Developing Your Career Toolkit

Job hunting is a daunting task. Whether you’re stuck in a role that just isn’t inspiring you or if you are not currently employed and are feeling the pressure of landing your next gig, job seeking can be stressful and exhausting. We’re big fans of getting some guidance. There are people on your side – from career coaches to resume writers to recruiters. The important thing is to go about the process thoughtfully and with purpose.

Jacci Johnson is a Career Coach and management consultant who specializes in helping those in middle management upleveling to a leadership mindset. But her advice is good for anyone trying to navigate the new hiring landscape. She stresses that while we often focus on hard skills, we need to remember “human skills”. The candidates who have both will have a competitive edge. She encourages candidates to ask themselves what efforts are you making to really understand their gifts and talents, and the value they bring to an employer from the human skills perspective. “How are you letting your talents shine through?” she asks. “We are co-creating this new world of work and to stay competitive you need to do the personal development work that keeps you relevant and on top of your game.”

If you’re thinking about walking away from a role that is no longer satisfying, it’s a good time to be self-aware and reflective. Before you walk away, look at options to grow in your current role. Is there a project you can take on? Is there something that would be a stretch or a certification outside of work that would help? Or is it time to do something very different? If your role was satisfying when you began, ask yourself what has changed? Was it a new boss whose leadership style didn’t work for you? You have to understand what DOESN’T work for you to understand what will.

No matter why the job search is underway, the key part of marketing yourself to future employers is owning your narrative – you need to understand what you do well, have evidence of past successes, and be able to communicate this story.

Megan Grimes is an expert at helping candidates tell their story. She’s a resume and professional profile writer, usually for high level executive roles. She’s seen the gamut of job seekers, from those who haven’t looked for a job in years (these folks are often surprised by the changes in the job seeking world since they last dusted off the resume) to those who were impacted by layoffs or are just hungry for the next opportunity. 

Her advice forces candidates to really think beyond basic job titles and generic skills, and to identify clear differentiators from other candidates. “Focus on your achievements,” she suggests. “Showcase your values and what aligns with what you want to do next. I see a lot of resumes that are cut and pasted from job descriptions but don’t show the value that this person brings to the table. What problems can they solve?”  Candidates need to do a deep dive on what they’ve achieved in past roles. 

Another thing that stands out on a resume: metrics. Organizations want to see how candidates moved the needle in past roles, and clear numbers can help. Talk about specific projects or tasks that the candidate saw through to completion, and what impact it had to the larger organization. This is not the time to be modest. “Job hunters need to think about their experience and turn it into a story.” says Grimes. “How do those things from past employers align with what role they want next?” 

This advice aligns with what career coach Johnson recommends “It’s less about resumes, and more about how you are showing up in your work,” she says. “How are you activating your talents?”

If you’re out there looking for work, stay positive and stay active on LinkedIn. The algorithm there rewards those who engage and search – you’ll come up in more searches when you’re on their platform a lot. And when that call comes from a recruiter – be ready to tell your story. 


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