need to gather an extensive list to achieve this.
- How can we get tools to discover our talent?
With regards to tools, I believe I mentioned earlier that there are assessment tools available (such as CareerLeader- we provide this at Inspiro Consulting) which provide a strong indication of your career strengths and weaknesses and potential careers you should consider based on a fit between the requirements of those career paths and your unique interests, motivators and abilities. You can also search online for others.