Sarah Johnston’s “Briefs” Job Search Newsletter | | Job Search Smarter

In this issue: How to be a voice of value on LinkedIn, leverage your one-on-one with your manager for a promotion, list of the top recruiting firms according to Forbes, tips to maximize your severance, trends in the current job market, how to become recession proof, and more…

Dear Reader:

I often say job seeking isn’t for the faint of heart.

Before starting my own business, I relocated to three completely cold markets (Augusta, St. Louis, and Columbus, OH) for my husband’s job and had to execute job searches in cities where I knew no one. If you’ve never done this before, I’ll tell you; it kind of feels like you are walking in a dark cave where you don’t know what is ahead. Not only is the cave a complete mystery, but you unexpectedly get knocked to your knees every now and then and lose your sense of direction. It’s lonely, humiliating, occasionally exciting, but mostly maddening. Every now and then, the feeling that you’ll never get out of the cave creeps in.

Why am I telling you this?

Because job seekers need community. They need a support system. They need to feel like they have a partner in the cave.

If you know someone who is unemployed, here is how you can support them:

★ Buy them coffee. Ask them to tell you their target list and help them prospect for new connections.

★ Make introductions.

★ Send them encouraging text messages. Remind them of their worth.

★ Go to a networking event with them. Help them shine.

★ Check in on their mental health.

★ Gift them a 1-hour session with a job coach to spark their search.

If you are unemployed and job searching, give people real, tangible ways that they can support you when they ask, “is there anything that I can do for you?” Help them help you

Rooting for you,


Recruiting Trends

LinkedIn messages are recruiters' top choice for connecting with candidates
LinkedIn messages are recruiters’ top choice for connecting with

HR Drive’s Laurel Kalser looks at a newly released Clinch and Talent Board report that names LinkedIn messaging the preferred way for recruiters to connect and communicate with top candidates.

America's Best Executive Recruiting Firms 2022
America’s Best Executive Recruiting Firms

Forbes partnered with market research company Statista to determine their annual ranking of America’s Best Executive Recruiting Firms. This list can be helpful when building out a target outreach list for your job search. (see video below for a practical guide to using it)

Career Growth

Get a Job Promotion Faster by Impressing your Manager with these Super Simple 1:1 Hacks
Get a Job Promotion Faster by Impressing your Manager with these Super Simple 1:1

One of the fastest ways to get a job promotion is by impressing your manager during your one-on-one meetings. Growth Hack Your Career’s Bogdan Zlatkov talked to career experts, including me, to uncover 3 simple hacks you should use during the next one-on-one meeting with your manager to help you showcase your qualifications for a promotion.



Pay and Benefits

How To Maximize Your Severance Package If You’ve Lost Your Job
How To Maximize Your Severance Package If You’ve Lost Your

When offered a severance, it is important not to accept it right away. Huff Post’s Monica Torres outlines steps to take so that you don’t leave money. Severance can impact your taxes for that year, unemployment insurance, and more. Another game changer – asking for assistance with outplacement services to help find your next job.

What Do CEOs Really Earn In America? It Isn’t Musk Money, That’s For Sure
What Do CEOs Really Earn In America? It Isn’t Musk Money, That’s For

Chief Executive‘s annual survey of C-Suite comp offers a much-needed reality check amid the swirl of high-pitched headlines. While the media touts excessive CEO’s salaries, like Elon Musk, the majority aren’t what you would expect.

State of the Market

What's actually going on with Google and Facebook hiring freezes?
What’s actually going on with Google and Facebook hiring freezes?

I enjoyed reading this article recently shared by Hung Lee @ Recruiting Brainfood. tries to make sense of all the contradictory info on Google & Facebook hiring freezes. They surveyed hundreds of engineers who are interviewing there right now – their findings are another example of how sometimes reality contradicts headlines.

The Hot Labor Market Has Almost Become A Crisis
The Hot Labor Market Has Almost Become A

With talks of a recession looming and rising interest rates, an unemployment rate lower than it has been in over 50 years is mind-boggling. Industry analyst, Josh Bersin explains how the hot job market is becoming a crisis: a crisis for CEOs, HR leaders, and economists. This “human supply chain” needs a systemic solution.

The Recession-Proof Executive
The Recession-Proof

Who will keep their jobs in a market downturn? Korn Ferry predicts that executives who align themselves to the expectations and goals of the CEO will fair better in a downturn. Korn Ferry’s senior client partner, Ann Vogl is quoted “The better you do that, the more secure you are,’ she says. The key is to drive the financial results that the CEO desires, such as new sales and new customers—not marketing results. ‘Nobody cares how many emails were opened.'”

Remote Work

The future of remote work, according to 6 experts
The future of remote work, according to 6

There is a divide in the argument for remote work and the future of the office. In this article, Vox’s Rani Molla shares views from both sides. Julie Whelan, global head of occupier research at CBRE is quoted saying, “The last few years have proven that people are able to work remotely. Now, we are trying to mix a combination of in-person and remote work — that is where the challenges shine.”

The 19 Best Remote Job Boards in 2022
The 19 Best Remote Job Boards in 2022

Biron Clark of Career Sidekick has compiled a list of the best job boards for finding fully remote jobs. This newly updated list is meant to help jobseekers find remote jobs in programming, writing, marketing, UI/UX, customer service, and much more.

Your Digital Footprint

A new Search tool to help control your online presence
A new Search tool to help control your online

Google showcases a new tool in Google Search that can help you easily control whether your personally-identifiable information can be found in its Search results.

Twitter Asked People to Be Less Offensive. The Results Were Surprising
Twitter Asked People to Be Less Offensive. The Results Were

We have probably all seen people air their grievances on social media. When people are masked by their computers they are more inclined to say (type) things they wouldn’t necessarily say to someone’s face. Twitter is using a feature to help give people another chance to consider what they are posting before it goes live. Podcast host, Jason Feifer looks at how Twitter is working to teach “big lessons from a little nudge”.

Final Thought: Creating Content

I post often to LinkedIn. I try to share actionable advice for job seekers that is attainable and relevant. I have many followers on LinkedIn, but to have my content seen, I have to play the algorithm game. There is a direct correlation between profile views and frequency of content creation.

It’s all about the Law of Visibility.

Conversations & conversions occur when you are visible.

When people see you as the solution to their pain point.

Want more leads? More job opportunities? More “gosh, he’s so knowledgeable about X topic”?

✍🏻 Write

𝗪𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗲 𝗮𝗯𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁?

People resonate with & remember personal stories. But you don’t have to be the hero in all your stories.

When I coach executives and industry leaders on content creation, we work together to identify:

  • who their target audience is
  • what their target audience cares about
  • why they are uniquely qualified to connect with this audience

The answers to these questions should be your “North Star” when writing content. 90% of what you write or share on LinkedIn should tie back to these answers. The other 10% can be fun/off-brand.

💼 People often ask me how I hit the “million-follower” club on LinkedIn. My answer is always to focus on c͟o͟n͟s͟i͟s͟t͟e͟n͟t͟ ͟v͟a͟l͟u͟e͟ ͟d͟e͟l͟i͟v͟e͟r͟y͟.͟ ͟

The goal of creation should be to be a “Voice of value” vs. an influencer.

Who is your audience? For many people, an audience consists of:

  • People 1-2 steps behind you
  • Peers
  • Future employees
  • Customers

What your audience cares about:

  1. 1. White papers
  2. 2. Business impact of innovation
  3. 3. Economic implications on the industry
  4. 4. Talent
  5. 5. The business of leadership/leveling up
  6. 6. What you are reading
  7. 7. Your team/spotlighting other people

Content creation isn’t just for “the marketing department.” Some of my favorite clients— cyber security leaders, CEOs of mid-sized businesses, and founders raising Series A– are all using #content to level up their professional brands and gain more visibility.

Content has the power to attract your ideal clients. Writing can position you as a thought leader in your industry and open doors to meet other industry leaders.

💼 Remember: Intentional, thoughtful, “on-brand” content is better than JUST sharing a post.

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 this newsletter to your job-searching friends or post about it on social media. This small act really helps!
  • 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

Did you enjoy this issue? Give us a thumbs up or down. Your vote helps us understand the type of content you enjoy.


  • Sarah Johnston

    I’m 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 right marketing documents or know how to position themselves in interviews. I have relocated multiple times across the country as a “trailing spouse” and have had to execute job searches in completely cold markets (where I literally knew no one!) I have been named a LinkedIn Top Voice in the career space in 2019, HR Weekly’s Top 100 Most Influential People in HR, named the owner of the “best resume writing firm for experienced executives” by Balance Careers and a “top follow” by JobScan in 2019 and 2020.

Sarah Johnston

Sarah Johnston is a former corporate recruiter and industry "insider" with a passion for empowering high-achievers in their career journeys. Frustrated by talented individuals being overlooked due to ineffective marketing documents and interview strategies, Sarah made it her mission to equip professionals with the tools and knowledge to succeed. As a seasoned "trailing spouse" who relocated multiple times, she understands the challenges of executing job searches in unfamiliar markets. Sarah's expertise and impact have earned her recognition as a LinkedIn Top Voice in 2019 and a spot on HR Weekly's Top 100 Most Influential People in HR. Her resume writing firm has been acclaimed as the best for experienced executives by Balance Careers, while JobScan listed her as a top follow in 2019 and 2020.

Need focused coaching time?

Let’s get started