Career Briefs: Job Search Smarter!

Resume writing resources, learning to be a leader, the challenging job market, optimism after layoffs and more...

Dear Reader:

I hope you are doing well. I hope you are in a position you love and are thriving in your professional and personal worlds. Unfortunately, I know many of you are struggling. Life is hard. I want to encourage youโ€”even in hard timesโ€”to lead with value, not availability.

Three common mistakes that I see people make:

1. "My kids are now in school during the day, and I have the mental bandwidth to take on a new role. I'm seeking flexibility so I can #doallofthethings."

๐—›๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚ ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ป ๐—ฎ ๐—ฝ๐—ผ๐˜€๐˜ ๐—น๐—ถ๐—ธ๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ?
I appreciate that this individual knows what they value the most: flexibility. However, they haven't effectively communicated the types of roles they're interested in or highlighted their skills.

I'd rather see something like this:
"Now that the kids are in school, I am ready to tackle new challenges. While many of you know me as the Girl Scout cookie mom or the neighborhood parade organizer, I also have a degree in Finance. Prior to my career break, I successfully managed multi-million dollar budgets, served as the finance business partner to the fastest-growing new product in a global CPG company, and was recognized for my ability to balance meticulous attention to detail with creativity. I would love to use this skill set as a program manager at a non-profit or social impact organization."

2. "My company XX just laid off 20%. I, unfortunately, was one of those people. I am available to start immediately."

๐—›๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚ ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ป ๐—ฎ ๐—ฝ๐—ผ๐˜€๐˜ ๐—น๐—ถ๐—ธ๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ?

This post is sad because you know this person was completely blindsided and wants to find a job as soon as they can.

I'd like to see them include--in the post-- what makes them a great hire.
- Perhaps they could include innovative projects that they tackled
- An award that the won
- Skills that they have

๐—”๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ'๐˜€ ๐—ฎ ๐—ฐ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐˜‡๐˜† ๐—ถ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ:ย ๐—ช๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐˜๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฝ๐—ผ๐˜€๐˜ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚ ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ถ๐˜.
You never know what tomorrow will bring. When your mind is clear, and you aren't feeling intense pressure, proactively plan for the worst-case scenario. This means having your resume ready and thinking through your "doomsday action plan.

3. And not job search-related... if you are writing your own dating profile, don't lead with "Newly single and ready to mingle"

My single friend told me this is the top reason she swipes left.

I am glad you are here - this newsletter is chock full of so many great resources to help navigate your current circumstances. I encourage you to lean in.

Rooting for you,

๐Ÿ’ผ Briefcase Coach Resources for Resume Writing

Many of you are writing your resume this month for the first time in a long time. I've made my LinkedIn Learning course FREE for you (using this link). It will help you write your leadership-level resume.

I also have a new article on my blog about common mistakes made when writing a resume. These are all quick and easy fixes - but many donโ€™t make them. Be sure to read more to be sure your resume is the best it can be.

Challenging Job Market for MBA Graduates

Wall Street Journalโ€™s Lindsay Ellis takes a look at the stark job market facing recent MBA graduates. According to the article, many recent M.B.A. graduates from prestigious schools are unable to secure employment post-graduation, particularly in the consulting, tech, and finance sectors. Career-switchers among these graduates find it especially challenging as employers prioritize relevant experience. Despite the difficulties in job searching, those who do find work receive competitive starting salaries.

Key Takeaway: The current climate facing recent graduates reminds seasoned professionals of the importance of adaptability, the benefits of a diverse team, and the need to stay informed about market trends for strategic career decisions.

Media Layoffs = Increased Independent Creators

Kinsey Grant's article in the SmoothLetter newsletter, The Case for Media Optimism, addresses the recent wave of layoffs in the news media industry, which has affected over 500 journalists from various well-known organizations. Despite this, Grant maintains a hopeful outlook, attributing her optimism to the rise of knowledge creators - individuals who leverage new technologies and digital platforms to share news and information. The article suggests that these creators are redefining the media landscape by making content more accessible and relatable.

The growth rate of people who get their news from TikTok, as shared in the article, is staggering. It is also empowering to those in the space or looking to take that leap.

๐Ÿ’ผ How Much Do Creators Make?

A couple of years ago, I did a deep dive into the creator industry, looking at how much creators make. As more creators have entered the space and continue to do so, I am excited to read Grantโ€™s optimism. I believe that many times, with layoffs comes unexpected opportunity. However, the creator space is not for the faint of heart - it is a daily hustle and grind.

Go Small(er) to Go Big(ger)

When you think about your target company list, you may have some of the "Best Places to Work" on your list.
Companies like....
Home Depot

But what if they are not hiring?

According to a January 2024 Newsweek article, more than half of companies in a Resume Builder survey said they plan to implement a hiring freeze in 2024 as fears over a recession escalate.

What next?

You go small.

"Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones."
- Theodore Roosevelt

You look for a company on a growth trajectory with big problems you can solve.

Small to medium-sized businesses with cash use recessions and economic downturns to punch above their weight class in terms of hiring talent. Look for an operator who has a desire to make an outsized impact.

A 10-year study by Elena Lytkina Botelho,ย Kim Rosenkoetter Powell,ย andย Nicole Wong published in the Harvard Business Review looked at more than 17,000 C-suite executive assessmentsย looked at who gets to the top and how.

According to the study, "more than 60% of sprinters took a smaller role at some point in their career."

ย ๐Ÿ”ฅBefore going small, make sure you're not stepping into a dumpster fire. ๐Ÿ”ฅ

Performing thorough company due diligence is paramount before committing to a position at a smaller organization.
- Gain insight into their financial stability
- Check THEIR references to ensure that the leaders have integrity
- Make sure you are aligned on a growth strategy
- Research the market and competitive landscape to understand the company's positioning and potential challenges.
- Evaluate the team dynamics and talent pool to gauge the potential for collaboration and personal growth.

Finally, take a moment for introspection: Is a smaller environment conducive to your personality? Keep in mind that you may not encounter the same level of formalities and established procedures found in larger corporations. Will you thrive in this setting?

Top Priorities for HR Departments in 2024

Nicole Sturgill recently shared a report on LinkedIn from her workplace, Gartner, about HR leader priorities for 2024. The report by Jordan Turner highlights HR's growing influence and the importance of prioritizing employee experience in today's competitive talent market. As job seekers, it is important to understand the stressors and pressures facing your target companies. This is a great overview of how human resource departments are helping their organizations reach their goals in 2024.

Learning to Be a Leader

Starting from a design background with little leadership experience, Julie Zhuo used her passion for interpersonal engagement as a foundation for developing effective leadership practices. In this article, she shares three key lessons she has learned over her seven-year journey of learning to be a leader:

1. A great manager must genuinely enjoy working with people.

2. They don't need to have all the answers but should inspire their team to find solutions

3. A manager's strength is reflected in their team's strength and success.

Zou stresses that becoming a confident senior manager takes a minimum of three years, as management experience cannot be fast-tracked but is gained over time through diverse challenges.

Get a Boost Without a Raise

Is it possible to increase oneโ€™s compensation without a salary bump? This article from the AARP Bulletin highlights underutilized employee benefits that extend beyond traditional health insurance and retirement plans. These include reimbursements for home office costs, time off for family and community involvement, and even pet insurance. Professionals looking to boost their take-home pay should explore these offerings to optimize their overall compensation package.

Key Takeaway: It is important to fully understand your company's benefits, as they can offer substantial value and impact job satisfaction. This knowledge is also crucial when leading teams or negotiating job offers, ensuring all parties appreciate the comprehensive scope of benefits available.

Can you do me a favor?

Iโ€™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 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 โ€œwhite-gloveโ€ 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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