Getting the Interview | The Holy Grail of Job Searching


Most leaders I’ve talked with are great once they get in front of the client / decision maker. The problem is, how to GET that interview. It’s like the holy grail of the job search.

At the leadership or senior leadership level, candidates far outnumber open positions (think of a pyramid…yep, that’s you, at or near the top). You’re competing against peers, up-and-comers, and possibly even experienced leaders who are stepping back.

For every leadership search I conducted, we had  >100 applicants, WAY more than we could consider / screen / interview. Time and resources just didn’t allow it.

So how do you score the interview? Here are some suggestions to stand out:

Your Resume.

  • Tailor your resume  to highlight relevant skills, experience, and incorporate keywords from the job description.
  • Be results-oriented in describing your accomplishments. Use numbers, dollars, percentages, time savings, etc.
  • Give examples of successful projects, highlight your leadership experiences and their impact. Make sure what you’ve highlighted aligns with the job you’re applying to. You can even bold the relevant sentences to make it easier for the recruiter to connect the dots.

Your Online Presence

  • Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date (put bullet items from your resume in each of your most-recent jobs to provide context).
  • Use a current headshot. It doesn’t need to be professionally-taken, but it should be clear and well-lit. 
  • Take advantage of LinkedIn’s ‘Skills’ section (add yours), solicit endorsements from those who know your work, and be sure to mention your extracurricular / volunteer activities (40% of hiring managers consider this section as important as your resume).

Your Network

  • Your network is your most valuable tool in a job search. Past leaders and mentors, vendors, a trusted recruiter or two, former employees, and professional friends can all be advocates and resources as you search.
  • If networking still feels cringey, I recommend reading or listening to “The 20-Minute Networking Meeting: Learn to Network. Get a Job”. It’s a terrific guide.
  • Follow companies you’re interested in on LinkedIn (people who follow the company they’ve applied to are statistically more likely to be hired by that company). Check the ‘People’ tab to see if you know anyone who works there. 
  • Be visible: attend conferences, industry events, participate in online forums and communities in your area of expertise.

Your Body of Knowledge

  • Keep current with technologies, news, and trends in your space.
  • Consider writing or speaking about tech challenges you’ve faced. Sharing your knowledge is an authentic way to connect with (and help) others.
  • Enhance your credibility with relevant certifications, side projects, or volunteer work using your technology leadership skills.

Your Interest

  • After you submit your application, send a followup email expressing your continued interest. Best to send it to the recruiter, but if you know someone in the company who can influence the decision to interview you, follow up with them as well.
  • After the interview, send a thank you email to reiterate your strong interest and enthusiasm for the opportunity.

    Take a patient, positive, persistent and proactive approach. Gather feedback, test out different approaches, and iterate based on what you learn. Stay engaged with the tech community to improve your visibility.

Because you never know where that next connection (and interview) might come from!


Need some help optimizing your digital presence? I help technology leaders clarify their professional brand. Click here to schedule a FREE, no-strings intro conversation to see if we’re a fit.



Copyright Katherine Turpin 2024. All Rights Reserved.

Creating Your Professional Story | Eight Points to Get You There


Humans love stories – they’re as old as time. And being able to articulate your own professional story is a powerful tool in your career development. Most importantly: being able to effectively tell your story will help you stand out.

A professional story is versatile: use it in a job interview, a presentation, a training session, or even as you pitch an idea.

Here are some key considerations when crafting your own professional story:

1. Tailor your story to your audience.  What are they interested in? What are their expectations or values? Make sure your story is relevant to the context of the conversation.

2. Have a captivating introduction. Open with a thought-provoking fact, an interesting question, or a short and relevant story. Grab their attention at the starting gate.

3. Structure it: have a clear beginning, middle, and end.

In a job interview, this could be as follows: describe (in a captivating way) a problem that needed to be solved + why it needed solving. Add your involvement in finding and delivering a solution, including details to show impact (like costs before and after solving, time to delivery, issues or struggles you faced) and wrap up with a quick “new state / happy outcome”. You get the idea.

4. Use metrics to showcase your impacts and accomplishments and add credibility.

5. Be authentic. This helps your relatability. Share struggles, missteps, and learning moments. They’ll like you for it.

7. Incorporate the audience’s questions. When you respond to their questions within your story, it becomes more real and engaging to them (and shows your capacity for emotional intelligence).

8. Be concise. You don’t want to be remembered as someone who rambled on and on. Watch your audience’s body language and if they seem distracted, be able to shift gears.

By weaving these elements into your professional storytelling, you’ll stand out as someone who can communicate effectively and leave a memorable impression. A professional story that’s tailored, relatable, and credible is a powerful professional tool.

Using my recruiting experience, I help tech leaders better-tell their professional stories.
Want to see if my services are a match for your needs? Click here to schedule a FREE, no-strings intro call.



Copyright Katherine Turpin 2024. All Rights Reserved.

How to DIY Your Professional Brand | Part 2 of 2

If you followed the action steps in Part 1 of this series, you’ll have reviewed and prioritized your accomplishments, taken a look at how others view you and your skills, and made notes on what you like to do. This is the foundation of crafting your professional brand.

This self-awareness functions like a roadmap. It’ll help you better describe yourself, and more fluidly answer questions about your expertise and preferences (get used to talking about yourself – it’s not bragging!). It will give a framework against which to measure potential jobs, and it will help others grasp your unique combination of skills, personality, and experience.

Let’s continue! All you really need is one crisp sentence, each world carefully selected. Having this juicy line in your back pocket will arm you for any situation, whether it’s professional (as in interview), or informal (Little League game or happy hour). Imagine the relief you’ll feel!

There’s a formula for this snappy mini-manifesto, thanks to copywriting genius, Nikki Elledge Brown. Here it is:

“ I help *audience* + “benefit* + *feature*. ”

Simple, yes? You define your audience (ideal job / company), tell them the benefit they get by hiring you, and finish with a feature offering a soundbite of how you’ll help them get that benefit.

Naturally, your professional brand will evolve over time. But this little powerhouse will work great to get you started. Which would you rather hear: a well-crafted, authentic brand statement? Or the standard, “I’m a VP at XYZ Bank”? I know which one I’d pick..

Grab a notepad and let’s dive in:

1. Who’s your audience (the WHO)?

List the kinds of companies you’d most like to work with. For me, it would be startups or early stage, growing companies, mature companies that are retooling, tech companies, entrepreneurial and innovative companies.
What are yours? In your notes, write down your potential employer or customer.

2. What benefit do you bring (the WHY)?

Why do people love working with you? What special sauce do you bring? Unparalleled uptime? Elegant code? Someone who can drop in anywhere and turn a project around?

Be accurate, clear, and juicy. Aspirational, even. This should be something that prospective employers would drool over. In your notes, list the big, headlining benefits companies get when they work with you. Be sure to use language they can identify with and get excited about.

3. What feature do you bring (the HOW)?

How do you actually achieve those results? By elegantly using the array of skills you’ve gathered? By combining your entrepreneurial experience with TONS of customer-facing problem solving? By teaching them to be smarter about their product management strategy?

It’s super important to be clear here. There are many ways to achieve these delicious goals. The ‘feature’ section tells us how YOU do it.

In your notes, make a list of what you do to achieve these benefits. Focus on what sets you apart from others who offer a similar benefit.

4. Put it all together

From your three lists, start piecing phrases together. See what you like, what resonates. Say it out loud, imagining yourself using it at a job interview or a happy hour. 

Does it make sense?
Do you feel comfortable using it?
Does it look good in writing? Is it too long, too short, too blah?
Adjust, edit, trim, swap out words or phrases until you have something that feels authentic.

6. Celebrate!
You’ve just given yourself a huge gift – a clear, authentic and memorable mini-elevator pitch! From here on out, you have a multitool to help you in social or professional settings, in job searches, in going for that promotion and in interviews. 

With your shiny new professional brand statement, you’ll now be guided as you craft a more-meaningful resume and LinkedIn profile. You have a launchpad for that uncomfortable question, “tell me about yourself” that you can use anywhere. Well done!



Still feeling like you need a trusted guide? I help technology leaders define and articulate their value, creating ease as they seek opportunities for professional advancement.

Want to talk first? Use this link to schedule a FREE, no-strings intro call.

Copyright Katherine Turpin 2024. All Rights Reserved.