Welcome to In the Rising Podcast "Let's Build One Another Up!"
Feb. 21, 2023

Episode 185 | Fatemah Mirza: Career Expert Talks About How to Stand Out in a Competitive Job Market

In today's competitive job market, it's more important than ever to have an edge. Fatemah Mirza, from CareerTuners, can help you stand out from the pack and find the job that will fulfill you.

Fatemah is a career expert who knows what it takes to find the right job. In her interview on the In the Rising Podcast, she shares valuable tips on how to find your dream career.

If you're looking to make a career change, or just want to learn more about finding fulfilling work, then Fatemah Mirza is the expert for you. her advice is invaluable, and will help you take the next step in your career.

Listen to Fatemah's interview on the In the Rising Podcast now to learn how to find the job of your dreams.

Other Career-Focused Episodes In the Rising Podcast Episodes that

Episode 180:  Karan Ferrell-Rhodes on the Power of Positioning and Intellectual Horsepower in Your Career

Episode 141: Doug Lawrence and the Gift of Mentorship

Episode 77: How Effective Communication Can Set You Up for Success.

I invite you to listen to In the Rising Podcast- a show dedicated to helping others create change and a life that they really want.

"Living the life I want"
was a phrase that I heard often while working with clients going through cancer, and so I created this podcast. I also saw that there is a gap in knowledge about cancer, lymphedema and how to manage recovery, so I created Fit after Breast Cancer.

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In Good Health!





[00:00:00] Bettina M Brown, In the Rising Host: Hello and welcome to In The Rising Podcast. My name is Bettina Brown and I'm so excited to have you here today. I am really thrilled about this podcast because the entire emphasis is on rising. And I came up with this topic because so many of my clients were going through cancer, and the same topic came up over and over again.

When I am done with this, then I will do this. A lot of people talked about different areas or different wheelhouses of their life that they really wanted to emphasize, and then I decided to come up with this podcast so that many of us have that opportunity now, today, this moment, this podcast, to make a change in your life and to rise up to live the life that you really.

Well, my guest today is Fatemah Mirza and really emphasizes an area of life that for most of us, we cannot escape. And that's work. And if we do work, we want to have that be as happy of a time as possible because it overflows into the other parts of our life. But we also wanna get paid accordingly. We want to network with people, we want to grow and, and for many of us, we wanna be of Service .

And so I really enjoyed this short conversation and I welcome you to this podcast show today. Well welcome Fatima to In the Rising Podcast. I'm really excited to have you today.

[00:01:38] Fatemah Mirza: Likewise, I'm excited to be here.

[00:01:41] Bettina M Brown, In the Rising Host: Now, I really enjoy talking about what you seem to really enjoy talking about, which is building an a, a career that.

Something that you're proud of. But also having those questions, did I network correctly? Did I interview correctly? Did I negotiate my salary? Should I negotiate my salary? Mm-hmm. , there's, there's a lot there. But before I go into that, I would like to ask you, why was this interesting to you to pursue, to educate?

[00:02:16] Fatemah Mirza: I think a lot of people out there are so, so talented, but they just have a hard time connecting the dots with what they've done, with what their audience is really looking for. I actually got my start into space helping people with M B A and medical school applications, and I realized that a lot of the people I was working with were so bright and talented, but that it wasn't showing up properly in their essays.

And that evolved over the course of more than a decade to helping people with their resumes. Helping people interview better and negotiate for more pay. And that's been a consistent theme of what I've noticed is people have amazing stories and achievements to share, but either they're discounting those stories as not being as critical or important or sexy, or they are not articulating them in a way that really gels with the listener or the reader or whoever.

So that's the, connecting those dots is something that I'm really passionate about and rather good at.

[00:03:17] Bettina M Brown, In the Rising Host: you know, someone needs to be good at some things, and if you're good at connecting those dots, and you're helping individuals move forward. So for example, if someone's been out of the workforce for a while -

five years, 10 years for raising family or due to medical conditions, there's trepidation of, you know, there's this fear of, I'm going back in, but I'm starting at ground zero. Right. What are, what are things that you've seen from clients that maybe have been in those type of situ.

[00:03:47] Fatemah Mirza: Absolutely. So I've worked with clients who, obviously, you know, we're going back to work, which, you know, this is very common from paternity or maternity leave.

This is the most common form of leave. But I've had more extreme cases. I've had, I've helped one gentleman who was going through a divorce and cancer at the same time. I've helped one person who lost his parents and he inherited a lot of money, so he had to manage their assets and figure out what to do with that.

 I've helped a lot of people who had to take time off due to mental health. And these are things that are really tricky to talk about on your resume or when you're interviewing. However, there are things you can do to show, whoever you're speaking to that you are still an amazing candidate. So whenever someone sees an employment gap in a resume or when interviewing, the first question that's coming to their head is, , I'm a little concerned that in this time your skills have declined or deteriorated.

So what you need to say in your answer, in your resume is, no, I have been keeping up to date with my skills. And here's how. Obviously the easiest way to do that is with some sort of project that shows that you kept up a similar, you know, like a similar work. So for example, the guy who, you know, took time off when he, when he lost his parents. We played up his asset, management skills. It was, it was relevant to what he wanted to do. And, you know, it made a lot of sense. It kind of tied in, well, we did say that, you know, took chime off, but I, I managed all these assets, I did all this cool stuff and all of that. So that's, that's one way to do it.

Another way to fill a gap and show that your skills had done decline in that time period is through volunteer work, through courses. If you did anything to help out your friends and family, digging deep and thinking about. Transferable skills can really help show, your reader or your interviewer that your skills did not decline in that time and that you are still very employable and very sharp.

[00:05:36] Bettina M Brown, In the Rising Host: And being very employable, is what we want, right?

We want to have a position and we want to have offers even if we don't want that position, right? It feels good to have multiple Absolutely. Opportunities. What do you feel. Is maybe one thing that holds us back. Is it a fear of boasting or is it a not sure how to present the skills?

[00:06:03] Fatemah Mirza: I think it really depends on your cultural background.

And when I say cultural black background, I don't mean ethnic, just ethnicity and like the language you speak, but also like the culture associated with your industry. Even like I've spoken to salespeople that air on the side of over boasting, whereas I've spoken to. To professionals in the IT space that air on the side of not boasting enough.

You know what I mean? So I think it really is who you're surrounding yourself with and then kind of just absorbing that culture and, and putting it back out there during the interview process. So the ge you know, the general trend that I've noticed among people is that, people who are immigrants and people who are in like finance and tech spaces, they tend.

Under boast, like they, they undersell their skills, whereas people who are in sales and leadership positions tend to really, really sell themselves hard, but at the risk of not even being in line with whoever they're speaking to. So, I mean, everybody has like, a different way of selling themselves and different ways of making mistakes around selling themselves.

So often what you really do need is someone you trust who's very skillful and honest, who's going to be able to sit you down and do like a mock exercise with you on, on how you're presenting yourself and critiquing you. This can be a friend, this can be a colleague. This can be someone who you used to work with, a former boss, or you can invest in hiring a, you know, a proper interview coach because while we, while we hope that everyone we're interviewing with is going to give us feedback, it's highly unusual.

For someone to be that critical, critically honest, you know, no one's gonna come to you and say, Hey, when you say that it actually sounds really disrespectful and rude, what they're gonna say is, oh, we didn't feel there was a cultural fit. And you don't know what that means really. Right? Yeah. In real English.

So it is very important to get that critical and friendly, feedback from someone you trust.

[00:07:59] Bettina M Brown, In the Rising Host: And having been interviewed many times and interviewed others. Mm-hmm. . I have also noticed that having someone to coach with could be really important. It doesn't even matter who, but that you need to get, do you need to have more than a one sentence answer?

You Know, they're looking for something, especially when they're looking at what your values are, what you believe, not just what you've done. Say someone wants to learn a little bit more about these behavior questions, how do you direct them or guide.

[00:08:31] Fatemah Mirza: There's a lot of resources depending on the industry that you're exploring for it.

There are so many forums that are like, especially fan companies that are just dedicated to interview prep. People will have an interview with a feig company like Google, and they'll go on this. Form and be like, okay guys, these are the questions I was asked. This is how I answered it. And that's a great resource for if you're also going in for a similar interview.

Another great resource can be if you join a paid professional association in your space. For example, if you're a marketing professional, let's say in the Los Angeles area, Googling Marketing Association. Los Angeles will help you find marketing associations that you can join. There you'll find chief marketing officers recruiters who recruit for highly specialized marketing professionals who are looking for people to mentor like they're looking to give back in that space.

And you can reach out to them and ask them to review your performance candidly and, and they'll be more than happy to do that when you're paying for a membership like that. There's also going to. Associated, uh, career resources. So that can, that can also be a really big help for you. What, what, when you're navigating that space

[00:09:39] Bettina M Brown, In the Rising Host: A and that you need all the help you can get right?

To feel more prepared. One thing that I've heard a lot about, but it makes me, I. Kind of cringe when I hear the word and it's networking. But when someone explained to me that you are in the network as much as networking, like it just sounds So take, take, take, take. But it is important to know people like, you know, it's important to know things, but a lot of times if you know someone, Or have a reputation that comes a little bit before just all the stuff on paper.

 But what about networking? What does that really mean in 2022, 2023 and, and where are we going with that? Where's the emphasis?

[00:10:19] Fatemah Mirza: Well, you know, online networking is, has been a really big deal since the early two thousands. But I think a lot of people, you know what you said about take, take, take.

It's not really like that. And when someone is looking for a professional like you, you're actually giving when you say, Hey, do you know anybody who's hiring someone like me? If they are, you've just solved all of their burning questions. You know what? Whatever's keeping them up, tossing and turning at night.

You've just answered that. So that's, that's a way to kind of rethink that. The other thing is going to, going on to LinkedIn and, you know, messaging a whole bunch of people with, Hey, are you guys hiring? That's not an ideal way to network because it, if they are not hiring someone exactly like you at that time.

You have just prevented them from helping you in so many other ways. Networking isn't just about, Hey, are you hiring and can you hire me now? Or, I saw that you posted a job and I'm gonna message you and try to differentiate myself from everybody else who's applying. Networking is about using other people's access to information, their contacts, the resources that they might have access to, any special tips that they can give you.

you know, instead of when, when someone, if you, if you reach out to somebody and ask them, like, do you know anybody who's hiring someone like me? And they say, no. Ending the conversation there isn't, isn't ideal. What you should be doing is, okay, where, what else can I do? What else do you know that can help me?

And not like in that kind of very obvious and up to you sway, but in a more strategic manner. For example, you can ask someone. . Hey, I'm trying to transition into this space, and I noticed that you have this credential. Did you think it was helpful? The reason I'm asking is because I'm also looking to transition into this space, and I was wondering if I should get that credential.

Now you've shown them that you are looking for work, but you've also made it really easy for them to help you so they can help you, and next time, if a position comes up that. Matches your skills, you'll be the first person to think of. Additionally, you can continue that conversation. That's not the only help you can take from a person, even if they're a complete stranger, after they reach out to you, you can thank them for their help and ask them another question.

For example, you can ask them, you know, I'm, I'm really interested in this space. What are some of the top companies that are currently hiring? And you can ask them for introductions. You can ask them for referrals. So really, you know, breaking up that, Hey, do you have a. Ask into multiple smaller asks and also breaking that up into no problem if you can't help me, how about X, Y, and Z is also a really important and critical way to network.

And this isn't like new advice. This is like, you know, this has been ongoing since forever. This is actually, This form of networking was first documented by Benjamin Franklin. Mm-hmm. . He asked a legislator for a book and then he asked him for another favor and then so on and so forth until they became political allies.

[00:13:10] Bettina M Brown, In the Rising Host: And it's important to realize that a connection is what you were talking about, not just Right. Hey, can you give me something with. and being the solution to a problem, , right, is very, very important. The other thing that you talk about is, you know, really taking control over a job search. And right now there are a lot of, I'm in the healthcare, there's a lot of positions, a lot of empty positions.

 But how do you really position yourself within, within your, industry? What do you ask or how do you help your clients identify what values or what is important to them?

[00:13:51] Fatemah Mirza: Well, I mean, there's, you have to really ask yourself what's most important to you? Is it going to be work-life balance? Are you looking forward to utilizing a specific skill?

Is it salary? Is it proximity to your home? Is it a flexible schedule so you can take care of your kids. . So really identifying what's most important to you because it's not always pay is the first step, right? And then based on that, you can identify which jobs you should be pursuing. Let's say if you only care about salary and flexibility, you have a much broader, scope of your job search.

You can look at multiple different job titles as opposed to if you only want a job. allows you to practice a specific skill, right? So making a list of your priorities and kind of thinking outside the box is really important to, broadening the scope of your search a little bit.

[00:14:44] Bettina M Brown, In the Rising Host: And thank you for that.

And I would like you to give, some tips on how to get your resume out the trash and into your manager's hands. What would you share in that elevator?

[00:14:57] Fatemah Mirza: Absolutely. So the first thing you definitely wanna make sure is that you're, the language used in your resume is the kind of language that somebody would be searching for.

And the way a resume is read by these online systems, they really prioritize looking at your job title. If, for example, I was looking. To hire, let's say a healthcare administrator. The first thing I would do is go onto LinkedIn and look for the word healthcare administrator. And if you don't have that in your job title, then unfortunately that's going to be really pushing you down in the search results.

So how you can work around that. Is adding the word healthcare administrator in some way, shape, or form in parentheses next to your job description or n next to your job title. So say for example, you were just, doing like a healthcare coordinator role, right? But you were assigned a lot of big projects that a healthcare administrator would do.

So what you can do is you can write in your job title, title healthcare coordinator, open parentheses, healthcare ad administrator duties, and parent. Right. So that'll help you, your LinkedIn profile, get found in those searches. The rest of your LinkedIn profile and your resume should also read like someone who's doing the job that you want to do.

So rather than just talking about coordinator duties, you wanna talk about administrator duties, you know, use, use numbers to show the bigger scope of the work you were doing, show that you worked with, you know, With higher ups and that you were able to communicate with executives and that sort of thing.

Read the job description to see you know what they're asking for, and every time you go, yeah, I've done that. Yeah, I've done that. Talk about that in your resume, in your LinkedIn. That's, that's the most critical step that you can take to get getting your resume out of the trash. Second, and perhaps a little overlooked is your resume needs to be, Really simple and black and white.

It can't be fan. The fancier it is, the more likely it is that it's not going to get picked up. There's, you know, a lot of the, the HR tools that people use, they're, they're a little older. It's, it's expensive to upgrade to the newest model every, every year or so. So, um, keeping it as simple as possible allows these systems to pick up everything in your resume as easily as possible.

[00:17:16] Bettina M Brown, In the Rising Host: That's some really great tips. That's some really great tips. So say someone's listening, they're like, you know what, Fatima understands what she's talking about. I really want to learn more about, her career tuners. How would someone go about that?

[00:17:29] Fatemah Mirza: Absolutely. So you can visit career tuners.com/podcasts to get all of my favorite free resources.

That's C A R E E R T U N E R s.com/podcasts. If you sign up there, you'll get my resume cheat sheet, which breaks down all of the concepts that I just shared with you. You'll get my LinkedIn cheat sheet, my resume cheat sheet, actually, you know, an an individual who got got an offer and was able to double it based on the content in their resume.

The LinkedIn cheat sheet was, was built based on someone's profile who was able to get a $323,000 per year offer. I also have a bunch of other free resources on there, like what to do if you are extended a low ball offer. How do you email them to ask them for? For more money. I have my cover letter template, my networking templates, and all sorts of extra goodies.

If you are getting back to work after, a leave, there's a blog that I wrote. If you Google employment Gaps Career Tuners, you'll find two blogs, one on how to talk about employment gaps on your resume, and the other, how to talk about implementing gaps in your interviews. All kinds of situations and scenarios that the blog breaks down and it gives you the exact scripts that you can be copying and pasting into your resume and in your interview answers.


[00:18:46] Bettina M Brown, In the Rising Host: I was told this, and it's to be in the network. Rather to just network and to get, and what she emphasized is just that asking questions, asking questions of other people. How did you get where you are? Was this helpful? And it reminded me of so many other podcasts in which I talked to people who emphasized the importance of coaches and mentors.

Through your career life, and so I have those episodes in the show notes as well. But I really like to talk about the importance of moving up into your career and into the career you really want. And that does not mean it's the same one that is on everyone else's radar to enjoy your work and to really make a difference every.

So if you feel that this podcast would be of benefit to someone, I urge you to go ahead and share this podcast with them. The more hands and ears that we put this podcast to, the more change we can get. And I also invite you to leave a five star review. It does so much for this podcast and also to expand a rising message.

And until next time, let's build one another up.