Why Us.


Reimaging Executive Resume Writing

Have you ever thought about the fact that the top companies in the world hire PR firms to create credible brand awareness, set the right tone for communication, gain visibility and get better results?

What makes you different?

Life is a business, and you are your own CEO. You are the brand!

How do you define your brand identity?

What differentiates you from other job applicants?

What are you known for?

That’s where we can come in. We aren’t just a resume writing company; we are a boutique executive career PR firm.

Our clients are not looking for a quick solution. They appreciate the thoughtful approach we take to uncovering their unique career story. We are not a resume mill; we intentionally only take on a few clients at a time. Many of our clients tell us that our intake process helped them have a deeper understanding of their strengths and a new appreciation of their accomplishments.

Our Founder

Sarah Johnston is a former corporate recruiter and industry “insider” who got tired of seeing talented high-achievers get passed over for opportunities because they did not have the proper marketing documents or know how to position themselves in interviews. She has relocated multiple times across the country as a “trailing spouse” and has had to execute job searches in completely cold markets (where she literally knew no one).

Clients appreciate Sarah’s kind demeanor and direct communication style. She usually knows the right question to ask at the right time.

Sarah is a certified YouMap coach who gives a holistic framework for helping uncover motivation and strengths. She was named a LinkedIn Top Voice in the career space in 2019, called the owner of the “best resume writing firm for experienced executives” by Balance Careers, and a “top follow” by JobScan in 2019 and 2020.

ATS Compliant Executive Resumes

As a former recruiter, Sarah has interviewed hundreds (if not thousands!) of job seekers and has seen her fair share of good and bad resumes. She and has a deep understanding of what companies are looking for in a candidate. She’s also used applicant tracking systems (ATS) like Taleo and iCims and understands how recruiters scan resumes. We are actively engaged with industry organizations like the Career Thought Leaders Consortium and participate in regular learning and development.

Excellent Client Outcomes

We get to know our clients and love celebrating their successes! Because we take privacy very seriously and extend a confidentiality agreement to our clients at the start of our engagement, we are unable to share real client stories, resumes, or LinkedIn profiles. Thankfully, these incredible clients of ours love to send us referrals! Around 25-40% of our booked business includes referrals from either past clients, close friends, or former colleagues.

We know that social proof is a significant factor when making a decision. We have over 50 public reviews on LinkedIn or Google Business and many stories on our website.

Do we guarantee success? No. No legitimate resume writing company will ever offer that promise. It’s impossible to ensure that you’ll land the executive job that you want, in the location you are interested in, at the comp level that you deserve. We do guarantee that you’ll be satisfied with the final product. We will do everything we can to ensure that you love the documents. That being said, it’s not uncommon for our clients to start getting recruiter calls just weeks after our work is finished.

Another quality indicator is that we see a significant number of “boomerang clients”—or individuals who landed a job and then want to work with us again to position for future promotion or new role.

Sarah Johnston has been featured in:


4 Step Method That Teaches You How To Land Your Dream Job Using EQ


How To Jump Start Your Job Search With Advice From 15 Career Experts

Reader’s Digest

Best Answers to “Why Should We Hire You?”

Business Insider

Salary: Here’s What To Say To The Hiring Manager


Please Don’t Apply To Every Open Role At A Single Company


Why You Should Always Ask The Hiring Manager This One Simple Question


6 Tips To Kickstart Your 2020 Job Search


Is Ghosting The New Normal In A Competitive Job Market?

The Ladders

The 4 Words Far Too Few People Forget To Say In An Interview

The Voice of Job Seekers

Podcast: Modern Job Search Trends 2020


15 Career Experts To Follow in 2019

Executive Career Brand

Smart Job Interviewing Tips


Applicant Tracking 101: How To Get Past The Dreaded ATS System

Self Made Millennial

Video Interview: How To Make a Good First Impression


How To Prepare For a Job Interview

Career Sidekick

10 Best LinkedIn Headlines With Examples

Reader’s Digest

Things HR People Won’t Tell You About Salary & Raises

Business Insider

6 Steps You Need To Take To Successfully Change Careers

Student Doctor

9 Tips For Residency interview Success

Career Sherpa

Best Twitter Accounts To Follow For A Job Search

Mac’s List (Podcast)

Why You Didn’t Ace the Job Interview and Get an Offer


Coronavirus: Job interviews go online as candidates stuck at home

HR Magazine

Online job interviews advised as part of social distancing

Cultivated Culture

COVID-19: Job Market Insights from Career Experts


How to Know Your Resume Is Ready to be Submitted


Hot Job Interview Trends for 2020: What the Experts Say

LinkedIn: Get Hired

Special Edition – Job interviews during a pandemic

Job Scan

Top Job Search Experts to Follow on LinkedIn for 2020


Smart, Actionable Advice From Top LinkedIn Career And Job Search Professionals

Andy Foote’s Podcast Foote Notes

Episode 13


How To Ask A Stranger For Help With Job Referrals And Connections

Scripps Media: Local News Interview

Tips on searching the ‘hidden job market’ and finding jobs before they’re listed


How to Ask for a Raise During the Pandemic


Accidentally Manipulative Things That You Say At Work


Best Advice for Handling Rejection


Client Success Story: It Takes A Village

Sample Resumes
I thought you would be happy to know I was just offered (and accepted) the perfect next position! You should know my hiring manager commented on my resume and said it was very well-done. Thank you again for partnering with me on this project. It was well worth the investment!
— Pharmaceutical Sales Manager, Columbus, OH
Thanks for following up. My interview went well and I felt like it was my best performance yet on residency interviews. I felt that the time I spent with you was very productive, and that you have a lot to offer medical students. I think the most valuable thing for me was gaining confidence through practice. Your interview was more difficult than most radiology interviews which are really casual, but I’m glad that I built up confidence by running through those questions. I also found some ways to sneak in my “tell me about yourself” response even though I wasn’t asked that question directly by any of my interviewers.
— Medical Student
Some additional feedback for you – I feel your interview prep services are worth more. I appreciate people/companies who really love what they do and deliver more than expected. You did that for me.
— Vice President in Trade Industry, Washington D.C.
Celebrations are definitely in order! I couldn’t have asked for a better time to hear from you. I’m not just saying this, but your check in call saved the day. I had no idea what to say going into the call. I took your advice and pretty much said the script you wrote out for me. I feel like I would have froze if it weren’t for you. I left the call feeling a lot less discouraged but wasn’t going to hold my breath. I received an e-mail a little after we hung up. He said that he was glad we talked and that he heard how excited I was about the position. I was offered the job! Thank you for all of your help.
— Claire, Project Management, Columbus, OH
I’ve made it to [XX] and the family will be transitioning here in a few weeks. Thanks so much for all of the help during the interview process. You really helped me frame my answers in a thoughtful way. If you ever need a reference, please let me know.
— Senior Vice President of Innovation, Raleigh, NC
I think it was extremely helpful for him to have you as a career coach. It was important for him to have a professional to work with and guide him. I am very proud of him and glad that he was open to working with you and seeking your advice. Thank you for guiding him though a stressful process, and for helping him show his best qualities. I will gladly recommend your services to anyone I know that could benefit from them.
— Stephany, Mother of a New Grad Client, Atlanta

Sarah Johnston: A Brief Career History

“At the University of Georgia, I took a class through my Leadership Fellowship that encouraged us to reflect on our career goals… as a 20-year-old, I decided my mission was to place people in positions I see them really flourishing.”

— Sarah Johnston

Recruiter Turned Executive Coach

Sarah went to work for one of the largest privately held companies in the southeast. She fell in love with recruiting. Sarah loved meeting diverse, interesting people and was passionate about uncovering their talents, strengths, and dreams.

As a trailing spouse, she’s made multiple cross-country moves for her spouse’s career. Following her husband has meant she’s reinvented herself in cities where she knew no one. She’s an expert networker and friend to all. Her experience job searching in cold markets gives her a unique perspective.

Sarah Johnston Named Top Career Voice

Sarah was named a LinkedIn Top Voice in the career space. Her influence on the platform has allowed her to speak regularly to podcasts job search clubs across the country. Her business, The Briefcase Coach, was named the top executive resume writing firm for experienced executives by Balance Careers. Sarah has been named to HR Weekly’s list of 100 Most Influential People in HR Globally.

Executive Resume Writer and Job Search Coach Based in Durham, NC

Sarah is based in the “Research Triangle” of North Carolina. You can usually find Sarah and her family at the Durham Farmers Market, at a sporting event, or out running on one of the many beautiful trails in Duke Forest.

Sarah Johnston based in Durham, NC

Sarah Johnston
Founder of Briefcase Coach

University of Georgia
A.B. Communications Studies, ILAD Leadership Fellow

Based in Durham, NC but working with clients internationally

We help clients land amazing jobs.

Our mission is to help our clients land the best possible opportunities through strategic marketing documents, thoughtful career planning and targeted messaging that presents the best version of themselves. As a company, we strive to always be learning, produce superior documents and provide the best possible client experience.

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Navigating the Hidden Job Market-- Job Search Strategy

Develop a plan that will take you from a re-active to a proactive job search.

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Mock Interviews

Practice your interview to give you an invaluable edge and a confidence boost.

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The Future of Work is Here™

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