What was your situation prior to entering the coaching program?
I started my career at Rogers Communications and ended up spending nine years there. My roles were mainly customer operations, new product development, and process development. Then, I moved over to consulting within the Banking and Financial Services sector and became a Senior Consultant at CGI Group. During this time, I pursued an Executive MBA at the Ivey Business School.
Around this time, I started to think that I might not want to remain at CGI Group. I made a decision to relocate back to the US, and sought out her coaching from there.
The American job market is a completely different ballgame from the Canadian market. It’s a lot more aggressive, and understanding the company culture is critical for success prior to going through the process.
What steps did you take to differentiate your job application?
Diana helped me polish my brand, and I can still see the effects of that today. I speak with much more conviction now, and my demeanor is more persuasive because I’ve learned how to make myself appear more approachable, sociable, and engaging.
I did my homework before going into the coaching sessions, so I was very clear on what I wanted to accomplish. We had a few sessions, and during these we mainly worked on soft skills: my approach, tone, how I answer questions, and my understanding of how people perceive me. She essentially helped focus our sessions on the areas that would prepare me to achieve a better result in my job search. It really worked. When I started networking at conferences in the US after the sessions, I found that the discussions were engaging and fruitful in the sense that they led to interviews.
Diana also helped me narrow my focus onto a specific sector that I wanted to pursue. Knowing what I wanted to do helped me reflect on some of the other opportunities at American companies that I didn’t get, and I realized that I would likely not have been happy in those roles if I had been offered the job.
What was your success coming out of the coaching sessions?
After Diana spent some time with me, it was off to the races in terms of networking and interviews. I had a total of 18 interviews over the course of four months, I networked as much as I could, and in the end I found 15 opportunities at American companies. I ended up choosing one in New York, and that’s where I still am now!
Do you have any advice for other young professionals with job search challenges?
- Be Patient. People just expect that if you have this degree or that experience, doors will open up for you. That doesn’t happen. You have to approach the job search as a step-by-step process that could last 6 months or take longer than 18 months. Don’t rush into an opportunity that doesn’t fit your personality or won’t help you get to where you want to be in the future.
- Understand yourself. Once you realize specifically what you want, you can go after it and have faith that things will fall into place. You’ll meet the right people and you’ll be able to prove that that company, industry, or sector is exactly where you belong. It might take a while, but you will eventually achieve your goals. You just have to be patient and do your own homework. Research companies as much as you can to find out if you fit their hiring requirements. Make sure that your personality profile fits what they want before you apply. It is not how fast you run the race but how you finish the race which is important.
- Network. What I did during my job search, and what all of you should be doing, is a lot of networking. The most important thing to do before networking is to try and figure out your brand and what you represent. Before you go talking to people, you have to define who you are so that you have a good enough understanding of what you want to be able to narrow down who you should be talking to and what you should be saying.