Heather Coleman-Voss is the owner and founder of Career Savvy Coaching, based in Ferndale, and she has some advice if you’re getting lost in the job application slog: “It’s so important to remember who you really are and everything that you have to offer.”
Her clients range from adults who are eager to make a job transition, to those seeking a new position — as well as people who simply want to overcome challenges in the workplace. Heather helps job seekers and havers alike with creating targeted resumes and cover letters, social media, modern job search and networking techniques, interviewing best practices and navigating toxic work environments. She is also a certified life coach, a proud partner at Ferndale’s SheHive, a women’s empowerment and coaching community, and an active DWLN member.
We talked to Coleman-Voss about keeping your head up, not being afraid of networking, one good change to the job search during the pandemic and more.
This interview was condensed and edited for clarity.
The Blend: What are some key things to keep in mind while job-searching?
Coleman-Voss: It’s so important to remember who you really are and everything that you have to offer. I think what happens is that people aren’t hearing back, so they’re starting to think there’s something wrong with them — or maybe they don’t have as much as to offer as they thought, especially if they were in a toxic environment. So, the confidence goes down and they start not to apply to jobs that they should be applying to…or sometimes they’ll start to apply to lower-level jobs. The reality is, they won’t get hired because they are going to be overqualified. I always have my clients start out with a master list of major accomplishments.
Also, start looking at opportunities that you might not have considered before with regard to remote work. I’m seeing a lot more opportunities coming out of Washington D.C., New York and different places that are looking for remote workers.
You have to start using LinkedIn. Post on Facebook and introduce yourself. Let people know that you’re looking. Put it out on your personal platform once a week. Look at it as, I’m looking for an opportunity, versus I’m putting pressure on people. Networking is always going to be the best way to get a job.
What are some tips for standing out to recruiters and hiring managers…and of course, getting an interview?
For people applying to jobs, a lot of them have no idea about applicant tracking systems. An employer can tell the system, I want to see these keywords in these resumes at least eight times, or take it out. So when people say, “I’d be perfect for this job, why aren’t they picking me?” They’re right — they would be perfect, but their resume probably didn’t get seen. I don’t mean to say you have to rewrite your resume every time, but you have to target your resume for each job. You have to understand what keywords are, and you have to stop writing one-page resumes.
What’s the best course of action when an employer stops responding during the hiring process?
We’re seeing this happen more than it ever has. I think it’s partially because there’s so much uncertainty on the employers’ side depending on the type of company they are. Budgets might get pushed off or people are getting sick from covid. First of all, don’t take it personally. About a week after you apply, follow up with an email or you can use LInkedin to find the person and shoot them a message. Restate your interest and make sure they know you’re available for an interview.
Any final words of wisdom?
I think It’s important to remember who you are and everything you have to offer. Your real friends, family and networks are there to support and help. When you need a mental health break, then take it — that’s really important, too. It’s hard to be at your best when you’re under that much stress, and then you add a pandemic where we’re all collectively traumatized — it’s a lot to carry.