A Tale of Two Job Seekers. One Failed, One Succeeded – Both Were Brilliant

Dave was an attorney with a big law firm. His dream was to move into a corporate counsel role with a big corporation. When he first hired me to write his resume he spent a lot of time telling me about how underappreciated he was at his current firm.

When we would brainstorm ideas on how he could transition into his chosen industry he constantly repeated that he “already tried that.” In fact, Dave spent a lot of time shooting down most ideas I knew would help him tremendously.

When we talked about job search strategies he shared with me he didn’t have any time. “Surely you understand,” he would say.” I am an attorney and I work incredibly long hours. Plus I have a family.”

When we discussed his salary goals he said he had to make at least 30% more than what he currently made to “justify the move.”

When I asked him why he had been fired from his last position he said that he and one of the partners could not get along. He refused to elaborate.

Despite the building complexities Dave was creating for himself, he maintained he wanted to be in a new position in less that 60 days. When I attempted share with Dave that it appeared that he was neither ready nor willing to do what it would take to move forward – he simply ignored my comments.

Dave never did make his corporate counsel move. He took a job with another firm…. A job that a recruiter had called to pitch him over the phone. It was the first and only opportunity Dave ever explored.

The story above illustrates how brilliant professionals can undermine their own career progress through not taking responsibility for their job search goals.

And then there was Brian.

Brian hired me as a career coach during a major transition in his life. He drove all the way from Houston to San Antonio to meet with me in person and discuss his situation.

He was a SVP for a mid size company in Houston and he was really ready for a CMO position with a large firm. He had done his research and picked two industries he was interested in exploring further.

He knew he had one chance to make a great first impression and he wanted to do it right. He wanted help researching particular companies, identifying what job search strategies would give him the most leverage and he wanted to make sure his resume was written to best position him for a CMO title.

I will always remember how positive Brian was. He always seemed to see the glass as half full. He took responsibility for his ultimate success and he stayed focused on the strategies I showed him to get quality interviews. He knew the power of a team approach.

Brian was busy and had a family too, but he made his career transition a priority during that window of time.

He landed several high quality interviews and accepted an offer from a company he was truly excited about – at the compensation level that met his goals. It didn’t happen overnight but it did happen within four months of our working together.

One of his goals was to work out of his home one day per week. With the coaching I gave him he successfully negotiated this into his compensation package.

Brian invested in himself and in his career move because as he put it, he knew that “for every $100 he put in he would get $1000 back.”

Brian was willing to listen. That was not true for Dave.

Being “successful” has so much to do with one’s mindset. And coupled with an industry expert’s guidance, moving forward happens much more quickly and easily.

So if you want to get yourself and your job search “unstuck” it’s a wise move to first make sure you are committed to doing what it takes to reach your goals before you hire a career coach or resume writer. However once you are certain about your commitment to your own success, these partnerships can make getting there faster and easier, and your confidence, clarity and motivation will soar.

Mary Elizabeth Bradford is the Founder and Executive Director of CEOresumewriter.com and Maryelizabethbradford.com and a past executive recruiter. A thought leader in the career services industry for over 20 years, she holds 5 distinct advanced certifications for senior-level resume writing, online branding and executive-level job search coaching (CERM, CMRW, CARW, MCD, NCOPE). She has been seen and heard in major media including Forbes, Time, WSJ, Newsweek and NBC affiliate stations. She holds 2 CDI TORI awards and is a top tier judge for the elite CDI TORI awards for four consecutive years. Mary Elizabeth Bradford’s elite team of award-winning, certified, top executive resume writers, former top executive recruiters, and global HR executives help many of the world’s premier C-suite, board members and thought leaders secure the transitions and compensation packages they want. She works with clients all over the globe.

If you are a Director, VP, CxO, or Board Member interested in an executive resume package or working directly with Mary Elizabeth, click to schedule a complimentary 15-minute call.