Career & Job-Search Coaching

Looking for Resume, LinkedIn or Career Help?

Whether we work together or not, I’m your biggest cheerleader. Helping people make a change in their lives is what I enjoy most about my job. And as our careers are a big part of our lives, I have a big passion to help you succeed.

But my desire to help isn’t all there is to it; practical application is a big part of things, too. Aside from my professional job-search perspective, I also have extensive amount of personal experience in landing jobs. This allows me to understand and navigate just about any speed bump or wall you run into. I use a very high-touch, personalized process. You won’t just be given worksheets to fill out. We’ll walk and talk through everything together.

Resume Deconstruction and Development

Resumes

This includes tune-ups, tightening, complete deconstruction and reconstruction, and even the creation of resumes from scratch for those who don’t already have one.

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Career Coaching

Career Coaching

Whether are you are looking for advice, guidance, or looking to make a complete industry or career change, I can help. Coaching includes all of the above in addition to assessment; job-search strategy; job-search networking; career-planning; company-promotion strategy; interview coaching; and salary negotiation.

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LinkedIn Profiles

LinkedIn Profiles

My role in the executive search industry is "researcher". What that means is that I’m the person who receives your resume and puts it in the database. I'm also the person who reads and interprets LinkedIn profiles when looking for candidates. I construct resume and LinkedIn profiles the way hiring managers and recruiters read them.

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Cover Letters and Bios

Cover Letters and Bios

Need to create or tighten your cover letter? Need a sharper sounding bio? I’m a former screenwriter, playwright and three-time published, award-winning author who still edits Hollywood scripts. I can help!

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What Comes Out of A
Resume Deconstruction Process?


  • Connector.

    A clearer understanding of your background for hiring managers.

    A resume is the starting point of a deeper conversation about your background. Often times resumes are constructed using language that describes your experience in general terms. However, if your competition has a similar background and experience, and that experience is more articulate than yours on their resume, you can see who already has the advantage. Clarity and understanding are key when it comes to getting a second look from hiring managers. I specialize in this. After working together, your resume will be a crystal-clear, solid documentation of your work experience the way hiring managers need to know it.

  • Connector.

    A clearer understanding of your background for you.

    You will likely recall, re-discover, and get a better understanding of your own experience through our process together. I ask a lot of questions. Having to think out, then articulate your answers puts your experience into a perspective for yourself. This informs how you will talk about your experience to others. This is particularly powerful when applied to your networking meetings and job interviews. This aspect of working together is a major advantage over doing your resume on your own.

  • Connector.

    Keywords.

    As a recruitment professional who handles a candidate database and utilizes LinkedIn to find candidates, I can tell you that keywords are a crucial part of a good, findable profile. However, our resume and LinkedIn process does not involve simply plugging in keywords relevant to your background. Instead, our resume/LinkedIn process reveals This includes all the relevant keywords that someone like me, the person who look for candidates, needs when searching databases (which includes LinkedIn).

  • Connector.

    Branding.

    Personal branding is something that causes a lot of stress for job-searchers. There is a lot of emphasis put on the development of this job-search aspect, but with an approach that is largely misguided. Here’s the truth of it.Simply put, there is no such thing as a branding-first approach. There can’t be. Personal branding is formed by the comprehensive experience of the individual. What this means is that a personal brand can’t be revealed until an exploration process of your background is complete.In other words, if I know nothing about you, how can I know what your brand is? However, if I learn everything about you (such as through a clear, articulate resume), your branding comes through on its own.Discussion à Exploration à Discovery à Your Personal Brand.

  • Connector.

    Knowledge & Confidence.

    My goal is not to just offer a service, but to teach you how to do it yourself. Job search can be intimidating, and often comes with peaks and valleys of success. But knowledge is power, and knowing what you are doing gives you confidence to handle it all. I don’t just tell you how to do things, but explain With this kind of insight and confidence, you will feel good knowing that you are making the right moves out there on your own. You’re not just getting help from me, you are empowering yourself.

What Comes Out of A
Resume Deconstruction Process?


  • Connector.

    A clearer understanding of your background for hiring managers.

    A resume is the starting point of a deeper conversation about your background. Often times resumes are constructed using language that describes your experience in general terms. However, if your competition has a similar background and experience, and that experience is more articulate than yours on their resume, you can see who already has the advantage. Clarity and understanding are key when it comes to getting a second look from hiring managers. I specialize in this. After working together, your resume will be a crystal-clear, solid documentation of your work experience the way hiring managers need to know it.

  • Connector.

    A clearer understanding of your background for you.

    You will likely recall, re-discover, and get a better understanding of your own experience through our process together. I ask a lot of questions. Having to think out, then articulate your answers puts your experience into a perspective for yourself. This informs how you will talk about your experience to others. This is particularly powerful when applied to your networking meetings and job interviews. This aspect of working together is a major advantage over doing your resume on your own.

  • Connector.

    Keywords.

    As a recruitment professional who handles a candidate database and utilizes LinkedIn to find candidates, I can tell you that keywords are a crucial part of a good, findable profile. However, our resume and LinkedIn process does not involve simply plugging in keywords relevant to your background. Instead, our resume/LinkedIn process reveals This includes all the relevant keywords that someone like me, the person who look for candidates, needs when searching databases (which includes LinkedIn).

  • Connector.

    Branding.

    Personal branding is something that causes a lot of stress for job-searchers. There is a lot of emphasis put on the development of this job-search aspect, but with an approach that is largely misguided. Here’s the truth of it.Simply put, there is no such thing as a branding-first approach. There can’t be. Personal branding is formed by the comprehensive experience of the individual. What this means is that a personal brand can’t be revealed until an exploration process of your background is complete.In other words, if I know nothing about you, how can I know what your brand is? However, if I learn everything about you (such as through a clear, articulate resume), your branding comes through on its own.Discussion à Exploration à Discovery à Your Personal Brand.

  • Connector.

    Knowledge & Confidence.

    My goal is not to just offer a service, but to teach you how to do it yourself. Job search can be intimidating, and often comes with peaks and valleys of success. But knowledge is power, and knowing what you are doing gives you confidence to handle it all. I don’t just tell you how to do things, but explain With this kind of insight and confidence, you will feel good knowing that you are making the right moves out there on your own. You’re not just getting help from me, you are empowering yourself.

Commonly Asked Questions


Literally everybody, from college graduates to senior corporate executives. I even work with a few foundation-sponsored cohorts (up to 30 people) that offer career, resume or job-search help for their volunteers or employees. If you would like to get help for your organization, employees or volunteers, contact me!

What Qualifies Me To Work With You?

My very first career, which spanned 20 years, was in the arts in New York City and Los Angeles. As such, I maintained a second job at all times to support myself. This means I’ve worn many hats over those 30+ years in the working world, which enables me to relate to all of my clients. Here’s a shortlist of some jobs I’ve had, some of which I held concurrently.

Busboy. (My very first job, at age 9.)

Lifeguard. (Professional Rescuer certified. Nearly 10 years in 2 states, year-round. I was a competitive swimmer growing up, from age 9 til age 18, year-round. 100 Free was my event, if you’d like to know.)

Swimming Instructor. (Water Safety Instructor (WSI) certified. Nearly 10 years in 2 states, year-round, and instructed over 1,000 adults and children over that time.)

Babysitter.  (My mom ran a private daycare center in our home, which I grew up in, and later helped with as I grew older. I had helped raise nearly a dozen children by the time I left for college.)

Waiter. (I wasn’t great at this one, but I learned a ton. Not an easy job, folks. Always tip your server.)

Personal Trainer. (My dad got me into weight-lifting, and I was an athlete growing up. I got certified to train others through the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA).)

Bartender. (In a rather rough biker bar. What an experience. I’ll tell you about it.)

Executive Assistant. (Over 10 years of experience, and as senior as they come. Worked in the Executive Offices of Goldman Sachs; L’Oreal; Rockerfeller Brothers Fund, among a long list of other organizations that run from finance to religion.)

Professional actor. (Formally trained actor; BFA Theatre, emphasis Acting. 10 years in NYC, 5 years in Hollywood. Voting member of the Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG-AFTRA) union. Member of Actor’s Equity (AEA), stage union. Principal roles in film, tv, and stage. Over 125 episodes in daytime serial [soap opera] television.)

Playwright. (I still write short plays for DiscoveryOnstage, a multi-media kids’ Summer Acting camp in Los Angeles, California. You can see them here: DiscoverOnstage

Screenwriter. (I still edit the works of a few Hollywood writers.)

Published writer. (Three career books which make up The 20-Minute Networking Meeting series. Two novels, not yet in print.)

Theatre instructor. (Adults and kids. Lawyers and other professionals, too, to help with speaking presence and team work.)

Non-Profit Board Member. (Development Committee; Governance Committee; Board Secretary; Executive Committee. I’ve led the search for Executive Director and Managing Director roles for two internationally known arts non-profits, and continue to lead change management and leadership development efforts with one of those organizations.)

Retained Executive Search. (Over 10 years in this realm at the regional, national, and global levels. Everything from non-profit to energy; oil and gas fracking; high-tech; med-device; electronics, steel and manufacturing industries to name a few.)

Note: I work with a few foundation-sponsored cohorts that offer career, resume or job-search help for their volunteers or employees.  Cohorts have been up to 30 people. If you would like to get help for your organization, employees or volunteers, contact me!

Here’s a shortlist of professionals I’ve worked with.

C-suite executives (Chief Executive, Operations, Information; Human Resources; Financial Officers); top fashion designers; support personnel and executives in healthcare, manufacturing, and non-profit; movie stars and TV stars; voice-over artists; teachers; college professors and administrators; theater actors; television, sound design and production professionals; military vets; company admin; executive admin; customer service; bartenders and waiters; shop mechanics; baristas; oil, and farm workers; other career consultants; playwrights, screenwriters, novelists and content writers; lawyers; accountants; painters; restaurant and small business owners.

I also work with foundation-sponsored cohorts that offer career, resume or job-search help for their volunteers or employees.  Cohorts have been up to 30 people. If you would like to get help for your organization, employees or volunteers, contact me!

Now, all that said, if you still feel unsure as to whether I can help you, just send me an email or give me a call. I will tell you for sure. (After all, what’s the point in saying I can help, if I really can’t?)

Note: Are you a Hollywood celebrity or professional who needs career strategy? As a 20-year entertainment veteran and voting SAG-AFTRA union member, I can help you. I not only maintain Hollywood ties, but frequently work with people in the industry from admin to actors, to screenwriters and producers.  Not sure if NYC, Chicago or LA are where you need to go? I can help. Landed a major role and not sure how to capitalize on that? Check. Fear that you are being pigeonholed or typecast? No problem. Transitioning from one character type or age group to another? I’m here for you. I can even discuss script structure and character development with you. Wanna run lines and get a take on your approach? Great! All of it is in my wheelhouse, and all of it my passion. Just get in touch.

Yes! I work with people from all over the United States, and have even worked with a few people overseas. How? In person (I travel to work with clients semi-regularly), by phone and by recorded (yes, recorded!) online sessions! If you like, we can even use a camera to see each other face-to-face. (No formal attire required.) And as mentioned, all resume and LinkedIn sessions can be recorded so that you may download and review all of our work and discussion again at a later time. (How great is that?) I’ve done over 200 sessions this way, not including international webinars and presentations. It works great.
I’m only half of our work together. While I am your biggest cheerleader, I can’t run the race for you. Also, while I’m your support system, I’m not one to hound you or push you to get things moving—unless you ask me to.  What I need from you:

  • Dedication
  • Drive
  • Commitment
  • Discipline

Try to remember: when it comes to job-search, timing is essential. Networking, for example takes time to get on calendars. That means planning way in advance. That also means that by the time your meetings roll around, you must have a rock-solid 20-minute networking meeting strategy ready to go. (Not to mention your resume and LinkedIn profile.) This applies to interviews, too. All take prep. Prep takes time. And while I can help you build and strengthen all the above, it’s you who must do the work to achieve your success.

Yes. No matter what level of experience you have. Because there are different experience levels, and because we all have different backgrounds and circumstances, I maintain different price points. I have worn many hats and know how such jobs pay. I therefore am sensitive to what you can afford.

Which, by the way: There is a special rate for Education, Military, and Non-Profit (non-executive level) professionals. I, too, am in the business of giving back to my community, and it’s my way of paying in-kind. Just send me a note! Contact me.

I get it. I get that it seems like money can/should be spent on something else that could get you something more than coaching, resume or LinkedIn help. I used to believe the same. But think it through again. What you have to weigh is the overall cost of service against what it’s going to bring you in the end: a new opportunity with growth opportunity and more pay. Working with a professional helps you achieve that goal successfully, faster, more effectively, and with a lot less stress and heartache. That’s a worthy investment, wouldn’t you say?

It completely depends on how dedicated you are to making changes to your resume. Typically I have your resume back to you within 1-2 days with (lots of) notes and suggestions. How quickly you address those notes before next steps is up to you. But it’s not uncommon to do a complete overhaul (if that’s what you need) of a resume (not just tweaks), inside of 5 days if you are diligent with making those changes. Resume work is a very comprehensive process which will reveal a whole new you by the time we are done. The timing for a resume overhaul, if you’re not already familiar with it, is extremely fast.

Of course, it takes a little longer if you have no resume at all, or have not updated it in a long time. The good news is that, by working together, I am particularly adept at understanding your experience and getting it on paper. I also update your resume in person, on the fly, so that you may continue to work on it the moment we finish our session.

Again, the process can be pretty quick if you are dedicated to doing your side of the work. However, starting from scratch or completely overhauling a resume would require more in-person time or online time; there is a lot of Q&A involved to get your missing experience on paper.

Yes, I do. I know what it’s like to scramble to make a living (for the many reasons one must scramble). But it’s important to know that while a last-second submission or prep for a job can be of the utmost desire, it can lead to undesired consequences, such as less-than-perfect material, incomplete work experiences, and clunky meetings. This leads to bad impressions and lost opportunities. And while I’m adept at bringing out your professional background in a clear, concise manner, there is not a way for me to know all of your background—which can result in the above. And while I am also adept at coaching for each of your networking or interview scenarios, only time can make you better at what you learn through me. Last, as I have a family and daily work commitments, it costs a little more.

Our work together is one-on-one. This translates to an expedited process on all things related to your job search: Resume completion; LinkedIn profile development; Networking strategy; Career planning. Cost is generally a lot less, too.

What is also unique about me as a coach, is that I have expertise in each individual area that is crucial to job search (therefore a one-stop shop for resume, LinkedIn, networking and career coaching). This alone makes for a very effective and comprehensive work dynamic between us.

For instance, in my research role in the executive search industry, I am responsible for the first step in the executive recruitment process: finding candidates for company clients. (If you like, you can see me here on the Ballinger|Leafblad website, too.)

What that means: I am literally the person who receives your resume when you submit for a job. I am also the person who puts it in the database. And I am the person using LinkedIn as a tool for recruitment. So, in a nutshell, if there’s a single person you write a resume or LinkedIn profile for, it’s me.  What that means to a job-seeker: I develop your material the way someone like me (a recruitment professional, or hiring manager) reads and interprets it.

No. Many people do just fine on their own. That said, some folks need to expedite their job-search to meet personal obligations (like bills, mortgage, groceries, and kids). Using a coach makes excellent use of time. How? A coach provides a structured job-search plan, eliminating the obligation to figure it out yourself. A coach also provides you hiring insight, and interviewing and networking advice. It’s a friend, colleague and professional career advisor, all in one. This makes getting the job easier and faster, with confidence, and on your terms.

Want an example? Let’s say you’re weighing two different job opportunities. One job may look or pay better than the other, but may not offer the opportunity for promotion or growth. A coach might show you the bigger picture, and tell you how the other job could lead to bigger opportunities over time with better pay, and show you how the first job may stagnate, limiting the growth opportunity (therefore pay) you were seeking in the first place. Likewise, a coach could show you how you might find, according to your same experience, more fulfillment between these two jobs… or even how to transition into a whole new career altogether.

Ready For The Next Step?

 

Interested in coaching? Need a speaker or workshop for your organization? Need resume or LinkedIn help? Just plug in your info to set up a 15-minute call!