How to Turn a Stressful Job Search into an Uplifting Discovery Experience

People of all ages and in all stages of their career may find themselves in a position where they will be seeking new employment opportunities, especially in today’s economic conditions.

As a career coach who specializes in working with executives in career transition, I am asked daily, “How should I be spending my time, as most companies are in a holding pattern?” There are times in your life when partnering with coach can be extremely valuable, this is one of those times. If you would like to learn more about our career transition coaching service, please visit or reach out to me directly at

The guidance I provide to my coaching clients, is to know “Your Story”, prior to entering the job market.

  • View time off as a window of opportunity to focus on yourself. You will have time to uncover your passions, strengths and skills, while researching where you are most marketable today.
  • Invest in a personality assessment to broaden your vocabulary when describing yourself and to provide you with insight allowing you to think “outside the box”.
  • Understand your top 3 personal characteristics, skills, values and strengths, as you will utilize this in your value proposition statement, career objective statement and marketing material.
  • Use these top skills, values and strengths to create a clear and concise value proposition statement.
  • Create a career options matrix – This matrix should include a list of career options, why you would like the career, what strengths you can leverage, the benefits of each option and the potential drawbacks.
  • Choose your best career option and create a focused career objective statement. This objective statement can and should change on your resume, if you are targeting multiple industries.
  • Identify and write out five success stories in an organized fashion. Describe the situation, the obstacles you faced, list the actions you took/skills utilized and then describe the results you helped obtain. These success stories will be used to answer behavioral based interview questions.

The next phase is to prepare your marketing material and communication strategy.

  • Utilize all this information to create a professional, strong and targeted resume.
  • Revise your LinkedIn profile to mirror your resume experience and to grab the attention of recruiters. Don’t be shy, highlight your accomplishments with facts and figures. Be warm and invite interaction. Inject your personality, let people know your values and what you do outside of work.

Your profile should include:

A custom URL, professional photo, headline with your value proposition, target words, summary addressing your work passions, key skills and unique qualifications.

Make sure you include a current job entry, even when you are unemployed otherwise you may be overlooked when recruiters are searching for someone with your skills. For example, “Chief Commercial Officer – Seeking New Opportunity”.

  • Create a target list of companies you would like to work for and identify the key people in these organizations.
  • Build up your LinkedIn network (goal should be 500+) and create a thorough contact networking list, including business and personal connections.
  • Write communication scripts for outreach to your LinkedIn network, target companies and personal network. This will give you templates, saving you time when your outreach begins.

You are now prepared to enter the job market. You understand your value, objectives, successes and will come across prepared, focused and confident. Having a well thought out job search strategy and being proactive is how you will most likely create your next opportunity. Fewer than 20% of jobs are filled by someone responding to a job posting.

If done correctly, the process of going through a career transition, can be an uplifting experience of discovery vs a stressful time of uncertainty.

Julie Visser
VP Executive Search and Coaching
Toft Group, a ZRG Company | |