Advice That Matters: Heather Krasna’s Tips for Career Success
To the short-sighted, a job is just a means of income. It pays the bills and takes care of the taxes.
But to the discerning, a job is a crucial part of a one’s identity and self-esteem. It’s a means of validating one’s skills, knowledge, and talent.
It is part of who we are.
That’s what Heather Krasna believes, and this belief drives her to help people find meaningful employment. A career coach with more than 17 years experience, Heather has met thousands of people and assisted them in their career journey.
Heather Krasna is the author of the book Jobs That Matter, a valuable resource for people who want to pursue careers in the nonprofit and public-service sectors. The book is the first of its kind and features many success stories of individuals who chose to serve and in so doing, landed great public-service jobs.
She finds her job very fulfilling:
“My favorite situation is one where I help a person land their dream job, which is also a job where they get to help save the world. You can’t ask for a better job than one where you’re helping people save the world every day!”
Heather’s wealth of experience as a career coach has shaped her methods. In her blog, she shares top tips and inspiring stories.
Follow Your Passion
Some people say the best jobs are the ones that don’t feel like jobs. Heather’s perspective on jobs is similar, and she believes that the job you’re looking for should match what you are as a person—rather than as a mere employee. Her rule of thumb in advancing a career is:
“Figure out your skills and career interests, your passions, and your values before you engage in a search.”
Once you’ve this figured out, you can concentrate on the particulars: a good boss, a high salary, a good work-life balance, an opportunity to use your favorite skills, and opportunities to work on issues that are meaningful to you. She advises:
“Conduct some research by reading about various career fields, reading job descriptions, and perhaps more importantly, speaking to people who have careers you admire. Then, you can be more strategic in your job search process.”
When you encounter roadblocks, learn to trust your instincts. Heather adds:
“Careers are rarely linear. Most people have detours along the way—for personal or professional reasons—but end up where they need to be in the end.”
Busting the Myths
In almost two decades of coaching, Heather has observed some common practices among job seekers that can hurt their searches. According to her, most job hunters:
- Underestimate the amount of time and effort it will take to get a new job.
Don’t know that most jobs are found through networking
- Spend most of their time “cold” applying to positions they find posted online and don’t do networking or follow-up with employers.
- Don’t consider the recruiter’s perspective
- Don’t think that many people are also applying for that job
- Are using techniques that may have worked in the 1990’s
- Don’t realize that LinkedIn and Applicant Tracking Software systems have changed the mechanisms of the search.
If you do all these, it’s time to listen to Heather and learn the ways of the game. She says the best way to unlearn these bad job hunting practices is to think the way an employer or recruiter does.
Job Hunting Tips
Heather gathered her 5 best tips and shared them with Federal Resume Writer.
- Research the organizations that are most likely to have jobs that fit your credentials. Find out what skills they require in candidates. If you don’t have those skills, go out and build them through classes, studies, internships, volunteering, or part-time jobs.
- Learn how to write about your achievements. Most resumes are full of details about what someone did; few delineate what impact the person had.
- Establish connections with people who can help you push your job search along. Don’t wait until you need a job to have built partnerships. Don’t burn bridges. Your network is your net worth.
- You have to put in solid effort to get a job. Get yourself organized. Keep an Excel file or another database of the jobs you’ve applied to, your networking contacts, and your follow-up projects. Figure out which jobs you are most successful in landing interviews for and focus your efforts on them.
- Prepare for each interview. This can’t be underestimated. Research the organization, know what your top achievement stories are that fit the job description, and have a positive attitude in everything you do.
Career Coach: Edge over the Competition
Many job hunters rely on their skills and knowledge when looking for a job. Developing yourself is part of the game, but knowing when you need help is crucial to achieving your goal. Heather says:
“If you have been looking for a job for more than a couple of months and have had little success, have applied to more than 15 jobs without getting an interview, or have interviewed for more than 5 jobs without receiving an offer, it might be a good time to enlist a career coach.”
Job hunters can benefit from career coaches. Career coaches have tons of experience in job search, have read thousands of resumes, and, more often than not, have worked with both job applicants and hiring parties. They can be both guides and critics. As Heather says:
“A good career coach can help you find resources and individual human contacts who can help you streamline your job search.”
Connections are critical; something Heather knows from experience. She once used her own network and resources to help help an immigrant student—saving her client from a life of regret.
This client—who came from Bangladesh—had been set up for an arranged marriage by her family; the only way she could get out of it was if she found a job to support herself. Heather recalls:
“The pressure on me to help her land a job was high. I worked with her and made some phone calls to a couple of employers who could use her skills. She landed the job and in the end married the man she wanted.”
Thank you so much, Heather, for doing the work that you do! You are proof that a good career coach is a key factor in landing a dream job.