Radio Interview with Michael Akbar

Christopher Roberts:
Welcome back to the show. I'm your host, Christopher Roberts. Joining me now, he is from Alexandria Virginia. He is a career coach. Ladies and gentlemen, let's welcome Michael Akbar to the program. Michael, welcome. How are you today?

Michael Akbar:
Thank you. I'm doing well. How are you?

Christopher Roberts:
I'm well myself. Thanks for asking. And thanks for taking a few minutes out of your day to join us. We appreciate it.

Michael Akbar:
Absolutely. Be glad to.

Christopher Roberts:
All righty. So why don't you start us off, tell us a little bit about who you are, what you do?

Michael Akbar:
Well, as you mentioned, my name is Michael Akbar. I'm the career coach with YES Career Coaching and Resume Writing Services in Alexandria, Virginia. And basically, a lot of our clients come to us assuming, especially these days, that they need a resume for pursuit of their next job. And in our conversation, we realize that sometimes they are interested to look at other alternatives to what they have done before, or they are finding it a little bit more challenging these days, that they may need more than just a resume, and that's where I try to help them, coach them through the process, all the way to get an offer.

Christopher Roberts:
All righty. Now, what really got you started in what you're doing? What sent you down this road?

Michael Akbar:
Well, I have a very interesting personal story. When I graduated from school, I found myself with two tough choices. Either I had to be drafted in a way or become a refugee and try to find a job in a country I couldn't even speak the language. So I had to go about in a very unconventional way to get myself in front of decision makers and employers, kind of bypassing the HR, because at that time, I wasn't really even qualified for a lot of those positions. And in the process, I kind of developed a technique that I call executive access, and later on, I got more into business development [inaudible 00:02:21]. And the whole process was very exciting.

Michael Akbar:
Several years ago, I volunteered to train inmates that were released back to the workforce on how to prepare them for pursuing their next job. And I felt like this was a great way to give back to the society and help others. So I got my career coaching certification and then, fortunately, I met Katherine, who's the president of YES Career Coaching and Resume Writing Services, and we had a very good combination of skills that we brought together to serve our clients. So that's how I got into it.

Christopher Roberts:
All righty. Now, what kind of background does somebody generally need to be a career coach? What's really required? Is there any special requirements?

Michael Akbar:
Well, there are a lot of certification programs, so you would find that a lot of people from very different line of work can go through this study and get a certification and become a career coach. But in addition to that, I think, as a person, you really need to care for other people and have compassion about where they are in the pursuit of their job, where they are in their life. So I would say in addition to a professional background, you really need to have the right personality to kind of listen to people, understand where they are, be able to help them. And having been where they are, of course, always helps to be more supportive of where they are heading.

Christopher Roberts:
All righty. Now, when somebody does reach out to you, what do you think you see the most of these days? What's most dominant?

Michael Akbar:
Well, there are really two things that we see a lot. One of them are people who still have a job, but based on ... And that's really been, traditionally, our case. A lot of times, people came to us not because they were out of work, but they really wanted to take their game to the next level and they wanted to work with a career coach to get prepared for their next career move. And we still see a lot of folks who come to us who do have a job, but based on everything that is going on in the economy and the COVID-19 impact on the economy and the economic downturn, they are concerned and worried as what's going to come next and how they can get prepared for that. And of course, a lot of people also, unfortunately, have already lost their jobs and they come to us to, again, understand how employers go about hiring today, what is out there, and what's the most effective way to go about applying for jobs.

Christopher Roberts:
All righty. Does some of that involve people that are trying to change careers so that they can get into a position with a company that is currently an essential company?

Michael Akbar:
Absolutely. And one of the things we do is we give our clients a number of different homework that can help them really figure out what is it they really want to do, what their personality is best suited for, as well as information about, as you mentioned, what industries are hiring and how to go about, really, trying to transition to an industry where they may not have a whole lot of background, but at the same time, they could bring a lot of transferable skills. So we help them to really do an inventory of what skills they do have, which one of those are transferable. And in the case of people who have lost their jobs, really, one of the most important challenges and the most important aspect of my job is to kind of remind them of their strengths and help them, really, restore their self-esteem and morale and kind of focus on what they have and what they can offer an employer, as opposed to kind of being worried about, "Oh my god, I'm making a transition. Can I make it?" So to speak.

Christopher Roberts:
All right. Now, where do you see yourself moving forward? What's going to be on-tap for you?

Michael Akbar:
Well, at any point in time, I focus on two-dimensions of our job, what I call working on today and working on the future and tomorrow of the business. And in the short run, one of the areas that I'm focusing on is really leading our efforts in working with employers so that employer provide our services as a benefit to their employees. And this actually has a lot of benefit and financial advantage to the employer even if there are no layoffs. But if there are layoffs, there are actually significant negative impact on businesses, so by helping them offer what we call the outplacement services to their employees, helping those employees make the transition faster, that is actually really beneficial to companies. It protects their brand. It reduces their potential impact on their future taxes.

Michael Akbar:
So that's an area that is of my immediate focus. And as we transition through that, obviously, we have a need for broadening our bandwidth for providing coaching services and streamlining our business operation to be able to support a larger pool of clientele. So part of my job is really to help streamline those business processes as we move forward.

Christopher Roberts:
All righty. And now, real quick, how can my audience reach out and contact you to find out more information?

Michael Akbar:
Well, one of the best ways to reach out is through our website where the clients can actually schedule a free consultation with us, a 30-minute consultation where we can hear where they are or where they want to be heading, what really makes sense for them. So they can call our number, 202-740-3032, or the website, which is YESwriting.com.

Christopher Roberts:
All righty. Well, it's been a pleasure having you on the show today. Thank you so much.

Michael Akbar:
Absolutely. It's all my pleasure. Thank you.

Christopher Roberts:
You're quite welcome. And for everyone else out there, do stick around. We will be right back.

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