Pioneering Education-to-Employment Journeys
MARLEQ: Give us a brief introduction to Ummara.
Ummara Hassan: I'm Ummara Hassan, from Pakistan. With a passion for education, I've accumulated over 18 years of diverse experience across various domains. My academic journey has been focused on English Language and Literature, and I hold multiple master's degrees including one in Teaching of English as a Foreign Language and another in Education (M.Ed). Throughout my career, I've ventured into roles ranging from lecturing in English to HR management, administration, and presently, job coaching. This journey has not only enriched my understanding of education and its myriad facets but has also allowed me to contribute meaningfully to the development of individuals in different capacities.
MARLEQ: How has your job as a lecturer opened you up to the needs of entry-level job seekers?
Ummara Hassan: In my role as a lecturer, I've had the privilege of connecting with students at various stages of their academic journeys. This exposure has significantly broadened my understanding of the challenges and aspirations that entry-level job seekers face. As I engage with students, I witness their eagerness to transition from the world of academia to the professional realm. Many of them are grappling with the intricacies of resume building, interview preparation, and the overall job search process. This firsthand experience has deepened my empathy for their situations, motivating me to delve into the world of job coaching. By recognizing the gaps and uncertainties that these young individuals encounter, I've found a renewed sense of purpose in guiding and supporting them through this critical phase of their lives.
MARLEQ: What in our opinion can make the Education sector more attractive to job seekers?
Ummara Hassan: Firstly, fostering a culture of innovation within educational institutions can draw the interest of potential candidates. When educators are encouraged to experiment with new teaching methods, technologies, and approaches, it not only enhances the learning experience but also appeals to individuals who seek dynamic and evolving environments.
Secondly, offering competitive compensation and benefits packages is essential. Many job seekers consider financial stability an important factor when choosing a career path. By providing fair and competitive salaries, along with opportunities for professional development, the education sector can become more enticing.
Furthermore, creating clear and well-defined career paths within education can enhance its appeal. Job seekers are often attracted to sectors that offer growth opportunities, allowing them to advance their careers and take on more responsibilities over time. Establishing mentorship programs and pathways for progression can play a significant role in making the education sector more appealing.
Lastly, promoting a positive work-life balance can set the education sector apart. Job seekers appreciate environments that prioritize their well-being and allow them to maintain a healthy equilibrium between work and personal life. By fostering a supportive and flexible work environment, the education sector can attract individuals seeking a fulfilling career without sacrificing their personal lives.
Ultimately, by focusing on innovation, competitive compensation, career advancement, and work-life balance, the education sector can position itself as an attractive and rewarding choice for job seekers.
MARLEQ: How do you help professionals looking to land their dream jobs?
Ummara Hassan: I assist professionals aiming to secure their dream jobs by offering a comprehensive approach that addresses the unique challenges of the job market. I provide personalized career coaching sessions, focusing on resume and cover letter optimization to ensure that their application materials stand out. I emphasize the importance of showcasing relevant skills and experiences tailored to the local job market.
Considering the economic landscape, I guide professionals on networking strategies, as personal connections often play a crucial role in job referrals. I also offer interview preparation sessions, helping candidates effectively communicate their strengths and experiences to potential employers. Given the skills gap, I may recommend additional training or certifications to enhance their marketability.
I am guiding professionals toward international opportunities, as I navigate the process of landing dream jobs abroad as well. I share insights about cultural nuances, required qualifications, and visa processes to empower professionals seeking opportunities beyond our borders. By combining my knowledge and strategies, I offer a holistic approach that caters to both local and international career aspirations.
MARLEQ: How do you guide fresh graduates on their career paths?
Ummara Hassan: I guide fresh graduates on their career paths through a structured and supportive approach. Firstly, I encourage them to assess their strengths, passions, and interests to identify potential career directions. Together, we explore different industries and roles that align with their educational background and aspirations.
Next, I assist in crafting a strong and tailored resume that highlights their academic achievements, projects, internships, and relevant skills. I emphasize the importance of showcasing transferable skills gained during their studies.
Networking plays a pivotal role, so I advise them on effective networking strategies, both online and offline. Attending career fairs, industry seminars, and connecting with professionals on platforms like LinkedIn can open doors to valuable opportunities.
I provide mock interview sessions to boost their confidence and prepare them for common interview questions. I also stress the significance of continuous learning and professional development, suggesting online courses or certifications to enhance their skill set.
I help graduates navigate the local job market, suggesting companies, job boards, and recruitment agencies that cater to entry-level positions. Additionally, I offer guidance on building a strong online presence, as many employers now research candidates online before making hiring decisions.
Ultimately, my goal is to empower fresh graduates with the tools and knowledge they need to make informed career choices, stand out in the job market, and embark on a fulfilling professional journey.
MARLEQ: How has your Award as Employee of the Year helped you set a standard of excellence for your clients?
Ummara Hassan: Receiving the Employee of the Year award has been an instrumental milestone in setting a standard of excellence for my clients. This recognition has affirmed my dedication to delivering exceptional results and has provided me with a tangible example of the impact of hard work and commitment.
When working with my clients, I often share my journey toward achieving this award as a testament to the principles I uphold. It serves as a motivational story that underscores the importance of consistent effort, continuous learning, and a strong work ethic. I use my experience to inspire my clients to strive for excellence in their own endeavors.
Ultimately, my recognition as Employee of the Year serves as a real-life example that supports the principles and strategies I share with my clients, motivating them to pursue their own paths of excellence with confidence and determination.
MARLEQ: What makes you stand out as a coach?
Ummara Hassan: What sets me apart as a coach is my ability to connect on a personal level with my clients. I understand the unique challenges they face. Despite these challenges, I've managed to establish a meaningful presence on platforms like LinkedIn, where I've been able to make an impact and attract attention for my job coaching services.
My personal journey, marked by determination and resourcefulness, resonates with clients who are navigating similar circumstances. I've honed my skills not only through formal education but also through hands-on experience in various fields, allowing me to offer a holistic perspective. This blend of academic knowledge and real-world understanding equips me to provide practical guidance that addresses the complex situations individuals encounter.
In essence, what truly distinguishes me are my reliability, adaptability, and the tangible results I've achieved even in the face of adversity.
MARLEQ: How do you practice self-care when you are not working?
Ummara Hassan: When I'm not working, practicing self-care is an essential part of maintaining balance and well-being. I prioritize several activities that help me recharge and stay centered.
First and foremost, I make sure to dedicate time to engage in activities that bring me joy and relaxation. This could range from spending time with my family, reading a book, watching a movie, or exploring nature through a leisurely walk.
Spending quality time with loved ones is a crucial aspect of self-care for me. Whether it's a family gathering, catching up with friends, or simply having meaningful conversations, these connections provide emotional support and rejuvenation.
Finally, I make sure to get ample sleep to ensure my body and mind are well-rested. Prioritizing sleep is essential for maintaining my overall health and productivity.
MARLEQ: What are your favourite quotes? Movies? Activities?
Ummara Hassan: Here are some of my favorite quotes, movies, and activities:
“I do not believe in taking the right decision, I take a decision and make it right.” - Mohammad Ali Jinnah
"In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer." - Albert Camus
Pride and Prejudice. Face Off. Miss Congeniality. The Pursuit of Happiness.
Reading classic literature and contemporary fiction.
Exploring nature through hiking and nature walks.
Watching historical Turkish TV series and Master Chef Australia.
Trying out new recipes and experimenting with cooking.