Briefcase Coach's Career Briefs: Job Search Smarter

CEO challenges and maintaining excellence, Top Startups according to LinkedIn, impact of return to office and more...

Dear Reader:

Remember those "dad shoes" from the 90s? The ones that used to make us cringe are now all the rage. New Balance, the epitome of dad shoe chic, is now ranked as one of the fastest-growing sneaker brands on the resale platform StockX. Even Hailey Bieber and Kendall Jenner are sporting the retro trend. Isn't it funny how fashion trends come full circle?

Speaking of retro comebacks, it seems that some timeless job search advice from the 90s is making a resurgence, and it's worth revisiting. In today's competitive job market, it's crucial to rediscover and adapt old wisdom:

  1. Don't limit yourself to job applications. When you're in the executive search game, the majority of your time should be spent having conversations with decision-makers. Networking isn't just a buzzword; it's the backbone of successful executive searches. (how to get on the radar of executive search)

  2. The "value proposition" concept was also born in the 90s. Your value proposition must be crystal clear and distinctive in today's crowded marketplace. It's not enough to be good; you need to stand out and clearly articulate how you will meet an organization’s pain points.

  3. Personalization matters. “Grandma Carol” was right— thank you notes make a difference (researchers back this up too!). Not only do they demonstrate good social skills, but they also can be persuasive in convincing the employer that they are making the right choice in hiring you. Hiring managers want candidates who really want the job and are aligned and passionate about what the company does. Companies are looking for more than warm bodies—the more you can demonstrate that you actually care about their mission, the more attractive you become as a candidate.

As you embark on your executive journey, remember that we're here to support you. We're rooting for your success, just as those dad shoes from the 90s managed to make a triumphant comeback. Let's make your career resurgence even more remarkable.

Best regards,

Rooting for you,

Corporate America's Promise: Hiring More People of Color

This Bloomberg article delves into the ongoing efforts of corporations to address racial inequality and foster diversity and inclusion in the workplace, particularly in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement. It explores the progress made, challenges faced and the strategies companies are implementing to promote equal opportunity and corporate diversity in today's business landscape. It highlights the share of executive, managerial, and professional roles held by people of color increased by about 2 percentage points compared with 2020 — more than double the average annual gains at big and mid-sized US companies in previous years. However, the article also notes that not all companies boosted diversity, and there is concern that progress may slow down due to factors such as layoffs and changes in cultural attitudes. As an aside, a LinkedIn connection of mine and respected recruiter, Richard King, recently shared that he thinks corporate DEI hiring is “dead.” Here’s his post which shares some interesting stats.

Age Discrimination in the Job Search: Tips for Overcoming Stereotypes

This article from The Washington Post by Tech at Work writer Danielle Abril, discusses the challenges faced by job seekers who feel they are being discriminated against based on their age. It highlights the importance of showcasing adaptability and tech skills for both younger and older candidates. The article also advises against volunteering unnecessary information regarding age and suggests emphasizing skills and experiences rather than education and work history. It provides tips for avoiding age-based stereotypes in language and appearance and emphasizes the importance of building rapport in interviews. Finally, the article suggests practicing interview skills through self-recordings and mock interviews with individuals from different age groups.

SIDE NOTE: When we write executive resumes, we generally focus the narrative on the last 10-15 years of relevant work history. We often leave dates off of the education and early career section so that the reader can’t make assumptions about the age of the candidate.

Verizon's CEO Uses Daily Mood Tracking to Maintain Leadership Excellence

In a recent interview at Fast Company's Innovation Festival, Verizon's CEO, Hans Vestberg, revealed an unusual strategy that has helped him stay at the top of his game at work. For over a decade, Vestberg has been tracking his daily mood in a spreadsheet as part of his morning routine. By ranking his state of mind on a scale of one to ten, he's able to ensure he starts the day with the right energy and mindset (he’s apparently become so self-aware that when he’s “a score above eight he has "so much energy that people get tired of me.”) This ritual has become a cornerstone of his leadership style, and he even shares the data with other executives to encourage them to do the same. To learn more about Vestberg's unique approach to leadership and how he keeps his employees happy, click here to read the full Business Insider article

Navigating the Challenges of CEO Activism in a Polarized America

The polarization in the United States presents a dilemma for corporate leaders who face pressure to take a stand on controversial issues. According to this article from The Wall Street Journal, written by Andrew Ward, Chair of Corporate Governance and a professor of management at Lehigh University, speaking out can result in a backlash that harms business and fuels discord. Despite this, CEOs should feel empowered to continue speaking out on issues that directly impact their companies. Many of the most contentious political and social issues of our time, such as climate change and trust in government, are critical business concerns. CEOs should carefully assess when to speak out and foster constructive dialogue without alienating employees and customers. By creating a platform for discussion and acknowledging the legitimacy of differing viewpoints, businesses can help foster a healthier society and retain employee loyalty. Ultimately, CEOs must prioritize the long-term interests of their companies over their personal convictions.

McKinsey Study Highlights Financial Impact of Low Employee Engagement amid Return to Office Mandates

This Fortune article by “Hybrid Expert” Dr. Gleb Tsipursky looks at a new study on employees willingness to return to the office and the impact it is having on businesses. According to McKinsey, mid-size S&P 500 companies face the risk of losing millions of dollars annually and billions over five years due to low employee engagement. Recent data shows that employee engagement in the U.S. has dropped in the past two years, with remote or hybrid workers having higher engagement levels compared to those who work exclusively on-site. The study also reveals that different types of employees have varying levels of satisfaction with remote or in-person work, and mandatory return-to-office policies can lead to higher turnover rates among disengaged employees. Fortune concludes that to boost employee engagement, companies need to prioritize flexibility, provide mental health resources, and foster a sense of community through various initiatives and programs.

LinkedIn Top Startups 2023: Emerging U.S. Companies Defying Economic Challenges

Just released last week, the LinkedIn Top 50 Startups list features emerging U.S. companies that have navigated through uncertain times and proven their value. LinkedIn evaluated these startups based on employee growth, jobseeker interest, member engagement, and their ability to attract top talent. To be eligible for the list, companies needed to be fully independent, privately held, have 50 or more full-time employees, be 5 years old or younger, and have their headquarters in the country on the list. Click to discover the innovative startups leading the way in climate technology.

Job Seekers Can Avoid Toxic Workplaces by Asking These Questions During the Interview Process

Many job seekers end up in disappointing and toxic workplaces despite wanting to find a company that values employee well-being. To avoid this, it is important for job seekers to ask specific questions during the interview process to gauge company culture and determine if it aligns with their needs. In this article from Market Watch, reporter Zoe Han suggests questions such as asking about successful employees, work-life balance, openness to suggestions, team meetings, and career growth opportunities can provide insights into the company's values and work environment. Han says by asking these questions, job seekers can make more informed decisions about potential employers and increase their chances of finding a workplace where they can thrive.

Briefcase Coach Original: 50 Inspirational Women Leaders in Atlanta

I am excited to share my latest list of inspirational women leaders. My team and I compiled a list of 50 women in the Atlanta area who are making a difference in their industries and communities. With a variety of backgrounds – biopharma, education, technology, human services, hospitality, culinary experience, etc. – these women shape the future of our community through their inspiration and influence.

Can you do me a favor?

I’m on a mission to help job seekers land amazing jobs. Would you consider doing one of the following:

  • Forward or use the referral link below to share this newsletter with your job-searching friends or post about it on social media. This small act really helps!

  • Reach out to us about featuring your executive job posting in our newsletter. We are looking for hiring managers, founders, and search firms to talk on video about their ideal candidates.

  • Consider sharing my company name with your HR leadership. We are a great “white-glove” boutique option for executive outplacement

  • Recommend me as a paid speaker for your company events on networking, job searching, or leveraging LinkedIn

  • Recommend my services to high performers wanting to work one-on-one with an executive resume writer / or experienced interview coach

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