Career Advice
February 9, 2024

The Most Common Questions During My Mentorship Sessions

The Most Common Questions During My Mentorship Sessions

In the past few months, I've had the incredible opportunity to mentor a diverse group of individuals, each navigating different stages of their professional lives. This journey has not only been a source of insights for them but has also offered me valuable enlightenment, making the experience mutually enriching.

I hold immense respect and admiration for each of my mentees. Their dedication, resilience, and the distinct paths they are forging in their careers are truly inspiring. I am confident in their potential to achieve remarkable success in their job searches and future endeavors.

During my mentoring sessions, I found the existence of common patterns in our work lives, transcending career stages, aspirations, and geographical boundaries. I'd like to share some empowering insights and guidance with you.

The Quest for Purpose. A common thread among some of the mentees was the struggle to pinpoint where they wanted to direct their broad experience. 

This dilemma isn't unique, so no worries; it's a universal phase where one reevaluates their career trajectory. The key lies in introspection—identifying what you genuinely enjoy and what areas you wish to avoid.  

Combining it with an identification of your strengths, areas of improvement, multiplied by planning your next three years can provide clarity, even in today's fast-evolving world. 

Specialization Over Generalization. The job market today highly values depth of expertise in a specific area over broad and general experience. Specializing indicates proficiency and a level of skill, making you more attractive to employers. While a diverse skill set is beneficial, honing a deep understanding and expertise in one area can significantly boost your professional appeal.

Job Searching is a Job. The insight is pretty straightforward - the responsibility of job searching falls squarely on the shoulders of the job seeker. No one else can embark on this journey on your behalf - nor an agency, nor a career coach. It's a personal venture that calls for your full engagement.

Job search demands a proactive approach, encompassing thorough market research, analysis of emerging skill trends, and a commitment to ongoing learning and self-development. This path is uniquely yours to tread, and it requires your initiative and dedication to navigate successfully. 

Remote Work Has Boundaries. While remote work is appealing, it comes with its own set of challenges and legal limitations for employers, such as visa regulations, taxation, budget for hiring, and so on. Understanding these boundaries can help set realistic expectations.

Essentially, the constraints mentioned make many positions inaccessible to individuals outside of a specific geographical area. In other words, the option for 'remote' work is available only to those authorized to work in the specific country where the role is posted, unless stated otherwise.

Matching the Requirements. It's unlikely that your application will be successful if you apply for a job that doesn't match your current level of experience. The best outcome you can hope for is that the hiring team will retain your resume for future opportunities (if doing so doesn't violate compliance), and they might contact you later on if something more suitable arises.

Let's try another approach. If you're particularly interested in a company, taking the initiative to connect with its recruiters can be an effective strategy. Reach out on LinkedIn with a respectful request to join their network, expressing your interest in the company and the desire to be considered for future roles that match your skill set. This approach is not just about seeking employment, it's about laying the groundwork for a professional relationship. By indicating your interest and initiative, you’re not only demonstrating your enthusiasm for the company but also positioning yourself as a forward-thinking candidate open to future opportunities.

Customizing Your Application. A one-size-fits-all approach does not suffice in job applications. Tailoring your resume to match the specific requirements of each job is mandatory. 

Try to keep your job application concise and relevant. You don't need to include every work experience you've had in your life. Instead, focus on the parts that could contribute to the role you are applying for and how you can enhance the existing needs of an organization.

Navigating No Responses. Recruiters not responding is a common occurrence, unfortunately. There are several reasons for this. Recruiters often receive a high volume of applications, making it challenging to reply to each one, especially for popular roles. Typically, recruiters will only reach out if your qualifications and skills align with the requirements set by the hiring team.  

Let me, please share a few details here. The primary objective of recruiters is to hire, and they would be happy to hire you as soon as possible. However, they operate within a broader hiring ecosystem that includes the hiring team and hiring manager, who request the hiring based on specific business needs. Recruiters must adhere to these requirements. 

It's important not to place blame and instead be proactive, try to find who is a recruiter for this role, reach out to them on Linkedin, and politely ask for the status of the application. Build a relationship, that is the answer.

Preparation is Key. The thorough preparation prior to interviews, active engagement during interviews, and possessing an understanding of the specific job position are vital for securing a job. Conducting comprehensive research on a potential employer, understanding their business, and demonstrating how you can contribute to their success are essential steps.

The Importance of Soft Skills. In my opinion, problem-solving, communication, and relationship-building skills are paramount. 

However, these soft skills are intended to enhance, rather than replace, your hard skills or competencies. As an example, you can't substitute Python (the programming language) experience with creative thinking, but creative thinking can empower you to deliver a nontrivial solution using Python.

The Role of Recruiters. Trust me, recruiters are your partners, as they play a vital role in the hiring process. They conduct well-rounded evaluations by assessing your qualifications and abilities during interviews, reviewing your online professional presence (articles, blog posts, contributions to OSS, GitHub, Behance portfolios, etc.), performing SWOT analyses, and providing detailed feedback to the hiring team.

They guide their teams on talents, highlighting strengths and areas for improvement. For that reason, building a positive relationship with recruiters can be mutually beneficial and pave the way for future opportunities. 

I kindly suggest considering the benefits recruiters might gain from engaging with you. Take the initiative to build relationships by locating them on LinkedIn and reaching out politely, among other proactive steps.

I hope the insights shared here will empower and guide you, regardless of your career stage. Success is undoubtedly within your reach; it's simply a matter of time and effort. Should you require further advice, please feel free to book a mentorship session with me.

PS. The ideas I've shared are based on my personal reflections. I recognize that the professional landscape is vast and varied, and I do not claim to be the ultimate expert on the subject. 

I'm eager to learn from your experiences and viewpoints too! If you're interested in a casual discussion or have insights to share, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn. This could be the beginning of a meaningful exchange of ideas, and perhaps it might even lead to us collaborating on an article that merges our unique perspectives and knowledge.

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