JL Careers Blog

Advance Your Career –Take On an Uncomfortable or Challenging Task

Want to accelerate your career success and opportunity for promotion and better assignments?  Step into projects or other opportunities that will challenge and develop your skills such as taking on a floundering corporate project, public speaking or undertaking some other difficult task.  As professionals it is critical we continue to grow our expertise and stretch ourselves to build our bench strength.   

Learn from top performers who have a habit of ‘stepping into the fire’ and putting it all on the line.  It’s as if they aren’t afraid to fail.  What these individuals have honed is a focus on taking small steps and through this have built their confidence to take on larger, more daunting challenges.  

So if you would rather do anything but step into an uncomfortable situation, i.e. go to an industry networking event or have a difficult conversation with your boss, Harvard Business Review’s Andy Molinsky recommends you don’t try to tackle these challenges directly, but rather warm up to them.  Take small steps. If you have a challenge engaging in difficult conversations start by taking a conflict conversations course. I strongly recommend lawyer Diane Ross’ Elephant Conversations programs.  If networking is your biggest challenge, go to your next event with a wingman (a friend to help you overcome your fear), and set a small goal to meet 2 people.  Once you have met your goal give yourself the option to leave.  

The courage to take on these challenges is essential to moving your career forward and developing the ability to take on bigger and more exciting career opportunities.

Read more in HBR’s, ‘If You’re Not Outside of your Comfort Zone, Your Won’t Learn Anything’.

Wishing you much career success,

Joanne Loberg
Certified Executive Coach & Internationally Certified Career Management Professional
JL Careers Inc.

Is a Personal Career Brand Key to a Successful Job Search?

The answer is undoubtedly:  Yes!  

If you are feeling stuck in your job or flailing in your job search – key to your success may be a well-crafted, captivating Career Brand.  

What is a Career Brand?

Your unique career brand differentiates you from other job candidates by accentuating who you are, what you can do and what you want to do next.

Like introducing any new product, launching your personal career brand requires self-reflection, research, perseverance, and skillful marketing.

Start with What’s Important to You

Your core values are an essential part of your career objective. What do you love most about your work? What aspects are the least enjoyable? What is most important to you in your work? Be truthful in your self-reflection.  Recognize areas of strength and accomplishment and uncover what truly drives you.  

Know Yourself Beyond What You Can Do

We think of ourselves in terms of what we can do. Employers think of employees in terms of what they have done. To help others recognize your value, I advise my clients to develop a personal Career Brand that speaks to your key skills and achievements.

But creating your Career Brand is not about packaging yourself into what you think will sell. It is about highlighting your passions, experience and skills to a viable market.  The first step in launching any product (i.e. you) is to learn the market and evaluate demand for that product (i.e. jobs). Then, assess how your skills and key accomplishments meet specific market needs.

Next, Build Your Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is your opportunity to generate interest in your personal brand – YOU!  The rule of thumb is a good elevator pitch should last no longer than 30 seconds, the length of a short elevator ride.

When building your elevator pitch, think outside of yourself. As Josh Muccio, Founder and Producer of The Pitch podcast, said, “You know your idea inside and out. But to pitch it effectively to others you need to look at the big picture and understand your product through someone else’s eyes.” (source: Forbes)

Your message should be clear, succinct, and in as few words as possible.  My article:  How to Craft a Winning Elevator Pitch offers a 6-step guide to creating an elevator pitch that will get you noticed and into your next job.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Practice your elevator pitch in front of the mirror.  Practice in front of family and friends. Get comfortable speaking about your accomplishments and what you want to do next. Don’t assume others know you are looking for new career opportunities. It is up to you to tell them as clearly and concisely as possible what you want.

Be confident in your competence. Let your passion show!

Leverage your Career Brand – Mentors Lead the Way

As you launch your self-marketing campaign, seek positive role models and mentors who will provide support, guidance and leads. Don’t be shy about approaching someone whose work and successful life reflects that which you are striving for. Per Fortune, “In a recent survey of 45 CEOs who had mentors, 84% reported that mentorship relationships helped them avoid expensive mistakes and learn insights into their career paths more quickly.”

Don’t Give Up

Be dogged in your pursuit of your career goals.  Be flexible in the face of obstacles.  Like with marketing any product or service, it takes time. James McQueen, COO of Rumble, offers sage advice: “Expect naysayers, setbacks and highs and lows along the way…Follow your gut, put the work in and you’ll get there eventually.” (source: Business in Vancouver)

Make the Shift Today

Get started! Raise your profile – within your organization and beyond by presenting an appealing Career Brand that speaks to who you are and what you can do to add value to organizations.  

Read more:  Job Marketing: What's Your Career Brand? with tips for shaping your personal Career Brand.

Author: Joanne Loberg of JL Careers Inc. is a Certified Executive Coach and Internationally Certified Career Management Professional.  She has a reputation as a highly sought after Career Consultant and she has been referred to as "an absolute expert at navigating the complex territory of career advancement.” Joanne provides leadership coaching as well as career transition coaching, career planning workshops, and job search services (resumes, LinkedIn profiles, cover letters, interview practice) for Professionals and Executives. Copyright 2016 JL Careers Inc.  All rights reserved.

Being overlooked by hiring managers and recruiters?  Not getting the results you want?

Joanne is offering Job Search Boot Camp for Professionals – an individual and customized job search program that focuses on what you need to launch a successful job search and land job offers.  

See video

Contact Joanne  today for a complimentary telephone consultation to determine what’s getting in the way and devise strategies to support you reaching your goals. She specializes in helping Professionals and Executives with career advancement tactics, professional resumes and cover letters, compelling LinkedIn profiles, interview practice and more.  

I look forward to helping you reach your career goals!

Joanne Loberg
Certified Executive Coach & Internationally Certified Career Management Professional
JL Careers Inc.

How to Best Promote yourself in Interviews - Start with the ‘Why’

In job search – whether in resumes or interviews, most of us focus on promoting ‘What’ we do – almost like reciting a job description.  This is relevant information however it doesn’t differentiate you from your competition.  Instead, draw the interviewer in by highlighting ‘Why’ they should hire you.  Start by creating a compelling reason for them to hire you, then move to describing ‘What’ you do to achieve these results.  

By shifting from explaining ‘What’ you do, i.e.: ‘I have 10 years of production management experience’, to highlighting ‘Why’ you do it, i.e: ‘I lead production plants to increase productivity and decrease costs’ you demonstrate your focus on achieving results and moving organizations forward.  Once you have grabbed the hiring manager’s attention you can then dive into ‘What’ you do and ‘How’ you do it.  It’s a subtle change that can position you as a lead candidate.  

Check out TedTalk by Simon Sinek to learn more about the impact of ‘Starting with the Why’.

Wishing you much career success,

Joanne Loberg

Certified Executive Coach & Internationally Certified Career Management Professional
JL Careers Inc.


What’s Stopping You from Reaching Your Career Goals?

It takes courage to shift your career and your life.  Take a moment to get in touch with what you really want – a promotion, new project, new job or even a complete career shift.  Some of us clearly know what we want and assertively carve our paths and move forward.  But too many of us have dreams and aspirations that have been pushed aside.  We are doing jobs we are good at – even great at – but we know we are destined for more.
As Steve Jobs once said “Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking.  Don’t let the noise of other’s opinion drowned your own inner voice and most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary”

Consider your skills and experience that are underutilized in your job. List your talents that are dormant and then make a plan to bring these to life.   Understand opportunity doesn’t usually come to us – we need to look for it, create it and most importantly be ready to open every door that is presented to us.  It’s hard – even frightening but we know those that lead lives that are filled with passion and life aren’t afraid to say “Yes” and seize these moments.   Be bold and take that first step today to advance your career!

Wishing you much career success,

Joanne Loberg

Certified Executive Coach & Internationally Certified Career Management Professional
JL Careers Inc.

Is Your Age Impacting Your Employability?

No one likes to talk about it - but age can matter – particularly when being interviewed by a younger manager.  If you are over 50,  are you coming across as not relatable, not trending with what's important now - in industry and also in popular culture?  From Pokémon and the Kardashians, to cultivating leading business practices, are you fitting into today’s work culture? 

Bloomberg reports on what Silicon Valley's savvy 40+ job seekers are doing to stay current and viable in today’s market.  From getting plastic surgery and changing one’s hair colour, to keeping their network alive and vibrant, read more in:  It’s Tough Being Over 40 in Silicon Valley.

Wishing you much career success!

Joanne Loberg

Certified Executive Coach & Internationally Certified Career Management Professional
JL Careers Inc.

How Career Planning Conversations Drive Employee Engagement

If you really want to motivate and engage your employees you need to understand what drives them and what creates their personal sense of career success.  As a result, leading organizations are building highly productive and engaged teams through utilizing Career Planning Conversations.

If you don’t think it’s your job (or it isn’t a priority) to have Career Planning Conversations with your employees, be aware that your employees are expecting this help.  Forbes reports, “Most workers believe it is an employers’ responsibility to teach career development: 74% say employers should provide professional-development training, 71% say they should identify job opportunities and career paths, and 68% say they should provide career-advancement mentoring.”  And if employees don’t believe they have a career path within your organization, this directly impacts how they show up and how long they stay with your organization.

Career Planning Conversations also help:

  • Attract top-level employees.  Top talent is looking for organizations who actively promote career planning and career advancement opportunities.
  • Develop your Leadership Pipeline with individuals who are invested in growing their career within your organization.
  • Increase employee engagement while decreasing employee turnover. Your staff comes to work believing they are developing their skills and experience to help them advance their careers.
  • Circumvent resignations and dismissals by offering adjustments to job responsibilities or roles, offering lateral moves, or providing career-changes that are better aligned to the employees’ needs.

Launching into a Career Planning Conversation

If your organization already engages in performance reviews, incorporate career conversations within that process.  If not, start today by adding Career Planning Conversations to your next employee one-on-one meetings.

Here’s a step-by-step process for leading Career Planning Conversations which I teach during my workshop Retaining & Engaging Your Employees Workshop:  A Manager’s Guide to Leading Career Conversations.

Getting started

  1. Set up an individual employee meeting with each employee. If your time is limited, at a minimum, engage in these conversations with your top talent to avoid losing them to your competition.
  2. Ask each employee: What are your career goals and aspirations?  Or, How do you want to grow your career with our organization? If your employees are unsure of their options, outline potential career pathways within your department or organization-at-large that align with their skills and talents.
  3.  Help them close the Gap:  Identify the specific skills and experience they need to develop to support their career growth. This is particularly important as employees often do not understand what key skills or experience they need to develop before being promoted.  Particularly with Millennial workers and within unionized work environments there is often a disconnect between the employee’s performance and the skills required to be promoted.
  4.  Suggest Career Tools which support the employee’s growth:  Present opportunities including cross-training, mentoring, educational courses, stretch assignments, projects and acting roles to help your employees reach their career goals.
  5.  Develop a Career Action Plan:  This plan outlines what they are committed to doing to achieve their career goals. It is critical that the employee drafts their plans as: “The more an employee feels … they’re managing their own career, the more engaged and efficient and productive they are in their day-to-day work.” Source:  Software Advice
  6.  Champion their Success:  Throughout the year and during your regular employee check-ins, touch bases to find out how things are progressing and demonstrate your ongoing support of the employee’s career goals.

A manager who goes beyond just getting the person to do their job and instead inspires them to work hard and be a top performer is a manager who knows their employees’ career aspirations and is funnelling those aspirations into meaningful work.  As management expert Tom Peters states: “Management is about arranging and telling. Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing.” and further, “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” - Jack Welch.

For more info about Career Planning Conversations read our articles: Attracting, Retaining and Engaging Your Employees; Employee Career Development Programs: Your Employees, Your Competitive Edge; and Building a Career Development Roadmap for your Organization.

Author: Joanne Loberg of JL Careers Inc. is a Certified Executive Coach and Internationally Certified Career Management Professional.  She has a reputation as a highly sought after Career Consultant and she has been referred to as "an absolute expert at navigating the complex territory of career advancement.” Joanne provides career planning workshops, career transition coaching and leadership coaching. Copyright 2016 JL Careers Inc.  All rights reserved.

Need Help Developing a Career Planning Program for Your Organization?

Joanne Loberg, our Lead Career Coach, has over 20 years’ expertise developing career planning programs that are easy to implement and highly effective.  From the Employee Workshop: Ignite Your Career to Retaining and Engaging Your Employees: A Manager's Guide to Leading Career Conversations Workshop she provides customized solutions to help your organization retain, engage and grow your employees.  Contact Joanne for more information.

Wishing you much career success!

Joanne Loberg

Certified Executive Coach & Internationally Certified Career Management Professional
JL Careers Inc.

Resumes that Get Results & Compelling LinkedIn Profiles - CPA Tools for Career Advancement

The CPA BC Tri-Cities / Ridge Meadows Chapter is hosting:

Joanne Loberg, Career Consultant & Certified Executive Coach from JL Careers  who will be leading this interactive two part session on October 15th:

Part 1:  Resumes that Get Results

A compelling resume highlights your unique career brand which differentiates you from other job search candidates through highlighting your skills and key accomplishments.  Learn from a Professional Resume Writer what you need to do to develop an accomplishment-based resume that grabs recruiters’ attention and lands interviews.   Learn how to build a highly effective resume, including how to market your skills and experience to meet hiring managers’ needs. Discover how to:

  • Format a resume that grabs the recruiter’s / hiring manager’s attention
  • Develop Powerful Work Experience Statements
  • Build Accomplishment Bullets which promote your skills
  • Create a Career Profile which targets the recruiter’s needs
  • Match your resume to the key skills and experience the position requires
  • Optional Bonus: You will have the opportunity to have your resume reviewed and critiqued during one of your small group exercises

Part 2:  Compelling LinkedIn Profiles

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network and it’s where you want to be to raise your profile, build your network, and grab clients’ and head hunters’ attention.  During this session you will learn how Maximize your LinkedIn Profile:

  • Create a compelling Headline
  • Showcase your expertise in the Summary section
  • Differentiate yourself in the Experience section
  • Leverage your LinkedIn Profile using endorsements, recommendations, groups and more to grab clients’ and recruiters’ interest.

Joanne Loberg, our Lead Career Coach, presents these highly engaging and resource-rich sessions that provide invaluable insights and new career management tactics and tools.  Joanne is a Certified Executive Coach and an Internationally Certified Career Management Professional, and is highly skilled in helping her clients build rewarding careers.  She has been referred to as “an absolute expert at navigating the complex territory of career advancement”.

Click to register with the CPA BC Tri-Cities Chapter

What is the most important to you?

Our lives are so incredibly busy with numerous work and personal demands that it’s easy fall into living on autopilot vs living a life that is purposeful and reflective of what’s really important to us.

Get off the merry-go-around by focusing on identifying what truly drives you:  What values are most important to you? Achievement, relationships, health, creativity, status, wealth, making a difference - these are just a few key values to consider. 

Next ask:  Am I honouring my values in my work and life?  If not, what do you need to do to shift things?  Often my clients think they need to make huge life/career changes in order to get their life in alignment. Sometimes a major change is what is needed.  But for many, it’s the small things that begin to transform our lives.  For example, stopping for lunch (yes, lunch can make a huge difference). Read more in my article:  Stress: How is it impacting your job performance?, connecting with a colleague over a networking coffee , or creating a technology free zone around your bedroom, can be instrumental in changing your life.  

Wishing you much career success!

Joanne Loberg
Certified Executive Coach & Internationally Certified Career Management Professional
JL Careers

Mid Year Career Review: Is my career on track?

We’re more than half way into the year – and if you haven't already, take time to review your New Year’s career resolutions.  Is your career on track?  Are you doing work that energizes and fulfills you, or is it time to get unstuck and more of what you want in your career?

These are two steps I use with my clients that help get to the root of what’s holding them back, and access solutions to jump start their careers: 

1.   Get clear about how you are managing your career

Take this Career Quotient assessment to determine if you are truly stuck, or just need to make some minor adjustments to get your career back on track.  

2.    Ask yourself these 4 probing career questions

  • What do I really want in my career?  
  • What’s standing in the way?
  • Am I needing new strategies and tactics to eliminate these roadblocks?
  • Do I have a concrete Career Action Plan to keep me on track, or am I just hoping things will change?

The key to a successful career is having the courage to step back and assess:  Am I doing work I love, and if not, what do I need to do today to change that?  Then take that next big step: talk to your manager about your career aspirations; start exploring new options; update your resume; or connect with me help you build your career plan and the job search tools you need to move your career forward.  

Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Make the decision today to take that first step forward to create the career of your dreams. 

Wishing you much career success!

Joanne Loberg
Certified Executive Coach & Internationally Certified Career Management Professional
JL Careers

Seal the Deal - Interview Thank You Notes

You’ve just had an interview with the organization of your dreams.  You want this job!  Now close the deal by crafting a compelling thank you note that highlights why you are the candidate of choice. 

A thank you letter differentiates you and grabs the hiring manager’s attention.  Some persuasive evidence of the impact of thank you letters has been collected from noted resources at Forbes, TheLadders and CareerBuilder:  

“More than 75% of interviewers say receiving a thank-you note impacts their decision-making process" (source:  TheLadders)

“Failure to follow-up can be the deciding factor in rejecting a candidate who is otherwise a great fit.” (source:  Forbes)

“More than one-in-five (22 percent) hiring managers say they are less likely to hire a candidate if they don't send a thank-you note after an interview.” (source: CareerBuilder)

Within 24 hours reinforce your candidacy by emailing a thank you letter to each of your interviewers. In your letter restate your strengths related to the position and your strong interest in working for their organization.


Sample Thank You Letter



To: (Interviewer’s Email)

RE: Analyst Interview

Mark, thank you for meeting with me to discuss your Financial Analyst vacancy and how my financial analysis experience within the biotech sector would be of value to your Corporate Finance division. I would like to reiterate how very interested I am in joining your team.

My six years’ experience working with Accent Biotech as well as my financial analysis and project management skills provide me with the ability to be a strong contributor to your Finance team. Additionally, my experience preparing Superior Biolab’s IPO will be of value as you explore alternative public financing and private placement funding.

Thank you again for your time and consideration of my qualifications for your Financial Analyst opportunity. I look forward to hearing from you about the possibility of joining Zionex.

Sincerely, Sue Maxwell


So if this is the job you really want, don’t leave it to chance.  Seal the deal with a compelling thank you email.  Use this note to restate your experience related to their needs and your track record of success.  Lastly, ensure you convey you are passionately interested in joining their organization and would be a great fit to their team. Good luck!

Author: Joanne Loberg of JL Careers Inc. is a Certified Executive Coach and Internationally Certified Career Management Professional.  She specializes in working with professional and executive clients to provide job search strategies and tools including career testing, professional resumes, LinkedIn profiles, targeted cover letters, and interview strategies and practice. Copyright 2016 JL Careers Inc.  All rights reserved.

Wishing you much career success!

Joanne Loberg
Certified Executive Coach & Internationally Certified Career Management Professional
JL Careers

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JL Careers provides Career and Leadership Coaching, Career Development Workshops, and Career Transition Services which support organizational succession planning, leadership development and employee engagement strategies.