103. How to make successful career transitions - with Donna Burr.

career advancement career change career planning job hunting women's career Oct 11, 2021
The Job Hunting Podcast Episode 103

It's entirely possible to change lanes in your career. You can and should consider changing sectors, industries and even transferring your skills to a completely different profession. But how can you do that smartly? And when is the right time to do it? How do you position yourself for a significant change?

  1. It's essential to be on the lookout when opportunities come knocking at your door. They may pass you by, and you won't even notice. Or
  2. You need to want it and strategically prepare yourself for the move.

Let's look back on my interview with Donna Burr, a Partner at Watermark Search International. In addition to being an experienced recruiter in the interim executive management practice helping professionals transition careers day in, day out, Donna herself has successfully changed lanes in her career a few times. Donna has cleverly used opportunities to springboard herself into different roles, sectors, and industries.

Podcast Episode Timestamps:

  • 05:02 - Donna's career journey
  • 08:43 - Donna's career transitions
  • 13:10 - How to identify your strengths and superpowers?
  • 15:46 - Accepting your strengths.
  • 18:08 - What is 'executive search'? Is it the same as recruitment?
  • 22:00 - How Donna helps executives change sectors
  • 27:04 - How to niche down into another sector
  • 29:23 - Parenthood and career transitions
  • 34:29 - Ageism and job-hunting: How to address it
  • 40:24 - 2021 trends in the job market
  • 47:05 - Optimized job search template is gold dust!

Links mentioned in this episode:

About our guest, Donna Burr:

Donna's experience and passion for seeing businesses thrive have led her role at Watermark Search International, placing senior executives into interim assignments within companies which can benefit from their vast experience, professional guardianship, and excellent specialist skills.

Her background combines 25 years in chartered accounting, assurance & advisory, and human resources partnering with businesses. Early in her journey, she acquired local and global experience across financial services, manufacturing, utilities, and the not-for-profit sectors. She has curiosity, authenticity, and a passion for making things better, which has seen her involved in major transformational and performance work for many corporates. She advocates for purpose-led business management, well-being, and economic empowerment for women.

Donna has been a partner in Watermark's Interim Management Practice since 2018, deploying senior-level interim executives in both the private and public sectors. She focuses on CEOs, CFOs, COOs, CIOs, change & turnaround professionals, senior Finance, HR, Operations, Legal & IT executives. She has completed interim management search assignments across various industries, including Financial Services, Government agencies, Peak Member and Regulatory bodies, Not-for-Profit, Healthcare, Energy, and Utilities. Click here to see Donna Burr's LinkedIn profile.

Are you new to The Job Hunting Podcast? 

Hello, I’m Renata Bernarde, the Host of The Job Hunting Podcast. I’m also an executive coach, job hunting expert, and career strategist. I teach corporate, non-profit, and public professionals the steps and frameworks to help them find great jobs, change, and advance their careers with confidence and less stress. 

If you are 1) an ambitious professional who is keen to develop a robust career plan, 2) looking to find your next job or promotion, or 3) you want to keep a finger on the pulse of the job market so that when you are ready, and an opportunity arises, you can hit the ground running – then this podcast is for you. In addition to The Job Hunting Podcast, I have developed a range of courses and services for professionals in career or job transition. And, of course, I also coach private clients. 

So there is no excuse – I’m determined to help you! I want you to feel empowered, nail your next job, and have the career you want.

Enjoy the episode and ciao for now!


Renata Bernarde | Job Hunting Expert

[email protected]


I cannot recommend it highly enough.

To my friends and colleagues who are currently job hunting, this podcast is for you. Renata Bernarde and her stellar line up of guests very generously share their perspective, advice, behind-the-scene secrets, tips, and anecdotes. "It's called The Job Hunting Podcast (it is what it says on the tin!) Guests include Anita Ziemer, Michelle Redfern, Mohit Bhargava. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Run. Don't Walk." - LinkedIn post shared by Amber Knight.

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