Tammy Hart, I.D.D.P, is a graduate and tutor of QC Design School.  She oversees the Residential Division of B.I.G Renovations & Design and sits as a Director on the National Board for DDA (formerly CDECA).  She is a sought-after speaker, speaking at venues like IIDEXCanada and Heart of Networking.  She’s been featured as a guest spot on Daytime Durham, Rogers TV and works to empower young women to become successful future leaders.

I had enjoyed a very successful career in the events industry for nearly 20 years.  I was the one that was asked to mentor, did the hiring, and was a trendsetter in the industry.  So changing career paths at 40 years old, though exciting, was intimidating.  There was so much to consider!

As we approach 2018 and start setting career goals for the year ahead, I’m going to share with you my top 5 hints and tips which I found worked for me to get me started in this new and very rewarding industry.

1. Hire a Career Coach

Hiring my career coach was the most brilliant and strategic move I made.  She would help me to define the exact career I wanted for myself in this industry, what that role looked like and how to achieve it.  She would help me with characterizing my strengths and opportunities and establishing strategic goals with deadline dates and holding me accountable for them.

2. Build Your Resume

Part of my coach’s services is resume building.  She helped me tailor and update my resume to ensure it was accurately reflecting the positions I was seeking.  It’s very important to keep your resume up-to-date as you never know when you’ll be asked to provide it.  If you don’t hire a coach, there are resume writing services that offer professional assistance and guidance to help you with building your resume.

Having been in the hiring role before, here are my top 3 other pieces of advice for your resume:

  1. DO – make sure your name, links and contact information are accurate. I’ve called applicants back only to find their phone number was inaccurate.
  2. DO – make sure your resume is professional in nature. It’s okay to use a standard template, however, you do NOT want to add a picture of yourself on your resume or make use of pretty colors on your resume.
  3. DO – make sure you spell check! I don’t mean use spell check, I mean use your pointer finger and make sure you check to ensure spelling accuracy. There have been many times resumes have come across my desk that are full of grammatical and spelling errors.  Some I knew had been through spell check but were using the wrong instance of a word.

3. Network

It’s integral to your success for you to build your network.  Attend local networking events and build your network.  By doing so, building your network – especially with like-minded individuals – and establishing new relationships will help put you first in mind for people.  These relationships will require nurturing and massaging but when done strategically, can be fruitful and help lead you to your dream position.

It would be neglectful not to briefly touch on social media and networking.  It’s imperative to have a LinkedIn account.  I find that my profile gets viewed by perspective employers numerous times daily, and often head hunters will use this as their primary tool for, well, head hunting or finding the next great talent for their clients!

4. Belonging to…

I’m a firm believer in belonging to associations.  Not only does this build on point #3 (networking), it also provides you with opportunities to continue education, and to seek out job boards.  Many associations, like the Decorators & Designers Association of Canada (DDA – formerly CDECA), partner with affiliates and will share job postings sometimes before the postings go public.  Additionally, by belonging to an association, you may just find your mentor – a person that is willing to take you under their wing and teach you about the industry.

5. Go Ol’ Skool

In a day and age where many jobs are posted on job boards, and you apply with hundreds of other candidates through the same board, it’s hard to stand out from the competition.  I believe in the power of face-to-face interactions.  Make sure you are seeking informational interviews where you get to meet with a hiring manager and discuss the role you’re interested in with the company.  Do what you think it’s going to take to make you stand out from the competition.  And, at the end of the interview, send a “Thank-you” card. I actually put my “Thank-you” card in the mail just before the interview. This way, the interviewer gets it within 24 hours of the interview.

This industry is incredibly exciting, but also incredibly competitive with a lot of fantastic talent.  Don’t become frustrated if you don’t land your dream position right away.  Starting at the bottom of the ladder is where you are going to gain the most valuable tools and learn about what this industry has to offer.  Embrace it and best of luck in this new chapter of your life!

Ready to take on 2018 as a home designer? Follow in Tammy’s footsteps with QC’s online training courses!

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