Most people in my personal and professional life are familiar with my HR background and how I’ve had a varied and diverse set of experiences both before and while working in that occupation. Another aspect many are aware of is how I’ve leveraged my traditional work in the “employment arena” to engage in some independent/freelance projects along the way.
A few of the primary activities I’ve been known for have been resume writing, job search coaching and career management consulting. Initially, I never set out to pursue that path, but over time it sort of took on a life of its own. Generally I viewed that as another branch of my own professional development with an added beneficial side-effect of using my knowledge to help others in their careers.
When my HR management position was eliminated March 13, 2009 (Friday the 13th), I took advantage of the opportunity to assess MY overall career situation. Doing that myself was a form of practicing what I preached.
At the moment of my layoff I was literally one course away from completing my masters degree – one of my proudest accomplishments. As many of my classmates would attest, it was a grueling process to pursue an advanced degree while consistently balancing the demands of a 50-60 hour work week. Combining that level of burnout with the prospect of the emotional exhaustion that typically accompanies a job search in a decent economy WAS my dilemma. By then we were in the midst of the HELLACIOUS “great” recession – essentially the worst job market so far in my working life – I felt the time was right to explore “now what?”
Therefore, I reflected and contemplated whether I could transform KMB Resume Writing & Career Services, my part-time independent practice that I fit in when possible concurrently with corporate HR / talent management roles into a viable standalone “day job.” My analysis included coming up with the following list of the type of assistance I had been providing during the prior 12+ years.
- Accelerated job search progress for professionals across a wide-range of industries via high-quality presentation and consistent reinforcement of qualifications through “positive first impression” career marketing materials and corresponding messaging.
- Organically established 100% referral-based clientele through word-of-mouth, relationship-building and reputation for low-pressure, inquisitive and consultative style, paired with distinct value-added support based on recruiting industry insight and employer / hiring decision makers’ perspective.
- Customized and authored creatively designed and compellingly written resumes, bios and online profiles to position and prepare business professionals for their next opportunity.
- Delivered individualized job search strategy, defined action plans and developed tailored approach based on each professional’s specific circumstances and target positions.
- Coached and guided individuals through job market research, personal competency assessment, interview preparation, offer negotiation and LinkedIn lessons.
- Helped professionals differentiate themselves from the competition through identification, definition and focusing of their unique value proposition.
- Conducted interview practice and feedback sessions to fine tune presentation on paper, online and in person.
- Advised senior executives on nuances of conducting discreet, confidential job searches and navigating complexities related to search firms, leveraging professional networking contacts and related correspondence.
- Facilitated outplacement style group workshops and one-on-one counseling for displaced workers, career advancement seekers and those pursuing individual professional development.
I’m not a superstitious person, so I don’t think 13 is any luckier or unluckier than any other number. No matter what day it is, and no matter what obstacles show up, I feel fortunate and blessed to be surrounded by supportive people in my life. TalentTalks came about partially through unintentional preparation before 3-13-09, along with a heck of a lot of hard work over the four years leading up to 3-13-13.
Between my regular duties in HR and assorted side projects, I seem compelled to serve as an advisor to help individuals or organizations optimize their talent. Along with that I feel a responsibility to advocate on behalf of those not being seen, heard or noticed for their talent. The phrase “creating a voice for talent” is how I define that philosophy. Regardless of any future career developments that may occur, I will always value the incredibly unique learning opportunities I’ve experienced and the extraordinary encouragement I’ve encountered from those around me.
Article by Kelly Blokdijk – As a Talent Optimization Coach & Consultant with TalentTalks, Kelly thrives on “Creating a Voice for Talent” by partnering with business professionals and job seekers to build competitive career marketing strategies and compelling, customized communication materials to create a lasting positive impression. TalentTalks consults with the business community on innovative, leading-edge human resource and organization development initiatives to enhance talent management, talent acquisition, corporate communications and employee engagement programs. TalentTalks routinely posts employment market and job search related content on Facebook and Twitter – fans and followers welcome!