How to Identify and Eliminate Your Career Barriers

How to Identify and Eliminate Your Career Barriers

How to Identify and Eliminate Your Career Barriers

How to Identify and Eliminate Your Career Barriers

by Karin Singh 12/01/2018

Do you feel stuck in your career? Do you realize that there are some barriers which don’t allow you to achieve your career dreams? A career guidance counselor might be able to help you to identify and eliminate your career barriers in an effective way. Another option would be to take online assessments which might give you some more insights about your weaknesses.

Ask yourself the following 5 questions and see what you can do about it.

# 1 – Do I lack a specific qualification?

Let’s assume you want to be a teacher. The country you are living in requires a nationally recognized teaching qualification which you don’t have.

Solution: If that is the case, even though you have several years of teaching experience (from abroad) find out what steps you can take to gain that specific qualification. Find out if there are options to get the qualification online while working, or whether you would have to commit to a full-time course.

# 2 – Do I lack mobility?

Are you limited in your career choices due to family commitments and your remote location (e.g. in the countryside)? Is the location of your dream companies in the city?

Solution: Consider the option of relocation with your family or find out if there are any options to work remotely. If you would be working as a translator, this would be easily possible.

# 3 – Do I lack the required experience and skills? 

Often companies prefer employees with several years of work experience in a specific field. You are fully aware that your lack of experience is seriously holding you back in your career ambitions.

Solution: A career guidance counselor would tell you to find opportunities to gain those skills outside your work. For example, by secondment or by volunteering. Look out for as many opportunities as possible to gain the required experience. For example, if you need more leadership skills, take on leadership roles in team sports, in a charity by managing a team at the weekend, etc.

# 4 – Do I lack specific knowledge?

Imagine you want to work as a Recruitment Consultant in Germany. Even though you gained some recruitment experience in the UK, you are not familiar with the German local employment market and the legal aspects regarding employment law.

Solution: Try to acquire this knowledge by reading up as much as you can from the internet or approach the respective authorities that provide the relevant information. It shouldn’t take you too long to familiarize yourself with the required knowledge.

# 5 – Do I lack confidence?

There might be many reasons for this. It’s important to identify what makes you feel less confident. Is it your interpersonal skills, your appearance, your personal circumstances, your poor language/communication skills, or something else?

Solution: Think of your strengths! Start collecting all the positive feedbacks you get from others and remind yourself regularly about it. Create a “success diary” and re-read it every time you feel down or unconfident! Do also some positive auto-suggestive talk. Tell yourself every day how good you are. Compare yourself with those who are underperforming and realize how much better YOU are!


No matter what your career barriers are, there is always a way to overcome them. A career guidance counselor can help you to come a step closer in achieving your career ambitions. Look for someone who can offer you some career counselling for experienced professionals. Be aware that it’s in your hands to decide how successful you can become in your career. Don’t allow your current circumstances to stop you. Ever!

Karin Schroeck-Singh’s passion lies in creating, translating and promoting content of high-quality in multiple languages (English, German, Italian). She holds an MBA from the University of Leicester (UK) and is the author of several ebooks. She gained more that 20 years of international work experience in various industries in Italy, the UK and India. Helping businesses to optimise their online presence is her priority, no client or project is too big or too small for her.

Stop worrying. Start outsourcing!

Karin Schroeck-Singh

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Things From Sports That Should Be Applied to Find a Better Job

Things From Sports That Should Be Applied to Find a Better Job

Things From Sports That Should Be Applied to Find a Better Job

Things From Sports That Should Be Applied to Find a Better Job

by Karin Singh 12/01/2018

Whether you realise it or not, but there are two commonalities when it comes to looking for a job and taking part in competitive sports. Firstly, there is only ONE person who at the end will land the job or win the competitive race. Remember ABBA’s song “The winner takes it all”? Secondly, you need to have a certain set of skills, experiences, the right attitude and be mentally fit (and, also physically fit in sports).

I gained my fair share of experience in applying for different jobs in different countries, and I was also a very active sports person in the past (participating in various winter and summer sports). This makes it easy for me to see what character traits are required for both activities and what would help to strengthen your employee branding.

Keep a flexible approach:

If your job interview or job offer rejection letters are flooding in, you realise that something needs to be changed in your strategy to achieve your desired result. A career guidance counsellor would suggest to you to stay flexible and take a new approach in landing the job you want so badly. Going for some career counselling for experienced professionals would be a good idea, since you will find out what the reason for your failures are.

If in your sports competitions, you consistently end up on the (unlucky) 2nd or 4th position, you need to have a closer look at the possible reasons for missing out on a victory. Would a change of diet, a change of training method, a change of coach or a change of other circumstances make a difference? Find out!

Your persistence is key

How many people do you really know that applied for a job the first time and got it offered to them? Real life unfortunately tells us another story. If you approach a career guidance counsellor you will hear that some job candidates apply to hundreds of jobs with no success.

Needless to say, you need to have a high level of perseverance and persistence in achieving your goal to get the job. Not everyone is able to cope with an endless case of rejections. Getting easily and quickly demotivated by them is not unusual, which can happen before or after the job interview stage. Thus, staying positive at all time is something you need to learn, no matter how tough it’s going to be. It will not just help you in your career, but generally in life.

In sports, it’s similar, depending on what type of sport you are competing in, you need to be persistent and never give up. A competition is over only once it’s really finished. If you give up already half way through, you make it easy for other participants to win. Why would you want to do that? Have you forgotten how many hours of exercise you invested so far? You need to visualise your success and believe in yourself that not everything is lost and there is still hope to win.

It’s all about persistence, persistence, persistence!

Learn from others.

Use every opportunity to learn from others, be it as a job candidate or a sports competitor. Is there anything that can help you to land the job or win the race in a quicker, better, easier, more effective way? Try to find out what other people’s key to success is. You never know, you might get some inspiration which leads to positive results for you, too.

Be honest, or it will backfire!

Think of your achievements: How do you want to feel about them? PROUD because you worked hard for it, or like a CHEATER who used manipulative methods to achieve your goal? In the past, you might have come across some cases in which sports professionals have used performance-enhancing substances to end up as winners in their sports discipline. You might have also heard of people who paid bribes to land a job, or who inflated their CVs by telling lies about their educational background, experiences, etc.

Remember Lance Armstrong’s case? What consequences did doping have on his career and life? The loss of his record seven Tour de France titles, a ban for life by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, a damaged reputation, loss of credibility and sponsors and a huge fine to pay.

Then there was also the case of Liv Loberg, a top Norwegian bureaucrat. She held top administrative jobs in the health care industry and other public sectors and was also a former politician for the Progress Party in Norway. She lied about having two degrees (from the London School of Economics, Queen Mary College and Norges Handelshoyskole) and being a registered nurse. A journalist revealed in 2010, that she did not have the degrees she claimed she did, and wasn’t even a registered nurse. The truth was that she dropped out of high school and had just one year of practical nurse education. She got a 14 months’ prison sentence and a fine of 1 million NOK.

Do you still think it’s worthwhile to take a risk? Every career guidance counsellor will advise you to stick to the truth and not be tempted to falsify your career history in any way. No matter how desperate you are for a job, do NOT lie, it will have a negative impact on your employee branding.

Karin Schroeck-Singh’s passion lies in creating, translating and promoting content of high-quality in multiple languages (English, German, Italian). She holds an MBA from the University of Leicester (UK) and is the author of several ebooks. She gained more that 20 years of international work experience in various industries in Italy, the UK and India. Helping businesses to optimise their online presence is her priority, no client or project is too big or too small for her.

Stop worrying. Start outsourcing!

Karin Schroeck-Singh

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What Indicates a Great Organizational Culture: Employee Satisfaction or Employee Engagement?

What Indicates a Great Organizational Culture: Employee Satisfaction or Employee Engagement?

What Indicates a Great Organizational Culture: Employee Satisfaction or Employee Engagement?

by Alexander Wollboldt 09/01/2018

I remember back in the 90’s when I took my first steps still as intern in the corporate world the term Employee Satisfaction was the measurement to decide if a company was good to work for or should be placed lower in the ranking of desirable work places. Nowadays, the term Employee Satisfaction, although still being used seemed to have switched to a more frequently heard term: Employee Engagement. So what indicates a great organizational culture: Employee Satisfaction or Employee Engagement? What are the most desirable employers or best firms to work for?


What is Employee Satisfaction?

When we try to look for a definition of Employee Satisfaction, we normally end up with descriptions such as “when people are happy at work and content with their job”. Happiness and contentment have a lot to do with the definition of one’s individual pursuit of meaning and purpose in relation to an outcome that it is aligned with.

At the same time one need to be able to celebrate it in order to create happiness. In an organizational context this simply means that the environment needed to be set up in a way that individuals, namely the employees, can fit their aspirations and personal life goals into it in such ways that they could put into effect the criteria of employee satisfaction. And the way a lot of companies measured and still are measuring those outcomes are in form of employee climate surveys with multiple qualitative and quantitative questions that are more or less relevant to decide the level of employee satisfaction.

Gallup’s research showed that although traditional idea of employee satisfaction relates to a meaningful outcome, still, it is a “broad, attitudinal outcome, like organizational loyalty or pride.” It is difficult to address these outcomes with just providing fancy incentives such as play stations, free canteen food, important sounding job titles and so on. On the other hand, engagement predicts satisfaction, as well as many other concrete business outcomes. It is easier to measure, and relatively easy to improve.


The Ingredients of Employee Engagement

When Gallup studied thousands of employee satisfaction surveys of different organizations, including most desirable employers in the world, they found out that there are four specific areas that are relevant not only to address the positive outcome of employee satisfaction but the additional factors necessary to improve and drive business results.

They came up with a survey that they called Q12-Employee Engagement Survey comprising 12 questions that consider the value contribution of the individual and her/his work team as well as basic and long term contribution by the organization to empower its employees. At the same time the Q12-Employee Engagement survey was structured in a way that it follows steps from question 1 all the way to question 12 that enables organizations to translate the survey outcomes to structured actionable items.


Building Block #1: Basic Needs

The Basic needs of an employee are the knowledge and understanding of what is expected of her/him at work. This is not limited to a mere job description but it also requires the deeper understanding of what the organization stands for, how they operate their business and how it will impact people in a greater sense. At the same time the organization through its managers will have to ask the question if it provides its employees with the necessary equipment and assets that are necessary to fulfill their tasks.


Building Block #2: Individuals

Does the organization recognize and let the employee use its talents and strengths in a way that it creates motivation and alignment with one’s purpose? Do the managers seem to care about the wellbeing of their team members as individuals? Once those questions are positively answered this should translate also in a continuous support in development of the individuals in those respective areas.


Building Block #3: Teamwork

Teamwork typically means that there is a group of imperfect individual contributors that works together depending on one another’s talents, skills and knowledge in order to achieve excellence. This demands that not only individual opinions are respected by one another but also that every member of the team realizes the importance and relevance not only towards themselves but also towards a greater impact on the outside world.

Only this awareness and attitude can lead the performance of a team to commitment towards excellence and a team spirit that sticks the people together over time. Since there is an alignment of individual purpose and meaning the group can also celebrate successes together in a much deeper and lasting sense.


Building Block #4: Growth

The tip of the building blocks that defines a fully engaged employee is the question on personal growth and development. It’s in summary the long term organizational recognition and action plan of an individual’s contribution to a successfully operating team that translates into incremental business results. Is an organization able to identify individual strengths and how do they invest in those areas to develop them further in terms of training and time?   

In summary it is clear that there has been a progression of the initial sentiment of organizations that employee satisfaction is relevant to a great team culture and positive business outcomes. At the same time it has also shown to be rather difficult to direct the knowledge of such rather “broad and attitudinal outcome”-directed measurements of satisfaction surveys into relevant actionable items.

The definition of Gallup-coined term “Employee Engagement” however seems to give us much more relevant information not only about how an employer makes efforts to satisfy her/his employees but also on how well an individual is able to contribute and grow with the same organization over time.      

Alex Wollboldt is a Certified Management Accountant (CMA), – Consultant (CMC) and Gallup Strengths Coach and has a decade of corporate professional history as Finance Head and Director in manufacturing and service industries in different locations such as Germany, Japan and the Philippines. He is a founding partner at Wissen Solomon, a business consultancy that provides businesses through consulting and coaching expertise in the area of digitization, marketing, finance, operations and organizational development. Alex also acts as co-director for OSG Global Consultancy taking care of various areas involving private equity investments, financial advisory, M&A mostly in the Philippines and other South East Asian countries.

Alexander Wollboldt

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How to Make a Killer Resume! One That Lands Interviews

How to Make a Killer Resume! One That Lands Interviews

How to Make a Killer Resume! One That Lands Interviews

How to Make a Killer Resume! One That Lands Interviews

by Talentese Team 05/01/2018

Don’t rely on so-called good resume templates – your CV should be individual!

You are probably a great person at work; hard-working, go-getting, ambitious and innovative! Your resume needs to portray this clearly! It has to leverage your work in such a way that you attract the attention of a recruiter instantly. A resume is the first document a potential employer sees.

Lots of people apply for the same job, so it is necessary to ensure your application shines the brightest. Your profile should be the best showcase of all your achievements, accomplishments, experience, awards and education. It should never be verbose and should always stick to all salient features of your work. If you need assistance, you can always check good resume templates.  You can see a wide range of good resume templates and make an informed choice.

Let see how we can attract recruiters to your resume

Expressive title.

Most people write a generalized title like, “Great in sales”. Instead, you could write something like, “Maximized sales target by 15%”. Make your title dynamic and eye catching! Ensure you research and add keywords to attract the attention of recruiters. Good resume templates can be modified to your liking. When applying for a specific job or title, read the job description carefully, and use those keywords in your title. This will showcase your career chart and key skills within few seconds.

Use keywords.

Use strategic keywords throughout your resume! Read and re-read the job description to get an idea of the keywords in the job description. Tailor your resume to contain all these keywords at least twice. Standard keywords used per profile are 4-5. Use these keywords liberally in generalized statements throughout your resume. This increases the strength of keywords in resume search engines for recruiters, thereby automatically improving chances of resume visibility (Forbes, 2014).

Use resume template – Word.

Utilize good resume templates from MS Word. Templates help understand the flow of resumes. A good resume template can work wonders for characterization required in structure. Remember – always format the template to fit your unique style of growth! Tailoring your resume to fit job description helps in boosting your chances of being selected for the interview. Format your profile to fit industry standards and do prior research on good resume templates.

Start with a precise summary.

Your leading summary should be a concise summation of your goals, achievements, attributes and recognitions. To catch a recruiter’s attention instantly always make your leading summary catchy, but precise. An ideal summary should be 3-4 sentences in length. This should be a professional introduction to your candidacy.

Stick to format – Always!

Resume templates – Word have very specific fonts and font sizes. The visually correct font will make your resume easier to read. Avoid using fancy and curlicue fonts as they are tougher to read. Recruiters reject applications if they have to concentrate to read fonts. All your hard work will be wasted if recruiters reject your application without even reading it. Fonts like Arial, Calibri, Helvetica, and Verdana are good to use. Avoid using fonts like Comic Sans, Times New Roman, and Courier. (Bloomberg, 2015). An ideal font size is 11 -12 with 1.5 line spacing. Use line breaks, italics, bullet points and tabs to make your profile more impactful, but don’t overdo it!

Use appropriate position statements.

Recruiters always like to scan documents to understand the depth of experience that candidates possess. At such times, it is essential to have correct position statements. Position statements must be precise and error free. They should be succinct with a broad overview of your scope of work. Use resume templates – Word to view where position statements are placed. Avoid verbose language and lengthy descriptions. An appropriate length of position statements should be 2-3 statements.

Achievements should be realistic.

Achievements should be realistic and quantifiable. Use bullet points to emphasize your job description outlining the focus point of each. Don’t write lengthy paragraphs. Check good resume templates to understand how to write achievements. For instance, a one liner bullet point could be ‘maximized sales output by 12% in the third quarter of 2016’. Your achievements should be meaningful to your professional experience. Don’t mention your part-time sports achievement in your current professional role. Quantify statements as far as possible throughout your document.

Educational Qualifications.

Educational qualifications should be placed after all work experience. Don’t go overboard in detailing your educational qualifications and merits. Keep it tabular in form. Check resume templates word to see which style best suits your requirement. List your degrees, relevant certifications, licensing and coursework in a precise and brief manner. Fresh graduates may also include educational achievements in summary to get an edge over other candidates.

Online Media presence:

While stating your skills and skill-sets, add links to any work previously published that may have relevance to the job being applied. Add the URLs of the websites where employers may view your work. Add links to your professional social media profiles like LinkedIn, but ensure that the same information is reflected in these profiles before linking them. Today, recruiters want candidates who are tech savvy and are able to network socially to improve their employee branding. (Inc., 2010).

Grammar matters:

Always get your resume proofread by a career guidance counselor to improve your chances of being selected. Avoid using verbosity in language while writing your professional resume. Ensure that the grammar usage is correct and there are no spelling mistakes. If your grammar is clear and concise, then the meaning of your statements becomes clearer to readers. (HuffingtonPost, 2013).


Direct recruiters’ attention to your resume and make it captivating! Make complete use of these strategies to attract the attention of recruiters to further your growth prospects. When you are interviewed, either by telephone or personally, remember all the keywords used, and the chronological order of information shared in your resume. Always ensure data is uniform across all media. Stay proactive and on the lookout for any new opportunities you may come across henceforth. All the best!

by Talentese Team 05/01/2018

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Tell Me Your Strengths and Weaknesses… Oh No!

Tell Me Your Strengths and Weaknesses… Oh No!

Tell Me Your Strengths and Weaknesses… Oh No!

Tell Me Your Strengths and Weaknesses… Oh No!

by Talentese Team 02/01/2018

What are your strengths and weaknesses? This is one of the most frequently asked interview questions. If you’re at an interview, and it’s going smoothly, there’s a very good chance you will be asked what your strengths and weaknesses are. Don’t worry! It isn’t that difficult to answer. It’s all about being quick on your toes! This is a very popular question and everybody has to sit in this hot seat at least once in their lives. This is a favourite of most recruiters for typical interview questions and answers.

It actually doesn’t matter whether your strengths and weaknesses are real or not. Most interviewers want to know how you handle being put on the spot. There is no right response to this question, yet most interviewers look for closely hidden flaws in your reply. They check to assess your employee branding simultaneously. The reason recruiters and interviewers ask this question is to gauge how you handled challenging situations in your past and whether you were able to do a self-assessment.

Most candidates facing this question tend to flounder and think of the perfect answer. Simply put, there isn’t one! Interviewers want to ensure that you can accept your mistakes and admit to working on them as it shows humility and respect. Most interviewers and recruiters use this question to filter candidates they think are not a right fit for their company (Armstrong & Taylor, 2014). Don’t get trapped by this most frequently asked interview questions and answers web!

To ensure you don’t get caught in this tricky web, here are some tips. Let’s break the question into two and take each part one at a time.



First off, get your examples ready! While responding to the strengths part, always have quantifiable data to back your answer. If you answer something generic about team building or maximizing sales, the interviewer might ask for an example. If you can’t answer this question concisely, there is a good chance you will be rejected and someone else will get your dream job. This is a very big mistake most people make in this typical interview questions and answers round.

Another way to be prepared for this answer is to read and re-read the job description carefully and identify the key points in the new job. According to Martins (Daniel Martins, 2016), tailor your response to fit the most probable answer to this question. If you reply something very obvious like an attribute – hardworking, honest, and detail-oriented, the interviewer won’t be impressed. Give an answer that reflects your employee branding. Strengths should be backed by previous experience. If you have a response about your multilingual skills, then you could back it by saying something like, “I enjoy learning new languages and have certificates in French, Spanish, and Japanese. I was able to contribute greatly during our teleconference with our French office.” Keep it simple, but impactful!

Come up with at least 3 strengths and quantifiable examples to back those (Armstrong & Taylor, 2014). Be very specific with your response.



Here’s the crux of the problem! Strengths are simple, right? Wrong! Weaknesses are simple. Everybody has weaknesses. Interviewers want to know how candidates conduct themselves when faced with a challenge that looks impossible to overcome. Most jobs today are time-consuming, high-pressure, and stressful. The recruiter wants to know if you have a tendency to lose your cool in such a situation. No one wants to hire a candidate who doesn’t have control of his/her temper!

The best way to approach this is to state a weakness that you are currently working to improve. Be honest and admit that you had a very specific issue and are working on improving it. Conversely, you can also show how you overcame your issue and what steps you took to tackle the problem. For example, if you had a hard time being organized and on time, explain how you started keeping a daily calendar and preparing for the next days’ work in advance. This helped you reach meetings on time and you had your data prepared the earlier day. You can also mention how pleased your manager was when you showed signs of improvement. Highlight how your employee branding improved over time. See? You are slowly able to tackle this typical interview question and answer round better!

Quick warning, don’t use any generic weaknesses. Stay specific to your skill sets and weaknesses. Never say something like, “Sometimes, I work too hard.” Interviewers can see through this trick very easily! Don’t try to portray your strengths as weaknesses – the interviewer won’t appreciate that you tried to dodge the question. Be frank, straightforward and precise.

Do prior research about the job role and responsibility that you have applied for (Cooke, Saini, & Wang, 2014). Ensure that none of your weaknesses clash with the requirements in the role. For instance, don’t say you are scared of making presentations if that is a pre-requisite for this role. Tailor your responses to suit each job role and back it up with relevant information.

Don’t get afraid when faced with this most frequently asked interview question for strengths and weaknesses. Be well prepared and respond in a calm and professional manner. Highlight your strengths and be genuine in your weaknesses. Ensure that you have done research on the company, job description, and interviewer beforehand. Always make your answers believable with quantifiable data to back them. Use these tricks to tackle each individually and remember to be confident! All the best!

by Talentese Team 02/01/2018

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