Mark "Sven" Leverson
Senior Project and Construction Manager
Senior Patient Experience Role
Corporate Director of Hotel Operations
Chief Commercial Officer
Director of Intellectual Property (IP)
Senior Member of Staff
Director, Human Resources
Mark "Sven" Leverson - Success Study
Senior Project and Construction Manager
Sven Leverson was a long-time, independent consultant for high-end Project and Construction management projects across multiple industries (Banking, Healthcare, Pulp and Paper, Power Industry, etc.)
Power & Energy
Sven wrapped up a four-year project with a large client just as the pandemic began making headlines, and finding another gig became impossible.
After deciding to find a salaried position, Sven revamped his resume and LinkedIn profile and leveraged his network of contacts to seek unpublished job opportunities.
Sven was hired as the senior project and construction manager for an exciting endeavor to build the world’s largest hydrogen production facility.
For twenty years Sven Leverson ran a high-end consulting and project and construction management firm for clients needing improvements in engineering, construction, technology, and business processes. Typically engaging one client at a time, Sven had always navigated from one gig to the next by word of mouth. In December 2019 he wrapped up a four-year job with an industry-leading power generation and energy storage solutions provider and began looking for his next opportunity. Within weeks, however, the Covid-19 pandemic was surging, and Sven struggled to find any work at all.
“I had quite a dry spell after my last consulting position. I did not work at all during 2020 or the better part of 2021,” said Sven.
Sven spent ten months job hunting on his own, flooding the job market with his resume. Using numerous job-seeking sources, from LinkedIn, Indeed, and ZipRecruiter, he sought both consulting gigs and permanent positions. Although he managed to line up quite a few interviews, none of them resulted in a position. Finally, in October 2020 Sven decided he needed professional help and hired The Barrett Group.
“By then I had made up my mind to shut down my business and look for a permanent role with a company. My reasons were a combination of factors, including my age and because I wanted to take advantage of company benefits. As a consultant, when you don’t work, you don’t get paid,” said Sven.
Sven was immediately impressed with The Barrett Group program’s range of offerings.
“The number of offerings and the training provided by The Barrett Group was so helpful. I’m a process type of guy, and I really enjoyed this process,” said Sven. “I wanted to know what I was doing wrong in my search and, lo and behold, I found out that coming in through the back door to land a job is the recipe for success. I had never done that in the past. I was just sending out resumes and hoping!”
The Clarity Program, which comprised only two weeks of Sven’s overall TBG experience, turned out to be a highlight.
“My Clarity coach, Scott Brown, was great. I had never done anything like it before. He had me thinking of all the various areas that I should focus on to achieve success, like health, family, and career, and then he pointed me in the right direction,” said Sven. “He also had a way of presenting all the material in an engaging way. I really enjoyed working with him.”
Sven found that the Clarity experience motivated him to pursue subsequent processes within the TBG Program with excitement.
In the next chapter of his journey, Sven was open to working anywhere in the country and in any industry, but because of his familiarity with the power industry, that’s where he focused his job search. He started by overhauling his resume.
“I was ecstatic with the way my resume turned out. We reformatted it, developed definitions for my roles that made sense to employers, and assigned metrics to my activities over the years,” said Sven.
He was also delighted with the updates to his LinkedIn profile.
“I thought it turned out exceptionally well. I had been active on LinkedIn before starting with The Barrett Group, but my profile dramatically changed with their help. They also taught me how to use LinkedIn Analytics to search for employment opportunities. That was all new to me. I didn’t realize you could do so much within LinkedIn.”
As a man who has made a career helping others improve their processes, Sven was particularly cognizant of TBG’s processes.
“All of The Barrett Group’s processes are exceptional, and they build upon each other. They pointed me in the direction for success. They are well-documented and easy to follow,” said Sven.
Being task-oriented, he also appreciated the weekly schedule of ‘To-Dos’ he was assigned by his career consultant.
“Greg Emslie assigned me things to read and tasks to complete. The approach was extremely helpful. He had a knack for moving things along expeditiously in a way that fitted my background and experience.”
The task of building social capital turned out to be a particularly positive aspect of the overall process for Sven – and the key to landing his new job.
“It was a great experience developing my social capital. I communicated with a plethora of people that I hadn’t spoken to in a long time. It was thanks to someone from my network that I landed my new job. A man I used to work with called me out of the blue. He said he had been thinking of me and asked me if I was interested in a new opportunity.”
The opportunity in question was for a senior project and construction manager charged with overseeing the building of an underground salt cavern in the Utah desert to store hydrogen, the construction of a 220-megawatt electrolysis facility – the largest in the world – that would produce hydrogen to store in the underground salt caverns, and, ultimately, to build a power plant to utilize a blend of hydrogen and natural gas to power the combustion turbines. And, yes, Sven was very interested.
“We had some aggressive negotiations over the compensation package. Dan Resendes coached me on these and came up with some unique and very helpful questions to ask about the offer letter. I ended up having a very successful negotiation. Dan did a phenomenal job. My benefits at this company are awesome.”
It took Sven a full year to land his job after joining The Barrett Group, but he is incredibly appreciative of the journey that he has had.
“I used to think I could do anything on my own – that I didn’t need help to successfully advance my career, but I had a rude awakening. Through The Barrett Group’s process, I learned a different approach – something I should have been doing all along.”
Ray Cleary - Success Study
Ray Cleary was vice president of risk management, transaction underwriting, and portfolio management for a large airline leasing and financing company, overseeing business in the Middle East and CIS region.
Finance, Financial Services, Airlines, Aerospace & Aviation
Not long after Ray relocated to Dubai, his company announced a merger that would shutter his office, forcing Ray to rethink his long-term career goals.
After deciding to make a bold shift in job function and to live in a specific geography, Ray leveraged his network of contacts to help him achieve his goals.
Within four months, Ray was offered the position of general manager of fleet management of another large airline in his target geography – a transformative pivot in his career.
Ray Cleary was vice president of risk management, transaction underwriting, and portfolio management for a large airline leasing and financing company. Located in Dubai, Ray oversaw a $2 billion portfolio in Russia, Turkey, CIS, and the Middle East region. He had assumed the position a year earlier, transferring within his company after eight-years doing similar work in a different region and market.
Two years after Ray moved to Dubai, however, his company announced a merger that would result in the closure of his office. It triggered Ray to reflect on his career goals – specifically, the kind of work he wanted to do and where to do it – and whether those goals aligned with the prospects available to him in his soon-to-be merged company.
Ray wasn’t ready to leave the Middle East, however, his time to make new contacts in the region had been short-lived, then stymied by the pandemic, such that he had few good work options there. So, he hired The Barrett Group to help him source opportunities.
Ray began his TBG experience with the Clarity program. To his surprise, it was life changing. In addition to confirming that he wanted to pursue employment in the Middle East, he realized that he wanted to redirect his career.
“The counseling process pushed me to deeply consider what I value in life,” said Ray. “I was at a stage in my career that I wanted to move away from risk management and the transaction writing piece of the airline industry and move towards a commercial role, like fleet and relationship management. Clarity crystalized for me that I had two options: I could stay comfortable and continue to do what I was doing – but somewhere else, or I could step out of my comfort zone and achieve what I wanted to achieve.”
Other pieces of the Clarity Program that Ray found very valuable were seeing his “strengths and shortcomings” in a structured report, learning what triggers him, and learning how to manage different personality types to get the results he needs.
“I found that really useful,” said Ray. “I came to understand what I want, what my flashpoints are, and how to navigate various situations and conversations. It really helped me when it came time to interview with the person I work for now.”
In the next phase of his TBG program, Ray worked on his personal branding campaign. He was delighted with the changes the TBG team made to his CV and LinkedIn profile, and his consultant coached him on how to pivot from talking about hard skills to talking about how he could add value to an organization.
“Isabelita really brought value to the program. She was a great sounding board, and everything was prepped before I went to the market to look for a job,” said Ray. “Isabelita then challenged me to reach out to lots of people and follow up on various opportunities.”
Ray came to realize that his network of contacts is like an ecosystem.
“I hadn’t kept up my LinkedIn connections, so Isabelita had me doing searches, finding second and third level connections, then sending them a message. The success rate of my effort to connect with someone turning into an exchange was remarkably high.”
That ecosystem turned out to be Ray’s golden ticket to his dream job.
Ray first came to know about the position that he ultimately landed thanks to the thesis supervisor of the executive MBA program that Ray was pursuing, who had seen the job posting in LinkedIn. By coincidence, one of the people on the adjudication panel for a group MBA project Ray was working on was also a senior member of the consultancy firm that had advertised the job opening. Ray later discovered that a former boss of his now worked at that consultancy firm, too.
“Lo and behold, the connections from past, future, and current were all involved in this role coming together. The need to maintain a good network was evident to me!”
Ray was thrilled to find such a great job opportunity, however, he still had to prove himself in the interview process. As it turned out, it all hinged on a 90-minute phone conversation.
One Saturday morning in early July Ray connected with the hiring manager for the position, who asked whether he was available for a group interview later that evening. He was. The evening interview turned out to be intense but, essentially, all it took for Ray to secure the position. Despite the challenge, Ray felt fully prepared.
“I faced off with four to five people on the call. It was a tough 90 minutes! I had to think on my feet, and the whole process brought home to me that you need to be well-prepared when a good opportunity comes to you,” said Ray.
Ray credits The Barrett Group for his successful performance in that interview.
“There was a significant amount of work that I put in during the three months leading up to that interview. From reflecting on what I wanted to do, to recognizing my skills, to building up contacts – I was prepped for that interview. That is due to The Barrett Group, no question about it!”
When Ray received the initial job offer, his career consultant provided critical assistance in the compensation negotiations, resulting in a much more attractive package.
“This is where TBG really earned its fee. Thanks to Isabelita, I was able to understand quickly what should be in the package and, so, negotiate a better one,” said Ray.
Three weeks in, Ray is thrilled with his new job.
“I am quite happy! This has been a very smooth process for what has been a very significant life event. I foresee growth on so many levels – and it’s all thanks to TBG for preparing me for it. As for my new role – it will truly transform my career. Whether I spend four or six years doing it, my career now goes on a different road from where it was headed before.”
Elizabeth - Success Study
Senior Patient Experience Role
Elizabeth was national director of patient experience for the healthcare division of a global provider of food and facilities management services.
Hospitality, Healthcare, Hospitals
After working more than a decade with the same employer, Elizabeth wanted a change, but her job search was not yielding results.
Elizabeth overhauled her resume and LinkedIn profile, built up social capital among her contacts, and capitalized on interview opportunities to highlight her professional successes.
Elizabeth accepted a senior patient experience role with a large, private healthcare system that enables her to directly impact patient experience.
Elizabeth was a national director of patient experience for the healthcare division of a global provider of food and facilities management. Her job was to standardize programs across the enterprise that would improve patient experience and drive improved patient satisfaction in food and housekeeping services.
After nearly 11 years with the company, Elizabeth was ready for a change. Specifically, she wanted a position that would allow her to have a greater influence on the patient community that she serves.
“As a service provider, I felt a part of the healthcare community, but also not part of it. I feel passionate about the service I provide to patients, and I wanted to find a job where I could have a more direct impact on their experience.”
In early 2020, Elizabeth began looking at job postings and getting the word out about her interest in a career transition. Although she got some interviews, they didn’t go anywhere. Then, when the pandemic hit, her job search took a backseat to new demands within her current role. It wasn’t until the new year that she decided to accelerate her job search efforts. She found The Barrett Group (TBG) and allowed them to guide her career search.
“I know how to work and drive results in my field, but I didn’t know the job market or how to market myself,” said Elizabeth. “I had been out of the job market for 10 years, and I felt like I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how to structure my resume and have my competencies stand out or create a value proposition for myself.”
Elizabeth began with the Clarity component of TBG’s program, finding it fun and helpful, but it was working with her career consultant, Julie Mathern, in the next stage that she reaped the biggest rewards, beginning with revamping her resume and LinkedIn profile.
“My LinkedIn profile has never gotten so many views since Julie and I reworked it. At every interview I was told that my resume looks great. The metrics just popped from the page!” said Elizabeth. “I was impressed with the results even before the revision was complete. I used a draft resume to apply for a job in Philadelphia and landed an interview. Wow! And when the final draft was finished, the interviews starting rolling in.”
Elizabeth’s branding campaign electrified her confidence and affirmed her belief that good self-marketing was essential in drawing attention to her candidacy.
“Rebranding myself made my expertise in patient experiences much more visible. It was a real self-esteem booster to see employer interest in me grow after that,” said Elizabeth.
Next, Elizabeth’s career consultant had Elizabeth develop her network of contacts.
“It was challenging to reach out to people because I didn’t think they would want to talk to me. But I came to realize how important it is. Julie impressed on me how crucial relationships are – not just now while I’m job seeking, but throughout my career. The resources that The Barrett Group provided me were really helpful. They detailed the standard things to do and say when engaging with people, which made me feel less awkward.”
When it came to interviewing, Elizabeth credits her career consultant and the resume team with making the process easier.
“Because my resume spoke for itself, I didn’t have to exert myself a lot during the interview process. All I had to do was give examples of how the metrics tied to my professional experience.”
Still, Elizabeth was well-prepared for interviews.
“Julie and I spent time going through sample questions and we laughed when, in one of my first interviews, I was asked four questions from TBG’s guide,” said Elizabeth. “I give a gold star to The Barrett Group for preparing me so well for interviews.”
When Elizabeth received a rejection one day, her consultant coached her to send a gracious response back to the hiring manager. To Elizabeth’s surprise, the hiring manager followed up with a different opportunity that turned into a job offer.
“I ended up turning that job down, but I give The Barrett Group another gold star for coaching me to reply to a rejection email that yielded a job offer!” said Elizabeth.
Throughout the program, Elizabeth valued very much how comprehensive TBG’s approach is to job seeking.
“The TBG program doesn’t just target job postings, it shows clients how to leverage a resume and LinkedIn profile to create a brand and market themselves, it teaches them to create new contacts and develop relationships so that hiring managers know what they bring to the table.”
Most valuable for Elizabeth were the discipline acquired via the career consultant weekly meetings, and the support rendered by her consultant that pushed Elizabeth beyond her comfort zone.
“Julie told me to get in touch with an executive that I’d formerly worked with who is now the CEO of a company. I was nervous, but I did it. He then connected me with someone who is now serving as my mentor. I’m not sure I would have done that on my own. Julie was the push I needed.”
When it comes to landing her new job, Elizabeth gives significant credit to her career consultant, too.
“During the initial screening, I learned that the job’s salary range was significantly lower than my minimum requirements. Julie counseled me to continue the process, saying that ‘everything is negotiable.’ In the end, they offered me the job at the compensation level I wanted. I even asked for relocation assistance, and they were happy to do it.”
Elizabeth is now the System Director of Patient Experience at a large, private healthcare system where she will oversee the entire patient experience for 24 hospitals and 200 satellite sites. In this role, she will have a direct impact on patient experience.
“I’m excited to have more of an influence. At this point in my career, it was time to make an investment in myself – and this was an investment well worth making. I felt that the coaching was so directed. I don’t mind telling anyone that The Barrett Group got me results!”
Most clients give TBG permission to use their first and last names and their photo with their success study. In some cases, however, clients are not at liberty to disclose this information publicly, therefore, some identifying details must be omitted or changed to protect the privacy of the client and/or their organization.
Ashley Turner - Success Study
Corporate Director of Hotel Operations
Ashley Turner was regional director of operations for an Indiana-based, health care company providing autism therapy.
Hospitality & Leisure, Healthcare, Hospitals
After working 11 years in her family business, Ashley left for a job that was a poor fit, but she lacked the job seeking skills and confidence in her business credentials to find a more suitable one.
After identifying her goals, Ashley built her confidence by reaching out to her network and learned how to parry awkward interview questions about her reasons for leaving her family business.
Ashley accepted a job as corporate director of hotel operations for an international firm that offered her more money, flexibility on her home base, and a great team of colleagues.
Ashley Turner was regional director of operations for a health care company providing autism therapy to children. She came to the job less than a year earlier after deciding to step away from her father’s hotel management and development business in Indiana where she had worked for 11 years – her entire post-college career. Working for her father, Ashley developed great experience in every position, from sales to vice president. So, when her father expressed an interest in stepping back from his business, Ashley was ready and began assuming his responsibilities. But then Ashley’s father changed his mind.
It got challenging to have two people with two different visions leading the company, and Ashley concluded that it was time for her to leave. She took a director position overseeing autism centers, thinking that it might stimulate other professional interests, but it was not a good fit.
“I thought I’d love working with kids with disabilities, but I didn’t like the business structure of the new organization. It wasn’t a financially-driven model, and it didn’t play to my strengths,” said Ashley.
Ashley’s strengths, she knew, were overall business perspective and creating a guest experience – namely, hotel management. She was dissatisfied in her new job but felt that returning to hotel management was not an option. The hotel world in Indiana is small, and Ashley didn’t think her dad’s competitors would ever hire her. At the same time, getting a job outside the state didn’t seem feasible either because family commitments tied her to Indiana.
Feeling directionless, Ashley hired The Barrett Group.
“I had never thought about looking for another job until I left my father’s company. I hadn’t written a resume since I was 22,” said Ashley. “I needed professional guidance to get my head straight, and I needed help job searching.”
For the next four to six weeks, Ashley worked with her Clarity coach to think through the industry and job function she wanted to pursue, the size of company she preferred, and to understand the value that she offered employers.
“I had a great experience with Clarity. I was feeling insecure about whether I was truly good at things or just thought I was because my dad had made work easy for me. But here was an unbiased person telling me what she saw as my strengths based on various assessments and our personal interactions. It was great validation to me.”
After Clarity, Ashley began working with Julie Mathern, her career consultant, which she valued very much.
“It was really good working with Julie. Not only was she a great sounding board, she gave me accountability. We had a call every week, and I would make sure to do the things she asked me to do before the call. It pushed me out of my comfort zone, but I didn’t want to disappoint her. She kept me on track more than I would have done on my own.”
The first thing Ashley tackled was her resume and cover letter. Next, she updated her LinkedIn profile.
“Julie showed me how to find first-, second-, and third-degree LinkedIn connections and properly use them. Then I set up references,” said Ashley.
Setting up references required Ashley to reach out to her network, a task she found uniquely uncomfortable.
“It was very hard to contact people because everyone knows my dad and we have always been a package deal. I knew it would be difficult to talk to them about us splitting up,” said Ashley.
To her surprise, Ashley found that her contacts were quite receptive to her and had a high regard for her as a businesswoman. Many were quite happy to provide a good reference for her. The more people she spoke to, the more comfortable she became, and the exercise proved to be a valuable means of building confidence.
Looking for a job in hotel management was particularly hard during Covid – the industry was hit hard by the pandemic. Ashley had reasonable expectations, though.
“The folks at TBG said it normally takes six to twelve months to find a job, and during Covid it might be longer. In the beginning, the hotel industry was dead. My job search produced no interviews in January or February of 2021. In March, however, I saw a job post for corporate director of hotel operations in my inbox. I was pumped because it was a lot faster than I had anticipated!”
The position appealed to Ashley because it was similar to the role she’d had at her father’s company, but this time for a global company with different levels of luxury than she was used to. She’d be visiting properties around the country. Best of all, it was a remote job, so Indiana could be her home base.
“I was very excited because my experience with hotels is mostly in the Midwest,” said Ashley.
Ashley started with a phone screening and ended with flying to Atlanta for two days of in-person interviews. Within 30 days, she had the job. She credits her career consultant with many aspects of her successful search.
“Julie’s help on the back end is a huge part of why I got this job. She set me up with a great resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile, and she is the one who showed me how to navigate Indeed and set up the alerts. If she hadn’t, I would never have seen that job posting.”
Ashley also thanks Julie for the excellent interview prep she received.
“Julie coached me to discuss leaving my family’s business. I didn’t want to overexplain. Her help was important because it was one of the first questions I got. My boss told me later that I’d answered that question really well.”
When the offer was in hand, Julie also coached Ashley to negotiate a higher compensation, resulting in $10,000 more in base salary.
“I was nervous to ask for more money, but I knew Julie would be disappointed if I didn’t try. My boss just said, “Sure!”
Ashley loves her new job, and she couldn’t be happier with her TBG experience.
“Your mental state is so important when you’re looking for a job because you’re putting yourself out there. Julie gave me the tools I needed to reflect who I am and what I can do and the confidence to go out and get the job I deserve.”
Most clients give TBG permission to use their first and last names and their photo with their success study. In some cases, however, clients are not at liberty to disclose this information publicly, therefore, some identifying details must be omitted or changed to protect the privacy of the client and/or their organization. Photo: 123rf.com
Peter Witke - Success Study
Chief Commercial Officer
Peter Witke was head of international sales at a medical supply company in northern Europe.
Medical Devices & Equipment
When an executive-level disagreement about management structure forced him to seek other employment in the middle of the Covid crisis, Peter knew he needed help.
Reeling from an unanticipated severance, Peter benefited greatly from the Clarity program, which helped him better understand himself and his ideal work environment.
In two months, Peter landed a role as chief commercial officer at a company with a great need for someone with his skillset.
As head of international sales for a spinal device medical supply company in Germany, Peter Witke oversaw distribution to 37 countries around the world. He designed local strategies for business partners, managed the corporate sales structure, and set organizational goals. He racked up many impressive achievements, including 39% growth in Europe. Despite his accomplishments, however, a disagreement with company leadership about management structure evolved into an untenable work environment, and Peter left the company.
Peter had always managed his job searches and knew what to do. He contacted recruiters, reached out to his network, and signed up for LinkedIn Premium for premium job access resources. But this time was different – the Coronavirus had just begun sweeping across Europe.
“At the start of Covid all the responses I got from recruiters and hiring managers were a variation of ‘We aren’t hiring now because of Covid,’” said Peter. “I also learned that, nowadays, the majority of CVs are run through an algorithm that easily filters you out if you don’t tick a certain box. I hadn’t run into that before.”
As a homeowner and a father of four over age 50, Peter felt a high level of stress about his financial situation. He knew he matched the profile of someone who can expect high hurdles to a successful job search. So, when he learned about The Barrett Group (TBG) and the robust professional support they offer jobseekers to leverage the unpublished market to find their dream jobs, Peter was intrigued.
“I found The Barrett Group’s story appealing. When I heard from The Barrett Group that 75% of all jobs are found in the unpublished market and they can help me access it, I became very curious to find out what they do differently from what I have always done,” said Peter.
Peter first talked to Tomasz Lisewski and was impressed by TBG’s sales offerings. He remained skeptical, however, until he interviewed TBG CEO, Peter Irish, too.
“I became convinced that TBG could open doors to me that were currently closed – even in a completely different industry,” said Peter.
Peter signed on with TBG and began the Clarity program, which to his surprise, turned out to be the most valuable aspect of his entire experience.
“The Clarity program was a real eyeopener for me, especially the DISC profile exercise,” said Peter. “It was the scariest experience in my life to answer 24 questions and have it yield a 20-page analytical report about my skills and personality that was spot on! The report included what other people say about me. It wasn’t all positive, but it also made me better understand why my last job failed.”
Peter learned a lot about himself, including the kinds of management structure that fit and don’t fit his personality and skills. The coaching that followed built on that understanding.
“My Clarity coach, Julie Holifield, really helped me process my situation and figure out a reasonable next job. She was very compassionate at a time when I felt vulnerable,” said Peter.
Next, Peter was assigned an Executive Career Consultant and Program Manager, Paula Nordhoff, who gave him various tasks and guided him on how best to benefit from LinkedIn, leverage his network, get in front of hiring managers, and represent himself on his CV. Peter threw himself into the work, meeting twice per week with Paula.
“It was obvious that Paula was very experienced. She realized that I was in a difficult state of mind. I wasn’t just looking for a job, I was surviving life. She kept me very active, which was important to me psychologically,” said Peter.
Peter’s ultimate landing stemmed from a contact he’d made months earlier at a medical exhibition. The head of another medical device company desperately needed someone with Peter’s skills and experience to commercialize his products. He was thrilled to consider hiring Peter as soon as sales in medical devices recovered from the Covid downturn.
With Paula’s help, Peter nursed the relationship for several months, offering the CEO ideas and a proposal for a corporate strategic plan. Peter was finally offered an employment contract as chief commercial officer of this exciting company – and at a compensation level exceeding that of his previous position.
He couldn’t be happier.
“This has been a great learning experience,” said Peter. “I greatly appreciate the compassion shown to me by my two coaches, and their willingness to support me in getting to my next role. This coaching can really make a difference in how you approach the job market.”
Vinod - Success Study
Director of Intellectual Property (IP)
Vinod was a customer success manager for AI solutions at a young tech startup in Canada.
After a new job in a new field went badly, Vinod sought a better fit. However, job prospects were limited.
By reworking his resume and LinkedIn profile, and learning interviewing best practices, Vinod learned to better market himself.
Despite increasing competition in the wake of the pandemic, Vinod landed a 6-month contract as director of intellectual property at a higher annualized salary with the potential to go full-time.
After working eleven years as a solutions provider in the intellectual property (IP) and technology space in Ottawa, Vinod felt that growth potential was exhausted at his company, and even in Canada. He decided to explore opportunities in a new field with better long-term prospects and took a position as an artificial intelligence (AI) solutions manager at a young startup outside of Toronto. Soon after starting, Vinod realized the company was a poor fit and he wanted out. Only seven months into his new job, Vinod negotiated his departure and began jobhunting again – but this time he found himself at a big disadvantage.
“I was stuck. Most of my experience is in the intellectual property space. I was successful there, but in Canada there are few opportunities at my level. Meanwhile, I didn’t have enough experience in AI to target senior-level positions, and I wasn’t interested in junior-level jobs,” said Vinod. “In the U.S. there are more opportunities, but in the U.S. I need H-1B sponsorship.”
Although under pressure to land a job before eating up his savings, Vinod struggled to get his resume past applicant tracking systems (ATS). He had some good initial interviews in Detroit, but after he was ruled out of contention for several jobs by his need for an H-1B visa he decided to seek professional help. Vinod hired The Barrett Group (TBG).
“Working with Vivek [Vivek Agarwal, Vinod’s Executive Career Consultant and Program Manager] was fantastic,” said Vinod. “He gave me weekly assignments to work on, such as identifying my strengths and weaknesses in interviewing, improving my social capital, and identifying work experiences that might be valuable to a hiring manager.”
With the help of the TBG team, Vinod also polished up his LinkedIn profile and rewrote his resume to improve its chances of getting over the ATS hurdle. Vinod especially valued the experienced feedback from his interview coaching sessions.
“Vivek explained how to better market myself,” said Vinod. “He gave me great perspective on my mock interview responses and how to strengthen them. With his help, I learned how to discuss a weakness and make it sound like a positive attribute. I now feel more savvy and confident about how to answer interview questions.”
Like so many others, Vinod’s job search was stymied by the Covid-19 pandemic. An offer in March was quickly revoked. Another pending offer was postponed, then revoked. Just when he was on the point of panic in June, his networking efforts from months earlier finally bore fruit and Vinod was offered a 6-month, full-time contract position for a firm based in Seattle, for which Vinod’s skills align very well, with the intent to become permanent when the pandemic’s grip on the economy eases up.
“I am grateful this worked out. This position was very competitive and I feel lucky to have gotten it. I’m back in IP and, so far, it’s great!” said Vinod. “With luck, this job will turn into a full-time position. If it doesn’t, I will sync with Vivek again. Regardless, his coaching was valuable and will continue to be valuable.”
Some identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. Photo: 123rf.com
Dennis Green - Success Study
Senior Member of Staff
Dennis Green was an accounting manager for a large distributor of automotive replacement parts.
Accounting, Auditing, Automotive, Business Consulting
Corporate staff changes limited Dennis’ growth potential and spurred him to seek better opportunities elsewhere, but he felt he was getting little traction in his search.
Dennis plumbed his contacts and learned the importance of always framing his accomplishments as a value-add for the company.
Within a few months, Dennis had two job offers, and accepted one that offered him great growth opportunities and a 50% improvement in his base salary.
As a transactional accounting manager for a large distributor of automotive and industrial replacement parts in Georgia, Dennis Green led and managed a team of 25. He had come to the position two years earlier with an MBA and impressive experience, including working for one of the Big Four accounting firms. Dennis was keen to keep his career momentum going, so, when his company made some major staff changes that limited opportunities for upward mobility and stretch assignments, he decided to leave.
“The staff changes made the work blow up, and I was doing work that staff would normally do, which was not work that would allow me to grow,” said Dennis. “They also started encouraging early retirement for senior positions and they were not backfilling them. In the next two years I thought my growth opportunities would dwindle. I’ve invested a lot into my career, and I don’t want to stay somewhere if there are better opportunities elsewhere.”
Dennis reached out to recruiters for help, as he had done in the past, and job searched on his own. After two months, however, his search was not going the way he wanted it to, and he turned to The Barrett Group.
“I felt that I’d risen to a level where I needed more information about how to be seen as an executive, including job search methods, interviewing, executive presence, and exposure, said Dennis. “If I continued down the road I was on, I knew I might accept less than I was worth.”
Dennis first spent two to three weeks reflecting on himself and his goals in the Clarity Program.
“Clarity was good. It confirmed what I knew about myself, but it also made me sit down and ask myself, ‘What do I want out of my career, and where do I want to be longer-term?’ It was very informative and made me think more deeply about what I am doing and where I am going than I ever have. In the past, my job searches were reactionary, but this time I felt I was being proactive in my decisions.”
After the Clarity Program, Dennis began working with his career consultant, Greg Emslie.
“Working with Greg was good – very informational,” said Dennis. “He told me things I didn’t know about LinkedIn. We did a full-on interview prep, which I found very helpful. Greg coached me to answer interview questions differently than I would have in the past – in a more positive, constructive way.”
Dennis also learned useful tips about executive presence, which he was quick to implement, and how to put metrics to all his achievements.
“Translating things I’d done into a value-add for the company and figuring out how the things I do impact the company financially (Greg called this ‘being a profit center’) – I found that perspective and way of thinking very valuable,” said Dennis.
Ultimately, the most beneficial aspect of the TBG Program for Dennis was learning how to connect with people better.
“The way I landed my new position is basically thanks to one step: Putting awareness out there. In the past, if I reached out to anyone it was recruiters, not family, friends, or former colleagues, unless I needed a reference. This time I reached out to people on a much higher level than I’ve ever done.”
Dennis admits that it was sometimes uncomfortable – even difficult. But Greg laid out the steps to follow and he coached Dennis weekly on the process, discussing missed opportunities and what more he could do to improve.
“Greg made it simple. He coached me through it and told me things I could say and how to present myself,” said Dennis. “It was really good to connect with people I hadn’t talked to in a while. I realize now I should keep doing it!
Not only did the process turn out to be a good experience for Dennis, but also it yielded considerably more interviews than he’d been getting, two of which turned into competing job offers.
“I spoke to a woman I know that is an internal recruiter at a small business consulting firm in my area and told her I was looking for my next opportunity,” said Dennis. “About a month later, one of the principals of the company left, so she sent my resume to the CEO of the company. I had actually worked with him eight years earlier, so he called me right away to ask if we could talk about the open position at his company.”
Just before receiving an offer from this firm, Dennis received an offer for a role as an assistant controller at another company. He very much appreciated having Greg as a resource to negotiate the terms of the two opportunities before making his decision.
“Things moved so fast. We went over both offers and Greg coached me on how best to handle the situation,” said Dennis.
Ultimately, Dennis opted for the role at the consulting company because it was a new industry with new experiences to explore and better long-term opportunities.
“Consulting is a different industry for me. I’ll be doing things I haven’t done in the past and working with a lot of different types of people, so there is better growth potential. I like to try new stuff, so I feel really good about this new position.”
Dennis was also delighted to get a significant improvement in his compensation. His base salary, alone, is 50% more than it was previously, and he will be making seven times as much in bonus, not to mention a sales commission.
“I learned a lot from The Barrett Group. I felt more confident in this job search and appreciated the support I got from Greg. With his help, I ended up exceeding my compensation target. The Barrett Group program is an investment, but I will now make five times that, thanks to their help. It was a short-term investment with a long-term gain. The Barrett Group Program was a great experience overall.”
Most clients give TBG permission to use their first and last names and their photo with their success study. In some cases, however, clients are not at liberty to disclose this information publicly, therefore, some identifying details must be omitted or changed to protect the privacy of the client and/or their organization. Photo: 123rf.com
Lynn Duke - Success Study
Director, Human Resources
Lynn Duke was chief human resources officer for a major school district in Georgia.
Education, Human Resources, Hospitals, Healthcare
After spending her entire career in the education sector, Lynn wanted a change, but she hadn’t looked for a new job in 30 years and didn’t know where to start.
After exploring her options and her goals, Lynn learned how to communicate her value proposition to prospective employers through her resume and during interviews.
Lynn accepted a position as human resources director for a regional nonprofit that advocates for the needs of senior citizens.
As chief human resources officer for a major school district in Georgia, Lynn Duke oversaw the HR needs of 2,500 employees and provided strategic direction and support across operations. She fell into her career at age 19 when she began working for the school district, worked her way up, eventually becoming head of the HR department. After a 30-year career in education, and a particularly challenging final year during the pandemic, Lynn decided to seek a role in a different industry.
In preparation for her departure, she hired a firm to write her resume and develop her LinkedIn profile. The firm didn’t offer coaching on any other aspects of job seeking, however, and Lynn still felt unprepared to enter the job market. So, when she gave notice to the school district in the fall of 2020, she hired The Barrett Group (TBG).
“I didn’t know how to approach a career change. I’d never actually looked for a job before and, while I’d conducted hundreds of interviews as the interviewer, I’d never been on the other side. I wanted to know what was important to communicate to a prospective employer,” said Lynn.
Lynn began her TBG experience with the Clarity program. She was skeptical at first, but she wound up quite enjoying the work she did with her coach.
“You don’t understand what Clarity is until you’re in it. I thought it was enlightening. It wasn’t surprising so much as affirming. It helped me know better who I am, and it framed what is important to me. It made me see that the highlights of my career have not been promotions and raises, rather the times when I was helping people. So, I knew that I wanted to find a job where I could help people and feel good about the work I was doing.”
When Lynn began working with her career consultant, Lori Chevalier, she reworked her resume and LinkedIn profile again, improving on what she’d done months earlier. After that, Lori asked Lynn to develop her social network – a task that Lynn began with trepidation but ended up appreciating very much.
“I hated the idea of reaching out to people. It’s so funny how the things you hate turn out to be the best parts. Life is busy, so I never made the time to do it before. But reconnecting with people I hadn’t talked to in a while and building our relationship was great. People were happy to give me their time. When I started with The Barrett Group I had only 50 connections on LinkedIn. Now I have about 250.”
Lynn spent a lot of time prepping for interviews, too.
“I wanted to know how to explain how I could go from 30 years in public education to a totally different industry. It was because of The Barrett Group that I was so well prepared for the interview process. Lori coached me on skills before every interview. We’d get job descriptions and come up with examples of what I could say. She asked me potential questions and provided feedback on my answers,” said Lynn.
Something that became clear to Lynn is that, in addition to always gravitating towards human resources work, she wanted to work for an organization whose mission was also to help people. That journey didn’t come without some frustration, however.
“My area of Georgia is booming in manufacturing, and I thought working at a plant would be appealing. Manufacturing companies didn’t give me the time of day, though. I never got a single interview.”
Lynn suffered an even greater disappointment when an offer for an attractive job in events and hospitality that she felt certain to get did not come through. But Lori helped Lynn to keep things in perspective.
“In hindsight, Lori and I realized that the job was probably earmarked for someone internally,” said Lynn.
It was discouraging when that door didn’t open either, but Lynn recognized in retrospect that in both cases the positions didn’t align with her new-found purpose: helping people. She restarted her search and within days she had a winner – a job for a human resources director of a regional nonprofit that advocates for the needs of senior citizens.
“I hadn’t been looking to work in this field, but when I saw the job post it hit home because we recently had to put my mother in a home and I had been thinking how important it is to take care of the needs of the elderly.”
Within 15 minutes of applying, Lynn was invited to interview. Soon afterwards, she was offered the position.
“I interviewed and it felt so right for all of us. Everyone there is someone who wants to help people.”
Lynn has thrown herself into her new job and is excited to put some much-needed new processes into place, including developing an employee handbook and implementing good leave policies. She has found her journey with The Barrett Group to be a fascinating and enjoyable experience.
“I went from having no confidence in conducting a job search to feeling very confident. I wish everyone could do The Barrett Group program. When you’re going through the process, you don’t realize how it will all come together for you. I found it to be worth every penny.”
Advik - Success Study
Advik was senior director of manufacturing engineering at a San Francisco-based consumer electronics company.
Consumer Electronics, Manufacturing, Supply Chain Management
Although Advik had a job he liked, he wanted a VP level role and one that he could do fully remotely.
Advik honed his interview and negotiation skills and practiced strategies for developing and leveraging his social network.
About a year after launching his job search, Advik was promoted to a VP role at his own company with an agreement that he could work fully remotely.
As senior director of manufacturing engineering at a San Francisco-based consumer electronics company, Advik managed the engineering and quality & compliance groups. Although he liked his job, there were two aspects of his professional life that he wanted to change. The first is that he wanted a higher-level position. He’d progressed normally in his career, but he saw more and more of his peers assuming VP and CEO positions, and Advik felt that he was ready for a VP level role, too.
The second aspect was geography. Advik’s company was located in San Francisco, but his “home base” was Houston, Texas. To do his job, Advik was renting an apartment in the Bay Area and traveling back and forth between the two cities. When Covid hit and Advik was able to work full-time from home, the heavy toll of the long-distance commute on him became very apparent. He decided that he no longer wanted to work in the Bay Area.
“At the onset of Covid is when I signed on with The Barrett Group. With everyone working from home, I thought it was a good opportunity for me to look for something different,” said Advik. “I figured I could interview from home and find another position that I could do remotely so that I wouldn’t have to return to the Bay Area.”
Advik wanted to find a better opportunity without going through standard channels, like browsing the internet for job postings, so TBG’s focus on the unpublished market appealed to him. He also appreciated that The Barrett Group understood his unique skillset and wanted to help him find the right position for him.
Advik started with the Clarity Program and appreciated the chance to step back and reflect on his goals.
“I liked the Clarity sessions. They were good. I have taken those assessments before and I always value taking the time to figure out what kind of person I am and what I’m looking for,” said Advik.
After Clarity, Advik transitioned into working with his career consultant, with whom he revised his resume, worked on interview skills, and created a job search plan.
“The Barrett Group is very helpful when it comes to helping you set your goal objectives and organizing your job search. They are good at helping you to revise your resume, practice interview skills, and market yourself through various channels, like LinkedIn. All that creates a great foundation,” said Advik.
Next Advik learned strategies and tools for developing and leveraging social connections.
“The Barrett Group is very good at teaching you to navigate LinkedIn to find primary and secondary contacts. If you want to apply for a job and you can identify someone at the company that you know and have worked with in the past, that will strengthen your position during the application process. You will have a much better chance of pushing your candidacy forward,” said Advik. “That’s the key. The Barrett Group is good with identifying and employing these strategies.”
It was in these latter steps, however, that Advik encountered challenges.
“Barrett Group clients really need to have drive. I’m more of an introverted person. I am not talkative and have never been one for going out in social gatherings. If those things don’t happen, people sometimes don’t remember you when you reach out to them,” said Advik.
After nine months, Advik decided to step away from job searching for personal reasons. Ironically, however, not long afterwards, Advik found exactly what he was looking for – right in his own company.
“I got promoted to VP of global supply chain and manufacturing at my company. I was managing the engineering and quality & compliance groups before. I still have the same function, but now I am also overseeing planning & purchasing, global supply, management, logistics and trade compliance,” said Advik. “I’m doing pretty well!”
That’s not all. Advik is also now working fully remotely, just as he’d wanted.
“When I was offered the promotion, I made it clear to my company that I could not move back to the Bay Area, so they agreed to write into the offer letter that I will be formally based in Houston.”
Ultimately, although Advik’s journey did not go at all as he’d planned, he ended up with everything he wanted.
“Obviously, the whole thing is a process – it takes time. I came away feeling that The Barrett Group genuinely watches out for their clients’ best interests.”
Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. Photo: 123rf.com
Martha Anderson - Success Study
Martha (Marti) Anderson was senior manager for HR Learning and Development at a large management and IT consulting firm.
Consulting, Human Resources, Change Management
Marti’s skills were poorly employed at her firm and her efforts to advance were unsuccessful, so she sought a better job and wanted professional guidance to optimize her efforts.
Marti reassessed the direction she wanted to go, maximized LinkedIn tools to job search, and utilized her career coach as a sounding board as she fielded opportunities that arose.
Marti landed as a senior consultant at a small consulting firm where her work and compensation properly reflect the value she offers the organization
As senior manager of human resources learning and development at a large management and IT consulting company, Martha (Marti) Anderson spent two years leading ethics, security, and compliance training. Although her tenure in the position was short, Marti had a long history at the company, having worked eight years at the company earlier in her career. Her second tour, however, proved to be unsatisfying. Marti found that the job she was hired to do was different from advertised and sought an internal transfer within months of starting it. She applied for a position with the firm’s leadership team and got it. Just then, however, the pandemic hit, and the firm froze all internal transfers. When it was clear that leadership was not going to honor the original transfer position, which she had competitively landed, Marti decided ten months later to apply for another position in leadership development. The second time, she did not get the position, a decision that Marti found unacceptable.
Marti resolved to find another job that would better align with her talents and ambitions. She started job searching and, this time, decided to enlist professional help.
“I was not energized about any aspect of my work. I started wondering why I had taken the role in the first place. I wanted to find a new job where I could thrive, do great work for clients, and see an impact,” said Marti. “At the same time, I also had a lot on my plate personally and professionally and wanted help. As we all know, it’s a lot of work to job search.”
Marti had never used a career coach before, but she knew others did to great success. So, why not her? She felt she’d sold herself short during her two previous job transitions and wanted to find her true value. She also wanted help reassessing which direction to go. After some research, she hired The Barrett Group (TBG) and was immediately gratified at their willingness to rearrange the standard program for her specific needs.
“My experience was a little different. When I signed on with The Barrett Group I had already been looking for jobs and had an interview lined up,” said Marti. “So, before I started the Clarity Program I requested a coach to help me prepare for that interview. TBG’s responsiveness and flexibility to go out of order from their normal processes to accommodate me was great.”
Soon afterwards, Marti followed up with her assigned Clarity Coach, Justin Hellman, and was equally impressed by the grounding he gave her.
“All of the Clarity Program resonated with me. Doing the personality assessments and crafting a strategic plan was extremely useful in helping me articulate what opportunities would fulfill me and how I could bring value to an organization. My experience is of especial note because I have a background in leadership development coaching and am usually the person administering assessments. It was really nice to be on the receiving side of the benefits for a change.”
When Marti began working with her career coach, she found the experience even more valuable.
“Sue [Mitchell] taught me about LinkedIn filtering – there is so much more to it than I had realized! She also helped me improve my LinkedIn profile, how to get endorsements and recommendation stories on my page. I thought my LinkedIn profile was already good, but we definitely elevated it.” said Marti. “We did practice interviews, which were terrific. She coached me to rephrase things in a way that tied in buzz words from a job posting.”
Marti was delighted with the revisions the TBG team made on her resume, too.
“We restructured my resume in a way that made my top skills clear and easy to tailor to whatever job I applied for. It was an efficient way to market myself and I definitely noticed an uptick in responses to my applications afterwards,” said Marti.
Above all, Marti valued the relationship she developed with Sue – who was an excellent resource on Marti’s job search journey.
“Sue was phenomenal! Extremely helpful! She never led me to a decision, but it was a relief to have her there as a sounding board. I was grateful to be able to talk to her during the recruitment process for one particular role that was right in my strike zone, but my intuition was telling me that the company’s culture would not be a good fit,” said Marti. (She ultimately withdrew from the process.)
After three months of constant interviewing and job searching, Marti found the opportunity that she had been looking for when she connected with a former colleague at a webinar. The colleague recommended her to a small, women-owned consulting firm that specialized in change management. Intrigued, Marti reached out directly to the CEO of the firm and was immediately struck by the achievements of the company and by the CEO’s warmth and approachability.
“It was so apparent from our initial conversations that I belonged and that I could thrive. It was a place where I sensed I could feel joy and reward and know that I could add value for clients.”
Within two and a half weeks, Marti was hired as a senior consultant in change management with a government contract where she could build a leadership effectiveness program directly with and for their executives. The compensation is a significant raise, and Marti was assigned to lead a 5-year federal contract in Organizational Effectiveness.
“I never thought I’d want to do contract work again, but it was an easy decision to accept this job offer. I love the work I’m doing now. Within my first two weeks I designed a whole new leadership program that was approved by the CIO.”
Marti says the job is a strong resume builder, too, so if she wants to jump back into a salaried position in the future, she will be able to do so at an executive level.
“It was worth every penny I paid to The Barrett Group to have someone look out for me, help me with my search, and finetune what matters to me. I knew a job like this could exist and Barrett Group helped me find it.”