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In this interview series, we caught up with Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter from Career Trend who shares her expertise and insights about the job search, career change, etc. in today’s marketplace.

Tell Us a Little Bit About Your Company

I’m an Executive Career Strategist + Storyteller.
At the helm of a boutique team, I author richly woven, storied portfolios for serious-minded executives and professionals ready to invest in themselves and their careers.
Content + strategy includes an executive resume, cover letter suite, LinkedIn profile, elevator/e-pitch, executive biography, illustrated biography, etc.
I also am a regular career blogging contributor for several companies whose target audiences are job seekers, employers, and leadership/recruitment executives.
Moreover, I have been tapped to write blogging and website content for technology businesses in Silicon Valley.

How Did You Get Started in This Path? Is This Something You Decided Early on in Your Career?

After graduating college in 1986 with a Bachelor’s degree in writing/journalism, I honed my writing, marketing, communications, public relations, and project management abilities via several office jobs, before exiting to bootstrap my start-up in 1997.
Initially, I sold services as a corporate writer, including marketing / copywriting for individuals and small businesses–and resumes. In response to one of my ads, the owners of CareerTrend hired me to manage their resume clientele.
The people I met and the stories I got to tell were invigorating, the original owner a wonderful mentor. One of my early clients was a former CIA agent turned private-sector lawyer. His stories were cloaked in mystery and intrigue, my ability to convert his past into a future goal, fulfilling.
I loved the entrepreneurial lifestyle, the freedom of being my boss, and the quiet act of writing, daily.
In 1998, I had the opportunity to purchase the CareerTrend portion of the business.
I rented a brick-and-mortar space in Greater Kansas City, and began to build the business through intense resume industry study and conference participation, including public speaking, volunteering and committee leadership, learning resume writing vocabulary and strategy, and hours of in-person networking.

What Is the Best Career Advice You’ve Ever Received?

Focus, focus, focus. Recalibrate when needed. Focus some more. Stay the course.

What Is the Most Exciting Part of Working in This Industry?

Receiving notes–or calls!–from my clients that they landed a dream job, and that the work we produced, and the rigorous processes we underwent, played a role in that.
Of course, the icing on the cake is when the client expounds on specific content that influenced the hiring executives and decision-makers.
Equally exciting is putting the finishing touches on content that you know has never been written before.
While it may seem there is ‘nothing new under the sun’ regarding the written word, your story is YOURS, uniquely you; the thinking writer knows how to weave in the right subtleties to tell your story, differently, and with verve. It is exhilarating for me to be able to be part of that creative process.

How Do to Stay Abreast of the Industry as an Expert?

So many different ways.
Over the years, attending + speaking at industry conferences.
Lots of reading, research, and collaboration with executives and leaders, worldwide.
Social networking.
Industry volunteerism + networking that plunges me into the thick of the top global resume writers + their strategies; and much more.
Jacqui Barrett’s primary learning tool is the day-to-day work and results I accomplish for my clients.

What Are Some of the Things That You See Job Seekers Struggle with the Most?

Focusing their message.
Taking a stand as to the type of role and company they want to attract with their resume and then homing in on the right message to appeal to that opportunity.
They also think the job search is about them when in reality, it should be more focused on the reader’s needs. This is more difficult to do than most people think.
Job search-Interviewing tips


What Are the Common Mistakes That You See Them Do?

Not asking for the right kind of help.

How Should Job Seekers Approach Job Search Today?

There is no one right way.
The right way is to start and work on it as you would any other project that mattered to you.
Research, take a tangible step in the right direction, ask for help, listen to what others suggest (especially an expert whose advice you trust), and then test-drive their suggestions.
Too many people are over-confident and stubborn in their ways. Others are too timid and/or overly contemplative. Strike a balance.
Experiment and grow as you go.

What Is the Biggest Trend(s) You See That Job Seekers Will Face in the Next 2-3 Years?

Jacqui Barrett  says AI and job search is a big trend.
Be prepared to adapt to the way technology affects all our jobs and careers, including the sometimes intricate process of job search.

What Is One Advice You Would Give Someone Just Out of College Today?

Look for a company where you feel a culture fit and where it’s clear there is a path for growth.
Be ready to take an entry-level role, but be proactive about ensuring you are hiring on with a company that honors your desire to learn, grow, and advance. And then, be prepared and willing to make your boss look good, so s/he will in turn be ready to promote you when the time comes.

What Is One Advice You Would Give Someone Who Is Switching Careers?

Be prepared to take a step back in title and salary to bridge the learning curve.

How Should Job Seekers Get the Most Out of LinkedIn?

Use LinkedIn in some fashion every week.
Start reading other members’ content; comment judiciously, or simply press the ‘like’ button. Take it slow, but steady, if you’re new.
If you’ve been there a while but do not feel LinkedIn is serving your job seeking needs, then follow experts (like those you have been interviewing) to glean nuggets of value from them.
Apply learnings. Test-drive new techniques. Stop doing things that aren’t working. Be patient. Be thoughtful. It will work for you if you do the work. Focus on others first, before asking for something.

Ensure you have meaningful content in your profile.
If you are uncomfortable revamping your profile with a marketing twist, then start by including ‘just the basics’ in your About and Experience section. Also, include a quality headshot.
Maybe you should reconsider how you are presenting your Experience.
Are you forward-looking, or does it read like a career obituary? Have you targeted your message, or does it seem ‘all over the place’?
It’s not for the reader to figure out how to puzzle your details together. YOUR job is to do that. Be proactive and positive.

Unemployment Is at the Lowest Levels, Why Do You Think That Is?

Great economy!

What Is the Biggest Trend(s) You See That Hiring Managers Will Face in the Next 2-3 Years?

Again, it’s a technology and the impact of various forms of technology and how they drive candidate interactions and expectations.

What Are the Best Resources You Recommend to Job Seekers?

Connect with or Follow Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter on Social Media

Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter and Career Trend have also been featured in our recent compilation of the most resourceful career experts and career blogs –  Top Career Advice Websites.   

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