Jared Redick's Job Description Analysis

We’ve all heard luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity

But until you’ve seen it happen with your own eyes—preparation meeting opportunity—it’s hard to fathom its importance.

Jared Redick presents at The Foundation Center, San Francisco, CA

Jared Redick presents at The Foundation Center, San Francisco, CA

As a retained executive search consultant, I saw that equation frequently come to life. I’d dare say that it’s the final result of probably every retained search.

With a hand in executive résumé writing since 1997, and LinkedIn profile development and writing since 2007, I’ve seen it even more frequently in my practice, given that my clients are almost all in a state of preparation for a future they hope to architect. There’s little more exhilarating, to me, than getting feedback like what you’ll find on this website’s “Reviews” page.

But what does all of that mean for you?

Why have you pursued, stumbled upon, or been referred to my practice?

I’ve done a lot of thinking about the place where I operate best in the world—which is good because I guide companies and people through self-branding activities all the time, so personal self-awareness is key.

Here’s what I’ve come up with, and what The Redick Group might mean to you over time.

You’ve come to the right place if:

  • You are what others might call a successful executive or senior professional
  • You believe that careers can or should be intentionally shaped
  • You realize that career development requires surprising care and introspection
  • You know that the most interesting opportunities aren’t likely to be available the moment you become ready for a career change
  • You have or would like to develop a realistic view about the future
  • You are willing to face reality and prepare strategies not just for the good, but also the bad and the possibly ugly

If you want to take a long view on your career development, see what’s out there, compare “who you are today” with “what the market is seeking,” we should talk.

If you want to play an active role in examining what the future may or may not hold, and you want to work with someone who has helped more than one thousand individuals better understand and message their stories so they’re ready when opportunity strikes, then you’ve come to the right place.

I say it several times on this website, but I use the writing process to help passive candidates and stealth job seekers actively plan and open themselves to the next steps in their careers. In fact, roughly a third of my clients since 2008 have used the writing process and its inherent coaching outcomes solely as a tool for figuring out who they’ve become and where they could go.

So here’s my single question to you right now: If opportunity knocked today, would you be prepared? Or would you scramble and beg for time to figure it all out and get it all on paper?

Here’s my second question: If a recruiter conducted an advanced search on LinkedIn for someone with your exact strengths, interests, and background, would you show up in their search results?  

What differentiates you as a leader?

It’s fascinating how many management professionals and executives don’t know the answer to that question. Or can’t articulate it without sounding like a long-winded, outdated résumé—a natural result of being busy doing the work, rather than staring in the mirror self-reflecting all day.

Here’s a prompt to help define your answer: What differentiates you as a leader is probably largely why you’re compensated as you are today. It’s also why there might be as few as twenty jobs in the country that fit your level of seniority and professional interests, not to mention geographic and family-related requirements.

What if you want to change career paths? Explore a new direction that lights you up?

I’ve spent seventeen years developing and refining a custom set of questions, abilities as a career coach, and strengths as a writer so I can guide clients in producing copy and ideas that are ultimately, in the words of a Harvard-educated colleague, “deceptively simple.”

Whether you’ve been referred to me, followed me on LinkedIn or another social platform, or found me through a Google search, you’re looking at potentially investing a great deal of time and energy in your project. As such, I like letting potential clients know who I am and what I bring to the table so they can begin deciding whether it might make sense to work together.

That’s why I’ve written this page.

Evolution of my work and what that means for clients today

Even after writing thousands of résumés, I haven’t tired from helping people draw out, organize, and tell their stories with clarity and intention.

It took me a long time to admit it publicly because of the sheer weirdness, but I fell in love with résumé writing at age fourteen. Fast-forward to 1997, and I was writing so many résumés for friends and colleagues that I had to start charging.

In 2003, I launched TheResumeStudio.com and moonlighted as a résumé writer while serving leadership roles in retained executive search and the nonprofit sector. In January 2008, I notified past clients that I was hanging out a shingle full-time, and within two weeks, more than twenty new clients had onboarded. In 2011, the time came to open an office, and I was lucky to find the perfect spot in San Francisco’s historic Mechanic’s Library building, right next to McKesson’s headquarters.

During that time, my practice evolved around fundamental principles learned as a retained search recruiter, first with Marks Paneth & Shron Consulting in New York, and later with The Alexander Group in San Francisco. During that time, I conducted searches for Top 10 law firms, Fortune 50 companies, and leading nonprofit organizations.

Along the way, I noticed a consistent side effect of my work. Career coaching. While reluctant for a long time to call myself a career coach—I was a writer first, after all—the following began happening:

  1. A Harvard MBA said, “The résumé turned out to be a happy souvenir of the work that actually happened.”
  1. While deep in the decision-making and writing process, clients repeatedly said, “This is a lot like career coaching!”
  1. A product development SVP said, “That single decision [made together] turned me into an interviewing machine,” and a global marketing vice president said, “Had I not gone through your process, I would have failed the first interview.”
  1. Another client said his experience was “better than therapy,” and a colleague said our work together was “a perfect blend of utility, strategy, and artistry.”
  1. Career coaches and other résumé writers began selectively referring clients who wanted a holistic, in-depth approach to their career coaching experience—uniquely resulting in great career copy.

The work grew by word-of-mouth because of the questions I was asking, the strategy and restraint I was suggesting, and the results we were seeing in practice. Clients frequently go through unexpected soul-searching as a side-effect of their work with The Redick Group. The questions invoke a certain struggle within clients that requires decisions, and ultimately greater certainty and clarity.

That clarity becomes your professional brand and can show up in predictable and unpredictable places, ranging from formal overview interviews and talking points to everyday professional conversations—and of course, a great suite of documents.

The art and science of quietly exploring a new role

Positioning yourself for a new role while keeping your board, partners, teams, suppliers, vendors, customers, et al, none the wiser, requires a special approach and balance.

Passive Candidates: Not Paying Attention

Like it or not, as a successful executive or senior management professional, you are automatically what the executive search industry calls a “passive candidate.” Meaning, you will be found by a retained search firm when a potential match for an active search comes along.

The question is whether you will have the interest or foresight to have at least a preliminary conversation with the search firm in question. This is where real opportunity exists, by the way, so it always makes sense to at least have a preliminary conversation.

Stealth Job Seekers: Quietly Making Moves

But what about quietly taking the reins and architecting your own stealth job search? Meaning, going through the steps necessary to maneuver and hedge toward being found and/or quietly letting your network know that you might be open to a change.

Muddy Waters

To complicate matters, with LinkedIn on the scene, the quiet job search that was once difficult for executives and senior professionals has become a minefield of potential missteps. Thanks to LinkedIn, the stakes have become even higher as the stealth job seeker must suddenly conduct his or her quiet job search seemingly in the open.

Not So Muddy

This is where I’ve spent the better part of my time since 2007, sweating the details of clients who want to make known on LinkedIn that they’re possibly open to a new opportunity without tipping off the boss. And happily, I’ve developed a process of sorts that accomplishes just that.

Case Study #1:

Position Yourself as a Passive Candidate: One of the Best Ways to Plan for a Career Change

In July 2014, a super senior leader at one of the U.S. stock exchanges reached out to talk about making a career change. In our first phone call, he was eager to move. Ready to take the next big step. Itching to try his hand at something new!

In that and subsequent calls, he realized that there may be only a few jobs in the entire country that would not only be a fit, but that would interest him and work for his family needs (income, location, etc.). He decided to undertake my Career Planner / Changer Program, gathering insights as he completed the Job Description Analysis, my Digital Workbook (extensive questionnaire), and our many work sessions together. His fully updated LinkedIn profile started to incrementally perform and he meanwhile started to quietly network. More LinkedIn than networking, as it turns out, because he was busy with the day-to-day, and this is part of what contributes to that “one month for every $10K in annual salary” benchmark; senior professionals can’t spend 4-6 hours a day job searching. They’re often spending a weeknight or a weekend day trying to make something happen.

We completed his project, and I didn’t hear from him until he texted me one morning six months later from 36,000 feet. Turns out, he was crossing the country for a full day of interviews with a Silicon Valley darling that had found him on LinkedIn. When we wrote his LinkedIn® profile, we took into account all of the pieces that would make an interesting next step, but based on timing, it’s unlikely that the role he was now interviewing for had been anything more than a glimmer in the Silicon Valley company’s eye when we originally did the work. Now he was their top candidate, and it not only exceeded his income expectations, but also held the promise of a truly interesting challenge that used the entire scope of his experience and connections in a new way. Best of all, he sounded excited.

Fortune announced his new role several months later, which means his stealth job search took 13 months from the time he and I began working together until his new job was announced. Two-and-a-half of those months were spent with me identifying his goals, shaping his story, and positioning him as a passive candidate who appeared to be happy where he was. So taking the $10K rule, that would have been a $130K salary. May I mention that his income was and remains north of $600K, so he blew that old saw out of the water.

Here are this client survey responses, several months after concluding our work together:

What three things did you enjoy during the process?
“Without a doubt, the one-on-one brainstorming and drafting sessions with you. Your genuine enthusiasm and energy came across each time we spoke and it was truly encouraging to know you were there to support me and to help me find a new job.

Actually, it wasn’t just a ‘job’ you were helping me find, but a definition of my career! What my story was and how to tell it to people.”

Most people don’t forget their experience with my Digital Workbook. What was your experience like? Both in completing it, and in later shaking loose and/or using the data we extracted?
“I won’t lie: it was painfully long and at times I wasn’t sure how it would translate. Having said that, I totally get why it was a necessary part of the process, and once completed, the data extracted made perfect sense for the construction of the résumé [and other materials].”
Case Study #2:

Convert Your Golden Parachute Into Your Next Job

In the same month, July 2014, a newly unemployed chief accounting officer began working with me. He wanted to find his next gig, but had received an attractive severance package. He later depicted his circumstances when we first met as “unemployed with time to do it right.”

Turns out, our CAO had been with the same company for more than a decade, but his job titles had morphed alongside the original company’s acquisition and later rebranding. During that period, the company grew from three to more than one hundred locations nationwide, including a 2009 contraction during the financial crisis.

To paint the story as complex would be an understatement. We spent nearly eight weeks developing his suite of documents, which included fusing the three companies into a cohesive story of stability, including growth on my client’s part as he handled the previously mentioned growth, contraction, and growth again. He had literally sat in the same office and the same chair during the entire decade, but the story could have been that of a perceived job hopper if we’d not fused together on paper the three permutations of the company.

Not easy stuff, but we ended up sharing the story of his tenure in a way that not only represented the facts, but amplified his ability to adapt to changing landscapes. I learned later when he served as a reference for another client that he had landed a new C-suite role within two months. As he wasn’t conducting a stealth job search, he was able to dedicate himself to the job search full time the moment he had his full suite of documents, including a substantive but effortless LinkedIn® profile.

What three things did you enjoy during the process?
Enjoy may not be the right word, but I appreciated the hard work (soul searching) needed. Second would be speaking with Jared and being able to look at something from a difference point of view. Third, learning about LinkedIn.
Most people don’t forget their experience with my Digital Workbook. What was your experience like? Both in completing it, and in later shaking loose and/or using the data we extracted?
It was a difficult process requiring one to engage not just with their work history, but detailed experience that would benefit the [future] company.
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