Choosing a career is hard. But choosing a career that is right for you is much harder. On Episode 17 of the TechGuide podcast, we have Career Coach Tiffany Deadeaux on the podcast to share how you can do just that.
Tiffany is currently a Career and Leadership coach for those in the Tech Sector. She helps you find a career that you will love and that aligns with your goals and strengths.
Here are a few key takeaways:
- Background and transition: Tiffany started her career in news stations, which she found fascinating. However, she transitioned to career coaching after realizing she wanted more from her professional life. She has worked with tech giants like Microsoft and has been a career advisor for Coding Dojo.
- Valuable lessons: One of the most significant lessons Tiffany learned from her news station days was the importance of communication, especially when things aren’t going as planned.
- Career pivot: Tiffany’s decision to change her career path was influenced by her desire for a new challenge. She organized a personal career development retreat, which helped her reflect on her aspirations and led her to a contract role that launched her freelancing career.
- Career retreat: During her retreat, Tiffany disconnected from all distractions and focused on introspection. She answered a series of questions that helped her understand her desires and aspirations better.
- Using background in new roles: Tiffany emphasizes the importance of leveraging one’s background when transitioning to a new industry. She believes that what people often term as a “career change” is just a different expression of what they’ve always done.
- Identifying passion: Tiffany suggests observing what excites you and what feels like a chore. Activities that make you lose track of time or problems you believe should be fixed can be indicators of your passion and potential career paths.
- Personality and career alignment: While personality tests can provide insights into potential career paths, Tiffany believes it’s essential to resonate with the results personally.
- Resume tips: Tiffany emphasizes the importance of tailoring resumes to specific job descriptions. She suggests using tools like jobscan.co to ensure your resume aligns with the keywords in a job listing.
- Long-term career planning: Tiffany recommends setting milestones towards a long-term goal and tracking progress. She also suggests writing down decisions to reflect on the reasons behind career choices.
- Balancing passion and practicality: Tiffany acknowledges that sometimes individuals might have to choose between a job that pays the bills and one they’re passionate about. Reflecting on personal priorities can help in making this decision.
Check out the full transcript from the twelfth episode of the TechGuide podcast, featuring an interview with Tiffany Dedeaux.
Ryan Atkinson: Welcome, Tiffany. Super, super excited to have you on.
Tiffany A. Dedeaux: Excited to be here.
Ryan Atkinson: There’s gonna be a lot of conversation about career planning during this whole thing.
But I do wanna ask about like a little bit of your early life, because you got your career started with like news stations, which I think is super cool. Yes. Before switching to career coaching, since you’ve worked with companies like Microsoft and a career advisor for Coding Dojo, you’ve been a career coach forever.
Take me to being a new, feels like that. Like working with, yeah. Take me to like the news stations though, like what has been something [00:02:00] that you learned from your news station days that you’ve been able to apply being a career coach?
Tiffany A. Dedeaux: Oh my, well, the career change from, from that time is also why it can relate to so many people, especially breaking into tech.
But the best advice or tip that I ever learned is it’s not really getting things perfect. It’s about communicating when things aren’t gonna go well and you could tell, right? So the communication is the key. So I like to share that with anybody that I work with.
Ryan Atkinson: I like that. Well, now of course I have to ask like take us to like the career pivot.
Tiffany A. Dedeaux: Yeah, the career pivot was because I’d reached as far as I wanted to go in TV news. I, as a video editor mm-hmm. I was trying to be chief editor but I couldn’t see myself there for 20 years or whatever it was gonna take. So, so I decided, you know what? This isn’t the best place for me. I wanna break out and do something new.
So I really just set up a. Sort of a career development retreat for myself. Thought about what I wanted to do and then decided the best opportunity was for me to take something that I heard about like a month or so ago previously from somebody in my network. And it ended up being a contract role, my first contract role and my career for freelancing took off from there.
Ryan Atkinson: That’s awesome. Take us to the the career retreat. I’m curious, like what, can you just describe this career retreat and like how.
Tiffany A. Dedeaux: It was really, I had to turn off all my devices, which that part was hard. Wow. Like I literally, all I could scrounge up was like a three day weekend. I was like, okay, I’m gonna do this.
But I wanted to know what I wanted for my future. And I didn’t want everybody else’s voices in my head. So no tv, some music, cuz you can’t live without music. I feel like that’s, Required. And I just, saved articles [00:04:00] and journaled and thought about like, what are the things that I want most out of what’s next in my career?
And sort of jotted some notes down. And by the end I feel like, okay, I think I know what I want. And it was just a series of questions that I literally, I love tv. Got out of the, um, the actor studio. I don’t know if you ever watched Bravo, um mm-hmm. But it, it, the host ask a series of questions at the end to sort of open up everybody before he turns the actor over to the audience.
And so I went through and I answered all those questions for myself. It was like, what’s your favorite word? And I’m like, yes. And what’s your favorite? What’s your non favorite word? And I was like, no. And so I clearly don’t like to be told no. So there’s that. That’s fair.
Ryan Atkinson: So this, so are these, so what were like the questions or like, was that like a question that you asked yourself on this career retreat to understand like where you wanted to go or like what were some of the questions Yes.
Tiffany A. Dedeaux: The most helpful questions. Were and I altered them from the show, but it was like, what would be the best possible future for myself if money were no object? Like, those kinds of questions really opened up like, oh, I wanna travel and I wanna do these things. And where I came out from that was realizing I did wanna travel.
I didn’t wanna have to worry about if I was paying for it or not. And I wanted to just be creative and free with my work. And I decided I wanted to use Seattle, Washington State as my career hub and travel from there. And, I took a contract that let that happen. And so instead of me paying four trips, I ended up, I didn’t know this was gonna happen, but I ended up being paid to [00:06:00] travel and train people how to use different software.
And so sometimes you decide what you want and the universe delivers. And it may not be like you couldn’t have planned for that. Like there’s no movie script that had that in there. So, those questions opened me up to the possibility.
Ryan Atkinson: Yeah. So this retreat, you got really clear, it sounds like. I’m like, what you wanted your career to be?
And then you get this contract role Yes. To travel to set up like software. Yes. Tell us like what this role is. Cause I think a lot of young people, they traveling’s huge for Gen Zs and like, people my age. So like how did you get paid to travel? That’s so sweet.
Tiffany A. Dedeaux: Yes. It’s a, it is a contract role. Which if I would’ve known ahead of time, I’d probably been a little more freaked out about, so sometimes taking the leap is the big part.
And it was, Onsite at different locations, and this time it was TV news. So I got to go to different TV stations across the us did one in Canada and then across Australia where I got to train them how to use the software. So that was my pivot that ended up. To be more technical, but it used my background, so that’s why I’m a big proponent of using your background to target roles in a new industry.
And they just set me wherever the, the station that signed up needed training and I became a consultant, walked them through how to use the software, and that’s how I got paid to travel.
Ryan Atkinson: That’s super interesting. So yeah, can you unpack that advice a little bit more about like, using your background to like switch and basically break into a new industry.
But it sounds like you’re still kind of doing the same thing or like, can you kind of unpack that a little bit?
Tiffany A. Dedeaux: Yes. And I will start unpacking that by saying I actually now don’t believe that there’s such a thing as a career change. I actually think that it’s just a different expression of what we already do.
So for me it was [00:08:00] about storytelling. So I went from storytelling, video editing at a TV station to telling the story through software as a trainer. Helping people to navigate that. Um, I used the knowledge that I gained and the tips that I made for myself to learn software as a way to train other people to do it.
And that made it easier to make the leap and because I used my network, so as a friend that said, oh, you should try this when I interviewed for this contract role, I thought I was interviewing and I was like, so what’s next steps? And he’s like, no, we’re just gonna hire you. Here’s the contract. I was like, oh.
Oh, wow. So the network got me in there, but it was because she could see how my background made sense and I was comfortable taking that leap.
Ryan Atkinson: Interesting. So this kinda goes into a question that I have. How should someone younger in their career really like, identify what they enjoy and like what they like to do?
I mean, is there some sort of framework? Cause it’s easy to say like, oh, I like podcasting, but like, is there, like, how do, how would you poach it? Like to understand like, what are you good at? What’s your background and what can you strive in?
Tiffany A. Dedeaux: I look for what. Lights people up when you get excited and your voice goes up and you start like talking 50 million miles a minute.
Well, there’s a clue there. If it feels like a chore, chances are you don’t wanna do it. So I start people off with a bit of reflection. Just note the things that. Make you wanna do it, that you lose time, lose track of time doing. And also if it bugs you and you think everybody should fix it, that’s usually a sign that you’re the one called to fix it.
Like you have some gifts or talents there cuz you could see that vision. That also I feel like is a, is a clue as to what you’re interested in. And then I take six then I have people do different [00:10:00] assessments. Sometimes like 16 personalities, as in one six personalities.com is a great assessment cuz it will break it down into a fun persona that also tells you who you are in your personal life and what you like in your professional life.
And then use that as a guide.
Ryan Atkinson: That’s super interesting. I wanna talk about, I’ve done so many personality tests. I’ve, I, I, I’ve done two. Is there like an actual. This is, sounds like such like a silly question, but like, is there real alignment between like your personality and like what people strive are good at in their jobs?
Cuz like a lot of mine was like, I’m an E N F J, whatever that is. And a lot of it was like salespeople or like teacher, like that type of stuff. Is there like real alignment there between your personality and what you’re good at and your career? That’s the sound, but.
Tiffany A. Dedeaux: There can be, but I feel like it’s up to the individual when you read it, if it feels like it makes sense or it resonates with you, I think that’s a good sign.
I will read the list of things. It tells me that I could do, like I was always meant to be a teacher, but I’m not. I don’t feel like I’m a dedicated teacher. I feel like teaching works its way as a skill throughout all the things that I do. So it might be like a guide or inspiration starting point.
Ryan Atkinson: Interesting. And so, so how you give the assessment and like, you understand to your, like, clients and like people you coach, it’s like, hey, like here’s what your background is, here’s like your personality. What’s like the next step from there? Is it then like identifying like, hey, like go get this job, or like, how, how, like what, what’s the next step after that?
Tiffany A. Dedeaux: I. Because I’m trained as a coach. It’s, it works for me to not, and this is what I love about coaching, to not tell people what to do because they’re [00:12:00] more invested if they decide what they wanna do. And plus the whole world is telling us what to do anyway. So I prefer not to be that person, but I will notice when people get excited when they talk about one aspect or we unpack what parts of the stuff the job.
Or a personality assessment they don’t want to embrace, and then we’re like, great, then you know what not to do. You know what to do. Then I have them go search job boards, their favorite job boards, mostly LinkedIn and I have them use keywords. And not just job titles, because that will open up the possibilities on what’s out there.
Mm-hmm. And then have them read through and pick which ones excite them. They don’t have to worry about applying, cuz that’s where all the drama, the internal drama and struggle goes. But if they start to identify what they like in a role, then we could have something more tangible to work with.
Ryan Atkinson: Ah, interesting.
So, and then take me kinda like through that then let’s say like I identify like, oh, like I like X, Y, Z job. Do you then coach the clients to coach them on like their resume and how to like stand out when you’re actually applying to there? And if so, like what are some of the ways that you do that?
Tiffany A. Dedeaux: Yes. I take them through the whole process. Once they decide, yes, this is the type of role we’re gonna go after I start talking them through their questions and concerns. Cuz some people are worried, do I have to go back to school? I don’t wanna go back to school. Yeah. Or I think I’m qualified or I don’t think I have enough experience, or, this job is weird so I’d have to sell it to my family.
So we talk through all of that and then that prepares us to get to the resume. Um, I, since I’m a certified resume writer as well, we start building out that material and that content together. I’ll write a draft if that’s what they prefer, or I’ll give them feedback and we’ll talk through what should be included so that they can get their ideas down.[00:14:00]
And then we work on refining it for the job. But I find that writing to the job description is most helpful because otherwise it feels like you’re writing to the universe and then you’re trying to say everything you’ve ever done. And so you get the focus, you know what tools and technologies and and duties to make sure to include in your resume, and that helps refine and prepare them for interviews also.
So I run the whole gamut of the job search.
Ryan Atkinson: Interesting. Is there like software, um, is there software out there? Like how do you identify like the key words that an employer might be looking for from a job description?
Tiffany A. Dedeaux: How I do it. And I’ve already listened to some of your other podcasts, so I know there’s tips and tricks all the way nestled throughout.
Yeah. I actually have people go down to the bottom of the job description where the qualifications or requirements usually are, because that’s where all the tools are. It feels like an open book test. So they’ll tell you, we want you to know these programming languages and these frameworks and Work with people and have this degree and this certification, it’s usually listed there and you wanna make sure that those are included.
So having a skills section in your resume is critical. I’ve worked with somebody who didn’t even put Microsoft Office on their resume and their network knows that they know the software, but they still didn’t get pulled for the job cuz it wasn’t on their keywords list. So, These little details make the difference, but then I also have people double check their resume against the job description using software like job firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ryan Atkinson: Okay. What? What is job scan.com? This is one that I haven’t heard of.
Tiffany A. Dedeaux: It’s an online applicant tracking system and it promotes an account, but you can get up to five free [00:16:00] scans a month, and I promise I’m not affiliated with them at all. It’s just really cool to like run your resume through copying a job description and see, oh, I missed the fact that.
If I’m going for a user experience role, I said UX five times, but I didn’t spell out user experience at all, so the recruiter’s not gonna find me. So it will do that comparison for you and, and like flag you so you know, and you could fix it before you apply.
Ryan Atkinson: Interesting. I wanna talk about the resume too.
Cause you talked about one section that I personally don’t have on my resume but I thought about including it is that skill section. Yes. So like what should you, what should one put in like a skill section? Because I, I’ve never done it on my resume. I’m curious, like, yeah, like what do you put in a skill section?
Tiffany A. Dedeaux: In the skills section? I usually do. I usually break it into two categories. One would be the technical tools, so all the languages and platforms and all this stuff. Um, and I put ’em in there mostly because that leaves the rest of the resume. I. Free to be more readable to the recruiter. Like if you tell ’em what they did and you list five tools, I’m like, I don’t know what you did with these tools.
So separate section for the tools and then instead of doing a soft skill section, I call it business proficiencies. Just cuz business shows up a lot in, in job descriptions and or core competencies. I see some people do that and then I’ll put in there. Different skills, like alternative words to job titles.
So if you’re targeting four or five different job titles, data analysts, data scientists, you get the other versions of those words in the business side of the skills section. So I would say business analysis, so you get both versions of the word and data science so that if the recruiter searches those words, then you have those in there as well.
Other times I see people put [00:18:00] in, I am good at communication, but in the job descriptions I see written in verbal communication as a phrase a lot. So I now include that. So it’s about what you consistently see that you could easily put in there that seems to be high value in the jobs when you keep reading and it says it like five times.
Ryan Atkinson: Yeah. Well, you know what’s crazy, like having these conversations, it like really opens my mind to how much I feel like job applications. Like, almost like a game, like it’s just kinda optimizing like your resume. It feels like it to like, it feels like a game. And like this whole like game thing, I mean, I.
Like, what are like some of the hardest things or like the hardest things to get right of this game of, I, we shouldn’t call it a game, but of, of the job process. Like what
Tiffany A. Dedeaux: is like the hardest, if it makes it fun, call it a game. Otherwise, it feels like a lot of work. Um, the hardest thing about it. Is, I feel like the hardest thing about it is writing for the two audiences.
There’s the recruiter first. And some of them, like I’ve had them tell some of the job seekers I work with, we like to see bling. We wanna click on some things, we wanna know what you did, we want all these key words. And then the hiring manager’s like, I just wanna know your thought process. So. Writing for the two different audiences feels like the biggest struggle and knowing what all to put in there.
But once you do that, it’s just about tailoring it for that opportunity. And I find people get too attached to what they used to do, that they forget that they could take that off and just focus on what they do well now and how they can do the job that they’re applying for.
Ryan Atkinson: Interesting. Let’s dissect that a little bit.
So you just said you get, like, people worry about too much of like what they do, what they have done, but not like how [00:20:00] this job, how what you’ve done like applies to this job. Yes to, to word vomiting there. But talk about that. Like, so how do you write? So it’s like, well here’s how my past experiences are relevant to this job.
Is it keyword optimization? Or like, how do you coach it?
Tiffany A. Dedeaux: When I tailor the resume or encourage people to tailor the resume, that’s keyword optimization, but when you first decide, oh, I like this job and I’m going to apply, part of the thing I think is important is to recognize why you think you like this job.
You can do it. Nobody sets themselves up for failure, so you clearly think you can do it. So the reasons why you think you can do it. Should be in the resume. Oftentimes when people aren’t getting callbacks and I catch them with their diatribe on LinkedIn and they come talk to me, it’s because they’re like, oh, this would’ve been a shoe-in roll for me.
I was like, great, how do you know? And they’re like, we, I did these three things and my last job. I said, where is it in your resume? And they tell me. Well, okay, I forgot to put it in there. And so that’s the part. Writing it for the job description can be so helpful cuz it reminds you of what you did. And if you only put that in there and how it positions you for success, you’ll more likely get that callback.
Ryan Atkinson: Hmm. I really like that. So we’re winding down on time. I kind of want to hit on like a little one more bucket of like questions. And a lot of it’s around like long-term career planning and like goal setting. So can you talk to us like what are some ways that someone young in their career can, like set goals effectively so they can do well in their career?
Tiffany A. Dedeaux: Excellent question. I find that people get the itch to change jobs every two years. So even though everybody asks the question, what’s your five-year plan? Yeah, you can have a long-term [00:22:00] plan. And then I would say decide what the milestones are that get you there so that you could track your progress. A also know when opportunities get you going in that direction.
Ryan Atkinson: Yeah. Decision making as in like why you took another, like this job, prepare that job, or what type decision
Tiffany A. Dedeaux: making. Yes. Absolutely like why you went this route versus this other route, why you took the contract role and not the full-time role. Cuz sometimes we doubt ourselves in the middle of walking out that decision, but when you Yeah, write down why you chose one job over another, it can be insightful when you go back and look at it.
Ryan Atkinson: I like the thought of it too, of like, don’t have like a five year career plan maybe. Yes. Like have a five year career plan of like where you want to go. Yeah. But like, I like the two year career plan. And then setting like what your end goal is. And for you in your example is like be able to travel and like have freedom from like your corporate job essentially.
Tiffany A. Dedeaux: Yes. I didn’t even decide it was going to be software training, but it made the most sense cuz it built off of what I was doing previously and then allowed me to do the things that I really wanted to do in my life. Um, so the aspirational goals, although you can do it in another way where it’s the pay your bills job and then your passion job.
It just so happens sometimes I get my one job is the passion and the pay the bills job.
Ryan Atkinson: Interesting. So, so is that something where it’s like you have to decide, do I want to have a job where like it pays the bills really well and like, I’m like, like very finance, not financially free, but like, like it pays the bills wells versus like, oh, I’m gonna take a per like a passion job where like, I’m probably paid a little bit lower, but like, It’s, I’m passionate about it.
How should people think about that? Yeah.
Tiffany A. Dedeaux: Yeah. And that’s where they’re writing down the decision can help. Yeah. If you choose to [00:24:00] take a role, say like nonprofit, some people go in the nonprofit sector and work for a cause, but the pay isn’t always where it could be, say, in the, in the tech sector. So that’s why some of the changes or or career decisions are made you can make it so that.
Your job isn’t your everything, which means that you can’t not expecting it to both pay the bills and fill your passion. That you can say, have the pay the job, pay the bills job, and then you volunteer in your spare time and that fuels you. So you have both sides that you’re expressing and then you feel balanced.
Ryan Atkinson: I really like that. Cuz one of the topics I wanted to talk about was like, basically what, like how do you strike that balance? I wanna talk about it a little bit more, but like, like wanting to like strive and do like really well in your career and like, like get that promotion, climb the corporate ladder, like whatever your end goal is with like a personal life.
How, how should someone strike that balance?
Tiffany A. Dedeaux: They should decide what it means for themselves. Everybody’s gonna have an opinion. So, yeah. Um, deciding in this phase like when I traveled Australia for six months on a contract, no kids, no, no family, nobody to answer to. I was like, a backpack and let’s go.
So there’s times in your life when that’s okay. And then. If that’s not the time or season in your life, then decide what is, knowing that it will ebb and flow and that if you make your decision, decide that that’s important enough to stick to it. Hmm. I can elaborate more about that.
Ryan Atkinson: Oh, yes, please do. Yeah, please elaborate a little bit more on like seeking that decision, like being happy with it because I think a lot of people like will switch jobs a lot, but like, Are you happy with it?
Like, yeah. So talk about that a little bit more.
Tiffany A. Dedeaux: Yeah. [00:26:00] That part of that could be building in a check-in with yourself. Like on a job search, I have people check in on their job search trackers every four to six weeks. But with, if you’re doing a two year plan, maybe every year on your birthday or some kind of calendar, or in the suburb when it’s nice and chill yeah, you actually think about like, is this how I wanna be spending my time?
Is the balance there? Maybe I do want more personal time to travel or work from anywhere. Then you make that that intentional decision to go after what you actually want. And then you’re more likely to achieve it than if you just bob up and down, say, on the river of life, and let the employers dictate like, Hey, we want you in the office.
No, you have to work here. Then you actually have a little more intention behind your decision making.
Ryan Atkinson: I really, really like that. And I think a lot of like, the people my age a lot of us like value that freedom to like work from anywhere and like work whenever. That’s why I see all these people.
It’s like, oh, return to office. And I’m just like, oh my God. That sounds like the worst thing in the world to return to an office right now. Yeah, I value my family so much and I cannot even imagine returning to an office at any point.
Tiffany A. Dedeaux: Yes, it has to be under. It has to be what you want. Some people I do run into are craving a little bit of community, so a hybrid role is really the best for them.
And also when you’re working remotely, I think part of what we lost with a pandemic was that commute time where you could switch on the job and switch off the job. So, so there’s different things that we learn about ourselves and what we prefer. But those are some of the questions that could be asked during the interview process or the networking process too, because not every company will allow you to work from [00:28:00] anywhere, and that’s important to realize before you get committed.
Ryan Atkinson: Oh yeah. Absolutely. And so last question for you. This has been a great podcast, Tiffany. Just general career advice for young working professionals. They wanna do well in their career. They wanna go far what general just career advice would you have for them to believe in themselves?
Tiffany A. Dedeaux: And what I mean by that is, Everybody will always have an opinion about everything you do. So don’t forget to check in with yourself and decide, you know, is this really what works best for me right now? So that’s the best advice I could give.
Ryan Atkinson: I love it. Well, Tiffany, you gave great advice throughout, actually, so, uh, some amazing advice through Yeah, throughout this episode though, thank you so, so much for joining us.
Great episode on career planning balancing what you wanna do with long-term interests. So yeah, thank you so much for joining us.
Tiffany A. Dedeaux: Thank you for having me.