Meet the Coaches – Jeri Childers

Here is the fabulous Director of the Engineering & IT Techcelerator @ the University of Technology, Sydney – Dr Jeri Childers.

As Director of Innovation & Entrepreneurship at UTS, Jeri has seen it all when it comes to obstacles, roadblocks & hurdles. Blogger, women’s leadership series host, sailor, PhD…where does she find the time?

Sail away, Jeri!

Jeri, what is your top tip to lead to successfully getting a job?

Know how to confidently describe your value.  Know what motivates you, the type of environment where you thrive and the skills and experience that you can bring to the job.

Name one thing you would do if you were looking for a job today: 

I would be managing my online presence and aligning the messages on my LinkedIn profile, CV, and social media to match the roles that I would be applying for in the future.  Together they tell a story about what inspires you and the results you bring or want to bring to the world.

How long is “too long” to be searching for a job without successfully getting a job?

Align your internal clock to the type of role that you are targeting.  A short job search takes about three months and up to a year if you going for that top, executive position. 

My advice to a job seeker who feels stuck or like their job search is taking too long:

The keys are to continue to target your Linkedin Profile to your target audience, use your network to uncover the hidden job opportunities, and get coaching or practice your interview skills so that you are selling yourself well.

My advice to applicants who want to stand out:

You need to look the part as they say both in person and online.  Have a winning resume and cover letter.  Demonstrate that you can add value to the company strategy in the interview.  Know the company, the sector, and their potential organisational problems or “pain points” and make connections between what the company needs and your specific or transferable skills and experiences.

The most common mistake I see people make when searching for a job:

The biggest mistake is crowding your resume with too much irrelevant information.  Your CV and cover letter need to be customised to the specific job that you are targeting.  You need to take the extra step to draw from you “bank” of skills and experiences and highlight those that are listed in the job promotion.  Use the same language, words and tone the employer uses in the ad in your resume.

The most common career mistake I see people make:

The most common mistake I see is becoming complacent, coasting, not stretching yourself or learning.  Be curious, prepare yourself for the next role you might want to take on and don’t lose sight of the big picture. Know what lights you up and where you want to shine.  Sometimes you can glow in your current role by growing your responsibilities. Alternatively, you need to step into a new role to shine your light.

What’s the most common thing you see hold people back from getting the job they really want?

The most common thing that holds people back is fear.  We are all fearful—of uncertainty, rejection, or change.  The antidote can be to have a career plan and remember that you are moving toward your dreams. Create a roadmap, moving step-by-step, toward your dream job.

What does it really mean when you get a “thanks but no thanks” reply to a job application?

Don’t lose heart. Ask yourself if you adequately prepared for the interview or if you picked up any “red flags” in the interview that there was a mismatch between what they were looking for and your experience.  Re-check your social media presence and remove photos that are unprofessional.  Consider what else could have contributed to the rejection. Pick one thing you want to improve upon, polish, or practice in preparation for your next interview.  Rejection is natural and part of the process so keep things in perspective.

What is something someone searching for a job can do today to improve their chances of landing a job?

Strengthen your online presence and demonstrate that you are a good communicator, take initiative and responsibility, make good decisions, and get results.

What’s your favourite piece of advice or “words of wisdom” to give the people you coach?

Dream and design a career that you will love.  You are the CEO of your own life and career.  Find inspiration and mentors. Back yourself and your dreams by preparing yourself and by selecting jobs that will build your experiences and networks in the direction of your dreams.  Know what lights you up and glow up!

Now let’s discover a bit more about Jeri herself…

Jeri, what gets you fired up in the morning?

I get up early and enjoy walking along the harbour foreshore or going to the gym to get my body and mind moving.  I alternate listening to podcasts or enjoying quiet reflection.  It is time I reserve for myself to be inspired and become focus on my intent for the day.

How do you maintain your motivation?

I love launching new projects, launching startup founders or launching clients on new career paths.  Everyday feels filled with possibility. 

What do you do when you just don’t feel like it?

I recharge my motivation by finding inspiration in film, art, music, or movies.  Sometimes just unplugging and getting out in nature gives me a great re-boot.

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

Know what you want and what you are worth and don’t be afraid to go for it.

What’s the worst?

Stay in a job for security and ease. If you aren’t inspired or stretching in your job you won’t be happy and you will wake up and the best part of your career will have sailed by.  Yes, we sometimes stay in roles for pragmatic reasons but find ways to stay engaged and challenged, and when the time is right, disrupt yourself and take a role that is a better fit with who you want to be or who you have become.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt in your career/working life?

Don’t take on roles that are not structured for your success.  Be selective about the roles you are considering.  Ask yourself the following questions.  Can I bring value immediately to the organisation?  Can I grow with this organisation?  Do my values and mindsets match those of the organisation I would be joining?  Am I good match for the team?  You always have a choice.  Ask yourself if this is this the right opportunity and fit for you.  Don’t be afraid to walk away from the offer if the role isn’t structured for your success.

If you could go back and tell your teenage self one thing related to jobs/career, what would be?  

Start building your career skills early.  Explore different options and move where there are opportunities to learn and practice new skills. Build foundational skills and specialist skills. Become comfortable with pivoting or changing careers.  When I was starting out I didn’t realise that I would by necessity, or by career design, need or want to change careers or jobs quickly.  I wasn’t prepared for the tidal waves that rise in front of you—downsizing, re-organisations, digital disruptions and the revolution of automations and technical advancements and their impact on me or the organisations where I was employed.  I would advise my younger self to be prepared for the future of work. Be ready and comfortable with change.  In fact, anticipate and prepare for the changes that are inevitable.  

Connect with Jeri here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jerichilders/

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