Spotlight Series: Meet Career Coach Phiona Martin

Tell us a bit about yourself

I am a registered industrial psychologist specializing in the field of career development. My key work experience has been within the consulting, education, and corporate environment. I am a Thought Leadership Enthusiast. I provide regular expert opinions on career development through various platforms including my own Career Advice Website. I have done appearances on radio, conferences, business podcasts, and currently, write for South Africa's leading networking platform for CHRO's and HR professionals. My calling in life is to help people transition to gainful employment, enhance employability and navigate various career intersections. In this regard, one of my big passions is creating content and designing programs in the career development domain. In my spare time, I am actively involved with various youth organizations as part of my dedication to contribute to solution-focused collaborations towards alleviating youth unemployment in Africa. I am Zimbabwean born and currently based in South Africa.

What was your first job and how did you get it?

My first job was working for one of my family members business. It took me about nine months to get a job and while I was waiting I worked there. Although what I was doing in that family business was not related to my field of study, it certainly helped increase my employability and groom me professionally. I always tell young people that careers do not happen in a perfect linear sequence and we often have to take on bridging jobs to get where we want. In fact, it was only 5 years into working that I got into what I considered my ideal role.

How did you decide and get to your career today?

I knew for certain when going into to university that I did not enjoy the exact sciences. I loved working with frameworks, principles, theories and knew Psychology was a great fit because it involved helping people. My first few roles where in consulting and recruitment. I then sort of grew into the Career Development field as a speciality through my various experiences. I guess that niche found me or perhaps we found each other, but that has been my focus in the last 6 or so years.

What advice would you have given your younger self? Or what is the best career advice you have ever received?

I think for me it's about knowing that dream jobs and dream roles are sometimes a few years away. We have so much pressure to get into our dream careers immediately and trivialize roles we are in that may not match our ideal. The concept of bridging jobs is key to me. Some jobs may not be our ideal role but are the ones that can connect us to our ideal. I would not have been able to gain the competencies that I have as a professional now without some of the roles I took in the first 5 years of my career which seemingly felt unsatisfying. For me it's all about, how is this current role is setting me up for the future and what can I do while I am here to build the experience that will be of use for my ideal position.

In 5 years, where do you hope to be professionally and personally?

I hope to be a renowned thought leader and to initiate solutions, particularly in the youth employability space perhaps in the form of a foundation. I also have completing my PhD as part of my bucket list.

Stay Connected with Phiona!


Twitter: @MsPhiona

Instagram: @Phiona_Careercoach


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