While most people struggle to find a new job that fits all of their criteria, and would never leave a job without a new one on the table, Katrina willingly quit her job for self-care (how boss is that?!) and still snagged three six-figure job offers—in one month!
It’s almost unheard of for a woman to leave her job because she needs a break, without worrying about what that will do to her chances of finding a new job. Ask new mothers who attempt to re-enter the workforce—it’s tough!
Add on top of that the general taboo of leaving a job—willingly—without having another offer lined up. And the dreaded gap-on-your-resume. It all just sounds kind of, well…reckless!
I get it. Job hunting sucks as it is. Application after application. Phone interviews with recruiters who don’t even really understand what you do, but still have a say in whether or not you get the job. Long, multi-round interviews with full presentations you spent a ton of time on—only to hear that they “went with an internal candidate”.
At least when you’re job hunting while you still have a job, you’re still getting a check. And you know when that check is coming.
So, why make your job hunt even shittier by not having a job that can pay your growing wine bill?
Well, how about not having a shitty job hunting experience at all?
Like Katrina—who got three six-figure offers, while hanging out at home watching Netflix, in a month.
And, yes, you can do it, too.
Here’s what you’re getting wrong about the job hunting process
You’re looking for a new job. You tighten up your resume. You spin up some nicely worded, not too aggressive, but clearly showing interest cover letters. And you’re firing off applications.
And maybe you get some traction. But, you still haven’t actually gotten an offer anywhere.
Problem number 1: you’re doing the same thing that most people are doing and hoping that you’re going to get different results than most people are getting.
It’s not impossible, it’s just not a great strategy. And it’s not the best use of your time.
With that strategy, you’re banking on:
- being the best candidate
- the right people noticing that you’re the best candidate out of a sea of other applicants
…which brings me to problem number 2.
Problem number 2: you’re trying to be the best candidate when you should strive to be the only candidate.
Obviously you can’t wave a magic wand and eliminate the competition. However, you can make them irrelevant.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.You’re trying to be the best candidate when you should strive to be the only candidate. Click To Tweet
Back to Katrina.
Katrina had this struggle, too. Like most people, she applied for jobs normally hoping to be the best candidate and hoped that people would read her resume, see that, interview her, and hire her—back when she wasn’t choosing between three six-figure job offers, while she was willingly unemployed.
Katrina needed to develop her career’s brand. This has made all the difference in the way she’s able to secure opportunities at her job and in her industry.
And, you’ll see, she’s secured a lot of them.
Your job ≠ your career
If you take nothing else from what I’m saying to you today, please, please, PLEASE catch this: your job is not your career.
Make that a mantra: my job is not my career.
Let’s break this down a bit. There’s a huge difference between your job and your career.
Your job is the title you currently hold and the tasks you currently do.
Let’s say you’re a Marketing Associate for a fashion company. Your job requires you to gather data about your customers and target audience and, to the best of your abilities, use that data to make suggestions about marketing strategies you should invest in.
Your career field or industry may be in marketing, or you might say it’s in fashion—that choice is really based on where you want to go next. Equally, you can decide that your career truly revolves around doing research and analyzing data. This opens you up to working across industries.
But neither your job, nor your career field or industry, is your career.
Your career is the larger story of the results that you get over the course of your working lifetime. Jobs are just chapters in that story.
People who truly understand this concept, and know how to use their stories, have infinitely more finesse when it comes to securing opportunities and tend to have more interesting careers that they’re excited about.
These people walk into interviews in the position of power because they know that all of their experience and all that they bring to the table—even the stuff that seems “unrelated”—is valuable and relevant to the opportunity they want.
They understand how their unique story positions them as the only candidate capable of making the employer (or the gatekeeper of this opportunity) successful at things they didn’t even ask for because they didn’t even know a candidate could bring it to the table.
Like I said earlier, you don’t want to be the best. You want to be the only.
I particularly love how this finesse works with candidates who come from other fields who think that their experience just isn’t relevant.
Fun fact: most of the jobs and titles I’ve had in my life were created for me once the employer realized that I had skills they didn’t even ask candidates to have. They met me, learned what I could do, and made ways to get me on their teams.
Because I was the only.
And my career’s brand showed that, time and time again.Your career is the larger story of the results that you get over the course of your working lifetime. Jobs are just chapters in that story. Click To Tweet
Your career’s brand is not only about the jobs you do
This is another very important point that like 99% of people don’t even realize. Welcome to the 1%.
Your career’s brand is not just made up the jobs you’ve had. Your career’s brand is also meant to be used for more than just getting a job.
Think about the other career related things you can do that have nothing to do with the company you work for. Things that would be “good for your career” like:
- Speaking at conferences
- Engaging in thought leadership
- Joining and/or leading professional industry organizations
You can do all of those whether you have a job or not. And if you don’t have a job, or the job you want, hitting up some of those activities will definitely make it easier to get the job you want.
All of those strengthen your career’s brand. And they can be easier to achieve if your career’s brand is strong.
Katrina understood that her career exists whether she has a job or not. That’s why she could leave her job and not worry about her career suffering.
It’s this mentality that helps people successfully leave their jobs and go out on their own, doing the same kind of work, without having to struggle to find a clientele.
Lemme slow down a second.
This is all pretty tough to grasp if you don’t understand what a brand is.
A brand is the perception a person has of you. It forms what they think and say about you when you’re not present and it dictates how they treat you. If people don’t know you exist until you apply for the job, then you don’t have a brand with them until their eyes see your resume.
If that’s your first impression, you’d better have a badass resume.
But if they already know about you, they probably don’t even need your resume, honestly. They need to know when you’re available to “come in and chat”. Skipping over the preliminary call from a recruiter who is just fact checking your resume.
A strong career brand can help the right people know about you in advance. In some cases, you won’t even need to apply for the job to be offered the job. They’ll be reaching out to you.
Strong brands create demand.Strong brands create demand. Click To Tweet
Building Katrina’s career’s brand
I’m sure you know that Katrina wasn’t just magically handed several six-figure offers while she was willfully unemployed. She actually had to build the career brand that let her quit her job because she was burnt out, but hop back in when she was ready.
So let’s talk about what we did to build Katrina’s brand.
1. Demon slaying and career storytelling
Anytime you’re in position to secure an opportunity (a job, yes, but other opportunities as well), you need to feel confident in your abilities and know for damn certain that you’re amazing at what you have to offer. That’s hard to do when the company you work for is treating you like shit and you’ve taken a few Ls at work lately.
Even though it may be hard to feel good about yourself and your career, it’s absolutely necessary. Low confidence and desperation send people running.
We needed to rebuild Katrina’s confidence (which, lucky for her, I’m really good at) and we needed to tweak the way she told her career story. We even found that some of those losses were actually wins, in the right context.
Yes, we reworked her resume—of course. And yes, we worked through some interview strategies. In fact, those strategies even helped her get one company to take back their original job offer and offer her a better role (and better salary) instead.
Sis, this stuff works.
Katrina isn’t over here worried about applying for jobs and not hearing anything back from anyone. With three six-figure offers to choose from, while she’s at home kicking it in her underwear, getting ghosted by a potential employer is really low on her list of concerns.
2. Thought leadership
I won’t take credit for Katrina’s podcast or blog because I had nothing to do with starting those. However, we strategized on how she could leverage them as assets to get her in the door and mingling with key industry players.
Industry players who are huge fans of hers now. Imagine that!
What are her blog and podcast about? Her blog is about her life, which also includes her career. Does she post every day, or every week? Nope. It still gets her opportunities.
Her podcast is about her industry. What does she talk about? She and her friends call people out for the lack of diversity and inclusion that exists in her industry.
Those industry players I mentioned are fans of her speaking her truth and talking her shit about the industry she pours herself into everyday.
I should probably mention that her podcast now gets industry sponsorship. These are opportunities that pay and have nothing to do with her job.
Those opportunities continue to come her way.
Your career’s brand can get you opportunities and your job doesn’t even have to be a part of the equation.
Wait—what does Katrina even do?
Oh. Yeah. Her job.
Let’s stop for a second and notice how I haven’t mentioned her job or her performance at all.
I don’t work with Katrina from 9–5. I have no idea if she’s actually good at her job or not. I believe she is, but I’ve never sat next to her at work or been in a staff meeting with her.
Doing well at your job is how you keep your job. If you want to have a powerful career, then being good at your job is only a fraction of what matters.
Yeah. I said it.Doing well at your job is how you keep your job. If you want to have a powerful career, then being good at your job is only a fraction of what matters. Click To Tweet
In most industries, your job performance plays a very small part in your career’s brand. It’s your career’s brand that opens doors for you. Good job performance just keeps you from getting fired.
You know people who aren’t great at their jobs and seem to get opportunities handed to them. They’re doing something right.
For whatever reason, their careers have stronger brands, so they don’t have to depend solely on good performance at their jobs.
I’m keeping this section short because I want it to be clear how unimportant you doing your job well actually plays into having a strong career.
Granted, if you’re just terrible at your job, people will find out and it may catch up to you. But if you’re great at your work, then it might be worth putting some effort into your career’s brand so that you don’t have to struggle so hard, or be overlooked, for opportunities you should already have.
…and the opportunities rolled in
So let’s look at Katrina’s career today:
- Katrina is making twice what she made when we started working together (it was good money before, it’s damn-great money now).
- She’s been featured in several MAJOR industry publications she really wanted to be in.
- She became a content creator and her content is now SPONSORED by an industry organization (yes, she gets paid for her career—without her job).
- She has an impressive job title (which always gives you more clout).
- She’s worked with some of her industry-celeb heroes (regularly communicating with people she couldn’t talk to without stuttering two years ago).
- She’s being sent to CANNES—because of her industry status, not because of her job.
And, as you know, when she quit her job last year, she had three high-paying, high-clout, competing offers on the table a quarter later.
Obviously, she turned two of them down. In a day, she turned down about a quarter million dollars—while she was on a self-care trip to Martinique (she wanted me to let you all know that key detail).
Not too shabby for someone who, just days before, was home watching binge-watching The 90’s while all of her friends were at work.
Katrina’s name rang bells in her industry before she quit her job. It’s why she was able to quit her job, when she needed space and time for self-care, and still get multiple offers in no time. It’s why one of the director roles she was offered wasn’t even in her direct career path (although still a great job).
They wanted her anyway.
How you can have this, too
The most important part of developing a strong career brand is learning to sell yourself in a way that’s comfortable to you and is intoxicating to the people you’re talking to. It’s not hard to do well, if you know what parts of your story you need to share and when and where that story needs to be amplified.
To start, ask yourself these things:
How are you telling your story?
Are you talking about the tasks you did at your last job or are you bragging about your wins in a way that convinces people that they need to work with you—and not someone else?
Are you making sure that more of the right people know you?
How are you getting your name out there? You do know that people can reach out to you with opportunities instead of you having to reach out to them first, right?
What are you doing to make that easy for them?
Are you positioning yourself as an authority with a unique perspective?
Or are you saying the same thing as everyone else in your industry? And if you are speaking up and speaking out, who hears you?
You don’t need to be on a soapbox all day, everyday, but you do need people to know that you have a unique opinion—even better if it’s tied to your ability to deliver better results than anyone else.
You need to bring something to the table besides your ability to do a good job at your work, because, until you actually work for someone, there’s no proof that you’ll do a good job for them. So how are you convincing people you’re what they need before you ever get an offer?
Now think about this:
Imagine someone else can do your job just as well as you and has the same type of experience as you. Why should you be picked over them? What else do you have to offer?
Assume that for any opportunity you’re applying, there’s someone else with your same credentials trying to get the same position.
What’s your edge? Besides your ability to show up for work and do the job, what else comes to the table with you?
“My commitment. I’m a fast learner. I work hard.”
Yawn. Everyone says that.
You need to dig deeper. Use what’s unique about you, how you work, what you have to offer, and what matters to you to win what you want.
Katrina created a name for herself (btw, that’s not her real name) in her industry. Even when she has no job, she can still make moves in her industry and her career still thrives. With all that she’s built and all the opportunities she’s had, she’s in what I like to call the autopilot position.
People reach out to her first. People make her offers. People give her what she asks for.
Even when she’s not looking for them, opportunities are coming to her.
Because she’s no longer one of many.
She’s become the only.
In what ways are you the only? And what are you doing to capitalize on it?
Raising your profile and attracting more opportunities in your career doesn’t have to be crazy hard. I’ll admit, it’s a lot easier with help—and I’m really good at this kind of help.
In my 1-on-1 program, The Career Rebrand, I’ll work with you to develop your confidence (how are you going to convince anyone else you’re what they need if you don’t know it yourself??) and then we’ll create and execute a strategy that positions you as the ideal candidate for the opportunities you want.
We’ll use your personality, your work history, your interests, your skills (work related and non-work related), and your passions to position you as the only candidate that can bring the solutions to the table that you can bring.
Remember, you’re not trying to be the best, you’re trying to be the only. To do that, you need to know what’s so special about you and how that thing is relevant to the opportunities you want.
You’ll also want to start putting some of this opportunity grabbing on autopilot. You genuinely don’t need to spend a ton of time trying to secure each individual opportunity you want. Let’s be more efficient.
To learn more about how you can work with me 1-on-1 to rebrand your career and to start getting opportunities on autopilot, check out The Career Rebrand.
The Career Rebrand
The Career Rebrand is an 8-session, 1-on-1 program that will take every aspect of your career’s current situation and upgrade it until you are the ideal candidate for the opportunities you want.
Photos courtesy of Jopwell.com