Currently Browsing: Career Story

Making Beautiful Noise With the Stories of Your Career

beautiful music

What inspires you?

It took me decades to be inspired by Neil Diamond – his pure, crystalline lyrics, his voice that is “gravel and potholes.” Diamond’s music feeds the soul and inspires; you connect to it; you’re compelled to sing along, with conviction. He sang the marquee song in one of my favorite movies, Here Comes the Boom, where “Holly Holy” is the red carpet rolling out several crucial scenes.  “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon,” as well, is memorable for Pulp Fiction fans.

Moreover, Diamond’s “Beautiful Noise” makes me want to soak up the moment, to imbibe in the noise, fully:

It’s a beautiful noise
And it’s a sound that I love
And it fits me as well
As a hand in a glove
Yes it does, yes it does

Neil Diamond’s soul, heart- and mood-pumping rhythms and soaring lyrics transport you out of the mundane and into the ether of your dreams.

Careerists who feel stuck in their day-to-day rigor, battered by strict work routines from sunup to sundown often are unable to reconnect with their dreams. All you can see and feel are stacks of bills, mountains of boss-, customer- and corporate shareholder-imposed lists, angst about time away from family and the clock ticking. You are weary, sleepless and unable to connect to your own restlessness for fear it will distract from the most pressing deadlines and commitments.

While there is no simple answer regarding how to disconnect from day-to-day and unleash energy to attend to soul-enriching needs, the truth is you must. As inconvenient and uncomfortable as it is, you must shed resistance to moving ahead and just start, today. All it takes is a first step to gain traction, and momentum and get in touch with the ‘beautiful noise’ of really living.

And to help you rev your inspiration engine, take a few moments to listen to Neil Diamond’s “Holly Holy,” which also was featured in the movie, Here Comes the Boom.


By Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter, Master Resume Writer / Career Storyteller
Helping you make ‘beautiful noise’ from the lyrical stories of your career.
Contact me to help you connect with your dreams, today:





How to Respond Boldly When Shift Happens

bold sunrise

By Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter

When shift happens in your life and your career, are you ready to enact the bold moves? Or, do you pump your fists, shed a few tears and then continue life and job search strategy as usual?

Lethargy and frustration infect our bodies and our minds when we realize our fitness and nutrition routines are lagging and our jobs are stagnant, untenable and/or overwhelming. Tired and fearful, we step into familiar routines to negate the pain and hope to move forward into more energizing results. While this may work for some, the likelihood of a sustainably invigorating and satisfying result is modest, at best.

Our personal lives and work lives are tightly interwoven. Ignoring this fact will ultimately create inner conflict and discontent.

So, how do we respond to the shift of our personal and professional lives — that palpable feeling we get, whether we are 25, 45 or 65, when we know something has to give; are we ready for transformation? Following are six tips:

1. Sick and tired of being sick and tired? You must acknowledge–and act upon–the poignant signals your body, and mind, are presenting to you. Dig deep, research what your needs are, and begin your change, now. Resources abound. Most recently, I read about a program called Whole30 (hat tip, Walter Akana). This is just one of dozens (perhaps hundreds) of resources you can tap into to take charge of your life, and your health.

2. Are you happy where you live? No? Then make a plan to move. Begin outlining action steps, and a plan to execute, today. Whether you want to live in a warmer city, move closer to family, scale down your overhead or live on a boat, figure out the steps in between where you are now and where you want to be, and start taking them. My husband/business partner and I have personal experience with this. Read about it here: Harvesting Our Dreams in Lake Texoma.

3. Is your career in a slump? If you feel your boss undermining your goals, the company veering off track culturally or strategically, or you simply have outgrown your role with nowhere left to go, then do something. Research target companies that have the culture, amenities and career opportunities you seek. Start by researching Glassdoor reviews and take a look at their list of Top Companies for Culture & Values. Read a career strategy book and act on the suggestions. Hire a career storyteller to piece together the patchwork of your career in a way that makes sense to those companies you so desire to work for, and attract. Be proactive.

4. Don’t let frustration, fear and the hard yards get the best of you. Starting a new food and/or fitness regimen isn’t easy, but it is meaningful and rewarding. When you hit a roadblock; e.g., you are bored with your food choices or the squats are too hard, don’t give up. Keep trying; you will push through the wall, and you will be glad you did. Find friends, colleagues, family to support you in your goals. Groaning and kvetching are acceptable in small doses, but then pull up your boots and keep going. Put a smile on your face, and choose optimism. This behavior will beget optimism.

5. Be willing to face, and embrace your fear. Afraid to stop and examine where you have been and where you want to go?  Fearful that if you don’t just ‘keep propelling forward’ you will fade away? In fact, moving forward sometimes requires a look into the rearview mirror. As one career resume client shared with me recently, “The conversation around my career is energizing, a way of stepping back and looking at the journey and putting it in perspective.” Another client shared that self-updating his own resume over the past five years resulted in a story with arms and legs; thus, he needed to slow down, call me to help him prune, reorganize and re-strategize — to set a new course.

Finally, to quote another client, “one of the casualties of being dammed up (in my career) is the harm to my self-confidence. The process of thinking through my career successes reminds me of the good stuff I have accomplished – it is restorative.”

And only through a healthier career attitude can you best present yourself to potential hiring decision makers.








Is Your Career Story Accessible?

By Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter

I stumbled across the idea of story “accessibility” on a colleague’s blog this weekend.  In her post, “The Earth Is the Original Nonlinear Storyteller,” Katharine Hansen, PhD, a leading proponent for deploying storytelling for career advancement, describes a geology field trip in her Eastern Washington locale.

Hansen explained that during this tour she wished she could have grasped more of the story, as articulated by a local scientist. Moreover, Kathy described books she has read on the area’s geology that also “didn’t tell the Earth’s story in a very accessible way,” and ultimately, she pointed to a 14-page booklet that did offer her the “most storied” resource, providing the easy accessibility she craved.

Kathy’s story immediately resonated. Tasked chiefly with telling stories on behalf of my job-seeking clients, I am hired to narrate career stories that are both accessible and interesting to their hiring decision-maker visitors.

Consider your own career story. Would hiring managers who toured your career feel you articulated your chronicle in an accessible way? If the answer is, “No,” then let me provide a few story-development tips and processes to help boost accessibility to your career story:

  • Launch your resume writing process with thoughtful idea conception: conceive your next career target. You must clearly answer the question: what is my go-forward goal?
  • The next exhaustive, introspective phase involves answering a series of focused questions aimed at culling fleshy examples of what you do, why what you do is of value to your target audience and HOW you do what you do. This career archaeology process is designed to unearth your career gems.
  • The next challenge is to pick through the multiplicity of shiny stories you’ve exposed to find those that will appeal to your target reader.
    • After all, if you have used your career pick to excavate rubies, but your reader prefers diamonds, then you will have missed your mark.
    • If your result is a career cave cluttered with healthcare acronyms and other industry jargon that creates stumbling blocks for your financial industry target readership, then you have clouded your message.
  • Deeply reflect on your areas of value that you offer your intended company. The trick then is to stage color-rich, concise snapshots that are organized in a sensible, yet interesting way to hone in on your 3-4 key areas of value.
  • These snapshots must be arranged to mean something to your audience, resonating with their needs for increased revenues and profits, more customers or whatever it is they are feeling deficient in or business areas in which they wish to expand. Before finalizing your snapshots, ask yourself, “Why would my audience care?” … the age-old “What’s in it for me?”
  • Finally, value your career unearthing process for the interview enriching preparation it provides. Your resume preparation is an intellectual workout that amasses story muscle. The outcome is two-way conversation that is both invigorating and accessible to the job interviewer. The outcome reverberates in follow-on (2nd, 3rd, 4th) interviews with senior management, board members and the like, and culminates in that job offer.

The above simplifies a complex career introspection and resume formation process. Hopefully, it breathes life into the idea that career resume storytelling is more than just talking about yourself in a way that may or may not ‘matter’ or be intelligible to your listener.

After reading your career story, it must make perfect sense to the reader to call you in for an interview. Your resume story must blow that interview door wide open to the career change for which you yearn!

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