Briefcase Coach's Career Briefs: Job Search Smarter

A look at how AI is impacting the job search, maximizing career growth with self-reflection, new job search feature on X, navigating the great urban exodus and more...

Dear Reader:

If I had a dollar for every time someone over the past month asked me for my predictions on "how the resume writing industry will fare with ChatGPT," I could buy roundtrip tickets to the beach. Ok, maybe not the Maldives, but certainly Tampa. 

It's a fair question. Generative AI will disrupt many industries. I have seen resumes produced by ChatGPT, and they are shockingly good. They aren't great--- we are certainly better-- but if you are in a pinch looking for a formulaic document, they can do the job.

The value executives get from working with us extends beyond words on a page. We are in the storytelling business. Briefcase Coach helps job seekers uncover their stories that have been years in the making. We help clients position their experience and value proposition to attract better opportunities. We are more than an executive resume firm - we are a career marketing agency.  We are to job seekers what Wieden+Kennedy is to Nike. Or what WPP is to Coca-Cola. 

I do think AI will create some disruption in professional headshots. As savvy job seekers know, a professional headshot is often a potential employer's first visual impression of a candidate. In the digital age, your photo may accompany your LinkedIn profile, personal website, or other professional networking platforms. A high-quality image presents a polished and professional appearance. However, headshots are expensive, and a professional one can be cost-prohibitive for many. Can AI headshots replace professional photographers? I reviewed three of the top AI-headshot generators and compared the images to recent professional photos taken by an award-winning photographer. The results are interesting, to say the least!

The future of AI is uncertain, but one thing's for sure: computers can't replicate genuine relationships. I'm incredibly thankful for the connections I have with many of you—whether as clients, career buddies, former colleagues, or friends. Connection is something that technology cannot mimic.

In a season of gratitude, I am thankful for you. Thank you for your referrals, for your comments on my posts, and for sharing our articles.

Rooting for you,

Ps. Are you interested in upgrading your headshot in the new year? I would love to gift one of you a portfolio of AI-generated headshots with Of the AI headshots that I reviewed, Secta was my clear winner from my experiment. I am giving away 20 free headshots (valued at $49.99). If interested, email me using the subject line Secta Giveaway. 20 names will be selected at random on Friday the 15th ***

It’s Talent, Steve.

Every generation has experienced a major disruption.

The light bulb.

The telephone.

The internet.


“What the heck are we supposed to do” about change? It’s talent.

Credit: Thank you to Rob Dromgoole, who shared this video in the Recruiting Brainfood Facebook group

Executive Shake-Up at The Arena Group Amid AI Controversy

A recent reshuffle of leadership at The Arena Group is said to have been due to a controversy involving the use of AI to produce content for Sports Illustrated and TheStreet, which was then misleadingly attributed to fictitious writers. COO Andrew Kraft and President Rob Barrett were ousted. Despite statements that the terminations were part of a larger reorganization by majority owner Manoj Bhargava, the timing coincides with a Futurism report unveiling the AI debacle. The Arena Group's stock has experienced a downturn, suggesting the need for strong leadership to navigate innovative technology and critical reputation management.

Key takeaway: Jobseekers and executives alike may take note of the company's handling of the situation and the potential consequences of integrating AI solutions without transparent practices.

Maximize Your Career Growth with Self-Reflection

It’s the time of year for all “year-in-review” lists. If you search Google for such lists, the results are endless. It seems every major publication has curated some form of 2023 review. But have you ever considered creating one for yourself? According to Rob Kim’s article in the University of British Columbia magazine, creating a professional best-of list for yourself can be rewarding and a strategic move to identify and prepare for upcoming opportunities. The article emphasizes the benefits of such reflection, including celebrating past successes and identifying new skills and areas for growth.

Inspired by Kate Whalen's Reflective Learning Framework, the piece suggests a three-step approach:

  1. Organizing work achievements month by month to create a timeline of professional snapshots

  2. Noting emotions associated with these accomplishments

  3. Thinking ahead to future goals.

X Rolls Out New Job Search Feature

HR Dive recently released a brief on the accessibility of X's (previously known as Twitter) job search feature, 'X Hiring.' The expansion opens the feature previously reserved for verified users to all users, aiming to directly compete with LinkedIn and other job boards such as Indeed and Monster. The feature, initially exclusive to verified organizations, allows users to search for positions by keyword or location and filter for remote-only roles. For executive jobseekers, X Hiring presents a new avenue to explore career opportunities, keeping in mind the platform's current reputation and user dynamics.

Our takeaway: We'll be shocked if the new feature becomes popular. Yesterday, when we searched for "Vice President," we found only a few job openings, many duplicated in multiple locations. Additionally, the feature doesn't offer many filtering options.

Do you have professional development funds that you need to use before the end of the year?

Did you know that some companies will allow you to use these funds for career coaching?

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Eleven Secrets for Optimal Client Service

This video should be mandatory viewing material for people who work with customers. In the video, UVA Law adjunct professor Jim Donovan, vice chairman of global client coverage at Goldman Sachs, discusses how to provide optimal service to clients. He gives eleven “secrets” for providing outstanding client service. Donovan’s 11 rules are below, but watch the video for a more in-depth explanation of each.

  1. Never use jargon

  2. Pause when communicating

  3. Give advice that is contrary to your own interests

  4. Ask open-ended questions

  5. Be positive and upbeat

  6. Take care when mixing business and social interactions

  7. Be humble

  8. From the beginning, make sure the client knows they are important to you

  9. Give advice, and don’t back down

  10. Control the meeting

  11. Have an agenda

Universities Revolutionize Career Services to Deliver on Investment and Boost Alumni Success

There is a growing demand for tangible returns on educational investments in response to a significant evolution in career services at higher education institutions. Recognizing career success as a primary motivation for obtaining a degree, universities are increasingly enhancing their career support infrastructure. This is a shift from previous perceptions that career discussions were antithetical to education. This article from The Hechinger Report underlines the urgency of this transformation as career preparation is not only crucial for student success but also for institutional sustainability, given that satisfied alumni are more likely to contribute financially.

As job seekers, this awareness of enhanced career services can be vital in selecting educational programs that will support ongoing career development and understanding new expectations and opportunities in the evolving landscape of higher education and workforce preparation.

  • Note on Secta giveaway: Sarah Johnston, the author of the article reviewing AI headshot generators, personally paid for the experiment. No incentives were exchanged for being mentioned in the article. The article was written without the influence of sponsors. After the article was published, the Secta team saw the article and offered to give Sarah 20 promo codes. Sarah has not been compensated for the mention. She accepted the promo codes on behalf of her newsletter readers. Sarah Johnston or the Briefcase Coach LLC did not financially benefit from the mention.

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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