Social, credible and responsible. What have I got to offer the world, and how do I tie in my offer with all that I want to advocate for and to be, not just to do? 

Before the pandemic, and the massive mobilisation of finance around ESG topics, and George Floyd and the global focus on DEI that came from that, these 3 words, being social, credible and responsible, were not necessarily thought about in the same breath for small businesses, and for individuals. 

Career advice would centre around building a personal and or professional brand that stands out, based on what your recruiters are interested in. Today, Gen Z, and some of us in our 40s if I’m being honest are tearing up the rule book on tailoring our lives and CVs to be what companies want, and focusing more on what we want, then choosing the company that supports our interests most closely.

Tune into this episode as we get into the personal and professional brand conversation, and how I’ve been experiencing this part of my career journey in the last few months.

Katherine Ann Byam is a  best-selling author, sustainability activist, coach and consultant for business resilience and sustainable change, partnering with leaders committed to a shared future.”  

A professional with 20+years change leadership experience in the FTSE Top 10, she started her consulting firm in 2019 to support sustainable development within SMEs. Katherine holds an MBA with distinction, specialising in Innovation Management as well as certificates in ESG, digital strategy, and sustainability management from established universities. She’s also a Fellow of the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants.  

She’s the host of the internationally acclaimed Where Ideas Launch – Sustainable Innovation Podcast, ranked among the top 5% globally, achieving the top spot in 5 countries, and the top 10 in 21 separate charts.  

As a sought-after leadership and career transition coach and keynote speaker, she facilitates workshops and learning sessions for communities within global brands such as Amazon, Women Tech Global, ACCA, Stryker, Speak Up, Mind Channel and more. 

She loves spending her spare time in nature, walking the western and southern coasts of the UK, France, and Tobago, or on the Northern and eastern coasts of Trinidad with her partner Christophe. 

Show Notes

My career Journal part 5

Before I get into the details of this episode, I want to share another anecdote about the ego, which I discussed in the previous career journal episode. Nothing flatters your ego more than being headhunted for a role. To have your skills recognised without having to pitch or perform in the one hour long circus act that some interviews can absolutely feel like. 

The way to be head-hunted is to develop a socially credible and responsible brand that is clear, authentic, consistent, and memorable, having others in your network refer and recommend you. This is how I built my business in the early days; leveraging first my existing network, then doing free work with new clients to guarantee I deliver a service that could then be rated, and of course my podcast and low cost programmes, blogs and positive interactions with people in my field have also helped me to create a strong brand that comes across on my CV and my social profiles. 

This also works with networks internal to your business. Cultivating positive interactions requires at its deepest level knowing who you are, and having a strong command of your emotional state, such that you are able to give others the space to know who they deeply are. It’s not about being agreeable or disagreeable, it’s more about staying curious, observing, and interacting intentionally.

In part 2 of the book, there are 5 chapters to help develop this idea further.

We start with Chapter 7: What’s the point of your job really? For this chapter I designed an exercise I call your job in key measures, taking the 6 dimensions I referred to in the book and expanding on this to uncover the essence behind jobs you’ve done in the past, and the potential jobs you are about to take on. 

Chapter 8 – Is it persuasion, influence or manipulation? For this answer we get into the flow book called the anatomy of influence, to give you tools to understand it, and acknowledge for yourself how you would like to use it.

Chapter 9 – Money and Wealth, we explore the health of your relationship with money; a very important conversation in today’s economic times.

Chapter 10 – Your digital twin, is where the majority of the action is in part 2, with 3 dedicated exercises; your brand fundamentals guide, your bio and media kit, and your linkedin detailed self audit sheet. These are designed to get you developing your brand identity at multiple levels in support of the goals you have for your career. 

Chapter 11 – Busting HR Myths. Here I share with you how to really ATS Optimise your CV. 

I’ve fortunately spent a considerable amount of time over the last 4 years helping people of a similar level of responsibility and seniority prepare for their transitions, and now it’s time I turned that work into something I employ consistently for myself.

Let’s take a moment to talk about all things ATS.

What’s with this ATS Stuff? And why is it so frustrating to get past it?

I’ve rallied against ATS tracking for the past few years, knowing full well that as job seekers we hardly have a choice. The good news is that for the past 3 months, I’ve applied for 10 jobs, and been invited to interview for 5 of them, so I must have done something right.

Before this year, the last time I made a serious attempt to optimise my CV for an application tracking system was 2016. Not much has changed in the process from what I can tell. The algorithms used operate completely on a fixed set of inputs; words on the role profile, words on a CV. They don’t have insight, they cannot infer from a decorated CV how interesting a candidate is, they can only operate from what they are fed to decide how to respond to candidates.

Yet this is what we have to work with, so your best bet is to get on with it. As much as HR uses software to decipher your CV, you should also use software to decipher what’s needed from a role profile. It’s a no brainer in today’s marketplace.

What about internal referrals through your network?

Getting referred by someone who is already employed by a company is great, so look for those opportunities, but you’ve still got to tailor that CV, and keyword optimise as human reviewers are also working to a script. 

What happens once you get past the ATS?

Tune in next week as we start the section where I talk directly about my experiences in my five interviews so far. Later on, I will talk you through part 3 of the book, but that’s for after I’ve assumed the role, as that section is packed with gold for navigating situations on the job.

See you next Friday for more.