Expert job search advice.

The Briefcase “Briefs” Job Search Newsletter – Issue #32

In this issue psychology of layoffs, current trends in pay, the importance of spreadsheets in your job search, advice for landing a board seat, misconceptions about high-achieving women, and more…

Dear Reader:

I had some time between meetings today and did something I haven’t done in a long time.

I went to the MALL.

And I went to some classic mall stores. When’s the last time you went to the Gap?

I want to like the Gap.

I like the 90’s version of the brand… All American, quality, and affordable. The navy and white logo just make me think of cute jeans, soft and durable t-shirts, and jean jackets…right?

Except that’s not the experience I had today.

The store was overflowing with STUFF, but not the quality I was expecting. I saw paper-thin graphic shirts for like $59.99 and what I call “bag dresses” (or dresses that don’t flatter anyone because they look like you are wearing a bag).

It’s always disappointing when there is a brand mismatch. Like when you are expecting one thing… but get another experience.

As a job seeker, it’s important to make sure that YOUR BRAND is authentically represented and on display.

Here are a few real-life examples:

— If you are applying for a job that requires INNOVATION and you are positioning yourself as a futuristic thinker and creator— give specific examples and results on your resume that reflect this. Don’t “kitchen sink” your resume and just include a bunch of projects… include relevant work that compliments the opportunity. (Want to see this in action? Skip ahead to min 11.30 for a video tutorial)

— If you are interviewing for a job where people skills are a priority– make sure that you make small talk with the person interviewing you. Showcase your conversation skills and give real examples of ways that you’ve demonstrated relationship building. (Here are some conversation starters)

Have you ever experienced a brand mismatch? Was it a perceived mismatch or a true misfit?

Rooting for you,


Ps. Free giveaway in the newsletter today!

Job Search Strategy

How Do You Know if You Don’t Get the Job? What if You Never Officially Find Out?
How Do You Know if You Don’t Get the Job? What if You Never Officially Find Out?

Rejection is hard – uncertainty is hard too, especially in a job search. LinkedIn news reporter, Helen Harris shares insights from Sarah Johnston and others on dealing with rejection and lack of feedback after an interview.

4 Steps Executive Job Seekers Can Take to Network Successfully
4 Steps Executive Job Seekers Can Take to Network

It goes without saying that executive job seekers achieve success primarily through networking. Career Coach, Bob McIntosh features advice from Sarah Johnston and other career professionals on successful networking.

Benefits and Pay

Are Big Wages Losing Steam?
Are Big Wages Losing Steam?

For the first time in a year, wage growth is slowing. But experts aren’t sure if the bidding wars are over. Korn Ferry’s Tom McMullen looks at the current trends and future in employee pay.

Great Employees Don't Complain - They Walk Away
Great Employees Don't Complain – They Walk

HBR Contributor and Leadership Educator, Ian Daley explains how to retain your best employees so that they don’t walk away.

Unemployment and Layoffs

The Split-Screen Job Market: Low Unemployment, High Turnover, Plenty Of Openings—And More Layoff Headlines
The Split-Screen Job Market: Low Unemployment, High Turnover, Plenty Of Openings—And More Layoff

Every day seems to bring a tale of two job markets. On the one hand, data shows a labor market where unemployment remains low and the economy keeps adding jobs. On the other, there are near-daily stories of hiring freezes and layoffs. Forbes’s Senior Editor, Jena McGregor looks at what it could all mean.

The psychological impact of layoffs is often forgotten
The psychological impact of layoffs is often

In this article from 2014, Abhilasha Ojha interviews University of Colorado management professor, Wayne F Cascio on the psychological impact of layoffs and how organizations could cushion the impact to make it less traumatic. While this is an older article, I believe it is just as relevant today as layoffs appear to be on the horizon.

Landing a Board Seat

I’m ready for the next move in my career: a great board seat. What’s the best way to set myself up?
I’m ready for the next move in my career: a great board seat. What’s the best way to set myself up?

Maynard Webb sits on several boards including two Fortune 500 companies. He gives recommendations on how you can increase your odds and best position yourself as an attractive candidate for board seats.

3 rookie mistakes CIOs make when seeking a board seat
3 rookie mistakes CIOs make when seeking a board

CIO-turned-board director Jean Holley shares her advice on avoiding some common mistakes first-timers often make when pursuing a public board seat.

Women in the Workplace

Rethink What You “Know” About High-Achieving Women
Rethink What You “Know” About High-Achieving

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the admission of women to Harvard Business School’s MBA program, Robin J. Ely, Pamela Stone, and Colleen Ammerman, set out to learn what HBS graduates had to say about work and family and how their experiences, attitudes, and decisions might shed light on prevailing controversies.

The motherhood penalty: How childcare and paternity leave can reduce the gender pay gap
The motherhood penalty: How childcare and paternity leave can reduce the gender pay

Kate Whiting talks to author and expert Joeli Brearley on how companies can help reduce the motherhood penalty and gender pay gap that showed a huge uptick during the pandemic.

Spreadsheets in your Job Search

95% of the job seekers do not have a job search spreadsheet.

*That’s a made-up percentage…. but probably an accurate number

They are winging their job search efforts.

Job search spreadsheets are a great way to stay organized, track efforts and hold yourself accountable. And it’s your lucky day…. I am giving away one of my customizable spreadsheets!

**Click the link above. Cart the item. Use the promo code BriefcaseSpreadsheet for 100% off at checkout. No card is needed**

Here are 5 ways that you could use a spreadsheet in your job search

1. To create your target company list (video tutorial)

2. To list out the names of people THAT YOU KNOW who work for companies that you’d like to work for/ and also people who could make introductions (video tutorial)

3. To track applications > number of interviews > rejections

** Bonus: you could also track the number of days the position was posted before you applied. The longer a position is officially posted, the more likely the company already has a strong candidate pool. (Still apply!). Tracking these metrics will help you assess if something is wrong with your application OR if your timing is off.

4. Track outreach to recruiters at companies of interest

***Bonus: you could add a line to your spreadsheet to share if you messaged the person on LinkedIn or sent them an email.

– If you send them an email, you could leverage a Gmail extension like Mailtrack to track if the email was opened. (Bonus: Here’s a video that walks you through how to find email addresses)

– If you used LinkedIn to send the message, you could also add the date the person last engaged with content (see their 90-day activity on profile) to measure how engaged the person is with the platform.

**These insights will help you measure if your message is getting seen or if you need to use another medium to reach them.

5. List names of people that you know well / “Centers of Influence.”

– Go on LinkedIn to see who they are connected to that you want to be introduced to

– Use the spreadsheet to keep track of individuals that they could introduce you to and track the meetings so that you can follow up with the connector

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

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