JL Careers Blog

Careers Speaker's Series: Land The Job You Really Want Using Compelling Career Branding Statements & Information Interviews

Date: March 17, 2016

Where: Student Biotech Network (SBN)

Joanne Loberg, Certified Executive Coach and Internationally Certified Career Management Practitioner, of JL Careers returns to the Student Biotech Network (SBN) to facilitate this popular, interactive workshop.

Position yourself for success by crafting a compelling Career Branding Statement and tap into Information Interviews to get face time with hiring managers you want to work for. This hands-on session will cover how to make a great first impression when networking and profiling yourself for new career opportunities. 

Tool #1:  CAREER BRANDING STATEMENTS that open the door for networking, industry research and sourcing job leads

Learn how to market yourself through creating a compelling Career Branding Statement and Elevator Pitch.  Your 30-second pitch will clearly and concisely summarize who you are, your education and experience, and careers you are interested in pursuing.  We’ll also go to the Networking Gym where you’ll try out your new Career Branding Statement and get feedback.

Tool #2:  Accessing the Hidden Job Market through tapping into INFORMATION INTERVIEWS

In today’s competitive job market, Information Interviews are a highly effective job search tool which give you: an inside scoop as to what hiring managers are looking for when recruiting talent; uncover key skills and experience in demand; as well as identify your skill gaps and strategies to strengthen your candidacy for future job opportunities. During this session we’ll uncover how to use Information Interviews to explore career options and get your foot in the door of employers you
want to work for.

Joanne is known for presenting highly engaging and resource-rich sessions that provide invaluable insights and new career management tactics and tools.  With over 20 years’ expertise in the career management field, Joanne 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”.  Contact Joanne to discuss your association's or organization's workshop needs.


Vancouver Women in Technology (VanWIT) Launch! (8 Mar 2016)

Vancouver Women in Technology (VanWIT) is a new non-profit organization working to support women in entering and thiving within the technology community through networking, mentorship, and education.  

VanWIT is founded and managed by a group of passionate, professional women who are looking to find ways to help other women in the Technology sector within the community of Vancouver.

For more information about their launch event click here.

Wishing you much career success!

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

How to Create a Compelling Cover Letter

You need to stand out in a crowded job market. Along with working your connections, creating a winning resume and preparing for interviews, writing a targeted cover letter can position you as a top notch candidate.

But aren’t cover letters yesterday’s news?

Experts are telling us that cover letters are a must. “Not sending a cover letter is a sign of laziness. It’s akin to making spelling and grammar mistakes in your resume. You just don’t do it,” says Harvard Business Review communications expert Jodi Glickman.

Here’s what you should know about the do’s and don’ts of writing a compelling cover letter:


  • Use the hiring manager’s name. The personal touch goes a long way and it shows that you’re not sending out a standard cover letter. Search the job posting or find a list of personnel on the website for the appropriate name to use.  You can also call the organization directly to ask for the name of the key hiring authority for the role you are targeting.
  • Discuss the job requirements specifically. Be sure to use keywords from the job posting so that your experience aligns with the job’s requirements. If the job calls for project-management skills, speak to that. If it requires specific job experience or skills, include yours. Use the cover letter to help the reader quickly see your most relevant qualifications and pique the hiring manager’s interest in your candidacy.
  • Be solution-oriented. According to Harvard Business Review, the candidate shouldn’t “just [show] skills related to the job, [he should …] be the kind of employee who offers up solutions — instead of just laying problems on [the HR] desk.
  •  Keep it short. No one will wade through a lengthy letter. Be brief and to the point, outlining what you have to offer and your track record of success within a one-page cover letter.
  • Ask for the job. Be direct and be sure the reader knows your intention. Don’t make the mistake of sounding wishy-washy and not interested in the position.
  • Take advantage of connections. If you know the hiring manager or someone within the company, reference that information in your cover letter.


  • Write a generic, mass cover letter. Hiring managers will instantly spot the ploy.
  •  Bypass research. Find out about the company by looking at their website and scouring LinkedIn profiles. The more you know about the company, the more specific your cover letter can be. Search for problems the company is having or the growth they want to experience, and showcase how you can meet those needs.
  • Write a weak opening. It’s the most critical component of the letter - it gets the reader to continue on. This line is like your elevator pitch: Open with your greatest strength that relates to the job’s requirements.
  • Undervalue your expertise. Hiring managers will sit up and take notice when a cover letter goes deep, showcasing how you can help the organization solve problems.
  • Be devoid of enthusiasm. You can differentiate yourself from the competition by highlighting your energy and adding a little personality. Keep it authentic but professional.

Every step of the job-search process, including writing a compelling cover letter, means you’re one step closer to landing the job. Follow these do’s and don’ts to create a cover letter that “wows” the hiring manager.

Author:  Joanne Loberg of JL Careers Inc is a Certified Executive Coach and Internationally Certified Career Management Professional with 20+ years' experience providing leadership and career coaching to executives and professionals.  Contact her today for a complimentary consultation to discuss your situation and devise strategies to land the job of your dreams. 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

Planning a Successful Career Shift

Thinking of making a career shift?  Before making the leap, get your ducks in a row to ensure your success.  Arm yourself with the right strategies, tools and resources needed to launch your career change.  

First, get clear about what you want

Career testing can help you get started.  Also, consider what type of work holds your interest?  What skills do you enjoy using?  What contribution do you want to make in this next chapter of your career? And what values are important to you and should be supported in your new career and workplace? The Strong Interests Indicator and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Career Report are great career tests I use in my career coaching practice to help clients explore career options aligned to their skills, personality and interests.  For clients focused on exploring new business careers, I use Career Leader, an invaluable career test developed through Harvard Business School. 

Prepare yourself for the journey 

Notice I say journey versus weekend road trip.  Career change takes time –  it doesn’t happen overnight or without financial investment.  Ensure your finances are in place to support you, particularly if you are tempted to jump ship and quit your job before clarifying what you want to do next.

Don’t jump too soon

All too often we jump from the fire to the frying pan thinking any new job would be better than the job we currently have.  In The 5 Biggest Mistakes Career Changers Make Forbes contributor Kathy Caprino states:  “don’t throw the baby out with the bath water”. Instead ask yourself, can I make a career shift where I am by making minor changes to my job or by shifting to a new employer?  She also advises “Running away will not solve your problems – they’ll just be repeated in the next career.”   

Take time to reflect and plan

Devise a well thought out, fully researched career transition plan that will support you as you explore new options, determine best fit new careers, and identify options that align with your values, including how much money you need to make.  All this will help ensure your leap is a successful one. 

Reach out today for a complimentary telephone consultation.  We’ll discuss your current career situation and frustrations, and strategize the steps you need to take to shift your future.  

I look forward to helping you! 

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

What Successful Job Candidates do Before their Interviews

Beyond engaging in in-depth interview practice they also dive deep into research.  These candidates know everything they can about the organization, its mission, the players, the competition, critical issues and challenges impacting the industry and more.  Their research pays off by showing the hiring manager they are not just looking for a job, but instead, are passionately interested in working for them.

A strong job candidate doesn’t just show up for the interview, but comes prepared with a full understanding of the organization’s needs and they can readily explain how their experience can assist in addressing the problems the organization is facing.  Read more

Wishing you much career success!

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

Future-proofing Your Career

Job security is a thing of the past. So what are you doing to safeguard your career? The Globe Careers provides strategies to minimize the impact of downsizing, keys to staying relevant, and ways to remain flexible to meet the changing markets needs. Read more

Wishing you much career success!

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

How to Win Over a Recruiter and Build a Lasting Relationship

Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to land a great new job? Diane Kerley, an accounting and finance recruiter for over 15 years and Partner at The Mason Group, has in-depth knowledge of what qualities and skills employers are looking for in candidates and how to grab the attention of hiring managers in today’s competitive market.

Recruitment agencies are constantly looking for top talent, accounting and finance professionals who are well trained, have a solid track record of career success, and possess the necessary soft skills that propel them to the top of the candidate-pile. In this article, Kerley provides tips for getting the most out of your relationship with your recruiter and land the job of your dreams.

Differentiate yourself from other candidates

A powerful resume highlighting accomplishments is a must (more on this below), but Kerley also looks for “strong communication skills, someone who is articulate and readily able to engage in a conversation.”

One of the best ways to differentiate yourself and highlight your communication skills is to directly call the recruiter you’re targeting. “It is rare to receive a call these days and it makes you stand out. Differentiate yourself from other accounting and finance candidates by calling or following up with a phone call after emailing your resume." recommends Kerley.  

Win your recruiter over quickly with a well-scripted elevator pitch that speaks to what you can do. In your conversation with the recruiter, introduce yourself by describing who you are (i.e. your job title), what you can do (i.e. your areas of expertise), and why you’re calling. Be prepared to leave a message that is well crafted, upbeat and professional.

Back it up with an accomplishment-based resume 

Recruiters sort through hundreds of resumes as they search for top candidates possessing the specific skills for which their clients are willing to pay. “Recruiters want to see a resume profile statement that describes who you are and what you can do,” Kerley states. “It needs to show you’re targeting a specific career or type of role.”

Following the profile statement, outline your educational accomplishments if they’re recent and aligned with your career objectives. Then, offer up a chronological list of work experience. How far back should your resume go?  Kerley offers the following advice: “If your early career experience is related to the job posting you’re targeting, create a section called “Prior Experience.” Then simply list the relevant roles (i.e. job title and company name) you’ve held in that industry.”

Keep in mind that resume tracking databases scan your resume for relevant, role or industry-specific keywords. Scour job postings to identify these keywords and include them in your resume. For example, if the position requires “sales forecasting” experience, your resume should reflect that skill set.  

Your first meeting with a recruiter

The most important step you can take before meeting with the recruiter involves preparation. You should be ready to intelligently answer questions about yourself. Study as if you’re taking a college or grad-school prep test. Know your answers to commonly asked interview questions like “Tell me about yourself." “Walk me through your resume.” “What are you looking for in your next career move?” and “What are your salary expectations?" Be ready to also ask insightful questions at the end of your interview.   

While rehearsing answers to these questions is important be prepared to also discuss challenging periods of your career with the recruiter. Consider the recruiter as a trusted insider who needs the full details about your work history.  They don’t like to be surprised – ever. Kerley recommends being honest about challenges in your past. “I would rather know in advance and avoid any surprises. If we are working together as a team, there needs to be mutual trust and the challenges may be something we can work around.” 

Here are a few additional tips for navigating challenging questions in the first meeting with your recruiter:

  • Why did you leave your last job? If you were fired, say so, but also provide a concise, rational reason.  Here’s a savvy way to handle a personality conflict issue: tell the recruiter that when a new manager came on board, you just didn’t work well together due to differences in styles. Describe how you’re now looking for an opportunity with a manager that will give you the latitude to do your job and trust you to get the work done. 
  • How much do you currently make?  Always be truthful when answering this question. Your recruiter needs to know your current salary, but also the amount you’re targeting in order to appropriately market you as a candidate. Kerley offers the following tip: “Recruiters do not want to be surprised at the salary-negotiation stage if you propose a different salary requirement with the hiring manager than had been discussed throughout the interview process."
  • What are you looking for in your next role?  Recruiters can't work with you and you won’t advance in your career if you’re unclear about your career objectives. To determine the best fit for the roles you are targeting, Kerley expects a clear and concise answer to this question: “What are your top three must-haves or motivators in order for an opportunity to be a good fit for you?” She uses this information to guide her selection of possible jobs. 

When your recruiter goes cold

What happens if you submit your resume and don’t hear back? Consider these steps:

  • Check your resume. Is it compelling? If it’s not, a recruiter likely won’t waste their time calling you. What makes a great resume?  One that’s accomplishment-focused and keyword-rich. The resume should not only be compelling, but it should be professionally formatted as well. 
  • Call your recruiter. Particularly if you’ve been on an interview, reconnect with your recruiter. Ask for feedback from the interview and inquire about their client’s intentions moving forward. 
  • Stay in touch.  If you have gained new skills, taken on a contract, participated in a significant project, updated your resume or achieved new certifications or training, let your recruiter know.   

Don’t think of the exchange with the recruiter as a one-time deal. Kerley advises accounting and finance professionals to think of “the relationship as spanning your career” to get the most value from it.  Her best clients stay in touch, even after they land their next opportunity. She recommends you “maintain your relationship by keeping in touch and going for coffee so you are always top of mind when your recruiter is sourcing talent, and they can be there for you should you need assistance hiring staff.”

Ultimately, the key to successful career advancement involves developing a strong and lasting relationship with your recruiter. Nurture that connection now when you’re job hunting and throughout your career.  You never know when your recruiter will reach out with a great opportunity, or when you may need to tap into their recruiting talents to help fill a last minute or difficult vacancy within your organization.

Author:  Joanne Loberg of JL Careers Inc is a Certified Executive Coach and Internationally Certified Career Management Professional with 20+ years' experience providing leadership and career coaching to executives and professionals.  Contact her today for a complimentary telephone consultation to discuss your situation and devise strategies to land the job of your dreams. Copyright 2016 JL Careers Inc.  All rights reserved.

Have you been sending out your resume and not getting calls back from recruiters?

Or, have you seen a great posting - you want this role - but it's been years since you've updated your resume?

Here are 2 tips for building an Executive or Professional resume that creates that “Wow, we need to see this candidate!”

Tip #1 - Create a Resume Profile with a Kick

Create a compelling Resume Profile Statement that outlines what makes you an outstanding candidate.  Also, instead of just noting your job title, showcase your area of expertise, i.e. Operations Executive becomes Fortune 500 Retail Executive.   

Tip #2 - Showcase your Results

Throughout your resume demonstrate your track record of success.  Clearly state your accomplishments related to driving profitability, productivity and bottom-line financial performance. 

See video

If you need a resume that starts landing interviews, contact Joanne Loberg today for a complimentary resume consultation.  

I look forward to helping you land that next great opportunity,

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


5-7 seconds! That’s the average time spent looking at a resume.

Check out truths from Business in Vancouver’s posting: Confessions of the Recruitment Industry on how recruiters operate.

Wishing you much career success!

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

CareerLeader gives you powerful insight into your skills and passions

In an increasingly competitive global economy, crafting a career vision and path that will meet your needs over the long term is essential for maximizing your success and happiness ...as well as minimizing any detours on your journey. CareerLeader is instrumental in helping you achieve this objective.

CareerLeader is the world-leading business career assessment program, based on over 50 collective years of research. Over 93% of top business programs around the globe have made CareerLeader a cornerstone of their career development programs. This tool translates powerful insights about your skills, interests and motivators into concrete recommendations for business career paths that are right for you. No matter where you are in your career, the CareerLeader assessment can help you plan your way to success.

So, whether you are trying to enhance or change your career or just trying to find the job that suits you best, the CareerLeader assessment will give you knowledge you can use to plan your next steps.  Join over 500,000 people in over 200 countries who are already on their way to career success and satisfaction as a result of using CareerLeader. Why not get started today?

JL Careers Inc is a licensed provider of the CareerLeader assessment. Contact Joanne Loberg, Certified Executive Coach and Internationally Certified Career Management Professional, for a complimentary telephone consultation to discuss your career needs and how we can help you build your career success. Email:  info@jlcareers.com  Phone:  604.738.6599

Wishing you much career success!

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

6 Ways to Take Charge of Your Career in 2016

Organic job advancement can happen, but for most savvy professionals, moving up in the ranks requires strategic planning. If you’re in the same place today as you were a year ago, your progression could be floundering. Avoid becoming stagnant with these six tips for taking control of your career in 2016.

1. Identify your professional goals

With the start of the New Year, set aside time to take stock of your intentions. Does success in 2016 mean getting a new job, learning a new skill, or mastering a new technology? Write down your goals and make specific plans for meeting them.

2. Analyse your current work situation

Reflect on your current work situation. Have you become too comfortable in your organization? Are you learning new skills? Have you taken on new challenges? Are you adding value to the organization, or just coasting?  Is there a fear you could become obsolete?  According to Business in Vancouver, “If you aren’t learning anything new or taking on any new challenges, your marketability to other potential employers may be at risk.” 

3. Advance your skill set

Give your career a boost by learning new essential job skills. Identify skills you need to develop or sharpen this year. Maybe its time to get your MBA, PMP (Project Management Certification), or attend an industry conference. TheLadders advises that you “review your most recent performance review and talk with your manager to find out which skills you should build or improve to advance at your company.” 

4. Capitalize on new trends

In the workplace, specialization can lead to growth. However, specializing too narrowly may severely limit your opportunities for moving ahead. It’s important to regularly evaluate the landscape and make adjustments, so your skillset doesn’t become obsolete.

5. Build a Career Roadmap to support your goals

Within the next 30 days, set your career goals for 2016 with your longer term objectives in mind. Forbes recommends you create a career roadmap to support your success: “A smart person will have a long-term career plan, which focuses on where they want to arrive at the pinnacle of their career, as well as the interim steps they’ll need to take in order to get there.” 

6. Get expert help

Feeling you’ve hit that ‘glass ceiling’ or are stuck in a career rut?  Get outside advice from a career coach. A career expert will have insights on how to navigate uncharted waters, identify options and develop strategies to advance your career.

Will your career take off in 2016? Your success depends on investing time and energy in tasks like setting goals, analyzing your work situation, capitalizing on new trends, identifying viable markets, learning new skills and getting help when necessary.  Then you can take charge of your career and drive your career success.

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.

New Year! New Start! Take Charge of your Career in 2016

Is 2016 your year for a career change?  Launch on the right foot with the job search tools you need to grab hiring managers’ attention.  From Executive and Professional Resumes to Compelling LinkedIn Profiles and Interview Coaching, JL Careers is here to help you land a great new career opportunity. 

Connect today for a complimentary 30 minute telephone consultation to position yourself for success in 2016.

Wishing you much career success this year,

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.