General Manager, Tooling
State Director for Texas
Director of Systems Quality Engineering
Manager - Health, Safety & Environment Business Unit
Head of Quality Assurance
Senior Compensation Consultant
President & CEO
Rob Szafraniec - Success Study
General Manager, Tooling
Rob Szafraniec was vice president of a national supplier of industrial products and tools and general manager of one of its business divisions.
When his company went bankrupt unexpectedly, Rob found himself cast into the employment market for the first time in over 20 years.
Rob overhauled his resume, built up his network, and utilized LinkedIn Analytics as he patiently waited for the right opportunity during the Covid slowdown.
Rob landed at a company in a parallel industry as general manager of a growing division, a position that ticked every box on his wish list.
As vice president of a major, Pennsylvania-based industrial MRO distributor and general manager of one of the company’s divisions, Rob Szafraniec co-managed $220 million in revenues, 350 employees, and 22 locations. Rob got his start in the industry when he joined his family’s industrial MRO distribution company in 1999. He helped run the company for 17 years until it was acquired in 2016 by a larger company, which was itself acquired two years later by an even larger company. Through both acquisitions, Rob advanced in position and was expecting to move into the C-level soon when the company suddenly fell on hard times and was forced into a rapid restructuring.
After 23 years at, essentially, the same business, Rob found himself thrust into the employment market with little idea of where to look for a new job.
“Our company hit an iceberg and it eventually shuttered,” said Rob. “I had been swept along with the evolution of this company and had never had to look for a job. I hadn’t updated my resume since 1996.”
Rob tried to reintroduce himself to modern job hunting, but he quickly realized that he needed help.
“I hit the job boards, rewrote my resume, and spruced up my LinkedIn profile, but I didn’t get anywhere,” said Rob. “I was a neophyte. I had no direction or plan.”
Somehow, Rob stumbled upon The Barrett Group (TBG) and reached out for more information. He was surprised by the cost at first, but the more he learned about the program, the more he felt it justified the investment.
“The Barrett Group promised to educate me on how to market myself. That made a lot of sense for me because I hadn’t thought about that in forever,” said Rob.
He found the Clarity Program to be among the most valuable aspects of the whole program.
“Laura and I hit it off fantastically. My sessions with her went very well – not just because she’s so good, but also because it was important for me to understand where I was in my career and in my life and where I wanted to go,” said Rob. “I learned what I liked and what I didn’t like about my previous employment, and how to develop a personal business plan. It was a powerful experience because I’d never done that before.”
One thing Rob learned is that he did not want to travel as much as he had previously done.
“Travel was impacting me more than I realized. Clarity highlighted the need to bring balance back into my life with my next job,” said Rob. “I have little kids, and these are important years. You don’t get those years back.”
In the next phase of the TBG program, Rob dove into restructuring his resume in a way that made his accomplishments shine.
“My background and skills were all there, but it wasn’t coming through on my original resume. The Barrett Group helped me immensely with that,” said Rob.
Rob also took a lot of time to understand how to do effective LinkedIn searches and use LinkedIn Analytics. He also learned how to leverage his social capital.
“The concept of networking wasn’t completely foreign to me, but TBG’s tactics really opened my eyes.” said Rob. “I had spent a lot of time building business contacts for my sales and my business, but I had never really cultivated relationships on a personal level.”
When he finally launched his job search things went well – until Covid hit. All his job opportunities in-process were put on hold.
“It was nerve-wracking,” said Rob. “I wondered if things would ever change, but I stuck to my guns to keep leveraging my social capital and job hunting.”
Rob leaned on his career consultant for support when he needed it, checked LinkedIn frequently, and kept an open mind to opportunities in industries outside his expertise. It took a while, but his patience eventually paid off.
When Rob finally landed, it was through a combination of the published market and leveraging his social capital. After playing around with his settings on LinkedIn, he noticed an interesting job post appear that previous searches had never triggered – a position for director of MRO in the machine tool industry. He researched his network on LinkedIn and discovered that someone he had once worked with over 20 years earlier was employed at the company. Rob reached out to him through LinkedIn to reconnect, then set up a call. Before long, Rob’s former colleague was walking his resume directly to the president’s office for him.
At first, the lead went nowhere. The company wasn’t hiring due to the Covid downturn. But a couple of months later the president reached out to tell Rob that they were ready to move forward. Within two weeks Rob had a fantastic job offer.
Rob’s career consultant coached him through the compensation negotiations, which yielded a package with far superior potential to his last role and a strong opportunity for advancement. Rob couldn’t be happier.
“Without question I’m happier than I was in my previous position,” said Rob. “I could see spending 15 years at this company. I’ve landed a dream come true!”
Lee Price - Success Study
State Director for Texas
In some ways, Lee Price was an untypical client. He had had two exceptionally successful careers, and he was retired when he engaged The Barrett Group.
Lee had retired. Then Lee unretired, and that’s how he came to engage The Barrett Group to help him with his third act. The economy and job searching had changed – and he wasn’t sure how to go about it.
The Barrett Group’s process of course involves all the strategies of a conventional job search, but it also involves unconventional but tried and true strategies, to get your portfolio directly into the hands of key decision makers.
“Within twelve weeks of when I signed the contract, I had three quality job offers to choose from. All involved the type of money I wanted to make and were the type of jobs I wanted. And, you know, it’s nice to be in a position where you can pick.”
Why are successful executives sometimes those most in need of The Barrett Group’s services? They might have a long tenure with one company, or they might, if they do switch companies, do so because they have been recruited or poached. Such was the case with Lee Price.
In some ways, Lee was an untypical client. He had had two exceptionally successful careers, and he was retired when he engaged The Barrett Group. First, a graduate of the Naval Academy at Annapolis and the Naval War College at Newport, Lee had a distinguished career as a Navy pilot, commander, and chief of staff, overseeing pilot training at Whiting Field Naval Air Station. Next, building on his military experience, Lee had a successful second career in the private sector as a director of training for a shipbuilder in Mobile, training or testing nearly 10,000 employees.
Eventually, Lee retired. Then Lee unretired, and that’s how he came to engage The Barrett Group to help him with his third act. “Retirement didn’t turn out to be what I thought it would be. It was pretty boring. After about a month, I decided I needed a job. But the economy wasn’t great and job search had changed so much since I had last looked that I was really unsure how to do it. There were things like LinkedIn that I hadn’t considered, as us old-time Boomers had sort of got left out of that.”
Like many clients, Lee’s engaging The Barrett Group was less an impulsive affair and more a process. He shopped around, talking to several firms, before determining The Barrett Group would be the best for him. And before making it official and engaging them, he went to a career counselor and attended a career conference. “I went to that conference and determined that they weren’t looking for guys like me, that career fairs aren’t for guys with significant experience. They were looking for much younger, cheaper, newer options. So I came back, signed with The Barrett Group, and never looked back. They did everything I expected them to do—and more.”
Lee’s consultant Michael did not whisper sweet nothings to convince him to engage them. Instead, he had serious, sober, realistic conversation with Lee about expectations. “My [consultant] was the one who basically gave me the facts up front. He said, hey, it’s going to take you this long to land a job. He said it would probably take 6 to 18 months to get the type of job I wanted, at the money I wanted, and at a place I would want to be. And he said this is going to be our approach, and this is what we’re going to do. It was actually really good to talk to him about that.”
The Barrett Group’s process of course involves all the strategies of a conventional job search, including identifying attractive openings, submitting applications, and following up on applications. But it also involves unconventional but tried and true strategies, such as doing a sort of end run around HR to get your portfolio directly into the hands of key decision makers. This appealed to Lee, as he sensed the shortcomings of pursing positions through normal channels. “The HR folks are often looking for other types of talent and not the leadership stuff. They don’t really know what to look for in terms of leadership. So I think the key is to get your portfolio into the hands of the leaders of the companies.“
This strategy is executed using two of The Barrett Group’s assets—their deep experience in effectively executing such strategies and their proprietary database. “They teach you what to say and how to follow-up. And, you know, it’s just a matter of people with experience that have done this for a long time teaching you how to do it.” And it is implemented in a broad but not blind or haphazard way. “The Barrett Group has an unbelievable database of who’s who in the corporate world—and in the areas you want. It allows you to write CEOs and COOs directly, and they teach you what to say and how to follow-up.”
So, in the end, was the strategy effective? Absolutely. “It was a different experience and The Barrett Group was responsible for getting my portfolio into the hands of the right people by using their database rather than going through normal channels. And their approach works. It worked very well for me. And I’ve seen it work well for a lot of other people as well.”
Lee and The Barrett Group made a terrific team, and he landed interviews fast. “I don’t believe I heard a single question in an interview—and most were the HR sort of questions—that I had not heard or discussed with The Barrett Group.”
The early stages of The Barrett Group’s process are dedicated to laying the groundwork for success. In addition to mapping a course, they are about preparing the tools necessary for the task at hand. “After you sign, you use their system to write your letter, sharpen your resume, and hone your LinkedIn. Then, you’re ready to go, and they go in an orderly fashion. They are with you all the way, and you just do this as a process that you track. It gets results.”
The Barrett’s Group’s process is not intended to be easy—it is intended to be effective. “After I signed, I had a personal consultant Paula who led me through the process. She was knowledgeable. Outstanding even. She helped me prepare what I wanted to say and in some cases recommended that I say them a little differently. And she was always right.”
The Barrett Group has a clear, excellent process, and one of the greatest advantages of a such a process is that it encourages focus from the beginning to the end, during both highs and lows. “I knew they were knowledgeable. With their help, I knew what I was looking for. And so, I stayed focused. They not only managed expectations at the beginning, but until the very end. They pick you up when things that happen to everybody in job search happen to you.”
Despite some ups and downs, working together, Lee and The Barrett Group got spectacular results. “Within twelve weeks of when I signed the contract, I had three quality job offers to choose from. All involved the type of money I wanted to make and were the type of jobs I wanted. And, you know, it’s nice to be in a position where you can pick, after all that time.” And the positive results did not end with the end of his job search. “You know, after I accepted a position, I got several calls from HR people saying, ‘Our leadership got your resume and they asked us to give you a call to talk about where you might fit in at our company.’”
Having spent over two decades as a development and training leader, Lee has positively impacted the careers of thousands. He currently serves as the State Director for Texas, Office of Apprenticeship, US Department of Labor. And sometimes he tries to help others by passing along his perspective about job search, shaped in part by his experience with The Barrett Group. “When I talk to people who are looking, I go back to the fact that you’re going to have to be willing to participate in your own job search. You can’t expect anyone, even an exceptional, knowledgeable company like The Barrett Group, to do everything for you.”
And, just as The Barrett Group helped him navigate some rough waters, he tries to put the down times into context for others. “One of the things about job search is there are some down times. Just when you think everything is going the right way the rug gets pulled out from under you. The Barrett Group kept me up about job search. And I now tell others, ‘Hey, it’s not always as bad as it looks when you’re on the inside.’ It’s the uncertainty that kind of gets you. But things will turn out fine. And I think that they always do.”
James Henderson - Success Study
James had not been in the job market for over 20 years.
The Barrett Group helped him prepare to successfully leverage relationships and provided interview coaching.
James secured a position as Design Consultant at a home improvement company.
Firstly, I recall being incredibly apprehensive initially, as this was obviously a significant investment that required a lot of trust.
It had been over 20 years since I had to put myself out into the market again as I had always been recruited for roles throughout my career.
I also understood that I was ultimately the one who would secure my new role. That The Barrett Group would not just get me a new job, but support, direct and guide me through a very thorough process that would prepare and enable me to be successful through leveraging relationships in my portfolio whom I trusted as mentors throughout my career to date.
Waffles Natusch, Dan Resendes and several support team members were all instrumental in not just support with weekly calls, but available at incredibly short notice if an interview came up. Even on weekends. Everything from refreshing a relevant resume/CV, training for interviewing techniques, depending on either agency or direct company members and their backgrounds, LinkedIn data mining, company databases etc. and a journey of homework and groundwork in preparation.
I think it would also be relevant to add that obviously as of late, the world has changed massively. Major retailing/business trends that are coming out of COVID19 are focusing on collaboration, partnership, community & transparency.
The need to be agile, flexible and must have the ability to pivot their business and to pivot digitally.
Balancing technology with humanity is now vital and how we navigate the physical environment and digital environment become more relevant.
The rise of sustainability and the rise of the mindful consumer and mindful consumption increases.
Today’s consumer is much more thoughtful, that cares, is focused on health & safety, security, and trust.
When searching for the right fit with future roles, candidates should focus on challenging to understand how brands/companies nurture the consumer, focusing on empathy, inclusivity and feeling safe.
The future will quickly become PEOPLE FIRST, SAFETY FIRST as opposed to product first.
ALL of this is completely how The Barrett Group focuses their support and I full endorse them 100%!
Manan - Success Study
Director of Systems Quality Engineering
Manan was an unemployed Director of Systems Quality Engineering seeking a similar role.
Manan’s job search was stymied by an underdeveloped network in a field where most jobs are filled through networking.
Rekindling old relationships and cultivating a sphere of influence generated new job opportunities, while expert preparations fine-tuned Manan’s interview skills.
Within four months Manan both landed a job that was a good fit and successfully negotiated a higher compensation package for it.
When Manan found himself unemployed he didn’t initially consider himself an ideal candidate for executive coaching services because he had a track record of successful job searches during his career. He launched a job search on his own for a role similar to his previous position as senior director of systems quality engineering at a computer systems design company in Texas. Manan soon came to realize, however, that the number of jobs available at his level in his field were low, and competition was high. Worse, most open jobs were filled through networking.
“In my field, 80% of jobs are filled through networking. I didn’t have a large network of contacts and I’m not a very outgoing person. I knew that approaching people, especially for help in getting a job, was going to be difficult for me,” said Manan.
After job searching for some time with no leads, Manan decided to enlist expert help. He had never sought professional job search services, and wanted a firm that excelled at helping people find great job opportunities, especially in senior positions. He chose The Barrett Group.
“The track record of The Barrett Group stands out. Over 90% of the people they work with get jobs in three to six months,” said Manan. “And from the very beginning, it was clear to me that people at The Barrett Group know a lot more than I do about job seeking. I soon realized that I hadn’t been using all the avenues available to me to make my job search as successful as it could be.”
Manan appreciated that The Barrett Group views networking as critical in the job search. They soon introduced Manan to some proven strategies that he could employ without having to transform his personality.
“They advised me on how to reach out to people and let them know that I was job hunting. They also coached me on the importance of being an active participant in my network and sphere of influence.”
Manan found the help to be invaluable.
“After I took those first steps and reached out to people, a surprising number were happy to talk to me and connect me to people in their own network – even people I had not been in touch with for five or ten years.”
Manan insists that the best part of his experience, however, was his interactions with his executive career consultant, Vivek Agarwal. “Vivek was a valuable ally from beginning to end. He gave me an understanding of the overall roadmap, helped me prepare for interviews, break them down afterwards, and provided great pointers and feedback on how to fine-tune my job search. And he was always available,” said Manan.
Vivek also helped Manan focus on the positive when he failed to get one job that he had very much wanted, showing him how he could learn from the experience.
About four months after engaging The Barrett Group, Manan was offered a job that he was delighted to accept – but not before using some new negotiation tips to beef up the compensation package to include stock, an expense account, and even relocation assistance to facilitate a move from Texas to California. And now, going forward, he feels empowered to better undertake future job searches with new skills and, most importantly, a robust, new network.
Some identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. Photo: 123rf.com
Kwasi Asare - Success Study
Manager - Health, Safety & Environment Business Unit
Kwasi Asare was director of corporate safety at a firm that provides construction, maintenance and engineering support to the energy industry.
Energy & Utilities
Kwasi’s job was eliminated when Covid forced his company to restructure, but after 20 years at the company, he needed help navigating today’s employment market.
After reaffirming his personal and professional goals, Kwasi built his network of contacts and leveraged them to ensure his resume was seen by hiring managers.
Kwasi accepted a position as a business unit manager of a large company with good upward potential, and he managed to sweeten the compensation through negotiation.
As director of corporate safety at a large holding company that constructs and maintains equipment for the energy industry, Kwasi Asare led safety management for several business units, and he was the point man for standardizing processes and implementing best practices. A 20-year veteran of the company, Kwasi was unprepared for unemployment when the Covid crisis forced corporate restructuring upon the company, eliminating his position.
“I’d never been terminated or laid off. The next day I figured I should get moving to find a new job,” said Kwasi. “I threw together my resume and sent it to people I had worked with in the past. I started applying to places and I signed up for help from a bunch of executive search firms. I just jumped into it, ignorant of the process. It was not a coordinated or focused approach.”
It was in this way that Kwasi stumbled across The Barrett Group (TBG). His initial interest in TBG’s program was tepid at first because he “just wanted someone to find a job” for him. The more he learned about the model, however – TBG doesn’t find you a job, they teach you a proven methodology to find a job yourself – he decided to give it a try.
“It seemed weird to plunk down a lot of money after just losing my job,” said Kwasi. “But after I reflected more on it, it became clear that this would be an investment in myself. I wanted to advance higher than the director level and possibly transition out of my industry, and this seemed to provide me the option to explore new opportunities and think outside the box.”
Kwasi started by doing a deep dive into his personal values through TBG’s Clarity Program and assessing what he wanted from his career.
“The goal is to explore things that are related not only to work, but also to family, life balance, and geography,” said Kwasi. “If you don’t have that focus on what you’re looking for personally and career wise, it sets you back during your job search.”
While there were no “aha” moments, the Clarity process did illuminate one thing for Kwasi: A career transition is an ideal time to move closer to family, so geography became an important factor in his job search.
The next phase of the program was an exceedingly beneficial lesson for Kwasi about career management.
“I knew about LinkedIn, but I didn’t know how to utilize second- and third-degree connections. I didn’t understand the importance of cultivating relationships and leveraging them to get internal support when applying for a position,” said Kwasi. “Without some kind of internal advocacy, it’s hard to get past the automatic resume screening process.”
Kwasi spent a lot of time developing his LinkedIn network by reaching out to people he hadn’t talked to in years and rebuilding those relationships.
“I realized how poor form it was at first for me to send out my resume to people before I bothered to catch up with them,” said Kwasi. “I learned that from the Barrett Group. Once you genuinely build a connection with people, they often help you with a job search without your asking.”
It wasn’t long before Kwasi mastered how to circumvent traditional job-hunting practices.
“If there is a place you want to work, you first go to LinkedIn and research your connections to find people who work there. Once you figure out the six-degrees of separation, you can ping-pong your way to the top of the list and, possibly, into an interview,” said Kwasi. “You may not get the job, but at least your resume isn’t getting dumped into the trash.”
Leveraging his social capital in this way is exactly how Kwasi ultimately landed his next job. A few weeks after reconnecting with a business acquaintance that he hadn’t talked to in 10 years, the colleague called Kwasi to tell him about an opportunity as a safety manager of a business unit at a large firm on the east coast that might be a good fit. He even offered Kwasi a glowing referral.
The position wasn’t the promotion Kwasi wanted, but it is close to family, which was one of his main goals, and it’s a good job at a bigger company with opportunity for growth, which he didn’t have before. During the hiring process, Kwasi managed to negotiate a higher base salary, a better relocation reimbursement, and a signing bonus.
For Kwasi, even better than his new job is the education he got from the TBG program. In hindsight, he says, his TBG experience made him realize that, previously, he had not been maximizing his potential.
“Looking back, I should have left my former job a while ago. This whole experience really helped me take inventory of things in my career,” said Kwasi. “For 20 years I never thought about leaving the company. I never tested the landscape. That’s horrible! If I had known years ago what I learned from TBG, it might have set my career path in a very different direction.”
Kwasi plans to make the most of the investment he’s made in his career.
“This education was invaluable,” Kwasi said. “Going forward, I’m going to utilize the skills I’ve learned and leverage my social capital – not necessarily to find a job, but because that’s how opportunities come about.”
Kathleen - Success Study
Head of Quality Assurance
Kathleen was senior director of quality assurance at a company that manufactures synthetic DNA.
When Kathleen didn’t get a promotion she felt she merited, she left the company and sought an executive coach to help her self-reflect and understand how to market herself better.
Kathleen made her resume shine, fleshed out her LinkedIn profile, and honed her interview and compensation negotiation skills.
Kathleen landed as head of quality assurance at a start-up using cutting-edge technology in the fight against Covid, a job she finds both professionally rewarding and personally meaningful.
As senior director of quality assurance at a San Francisco biotech company, Kathleen directed 50 people in developing, and then supporting, a brand-new, quality management system and successfully achieving ISO compliance in record time. With this and other impressive accomplishments under her belt, and after four years on the job, she was looking forward to what she felt was a well-earned promotion to vice president. It never came. Instead, it became apparent that she and her supervisor had developed different values about how Kathleen’s program should be supported.
Kathleen ended up leaving the company, frustrated that she had not seen this outcome coming. Her first step was to hire an executive coach to help her process and understand what had happened.
“I thought that, because I didn’t get the promotion, perhaps I wasn’t doing something right,” said Kathleen.
She did an online search and found The Barrett Group (TBG). She had never used an executive coach before, but she wanted a professional to give her some perspective about her situation, help her handle uncomfortable questions that might arise about her sudden departure from her previous position, and offer her some guidance on how best to market herself for future opportunities. She started with what felt like a “soul-searching” experience in TBG’s Clarity Program.
“My Clarity coach had me address some really difficult questions, like how I might improve my work-life balance, assess what is truly important to me, and determine what I am really looking for in my career,” said Kathleen. “I found it useful. It helped me realize that I wasn’t very balanced – I’m a workaholic.”
In the next phase, Kathleen learned from her career consultant how to bolster her social capital.
“Greg helped me beef up my LinkedIn profile. I wasn’t active on it at all before. I had a profile, but I only dealt with it when I needed a job,” said Kathleen. “Now I’m much better about keeping in touch with people and helping them when I can. Keeping your network active and alive is really important because you never know if, tomorrow, you might not have a job.”
Kathleen also learned how to craft her resume for an executive position and began applying for VP roles, which she had set her heart on.
That is when Covid hit. Kathleen responded by boosting her resume-sending campaign and continuing to connect with people over Zoom. Months went by with few results from her job search, but there was an upside.
“It was good to take time off and decompress from working a lifetime,” said Kathleen. “It was an important mental break.”
Kathleen found the time to learn Spanish, take music lessons, and do gardening – and she reflected a lot on the terrible Covid crisis.
Then something extraordinary happened. One day at the end of July Kathleen received an email from a start-up biotech company expressing great interest in the CV she had sent them three months earlier.
“That was the first time I’d ever just sent my resume to a company cold and got a response,” said Kathleen.
The position was a bit of downgrade in terms of salary and title, but the opportunity offered a unique appeal – the young company was using cutting edge technology to battle Covid, and Kathleen would be lending her talents and skills towards that effort.
“When I began my job search, I really wanted a VP position – anywhere. Then Covid happened. And when this opportunity arose, I realized that I’m now totally fine with not being a VP. What is important to me today is helping the world get through this,” said Kathleen.
Kathleen turned to her career consultant to help her manage the hiring process.
“We did a practice interview and Greg helped me go over a presentation I had to give. Greg also helped me prepare for some tough questions – the hardest being, ‘Why did you leave your previous position?’” said Kathleen.
She also received help when it came to salary negotiations.
“Greg taught me how to ask for things in a way that didn’t sound demanding – and I got exactly what I asked for. I asked for a signing bonus and more stock and they didn’t hesitate. I never would have done that before,” said Kathleen.
Kathleen even received some great coaching about how to handle the issue of her title.
“They didn’t have a senior director position, so I made an agreement with them that, externally, they would call me “head of quality,” and in six months they would review my position,” said Kathleen.
Kathleen is thrilled in her new position.
“This is probably the best job I could have gotten because it’s so meaningful. I didn’t want to sit on the sidelines, I wanted to be part of the solution,” said Kathleen.
Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. Photo: 123rf.com
Russell - Success Study
Russell was director of engineering at an international traffic safety solutions company.
Major corporate strategy shifts at his company compelled Russell to leave and seek new employment, but his job search efforts were going nowhere.
After first focusing on aligning his job search with personal priorities, Russell steadily revamped everything from his resume to his interview techniques.
Russell landed a position as a plant manager through a recruiter, and leveraged newly acquired skills to negotiate a better compensation package.
As director of engineering for an international traffic safety solutions company, Russell lead a team of seven in overseeing operations, R&D, and supply chain. He managed national accounts for various aspects of the company, and achieved many successes, including growing revenue, eliminating expenses, and increasing product margins. His team developed new processes and patents that were cutting edge for the industry.
When a private equity firm bought the company and began preparing to sell the organization, however, Russell saw the handwriting on the wall – it was time to go. He took a few months off to reconnect with family and soul-search on how best to move his career forward, and then launched his job search.
His efforts went nowhere.
“I sent resumes to recruiters and got some interviews, but nothing panned out. I was pretty surprised,” said Russell. “Based on my work history and experience, I thought I’d get picked up quickly.”
Russell knew how successful job hunts work – you have to get your resume into the hands of the right person. In the past he’d used headhunters and recruiters to do this, but this time it wasn’t working.
“Applying directly to companies and sending my resume to recruiters wasn’t getting me a second look. I applied to jobs whose job descriptions I matched perfectly, and I received zero response from 90% of them,” said Russell. “I was dead-on in experience, and I wasn’t getting picked.”
That’s when Russell contacted The Barrett Group (TBG). Time was of the essence. The last thing Russell wanted was to be forced to take a job out of desperation. At the same time, the further he got from his last job, the more questions it would raise among prospective employers.
“I wanted to move my career forward, but my money supply isn’t endless. It was worth getting professional help because it would speed up my job search and increase the probability of it advancing my career,” said Russell. “I went with The Barrett Group because of its extensive program. They don’t just update your resume, and throw you out there. They have multiple steps, including a personal analysis, and helping you produce a professional business plan. Other companies don’t offer the same level of detail.”
Russell found the Clarity component of the TBG program to be extremely helpful because it forced him to reflect on things that are important to him that he had neglected during his career.
“When you get wrapped up with a job, you lose focus on things. Had I gone through this process a few years ago, I would never have taken my last job,” said Russell. “The Clarity program made me see the importance of having a job that revolves around my priorities: family, personal time, professional growth, and financial security.”
With his career consultant, Lori Chevalier, Russell steadily worked on honing his resume, references, cover letters, and LinkedIn profile. He beefed up his networking, sharpened his interview skills, and fine-tuned his target markets. Within about one month, Russell began sending out resumes.
Then Covid hit.
“My timing was impeccable. I got really good responses and several interviews from my resumes early on,” said Russell, “but when Covid hit, hiring in manufacturing froze. I was panicked big time! If it weren’t for unemployment and the federal stimulus package, I would have been in serious financial trouble.”
Covid, notwithstanding, Russell continued his job search. He doggedly worked his network. Finally, Russell had a breakthrough when a recruiter reached out to him about an opportunity right up his alley – to be a plant manager.
After a series of virtual interviews, Russell was invited for a tour of the facility and to meet the team. The process went great and Russell was soon offered the job with the same base pay as his previous position plus several attractive perks.
He immediately turned to The Barrett Group for help in negotiating the offer.
“I was concerned about moving to a place with a higher cost of living. I wanted to make sure I could sustain my current lifestyle,” said Russell.
The TBG team did a cost of living analysis and reviewed the offer. They coached Russell to request a signing bonus, a moving settlement, and a raise in base salary, which sweetened the final package by $9,000. He is thrilled to be back doing a job where his passions lie.
“In so many ways The Barrett Group helped me. If I had not hired them, I might still be looking for a job today – or I’d have settled for something at much lower pay,” said Russell. “It was money well spent – and, in the end, I recovered my investment.”
Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. Photo: 123rf.com
Mara - Success Study
Senior Compensation Consultant
Mara was manager of compensation at a national construction management firm in Boston.
When Covid forced state-wide construction suspensions, Mara’s job was eliminated, and she struggled to find work in the deteriorating economic climate.
Mara narrowed her search to the industries that interested her most, used advanced LinkedIn skills to uncover leads, and leveraged professional preparation to nail the interviews.
Mara accepted a position as a senior compensation consultant in one of her two target industries, and is much closer to family.
Mara worked as manager of compensation for five years at a Boston-based design and construction firm. She created and implemented compensation strategies, collaborated with talent acquisition to hire and retain top talent, and helped the company achieve 100% pay equity. But when Covid hit and the company’s activities were put on hold, she was one of hundreds of company employees who were furloughed and, as clients scaled down or canceled their projects, ultimately let go.
Even before she was terminated, Mara started reaching out to people in her network for leads. She lucked out by landing a 6-month contract position, but she knew that chances were good that her company would not be able to retain her indefinitely and that she was on borrowed time to find a new job. So, she enlisted the help of The Barrett Group (TBG).
“I thought The Barrett Group could identify things that I should be doing but was not doing,” said Mara. “I also felt that a coach might be able to help me with my goal of getting a position at the director level.”
Years ago, Mara had been a director of HR for another company, but she decided to sidestep and specialize in compensation. The career move was tantamount to jumping off one career ladder midway up and climbing from the bottom of a different one. It set Mara back a few years in her professional pursuits, but she hoped that the time had come to become a director again.
“My goal is to move into a director level role again,” said Mara, “But what I didn’t know is whether potential employers would recognize from my background that I’m director material.”
Mara started with the Clarity component of the TBG program and really valued how it illuminated what jobs and industries she likes and doesn’t like.
“Clarity was really insightful for me. I see job postings that I now know not to apply for because they wouldn’t retain my interest,” said Mara. “The Clarity assignments were good. They made me pause and think about stuff in a very introspective way. It was an opportunity to be really honest with myself.”
Next, Mara started weekly meetings with her career consultant and appreciated the solid advice she got on how best to answer interview questions and discern what hiring managers are looking for. She also learned how to ask smart questions to assess whether a workplace might be a good fit.
“A lot of the perspectives that George shared with me were game changing,” said Mara. “He saw things through a completely different lens – I looked at the face value of things and he read between the lines.”
Mara also learned from George how to maximize the potential of LinkedIn job searches.
“George showed me how to filter my job search and find people and companies that interest me. I didn’t know any of that before. It’s been fun to work with the LinkedIn filtering system,” said Mara.
Despite all the work she put in, Mara uncovered few opportunities that ticked off all of her boxes. She didn’t take it personally. Instead, she blamed Covid and figured it was just a matter of time before she found the right job.
Still, as the term of her 6-month contract was about to expire, the financial pressure to find a job began to build.
Then, a month before her contract ended, Mara got a call from the hiring manager of a large healthcare organization in Orlando who was looking for a senior compensation consultant. They had a good initial conversation, which led to several interviews and culminated with a job offer.
“They said I sounded like someone who has been with them for a while, and I also felt like I had worked with them already,” said Mara. “It was a really good match for me because I had worked in the healthcare industry before and wanted to again. Plus, the job is located in the same city as my parents and several other relatives, and living near them was one of my goals. I was excited when they made me the offer.”
The position is not the director role Mara sought, however, she is happy to be working in both an industry and a city that she targeted in her search.
“Two out of three ain’t bad,” joked Mara. “I’m near family now. In fact, I’m driving home to a homecooked meal right now. I’m living with my folks until I figure things out.”
Mara is optimistic about her future options. She is looking for opportunities to grow at this new organization and feels good that she is already excelling and having a positive impact. What’s more, George and The Barrett Group are still in her back pocket ready to help her maximize every career opportunity that presents itself.
Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. Photo: 123rf.com
Tracy Katz - Success Study
Tracy Katz was senior operations manager at a bank headquartered in the Southeast.
When her company of 20 years underwent a merger, Tracy found the newly available roles unappealing and wanted professional help transitioning to her next career.
Expanding her network and leveraging LinkedIn yielded a key ally at Tracy’s target company, who helped her navigate several job opportunities there.
Despite a roller coaster ride of promising job opportunities at her target company that didn’t pan out, Tracy’s optimistic persistence was rewarded with an offer of senior trainer for a bank operating system.
As a 20-year veteran of a Southeastern regional bank, Tracy Katz acquired a broad range of expertise in the financial services industry, including sales, service, training, and project management. Over time, she married these skills, becoming a specialist in operational effectiveness, business transformation, and change management, and a go-to person when departments merged or other complex projects arose. Ironically, however, when her company merged with another bank, she found the available employment opportunities in the new entity unappealing, not least because they required relocating. So, she opted for a severance package.
“I had been with my company for 20 years and was ready to try something new,” said Tracy. “The severance was really good – about a year’s salary – and I thought with all my experience I would have a job within a few months.”
In the end, however, it took much longer – and a few disappointments – before Tracy began the next chapter of her career.
Anticipating her departure, Tracy researched career coaching services early on and hired The Barrett Group to help with her career transition.
“I had done a lot of things in banking and I wanted to explore my passions. I wanted to do something different and I wanted The Barrett Group to support me in figuring out what that might be,” said Tracy.
Tracy also had two big concerns. First, after 20 years with one company, she felt she had little experience in the job seeking process. Second, she felt that she was a horrible interviewee.
“I don’t tell my story well. Yes, I have accomplished many great things, but I am insecure talking about my successes. During a job hunt, however, you have to do that,” said Tracy. “I needed help identifying my accomplishments and learning how to share them effectively during an interview.”
Tracy began the TBG program by developing a personal strategic plan with her Clarity coach, in which she identified her values and mission. She found the sessions very valuable. She learned that she wanted to be a leader in operations for a mid-size company in Florida. She wanted to work for a company with a strong brand, a great culture, a quality reputation, and integrity. Tracy is a problem solver by nature and wanted to find a role where she could fix things and help others.
Tracy’s job hunt got off to a promising start. She interviewed at a local bank with a new position for a process improvement engineer. But just when she expected to get an offer, the bank announced a merger and the position was shelved indefinitely.
Then Covid hit and Tracy found that many jobs were either unavailable or frozen.
“I got interviews but not as many as I thought I’d get, and I didn’t get selected for them. Also, there were few jobs available at my level. It seemed people were staying in their jobs due to the uncertainty,” said Tracy.
Tracy began working with her career consultant, Julie Mathern, who taught her how to strengthen her network and build social capital as the first step in her job search, then how to navigate LinkedIn Analytics – both critical to finding jobs in the unpublished market.
“You have no idea how helpful it can be!” said Tracy. “Julie taught me that, instead of applying for jobs cold, I should find resources within a company that could connect me with a hiring manager before applying. You won’t get a job if they don’t know who you are or if you don’t come with a referral. That was a great lesson!”
Tracy also learned a lot about interacting with recruiters through LinkedIn and turning messages and emails into phone conversations and, ideally, relationships. This tactic proved particularly useful in Tracy’s exchanges with one key recruiter she’d met early on.
“A recruiter at a company I was really interested in connected with me and we exchanged chats about a training position that would open up in a couple of months. Using LinkedIn Analytics, I located Jennifer, director of training at the company, who responded to my LinkedIn message. We had a great phone conversation and developed a personal connection.”
When the position did open up Tracy reached out to Jennifer, who helped her get an interview.
“I went through two weeks of interviews and thought for sure they would make me an offer only to find that they hired someone else. I was devastated,” said Tracy.
Trying to stay optimistic, Tracy refocused and continued networking. Other opportunities and interviews came and went. Two months later an opening for a product manager position at Jennifer’s company popped up in her searches. Tracy contacted Jennifer again to ask whether Tracy might be qualified.
“She got back right away to say, ‘Yes!’. She also told me about two other positions that I was qualified for,” said Tracy.
Thrilled, Tracy applied for two of the positions, with Jennifer facilitating and sending a personal recommendation to boot. Yet again, despite another great round of interviews, Tracy was denied both positions.
“It was a roller coaster of emotions,” said Tracy. “I knew I was a strong candidate and I didn’t know why I wasn’t getting picked. I was trying to learn from those experiences. I had two very strong interviews with this company and thought, “The third one will be the charm.”
Tracy told Jennifer she wasn’t selected and that she would continue to look for jobs at her company. Jennifer, very impressed with Tracy’s positive attitude, emailed Tracy a few weeks later to discuss a budding opportunity for a third time – this time, a position that she was creating with Tracy specifically in mind – a senior trainer of banking software for a major client.
Tracy is so excited to finally join the company she interviewed with on three different occasions. She credits her success in large part to The Barrett Group.
“I knew I really liked this company, and it was Julie Mathern who taught me how to leverage my resources in a way that proved most beneficial,” said Tracy. “Thanks to that, I connected with Jennifer who got me the job at the end of the day. This has been a great experience.”
Imran - Success Study
President & CEO
Imran was president and CEO of a software startup that used AI in the production of interactive video technology.
After recognizing that his company needed a leader with a different skillset than he offered, Imran left, but he sought help thinking through his next career move.
With his coach, Imran evaluated the work environments in which he is happiest and most successful, then he leveraged his social capital to find professional opportunities that best suited him.
Imran’s efforts produced two excellent offers, and he ultimately opted for the position as president of a small health-tech company that jibed better with his personal goals.
As president and CEO of a small tech startup, Imran worked at finding a market opportunity to commercialize the company’s innovative, interactive video technology. After nearly one year on the job, however, the company’s efforts struggled to gain market traction. Disappointed but realistic, Imran concluded that the business needed a different skillset than he offered and stepped down from his operations role.
When Imran left, he hadn’t yet formulated a new plan. His experience at the company made him introspective, and he wanted to reflect on why the company hadn’t performed as he’d hoped it would before he made his next move. He also wanted help figuring out how best to move forward.
“I had never tried to find a job on my own. Throughout my career, I was recruited out of my old job and stayed in my roles for a long time. I never built that job seeking muscle,” said Imran. “I needed help. I needed a sounding board – a coach to help me consider my next steps.”
That’s when Imran got in touch with The Barrett Group (TBG). He liked that what TBG offered, unlike recruiters he had worked with in the past, was a focus on him and his needs.
“A recruiter’s main interest is helping clients fill positions, not finding a good fit for me or getting me oriented in my career journey,” said Imran.
Although he was eager to get back to work, Imran valued the opportunity with the Clarity Program to pause and evaluate himself holistically – his strengths, his weaknesses, his family values, and in what types of companies and roles he is happiest and most successful.
“I saw the Clarity Program as an opportunity to hit the reset button,” said Imran.
Clarity reaffirmed for Imran several things: He enjoys the tech industry, he prefers the culture of small to midsize companies, and he loves the challenge of leading a team in a startup environment.
Imran also learned how to view his previous job as a learning experience and draw lessons on how he might have done things differently.
“Sometimes outcomes don’t pan out the way you want them to,” said Imran. “I learned not to measure myself by one failed experience because I came to realize that if I’ve never failed at something, maybe I haven’t been taking enough risks.”
When Imran began working with his career consultant, he really appreciated the program’s structure. First, he worked on his resume, revised his LinkedIn profile, then he built up his social capital by reconnecting with many old contacts in his network.
“I don’t really need an accountability partner, but I did like the accountability. I found that forcing myself to a schedule of weekly calls with Greg was helpful,” said Imran. “And the exercise of reaching out to people I hadn’t spoken to in six or seven years was really good. Very few of them resulted in a professional connection, but part of it is having lines in the water. You never know where the next opportunity will come from.”
Because Imran was targeting C-level roles, he faced unique limitations that other jobseekers don’t.
“At my level, there just aren’t as many opportunities out there, and people don’t advertise for CEO roles with a job ad,” said Imran.
When Covid hit a month after activating his job search, Imran enjoyed a stroke of luck. His social outreach efforts yielded an offer for a 6-month consulting gig at a large, public software company with the potential to go full-time after three months.
He liked the work and the people at the large firm, but when they offered him an attractive full-time position three months later, he wasn’t sure what to do. He and his career consultant, Greg, discussed it at length.
“I knew I should look for other opportunities to make sure I was making the right choice, so I reached back out to my network,” said Imran.
This time, Imran was recommended to a small tech company in the health field that was looking for a CEO. It was a long, but successful, interview process, and Imran soon found himself with a choice of two great opportunities.
But choosing was not an easy decision.
“Greg helped me prepare for the interviews for both jobs. And when I had to choose between these opportunities, he helped me think it through. He was a good sounding board,” said Imran.
Imran also reached out to his Clarity coach for her opinion.
“Hiyam Wakeem was great. She was so helpful to me at the outset, and when I called for her advice she was gracious and walked me through the pros and cons,” said Imran.
Ultimately, Imran opted for the larger role at the smaller company, knowing it was a better fit.
“I’ve never worked in healthcare before, so intellectually it’s been challenging,” said Imran. “From many standpoints it’s been great. I’m really enjoying it.”