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Definition of Success = The Human Factor

What defines a successful person? Embedded throughout my secondary education was that elusive end of year score, which for some reason was going to determine our success in life. However, success has many faces. Even those who reach great heights in academia need to have a balance of social awareness, connection with others, an empathy that supersedes intelligence and a touch of commercial reality.

The challenge of continuously competing with other students who were more intellectually inclined weighed heavily on my shoulders throughout my secondary and tertiary education. I felt demoralised knowing that my chosen career path, whatever it may be, could be in jeopardy due to the fact my brain was wired differently. I shouldn’t have. There is a litany of brilliant people throughout history who failed to win popular support for their ideas, as well as many arguably not-so-clever people who were smart enough to succeed.

My life experiences have been a bit different to my peers in my generation: travelling to third world countries and dedicating more of my time focusing on the needs of those less fortunate. Unlike those with a more limited world view, my volunteer work abroad – teaching English, providing food and essential supplies to children and families in the local community in The Philippines, Africa and Fiji – enabled me to empathise with people from other cultures and relate to people from different walks of life on a whole new level. It enabled me to grow and mature. I became more confident in my abilities and started to believe that I did possess unique skills that could take me anywhere in life. It was a defining moment for me that reshaped my understanding of who I am.

Aren’t we all more inclined towards repeat business if we are greeted kindly and treated respectfully, like a friend, rather than a customer or a number?

Before I joined the recruitment industry, I spent seven years working in retail, specifically women’s fashion. I saw many eager faces wanting to achieve managerial roles, believing that their ability to meet arbitrarily high KPIs was the key to becoming a great leader. However, running a successful business requires more than reaching budget. The true leaders of the organisation were the team members who demonstrated empathy and made it a priority to listen, and not just make our customers feel welcome, but also established an inclusive work environment for all employees. I, for one, loved working in an environment where my feelings and ideas were valued and acknowledged, ultimately boosting my work performance and productivity. In turn, we did our best to make our customers feel like they were the only person in the store.

Austrian pianist, author and composer Alfred Brendel famously said: “LISTEN and SILENT are spelled with the same letters – coincidence? I don’t think so.”

Everyone wants to speak and be heard, yet it appears that few people can sit quietly and really listen.

My experience in recruiting hasn’t been long yet, but in the short time I’ve been with Slade Group and the Interchange Bench, I’ve been able to observe a few things. Through my interactions with colleagues, clients and candidates I’m learning key skills that not only make a great consultant, but help ensure successful recruitment outcomes. People often talk about trusting your gut instinct and following your intuition, but there’s a lot be said for learning to listen. Our capacity to grasp how others feel and think may indeed be our most valuable asset in the workplace.

So, whether it is facilitating temporary and contract work, permanent career changes or helping organisations grow by sourcing the best talent, I’ll be listening carefully to what clients and candidates are looking for. Recruitment often presents us with sliding door moments – opportunities that might have been missed if we were too focused on what we may think success should look like, as opposed to what we can achieve.

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Impostor Syndrome and Fear of Success: Renata Bernarde in conversation with Michelle Redfern

In this episode of The Job Hunting Podcast, Renata Bernarde is interviewed by Michelle Redfern, the founder of Advancing Women, an enterprise providing research and advisory services on workplace gender equality, inclusion, and diversity. Michelle is co-host of A Career That Soars – a platform for women to grow as leaders, the founder of women’s network Women Who Get It and the co-founder of CDW, Culturally Diverse Women. This episode was originally recorded for Michelle’s podcast, Lead to Soar, a podcast for career-women looking to advance inside an organisation.

Below is an extract from the transcript of the podcast:

Renata: “When women reach out to me, sometimes they are referred to by a recruiter or a headhunter who has called them and said, I have this opportunity for you. And they’re like… You know, there’s this CFO position. And they want me to apply. And then they think about it… and think, oh, I just had two kids, and I don’t feel like I can take on more responsibility… If somebody has identified you as a leader, it’s because you probably already have skills; they probably have already seen you perform those leadership skills needed at the top. And you’re saying no to that. Why?”

Michelle: “We have so many women mired in middle management. And they’re not breaking through. Now, there are a whole bunch of factors. Of course, that’s my workaround, fixing systems and bias and barriers and things like that. But also, for women, this is a two-way street. Get out of your damn way to figure out who can help you silence or quiet (at least for some time) that voice in your head that says, Not good enough, Not ready yet, This will be too hard, whatever… take a risk and seek the payoffs that go with leading at that level… more resources, being less vulnerable, more pay.”

The Job Hunting Podcast

The Job Hunting Podcast
121.Impostor syndrome and fear of success:
A conversation with Michelle Redfern.

» Click here to listen

To coincide with International Women’s Day this year, Renata has compiled a selection of The Job Hunting Podcast episodes celebrating women’s careers. In this playlist, you will find great interviews with leaders, experts, and recruiters who share what they’ve learned and offer inspiration, tips, and recommendations for listeners.

IWD 2022 Playlist: Celebrating Women

This article was first published on the The Job Hunting Podcast Blog.

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Posted in Diversity & Inclusion, Interchange Bench

Tech professional? Cybersecurity specialist? Multiple offers? Our top tips to make the right career decision in a bullish market.

With spend in Australian cybersecurity expected to surpass a whopping $5.1b in 2021, the natural flow-on effect from an increase in enterprise requirements in the sector is a need for more staff.

Since launching Synchro Partners earlier this year, there’s no doubt that it’s the most ‘job-heavy’ market we’ve seen in several years. It may seem like halcyon days for recruiters, but with virtually every business across the country on the hunt for a full range of skillsets as they build their ‘dream team’ of cybersecurity experts, it’s a lucrative opportunity for candidates.

With a hard stop on overseas talent due to covid related border closures over the past eighteen months, we have seen a major skills shortage across the technology sector. Naturally, due to the laws of supply and demand, salaries and contractor rates have increased substantially over the period. On average, we have seen an increase in remuneration expectations of over 7%, and in certain streams (IDAM/PAM, Cloud Security and Penetration Testing) a pay demand upturn of up to 25%. This in turn has created a true candidates’ market, with a plethora of career opportunities for jobseekers and those currently employed in the cybersecurity field.

Whilst this bullish job market is certainly advantageous to Tech professionals, it can be a double-edged sword – exposure to multiple opportunities at any given time increases your risk of making the wrong career move.

How do you make the right decision?

Article image: How do you make the right

Every day, Synchro Partners help candidates between role transitions. what we’ve learnt through our experience is that having a well-defined vision of your career goals will help you make the right move. We’re sharing our top tips on how to evaluate each role when presented with multiple offers from different organisations, to ensure you make the right career decision.

What is the ‘ROI’ for you, if you join this organisation?

As much as they are investing into you, you also are investing in them. What is more important than dollars is consistent development and sustainable growth in what you are worth. As a cybersecurity professional, evolving your skills is the only way to keep up with the pace of the market. What new skills will you pick up? What certifications will they support you in pursuing? What kind of programs will you be working on? These are all crucial factors for your ROI and the future for your career.

What’s the organisational culture really like?

It is easy for an employer to say they have an amazing culture. But do they really? What’s the work culture like? It’s high-performing, but is it collaborative? Is there a culture of innovation specifically in the cybersecurity space? A good mix of both work culture and social culture should be identified for you to enjoy your role and to be successful too. Dig deep and ask questions such as: Could you give me an example of a time when the team have shown real comradery? What social activities do you organise? If they struggle to give you a warm and authentic answer, you should have reservations.

What do you look for in a leader? Will you align with your direct manager?

How do you envision each leader treating you and will they help you to be happy as well as succeed within the business? The cybersecurity market is a tight-knit community in Australia. What’s their track record? What’s been their contribution(s) to the community? When it comes to the hiring manager, what does their industry profile look like? Having the ‘right’ leader is pivotal to your success; having the ‘wrong’ leader could be your Achilles heel, and even stop you from reaching your goals. Simon Sinek says, “The courage of leadership is giving others the chance to succeed, even though you bear responsibility for getting things done.”

Be Discerning

Cybersecurity professionals are discerning individuals in their day-to-day roles, so why not take a discerning approach to jobhunting (a full-time job in itself). Having ‘a good feeling about this one’ is your intuition telling you that this is the most logical option. Use your instincts as your compass, backed up by facts for your reassurance.

Finally, money is a by-product of where you are currently at; what you can become is where you will see true job satisfaction (and financial gain). Join a company that will provide a vehicle to accelerate you as a better professional, rather than simply utilise your current skills.

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Fear of success: Why it happens and how to overcome it.

In a recent episode of my podcast, The Job Hunting™ Podcast (ep.100), I discussed success, but with a twist. I see the following behaviour happening all the time with my clients: when job hunters go from getting zero responses to suddenly getting calls from recruiters and job interviews, they freak out.

The happiness and the excitement about finally getting opportunities can quickly turn into anxiety. This happens with all my services. From getting more views following a LinkedIn audit service to coaching clients who get a fantastic job offer, the success leads to conflicting emotions. But why?

Success and Failure

Success doesn’t feel like what we think it would feel. With success comes more work (get ready for the calls and interviews) and more responsibility (now you have to do the job you wanted!). When we dream about success, we usually don’t think about the day-to-day reality of achieving our goals. You may have envisioned yourself as feeling confident once you reach your success goal. In reality, when you achieve your goals, chances are you don’t feel ready!

In this episode, I discuss the most common feelings I have observed as a coach, explain the reasons behind them, and how to overcome the anxiety and enjoy the spoils of your hard work. We talk a lot about impostor syndrome, but in my view, there are many more success fears that we need to address.

How to overcome the “freaking out” period of success.

1. Understand it: Sword of Damocles

Sword of Damocles is an old tale about a King, Dionysius, who allowed one of his men, Damocles, to experience what it feels to have great power. Damocles sat on Dionysius’s throne, surrounded by countless luxuries. But above his had, Dionysius arranged that a sword is held at the pommel only by a single hair of a horse’s tail.

In this episode, I discuss three different meanings for this story, which I believe should be considered by anyone willing to advance in their careers.

2. Educate yourself: Stoicism

Some things are within our control, and some aren’t. When you are job hunting, there are so many variables affecting your recruitment and selection and your work. You can control your output – job application, answers to job interviews, but you can’t control what others are thinking of you. So the key is to move forward with tranquility, knowing you won’t be able to control every aspect of this experience.

In the episode, I also discuss how we suffer not from facts themselves (i.e., you got the job), but from how we imagine what that means (i.e., I don’t know if I can do a good job. What if I fail?).

3. Be strategic: coaching

Working with a coach can be incredibly beneficial for executives. It can speed up steep learning curves and avoid career-limiting moves done at the heat of the moment.

Freaking out due to success is why I usually continue to work with clients as they onboard their new jobs until they feel they have better control of their new situation.

If being freaked out is a problem you wish you had, I’d also be happy to help! Please go to my website, renatabernarde.com, to learn more and book my services.


Renata Bernarde, the Host of The Job HuntingTM Podcast. I’m also an executive coach, job hunting expert, and career strategist. Click here to download Renata’s free workbook The Optimized Job Search Schedule.

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How to maintain a positive professional reputation to achieve career success

In managing the trajectory of your career, one of the most important assets you have is your reputation. What other people think of…

  • you as a colleague, leader, or team member,
  • your workplace performance, and
  • your behaviour around others, including clients and stakeholders.

…will impact their ability to consider you for promotions internally, as well as job opportunities in other organisations.

I am sure you have heard the saying ‘your reputation precedes you’. That was true before social media and the internet, and it’s even more acute now since there are so many ways we can learn about each other online.

I encourage you to take an active role in protecting and managing your reputation. And in this podcast episode, I discuss a few ideas that I believe you can use to help you showcase your competence, likeability, and credibility as a professional.

For example, these days, you probably wouldn’t visit a restaurant or book an Airbnb without consulting their online reviews, am I right? And if you don’t check, you know you’re taking a risk, which is exciting for a small investment, such as a meal. But when you are buying something expensive, let’s say a car or a house, you will do your due diligence and research and make sure you are making the best possible investment for your money, right?

Well, recruiting and promoting a professional happens in the same way. It’s unlikely that anyone will hire, promote, accept an introduction, or invite you for a conversation without first checking your credentials either with a reference or by doing an online search.

These tips below will show you not only how you might be sabotaging your career progression without knowing you’re doing it but also how to take corrective action.

Your reputation will enhance or decrease your gravitas

In The Job Hunting Podcast episodes 82 and 83, we have discussed executive presence and gravitas. However, no matter how good your gravitas is as you walk into a job interview or an important meeting, your reputation precedes you.

The people in the room already have an opinion of you. So the interview will either help you reinforce their positive opinion (if they already like and trust you) or have the opposite effect. And this is why executive presence, gravitas, and reputation go hand in hand. And this is why I recorded the three episodes of The Job Hunting Podcast as a series, 82, 83, and 84.

Your reputation is not on show so much in your cover letter or resume. Here are some examples of what you need to manage:

  • Your social media activity on LinkedIn and other platforms.
  • Your performance at your current job.
  • How you relate to your work colleague.

Walking into an important meeting with a good idea of what people’s opinions are and how you can enhance your strengths and mitigate any issues is a learned skill. I can attest that it is possible to turn up as the dark horse and win the race.

People’s opinion of you

If people can form an opinion of you before they meet you, you need to manage your reputation as much as possible. But reputation management is not just thinking you are doing a good job and that others like you. Instead, reputation management is you seeking out and proactively asking others for feedback about your work and your management style, listening to the feedback, and improving upon it.

Think about your reputation in the same way the company you work for protects theirs. After all, as a professional, you bring in revenue for your household, and you need to protect that revenue generation for years to come, yes? As a coach, I am always surprised that corporate professionals are very strategic when helping the organizations they work for but neglect to work on their careers strategically.

Here is an exercise you can do:

  1. contact 10 connections: childhood friends, former and existing work colleagues, etc.
  2. Ask them how they would describe your qualities and your weaknesses to others.
  3. I know it’s awkward for you, and they might feel uncomfortable too. But explain to them that this is an important exercise to support your career development, and you need to hear the good and the bad so you can learn and prepare for upcoming opportunities.

Your online presence

It’s essential to manage your online presence if you are serious about managing your reputation. This applies not only to your LinkedIn profile and activity but also to other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter and what shows up when you google your name.

  • The easiest exercise you can do is open a new incognito window on your browser and review what shows up.
  • Decide what on LinkedIn should be public and what should be private. 
  • Decide if your Facebook and Instagram accounts should be public or private. 
  • Review and manage your Twitter account with your professional reputation in mind.

How you manage and explain success and failure

I want you to consider – and manage to the best of your ability – how you’re describing your successes and your failures.

It’s okay to fail. We all fail a lot throughout our careers. But how do you communicate and overcome failure? This is really important, especially if you have been let go from your previous job. You can continue to have an amazing career despite setbacks. However, your confidence in your skills and experience need to take the front seat when you’re going to be interrogated about why you left the organization and what your plans are.

If there is something in your career that you think needs to be addressed or could be brought up in an interview, it’s better that you bring it up in the interview. Don’t let it be the elephant in the room. If you feel confident about your answer, that’s your truth and will resonate well with the listener.

Conclusion

The truth is that this social proof holds weight, whether you’re deciding where to eat in a new city or tracking down the references of a potential hire. What other people think about you and how they speak of you matters to your career. Your reputation will always precede you. And these days, with everything searchable in just a click of a button, managing that is really important.

I hope that the ideas I shared in this post and on the podcast episode will help you start paying attention to your reputation and that it helps you achieve your career goals. Also, don’t forget to listen to Episode 84 of The Job Hunting Podcast: there’s way more information in there, so listen to it now!

If you would like to learn more from me:

This article was originally published on the The Job Hunting Podcast blog.

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How to start a successful role even before you get the job

Here’s a fact you have probably already heard of: the first 90 days in a new job are crucial to your success in the role. And it’s not about passing your probation! It’s about building the credibility, reputation, and personal brand that will carry you over the next few years and impact your short-term career progress with your new employer.

During the first 90 days, the employer will evaluate if you are in fact a good fit for the company. But more than this, it can set the tone for the rest of your tenure in the organization. A few weeks ago, I invited Sue Zablud, an experienced consultant, executive coach, and trainer, to an interview for The Job Hunting Podcast Episode 68. She said, “In the first days in your new role, you should also consider what impression you want to make, your new manager’s expectations from you, your KPIs, and the adjustments you have to make to guarantee that you are the best fit for the organisation.”

Sue listed the two critical strategies you have to nail in the first days and weeks in a new job to advance and excel in your new organisation:

1. Achieve the outcome that you have promised. Do it well, and do it in a way that looks good for the organization instead of making you look good.

  • What are your new manager’s expectations of what you should do in your first few days?
  • What are your KPIs?
  • What do you need to do to ensure you will “fit” in the organization?

2. Build good relationships. This includes customer relationships, managing up, and demonstrating that you’re a good member of the team.

  • What is the impression that you want to make?
  • You have to get on with your team, be accepted by clients, and win your peers’ respect.

Above and beyond the probationary nature of the first 90 days in a new job, there is also a lot more at stake that can determine your new role’s success. Just because you were great in your last job does not mean you will be great in a new one. You have to be ready and have a plan. You can do this with a coach to understand what you should do to prepare for this period. Working with a coach is especially recommended if you are moving sideways (i.e., into a new industry or career track) or upwards (i.e., a more senior position).

Now that you have a clearer idea of how to leverage the power of your first 90 days, you can apply these strategies to a successful transition into a new role.

If you would like to learn more from me:

  • Visit my website: renatabernarde.com.
  • Listen to The Job Hunting Podcast on all good podcast apps, or find it here: renatabernarde.com/blog.
  • Sign up to Reset Your Career: a short course delivered in collaboration with the Slade team and available to you on-demand.
  • Sue Zablud delivers a special masterclass inside my signature program, Job Hunting Made Simple. Learn more about Job Hunting Made Simple and register for the next group intake.
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The secret to a successful career transition: Five key strategies to guide you towards your new job.

Whether you’ve been job searching for months or you have just started, I encourage you to press reset, sharpen your focus and go through the list of key success factors below. Make sure you are reviewing and addressing them every day during your transition. I hope that by being strategic and building a healthy job search routine, you will – like my clients – have a shorter transition that leads to the best possible outcome for you in 2021.

Regardless of the magnitude of your career goals: be it finding a similar job or making a bolder career change, the strategies below will help make your pitch crystal clear to recruiters and hiring managers:

  1. Understand who you are as a professional and what you offer to employers. Find out what your strengths and transferable skills are. Even though different sectors require different expertise, they need common essential skills, such as communication, analytical skills, people skills, etc. Please write down your transferable skills and include them in your job search materials, not as a jumble of words, but as the most relevant competencies applied to you. Whether it be an interview, your resume, or in your profile, ensure you can speak confidently about the skills you listed and that you have robust examples to back them up.
  2. Ask yourself, what industry, sector, and organisations do you want to work for? If you are unsure where to go next and curious about industries and companies you don’t know, investigate. You can read about them, and most importantly, talk to professionals who work there. Draw on your network, or start building one. For example, you can tap into your university’s Alumni, former colleagues, and friends. Think outside the box, talk to people from different areas and sectors. Then make sure you make these decisions before you start your job search. Yes, you can revisit later. In fact, you should be reviewing your job search strategy constantly. But sharpen your focus on the industries, sectors, and companies before going to market. Otherwise, there’s a great chance you will feel overwhelmed and pulled in too many directions.
  3. Once you identify your preferred industry, find out what knowledge, qualifications, experience, and skills are valued by the hiring managers. Your research will provide you with important clues that you should use to draft your cover letters, resumes and LinkedIn profile. It should also guide the way to interact with recruiters and even which recruiters to interact with. A good sector analysis will help you learn the sector’s language so you can better explain in writing and conversations how your strengths and transferable skills can support your new career transition. You will feel more confident about your prospects at this stage.
  4. Find a coach to support your transition or at least a mentor. It is not easy to shift sectors, and having a mentor can help access information to support the transition. And learning how to play the game and win as a job candidate in a sea of highly qualified peers is a steep learning curve. Investing in help at this stage can shave off weeks or months of unemployment, as well as keep you operating at high performance and low-stress levels. It is a competition, and there’s no way around it. The top players usually have top help. Be one of them.
  5. Know your values. What sort of culture and what kind of organization brings out the best in you? For example, do you work better in an organization where there is a lot of autonomy? Or do you work better in an organization where you’re part of a team? Use the interviewing process to learn more about the organisation, the same way they are using it to learn more about you. Values alignment will make a difference in how long you stay in that organization. Don’t just take the first thing that rolls up along the aisle because it could be a disaster. Transitions can be stressful, but you don’t want to regret your move a few months down the track because you took the first offer, and now you’re miserable again. I’m assuming you can have the privilege of making the most out of your transition period. However, if your situation requires you to find a job quickly, then it may have to be first in best dressed. In that case, don’t forget to keep working on your future career steps and don’t take too long to move again.

Keep in mind: success occurs when opportunity meets preparation. Next month, I will be discussing the importance of the first ninety days into a role and how you need to start preparing and planning for it before you start your new job.

If you would like to learn more from me:

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How to start your Board Director career

To develop a non-executive director career requires time and planning. In this video, Renata Bernarde, career planning expert and creator of the online coaching program, Job Hunting Made Simple, talks with Marion Macleod FAICD, a non-executive director, board consultant, and trainer with over 25 years’ board experience. You can read Marion’s full bio on The Job Hunting Podcast here.

Click here to watch the video…

Other articles in the same series:

This article was first published on the The Job Hunting Podcast Blog.

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