Searching for Your Next Career Move? Check Out Advice From This Experienced ‘Career Matchmaker'

Sponsored by Sonepar USA

Cat Almanzor Hancock. Photo courtesy of Sonepar.

Cat Almanzor Hancock. Photo courtesy of Sonepar.

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July 24, 2024 at 12:14PM UTC

Cat Almanzor Hancock, a senior recruiter for the west region at Sonepar USA, calls herself a “career matchmaker and relationship builder.” And she knows firsthand that landing a dream job means more than just aligning your skills — you need to find a career match that you're passionate about and will become a mutually beneficial relationship. 

“Liking what you do is one of the most critical elements in career growth and development,” Almanzor Hancock says. “Passion is the fuel that inspires and drives people toward specific goals, no matter how unlikely or complicated they might be.”

In fact, the most memorable piece of career advice she ever received was to find a career that she’s passionate about and that energizes her. And, today, Almanzor Hancock’s not only doing that — she’s also helping others do the same.

Here, we caught up with Almanzor Hancock to learn more about interviewing tips, her advice for women looking to elevate their careers, and more!

Let's begin by talking about the application process. How do you suggest women get through automated systems? And what about making that personal connection — do you recommend candidates outreach to current recruiters or employees for informational interviews before applying? 

In your application, you should:

  • Focus on keywords.

  • Spell out acronyms.

  • Keep the format simple. 

    • Choose the correct file format: Word document or PDF. Most applicant-tracking systems are not sophisticated enough to pull words from a non-text-based document.

I personally welcome potential candidates reaching out to me on LinkedIn. Be specific in your communication when you reach out, as recruiters manage multiple job openings.

Next, let’s discuss the interview. What's your go-to interview questions for all candidates?

What's important to you in your next career opportunity?

What's your top five pieces of advice for acing an interview?

  1. Research the company and the role. And know why you're interested in the role at this specific company.

  2. Arrive early and test any needed tech in advance if you’re interviewing over the computer or phone.

  3. Prepare yourself. Come with questions for the interviewer as well as pre-identified personal selling points for this job. Even if you're a well-oiled interviewing machine, it's essential to think carefully about what skills, accomplishments, and interview answers will resonate with your interviewers most for the job.

  4. Send a follow-up thank you email — they never go out of style.

  5. Be yourself.

On the other hand, what are your biggest tips for NOT to do when applying or interviewing at a company?  

When applying:   

  1. Don't send short messages, such as: “Hi, can you help me get a job?”

  2. Don't ask the recruiter to visit your LinkedIn profile or attach your resume
    and suggest a job.  

 During an interview: 

  • Don't be late.    

  • Don't show up unprepared.

What are the top three qualities you look for when you're interviewing a candidate for a role in your industry?   

  1. Culture add. A candidate with the ability to grasp their potential to contribute something different and add value to the team
  2. Willingness to learn. A desire, wish, or readiness to acquire new knowledge and develop.  
  3. Humility. This goes a long way in driving good teamwork. It's important to celebrate as a team and personally take responsibility for shortcomings. I look for individuals who emphasize “we” versus “I” and dig into past accomplishments, mistakes, or failures to see how they reflect on those times. 

What advice do you have for women who are looking to elevate their career?

In any industry or job type:

  • Don't be afraid to take on and learn something new

  • Seek out feedback.

  • Find a mentor.

  • Always be curious

  • Be versatile.  

What about tips for women considering a career change and want to break into a new role or industry?

When you’re interviewing with a potential employer, don’t focus too much on your desire to break into a new industry. Instead, ask what they want to achieve by filling this role. Then, describe how you will add value to their organization and address their needs.   

Research the role or industry in addition to networking. Attend public seminars and conferences relevant to the field where you can learn and meet people in the industry. Take classes, read new books, and find opportunities to volunteer or perform contract work. Even if it's unpaid, these experiences can help you develop your skills and a portfolio of your work.  

Also, focus on your transferable skills to make your application and resume stand out. Consider the skills you've developed throughout your career. Even though you plan to change industries, don't assume that your experiences are only relevant to your current field. Once you have a list of your existing skills and qualities, employers want to see them. Find ways to incorporate those points into the headline on your online profiles and professional summary. You should also prioritize those points on your resume and cut the sections that won't transfer into the new target position. As you work through these documents, make sure it's clear that you're pivoting in a new direction. 

Finally, as a recruiter, what are three things about Sonepar that you always make sure to highlight when talking to a candidate?  

  1. It's an exciting time to be part of the electrical distribution industry. Sonepar is the largest electrical distribution company in the world and has 400 locations nationwide. The career potential here is endless. And while it’s up to the individual's desire to drive their career, career development assistance is provided to help them reach their full potential.

  2. Sonepar's commitment to diversity is noteworthy. Sonepar strives to create an environment of cross-cultural communication, understanding, and collaboration that will fuel our digital future. I share information on all our employee resource groups (ERGs), and I can speak from first-hand experience since I'm a board member of the ERG-WATT (Women Advocating Today for Tomorrow). ERGs foster an environment of inclusion and belonging.

  3. Sonepar's four core values, which are being:

    1. Customer-centric

    2. Committed to people and the planet

    3. Leading by example

    4. The will to dare

I also can't leave out our high-quality and comprehensive benefits.

Fairygodboss is proud to partner with Sonepar USA. Find a job there today!

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