The economic downturn of 2020 has left thousands of Australians suddenly jobless, wondering what is ahead for them, and how to get back on their feet.
As a result, career coaches and job-search counsellors are in high demand.
Among them is Daniel Ough, founder of a free career and coaching service, Jobsearchhelp4u, established to help people impacted by the COVID-19 shutdown.
Having been through the experience of losing a job suddenly and dramatically 25 years ago, he has lived and worked through the issues of job loss himself, and has worked in the employment and career coaching sector for many years, making him well-placed to help people through this difficult season.
As a man of faith, Daniel has been helping many people in churches and missions organisations to handle unemployment and find their path to a new chapter. However Jobsearchhelp4u is not limited to the Christian community – it’s available to all Australians.
Daniel chatted to Katrina Roe to share some advice for people who find themselves unemployed, and his encouragement to job-seekers now is that “this is not the end – it could be a new beginning”.
Find out more at JobSearchHelp4u.com.
Katrina Roe: Daniel Ough is a missionary and a career coach who counsels people through job loss. He does this as a free service and a Christian ministry, which I think is pretty awesome. And today, he’s here to help us step into those new opportunities. Hi, Daniel…
How did you develop your passion for helping people through job loss? Is it something that you’ve experienced yourself?
Daniel Ough: Absolutely. 25 years ago, when there was an economic downturn in the UK, I lost my job. I was in a very good job, a very secure job, I thought, and all of a sudden it was gone. And you know during that It was a great shock. But I was given someone that worked with me as a career coach and helped me through that process. And it worked! And in a very, very difficult environment – not dissimilar to what we’re in today, where there was a lot of people looking for jobs – because I actually follow the process and followed the advice that I was given, I was very fortunate that I was being offered interviews and eventually landed a good job. And I realized how powerful it was.
So over the last 25 years, I’ve said to people, Look, I know what to do. I’ve been through this and I believe I can help you. So that’s where my passion comes from.
KR: Many of us who have a job, we’re grateful to have a job but we don’t always think about our career as such. What’s the difference between just having a job and building a career? How do you help people think about the bigger picture?
DO: Some of us start off at a particular journey in our careers and maybe partway through we think, “is this really what we want to do for the rest of our lives?” Some of us have a path that we can go down and say yes, this is what I want to do, but many people, even if they haven’t lost a job, say “I’d like to make a change”. So career readiness, being ready for anything that might happen, is a very sensible thing to do. And I think there’s many people at this time who have lost a job or looking for a new job, but also people saying, “Well, I could make a change or transition”. And thinking about it is a very, very good way of starting.
KR: Often the first step that people take is going back over their CV, looking at what they’ve done, putting it all together. What does a good CV and cover letter look like? How do you make it stand out from the crowd?
DO: One of the questions [I often hear] is, “Why isn’t my CV working Daniel?”, and I’ve had to say to them, “Well, actually looking at your CV, it’s not being read – it’s a life story!” And my advice is, “Make it a marketing flyer”.
It’s not a story of what you’ve done so far. It’s not the sort of story that you give to your parents or friends and say, “Look what I’ve done”. It’s actually a marketing flier to gain the attention of a buyer who happens to be called an employer to hire. So a good CV has to have a very focused approach to [questions like] “What are you? What experiences do you have, what skills do you have?”
The most important thing on a CV is to convince the reader that you are an achiever. Because I’ve been an employer and I’ve been hard [on job applicants] myself. And the most important thing I look for is, “Is this person an achiever?” … Most CVs are only read for 20 seconds before they’re put into the accept or reject pile. 70 per cent of CVs in my experience, are not even turned to the second page. And in a very difficult market or challenged market with a lot of people applying, the CV is in the first instance, sometimes read by a computer program. So understanding all that is pretty important. There’s a way of getting what you’ve done in the past into a ‘marketing flyer’. So the employer is the buyer. He says, let’s look at this product. That’s what it’s all about.
KR: Networking is really the key to getting a job these days. How important is networking and and how can you do it if you don’t actually have a job?
DO: The statistics show us that networking has a success rate of about between 65 and 75 percent of people who will find their next job through networking. Whereas if you’re just applying online, or applying to an advertisement, maybe it’s as low as 4 percent. So that’s the good news. [Networking] is really, really successful.
Many people feel [networking is] going to a conference to give out 25 business cards… That isn’t networking. That’s just simply collecting cards. Networking is actually starting talking to people that you know, maybe somebody in your church, the school, somebody in the golf club, and say, “Look, I’m in a situation where I’m looking for the next opportunity in my career. Can you give me some ideas, some information and advice?”
The misconception is that people say I have to go to a big conference or convention, and I can’t do that. Well, the fact is, that’s not really the networking that’s effective. That is one way, but the most effective way is actually starting with people you know.
KR: That’s actually really positive news, because everybody can do that.
DO: Oh, absolutely. It’s not cold calling. It’s not picking up the phone talking to somebody you don’t know. It’s actually not an awkward conversation, because the first call is somebody who’s not necessarily in your field – it’s somebody that’s a neighbour or friend. That’s pretty easy. And understanding the success and how networking is done, really brings a huge success.
KR: Once you get an interview that can be make or break. Do you have any tips for giving a good interview?
DO: I think the key is that you’ve really got to understand the the key questions that will be probably asked in an interview, and rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse. If you know what the questions are, you’re almost like an actor. You’re not there to perform… but you’re saying yes, “I’m likely to be asked, ‘tell me about yourself’?”
We have a two minute rule. If you’re going for more than two minutes, it’s too long. But people are interested in you, and in those two minutes, tell them what you are and what you’ve achieved, where you’ve been. There are some trick questions like, “What are your weaknesses?” But some other very good questions like, “What about your strengths?” Or “What would you do in a structured situation?”
But the key to a good interview is feeling confident, because you’ve rehearsed, you thought it through, you research the company, and you go to an interview, not as an interrogation, but as a working meeting. You’re there to interview them as well as them interview you. That’s the key.
KR: I think it’s quite extraordinary that you’re offering all these insights for free. If someone is listening to this, that they think “Gosh, this guy’s got some good things to say, I’d like some help, how can they access your service?”
DO: Please go to the website, register as an inquiry. And we’d be delighted to talk with you and also invite you to the workshops. We’re holding workshops every week, at the present moment, on the areas of career readiness, interviewing and networking. And we say to people, look, this is a free service, when people are giving back to the community at this time of crisis in the world, we can do this.
KR: And if someone’s listening to this, and they’re a bit down at the moment, because they’re facing unemployment, what’s your message to them?
DO: Well, I’m a success story. I’ve been through what you’re going through, I’ve felt that despondency, that despair of losing my job and without hope. And I’ve come through it. And for the last 25 years, I’ve been working people working with people who’ve been through it as well. So I can actually say “You will come through it, you will see a new opportunity”. Maybe it’s slightly a turning point – I was able to do something completely different, and really focus on something which was a very fulfilling career. So yes, of course you feel hurt. Yes, you feel despondent, but there is hope. And if you work with people, such as ourselves, I believe that we can give you a great insight into how to land that next job. And maybe it’s the dream job you’ve been looking for, for a long time.
KR: Thank you, Daniel…. That’s Daniel Ough, he’s the founder of JogSearchHelp4u and you can find out more at www.jobsearchhelp4u.com.
Article supplied with thanks to Hope Media.