Career Briefs: A Tale of Two (Job Search) Worlds

In this issue: Crafing a legal resume, a recession forecast, the realities of the job market, interview tips and more...

Dear Reader:

The job market is thriving, but not everyone is reaping the benefits. Last Friday’s jobs report did not look as dismal - but is it reality? Many people looking for jobs are struggling to find work, despite the fact that the economy is doing well overall. Unemployment is low, and the job market is adding many new jobs each month.

If you are job searching, your success should not be measured by the number of jobs you apply to online.

I was talking to a neighbor over the weekend who was laid off in Q1 and has been in active job search mode for the last two months. He shared that one of the most challenging aspects of job searching has been how nebulous it has been.

I'm an operations guy... "If I do X, I want to get Y"

Unfortunately for him, he's in a niche field. There literally were no job postings in his field available for him to even apply to in February.

He spent the whole month refining his story, creating career marketing documents, and researching target companies.

When March came around, he saw two positions that he "kind of qualified for" online. He applied, but he also spent the month identifying key decision-makers in his industry.

He built "the spreadsheet of all spreadsheets" of every possible person or connection that could help his job search efforts. This became his "CRM" for his job search. He started sending personal outreach messages (even to strangers, gasp 🤯!).

At the end of March, he finally started getting responses.

At the beginning of April, he saw—for the first time in two months—new job postings online at his target companies. Several of the individuals he proactively reached out to sent him messages inviting him to apply.

This week he had 3 phone interviews and 1 in-person interview.


He's still unemployed, but the groundwork he did two months ago (when he wasn't applying for jobs online) set him up for the success he's seeing now.

đź’ĽBottomline: Time spent on purpose is more valuable than time spent. If you are not doing the right things, your peers may be in a better situation than you, even though it feels like you are working harder than them. They may be working smarter.

Rooting for You,

I am excited to share my conversation with Susannah Khayat, Briefcase Coach’s legal resume expert. The number of legal job openings in large companies decreased by 6% in 2023 compared to the previous year. This decline is attributed to companies having fewer clients and deals. In a competitive job market, it is crucial to have a strong and tailored resume. Susannah shares her insights into what makes a compelling legal resume, pitfalls to avoid, and how to tailor it to your specific industry.

How Accurate Are Recruiters’ Resume Reviews

Resumes and LinkedIn profiles are evaluated by recruiters in a matter of minutes or even seconds, determining who gets an interview. To understand how accurate recruiters are at judging resumes, a study was conducted by with 76 technical recruiters. They reviewed and made judgments about 30 engineers' resumes, answering questions about whether they would interview the candidate and the likelihood of passing a technical interview. The study included evaluations of over 1,000 resumes from actual engineers on the job market.

Their findings, in short, are that recruiters’ resume judgments are just slightly better than a coin flip. Read more about this in-depth analysis here.

A White Collar Recession?

Many people looking for jobs are struggling to find work, despite the fact that the economy is doing well overall. Unemployment is low, and the job market is adding many new jobs each month. However, there seems to be a divide between blue-collar workers and white-collar professionals when it comes to hiring. This article in Business Insider explores this shift in the job market, where lower-income workers were often left behind while professionals thrived. Now, it's the high earners who are facing challenges in finding new opportunities. This change has left many feeling confused about the state of the economy and could lead to increased discontent and low morale in the corporate world if the hiring lull continues.

Your Unique Superpower: Dimension X

Have you ever been asked what advice you would give to your 16-year-old self? This question is often used to share wisdom from someone who has experience or success. Google's first chief innovation evangelist, Frederik Pferdt shared his take on this question in a recent Entrepreneur Magazine article. According to Pferdt, reflecting on your own life can help you discover your unique superpower, which he calls your "Dimension X." This is the lens through which you see the world, shaped by your experiences and beliefs.

Source: Entrepreneur Magazine

By understanding your Dimension X, you can make better decisions and navigate your future with confidence. To discover your Dimension X, Pferdt suggests creating a map (like the one seen above) of milestones chronologically and note your responses and actions. Look for a common quality or bias that influenced your responses to events - this is your Dimension X. Ask others to share stories about you and how your Dimension X impacted them. Becoming aware of your Dimension X allows you to access its power and make choices that move you forward.

Instead of dwelling on the past, focus on creating new opportunities for yourself based on your Dimension X. Use your Dimension X to make bold moves and impactful decisions in your personal and professional life.

The Struggle is Real: Finding a Job

Many job seekers are struggling to find employment, facing challenges such as a lack of response from employers and false job listings. The job search process has become more difficult, with longer timelines for receiving offers. Factors contributing to this, as outlined in this Fast Company article, include spillover from pandemic-related layoffs, increased competition due to AI-enhanced resumes, and a shift in the labor market from an employee's market to an employer's market. Networking and developing new relationships are crucial in navigating the current job market. Job seekers are advised to be patient and realistic, understanding that the labor market has returned to a more normal state after the surge in hiring following the pandemic. However, it is expected that the job market will eventually balance out and swing back in favor of employees.

The Reality of Job Loss

The current state of the economy, with inflation and high-interest rates, is making it difficult for people to get ahead financially. According to this Wall Street Journal article, job loss is a concern, as it can prevent individuals from accessing the equity in their homes. This has led some people to rely on credit card debt instead. The job market is also challenging, with companies being more selective in their hiring process.

Recruiters have noticed that employers are looking for candidates who not only have the necessary skills but also fit well within the company culture. This has resulted in positions remaining unfilled for extended periods of time. Some workers have doubts about the accuracy of government statistics on job growth, while others believe that the job market is slow and competitive. The current job market is particularly tough for those in industries like tech, finance, law, and accounting. Overall, the job market is challenging, and many qualified candidates are struggling to find employment.

Highlighting Your Problem-Solving Skills in Interview

When you apply for a job, it's important to show that you can handle unexpected challenges and stay calm and logical. Hiring managers will ask you questions about how you solve problems to see if you have these skills. It's crucial to customize your responses to align with the skills required for the position. Career Sidekick has published an article that provides more than 25 problem-solving examples to assist you in brainstorming your own ideas prior to an interview.

How Can I Help?

Do you know someone who is job searching?

35%. That’s the number of clients referred to us by previous clients. We view referrals as the highest compliment that we can receive. As a token of our appreciation, we offer referral gifts ranging from Ember mugs to Jeni’s ice cream boxes.

Is your company people-focused?

Consider sharing Briefcase Coach with your HR leadership. We are a great “white-glove” boutique option for executive outplacement.

Need to make updates to your professional documents or prepare for a high-stakes interview?

Briefcase Coach has an experienced team ready to help high performers wanting to work one-on-one with an executive career strategist.

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