In this interview series, we caught up with Julia Erickson from My Right Fit Job who shares her expertise and insights about job search, career change, etc. in today’s marketplace.
Tell us a little bit about your company
I help people find and do their “right fit” work – work they love doing and where they provide the most value to an employer.
I craft marketing materials for them to find their next gig, coach them to be most effective, and help them get promoted.
How did you get started in this path?
I decided coaching was something I could do because I’d always coached my staff, had had a coach for years, and had an MBA in leadership.
I started by posting one ad offering free coaching, and built the company from a single client who referred me to a few other people.
I began by offering free or low-cost coaching to help me develop my system, gain confidence in my ability, and gather material for blog posts that eventually became a book.
Is this something you decided early on in your career?
The bulk of my career was in non-profit management and leadership.
After some health issues emerged, I could no longer manage a full-time position nor a long commute.
I needed to find something that used my brain and could be done from home.
Career coaching turned out to be the one path that emerged from several that fulfilled me and really helped other people.
What is the Best Career Advice You’ve ever received?
I’ve received a lot of great career advice.
First is to do every job with excellence, and doing more than is asked of me. That way, I would be noticed by those in positions to promote me. It did work, when I asked for the promotions.
Second, I was told to keep my resume updated, and always be looking for my next job. I did this, and it kept me aware of my marketability as well as helping me appreciate my current job – and I was ready when someone recommended me for a job.
Third, it was suggested that I keep up relationships with people I’d worked with or for, just because I liked them. Those were the people who ended up recommending me for great jobs.
And finally, my father always said to hire people smarter than me in their areas of expertise, which I did. It resulted in my building a fabulous team who in turn built a great organization. I was confident in my own abilities so wasn’t threatened by them, and we had lots of fun doing excellent work together.
What is the most exciting part of working in this industry?
I love seeing people start to feel really confident in their abilities and their capacity to have an impact on a company or field.
That confidence always makes a great impression on potential employers, and means they will land a job they want in fairly short order.
How do to stay abreast of the industry as an expert?
I have a community of people on Twitter and LinkedIn with whom I engage and share information and tips with, plus I read a LOT.
I find great information about the work world and hiring everywhere, including Harvard Business Review, SHRM, Fast Company, Twitter, LinkedIn, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, O Magazine...also podcasts and television shows.
Plus my clients teach me a lot, especially those who hire.
What are some of the things that you see job seekers struggle with the most?
Most job seekers struggle with knowing what employers are really looking for. They may think only of their own needs, when the truth is that employers don’t care about them.
Employers only care about their own needs and how the prospective employee can help solve the employer’s problem.
I also find that very few job seekers know how job search actually works. We’re not taught how to find a job, so most people have a very unrealistic idea of what they have to do to find a job. It takes a lot more time and effort than many people think they have to put in.
What are the common mistakes that you see them do?
Common mistakes include:
Writing a resume that lists only what you did or do at jobs instead of what difference you made.
Sending a generic cover letter or no cover letter at all.
Trying to give the “right” answer in an interview instead of YOUR answer – because employers want a real person, not a fake.
Applying to every job you can instead of focusing on jobs that will use YOUR talents and skills and for which you can make the case that you are a good fit.
How should job seekers approach job search today?
The smartest job seekers will find and work with a career coach, someone who knows how job search works today.
If they don’t want to do that, then they need to go to the best blogs and read them to get the best advice about what to do.
They need to be willing to put in a lot of time and effort.
Job search is at least a part-time job. It requires research, writing, personalizing cover letters, writing a resume focused on accomplishments and impact, and above all networking.
Approach job search as a marketing campaign, where you are marketing your “features and benefits” to employers who need exactly what you can produce in terms of impact.
What is the biggest trend(s) you see that job seekers will face in the next 2-3 years?
Continued extensive interview processes with more and more use of test assignments and personality assessments to see if people can do the job and will fit in with the existing team before you are hired.
What is one advice you would give someone just out of college today?
Accept help from your parent(s) and/or an adult in your life.
What is one advice you would give someone who is switching careers?
Identify skills you have and impact you’ve made that you can make the case for as being similar to what you’d have to do and produce in the new field.
And network with people in the new field.
How can job seekers get the most out of LinkedIn?
Job seekers must have a LinkedIn profile, one that is complete and uses keywords that will allow you to be found by recruiters.
By complete, I mean having a professional looking photograph, a keyword-rich Headline, a Summary, and complete information in the Experience and Education sections, as well as a comprehensive list of Skills in the Skills & Endorsements section.
When your Headline and Skills section contain keywords that capture your talents, abilities, and impact, it’s easier for recruiters to find you. I have many clients who have been found by recruiters that way.
I also suggest becoming visible to recruiters. Turn on the notification to recruiters that you are looking for a job. You’ll find that in the Jobs tab, under Career Interests. And fill in the entire piece, including the “Note to Recruiters.” You can tell them what skills you want to use to have a specific kind of impact on a company or field.
Finally, be “top of mind” to your network.
Post things on LinkedIn that are related to your professional life at least once a week, and preferably every business day (or 3x a week – TWTh are best). It can be articles you read elsewhere – as long as you include a brief comment with your opinion – or comments on someone else’s post.
You must do so in order to be visible to your first degree connections (have at least 150 of those).
Unemployment is at the lowest levels, why do you think that is?
The previous administration made great decisions that helped our economic recovery and supported business growth, which produced and continue to produce job growth.
What is the biggest trend(s) you see that hiring managers will face in the next 2-3 years?
If job growth continues, hiring managers will lose good candidates because their hiring processes annoy them.
Julia, what are you currently working on?
I am working on a new book project about women who have been fired from their jobs and the lessons from those experiences.
No one talks about the actual experience of being fired and how damaging it is to the person who loses their job as well as to the people left behind in the workplace.
How we “terminate” someone’s employment is really terrible, and we need to shed light on it so we can change it.
What are the best resources you recommend to job seekers?