Tim chats with resume specialist, career consultant, and speaker Claire Davis about her work at Traction Resume. She shares general tips on creating a resume or personal brand that reflects your authentic self and why you want to focus on your uniqueness rather than the overused buzzwords. Claire also describes the common mistakes people make when putting together their job applications and how to avoid them. Both Tim and Claire weigh in on the importance of finding your true self to advance your career. Whether you’ve been laid off, are looking for a promotion, or want to consider switching to consulting, you don’t want to miss this episode!
About Claire M Davis
Claire Davis is an award-winning Medical Sales Resume Specialist, Career Consultant, and Speaker with 15+ years of experience. Claire help clients land great roles with dream companies by leveraging the sales techniques they already know to fuel their career advancement.
Resources discussed in this episode:
Contact Tim Sweet | Team Work Excellence:
What are those specific things that you're known for doing? What do people commonly compliment you on? Because probably that's something that people know you for. And you might not even have an opportunity to recognize that until you work with a resume writer or a coach, somebody who makes you stop and say, Oh, huh, that does sound a bit like a system I'm might have been using all along, and I didn't even recognize it.
I'd like to ask you some questions. Do you consider yourself the kind of person that gets things done? Are you able to take a vision and transform that into action? Are you able to align others towards that vision and get them moving to create something truly remarkable? If any of these describe you, then you my friend, or a leader, and this show is all about and all for you. This is the Sweet on Leadership Podcast, episode 12.
Thanks very much for joining us. We're having a good time here in the studio, I'm joined by my really good friend Claire. If you need to find her on LinkedIn, you're going to find her under Claire M. Davis at Traction Resume. But Claire, thank you so much for joining me today. I know it's a little short notice. But I am absolutely ecstatic, we were able to pull this together.
Oh, my goodness, me too, Tim, this is just our way, I don't know if anybody had the chance to catch Tim on my podcast last year. But you're an absolute gem, you have so much to share. And I think that now this will be our third impromptu podcast recording together. So I'm thrilled
We're getting up there. And if it's not our third, it will be soon. You know, it's funny that we come from such different angles professionally. You, of course, are helping people really get prepped to find their next best role and enhance their careers. And while I do the same thing, I come from a slightly different angle, and that is leadership, consulting and coaching. But we have a lot in common because the challenges that people are facing today are really similar. And there's some themes emerging. Wouldn’t you say?
Yeah, I would say and you know, when I first started my business, and for anyone who we haven't met yet, I'm Claire Davis, and I run Traction Resume. So essentially what I do is work with professionals in the medical sales industry, and help them to come across as how brilliant they are in real life on paper. So, what I didn't recognize would be part of the role when I very first started this company, was that there would be so much coaching to help people to really foster what leadership and core morals look like for them. On the inside. I really thought, Tim, that it would be, hey, everybody kind of knows their Northstar. They've got their why down pat, they know what their their core drivers really are. And I get to just put that on paper. But a large part is finding out those things as well. So I am eternally grateful for specialized coaches like you, because you help people figure out that internal stuff, and then we put it on paper to share that with the world.
Unknown Speaker 3:04
I mean, the more I work, and as I'm entering now, what I'm two and a half decades into doing work with leaders. And you know, I'm just convinced every day that fluency is at the heart of everything they have to know themselves before they can properly represent what they're ready to be out in the world. And if they can be that honest self, when they take the job, through the interview process, into taking the job and then with their teams. It's just so much easier. And it's so much more authentic. And it's the easiest way to build trust, because you don't have to put it on. It's you're just ready to do it all day every day. Because guess what, you don't have a choice. That's who you are in the wool. So I'm with you 100%. I mean, getting people to the point where they are ready to put it down on paper is such a big step.
It really is.
Even if they’re gonna stay where they're at. It's better to be dealing in reality, because otherwise the universe is going to give you a smack. Let's avoid that at all costs.
Well, as we were getting ready to hit record here, we were talking about a couple of different things regarding personal brand. But I'd like to get your thoughts on, really what does that look like from an importance perspective, both in you know, medical sales, but also more generally, just for anybody that's in the middle of a career pivot. What does that look like on the outside?
So back in 20—Oh, I'm going to date myself here about about 10-15 years ago, you know, I was entering into the workforce into my chosen field, which was, at the time, marketing. And I had come up in the ranks through my career from a pharma recruiting business with my parents. So, you know, the career conversation for me was always something that was very familiar. So the shock was that after my first job, which I had the degree for, I had been getting great results from my employer. The job comes along, it lasts about six months, and then I get laid off. And I was absolutely floored Tim, because learning how to interview from age 13, and being the only one coming up to the city volunteer job with a brag book, I really thought I had any kind of career snags, you know, completely wiped out. Right. So huge shock. So I get back into the field. The next job I have is where I enter into medical sales and absolutely love it, start doing well in the field, start getting great mentorship, falling in love with healthcare, and helping people with their health. And a year and a half later and get laid off again. And so the reason I'm sharing this story was fast forward, I did not realize until the third layoff, so another one after this, that people wanted to do business with me, not because of my product or service, but they actually wanted to do business with me, because of me. But I didn't recognize it that way until that next job comes along. And again, another layoff and I get this phone call, Tim, it was one weekend, I remember sitting in our little farmhouse out in Penryn, California at the time. And I get this call from the lab and the lab director says Claire, we are completely out of kits, we need to run this diagnostic test for this breast cancer patient. She she needs this stuff right away, can you help us? And I said, well, I mean, absolutely. But I mean, you know, I don't work for that company anymore. I'm more than happy to help you. But also, I know that I introduced you to your new rep. So I'm curious why, you know, also you reached out to me. And by this time, I already have the kid on the way. So I mean, it was help and then question. And my thought was, you know, he knows I'm not there anymore. But what is it about still wanting to work with me? And he said, well, Claire, we just know that wherever you're at, even if it's not the company where you used to work that you would help us. And I think that was the first time I recognize that me-ness that I had in my impact on other people. And it was the first time that I started to realize that I had value to offer, aside from what my nametag read. And aside from what Title I had business, and aside from what company and what product I was carrying in my bag. And so I think to your question, beginning to understand the value that we have, is the very first step. And I don't think that we often have the opportunity to do that, until maybe we take a retreat with the team, you know, a year and a half into our employment, or maybe just maybe we have an amazing leadership coach brought into the organization to start digging up some of those internal things. But for me, it was quite a surprise. So I'm actually curious, when did you start recognizing that it was going to take the internal work in the internal discovery to start bringing out the external results?
In others or in myself?
Sure. Well, before I tell you that, I want to say what a great story that is, and how much I want the people that are listening to really key in to some of the important parts of that. And that is, you know, we often think that we're the sum of our education or our work experience or everything that would typically be on a resume or on a LinkedIn profile, at least traditionally. And what we're discovering more and more is our reach is not defined necessarily by just our expertise and our qualifications. But that we're showing up as an individual that people want to understand the story of and want to know how they got there, just like you're asking me, and we're talking about this now. I was just going to drop that there was a really interesting stat that came out that when they were talking about how LinkedIn controls its algorithm. It's not looking for subject evidence that a person has a certain degree or education they're looking for, are they talking in the context of their profession? when they're talking casually, and they're talking about their family and can they and is this a real person? And so that realness I think is so important. And to answer your question, the watershed moment for me, was about 2006 - 2007 and I was working with a plumbing HVAC company. And I'd done a lot of good work with them. We redesigned their inventory systems. This is when I was more operationally focused, I did a bunch of coaching for them. But there was a lot of hard operational work that went into turning this multigenerational company into a company that was full of trust and excitement, and teaching a lot of old dogs new tricks. I remember we had a senior stock guy that was well into his 60s. And then everybody thought, you know, he was sort of was his way or the highway, this guy took up what I was teaching around, how are we going to lower that sunk cost of rolling stock in their trucks, and we lowered it from like, 300,000, average, per truck, down to 14,000, which is a huge savings when you're not talking about having a bunch of parts, just rolling around the city and getting obsolete. Anyway, long story short, I did all this hard work. And then I left. And about a year, year and a half later, I got a call saying we have a conflict, we have a real problem with an employee, somebody, somebody was hurt, they fell, they got hurt on the job site. And we don't understand why. And they're not really willing to talk to us. But we need to get to the bottom of it. And we suggested that we talked, they talked to an HR person or somebody that we could bring in that was independent, and yours was the name that came up. And we want you to come in and and I said, well, I'm not in the HR field. I'm not a, I'm not, this is not the type of work that I do. I mean, I've done it, I've done readiness for work, but as a manager, and they said, no, we'd really like you to come up. So I checked with my lawyer, everything made sure I was clear. And I got in the car and I rolled up, it was about, you know, two hours out of town. And I get to this, this company, I sat down with this gentleman. And it was a hard story. There was an issue with pain, and there was an issue with medication management. And he was not fit for work. Period. And I had to tell the people that trusted me to bring them this, that that was my conclusion. That wasn't what they wanted to hear. It's what they needed to hear. And so why I thought that was important is because although I was safe to weigh an opinion in and I was ultimately, you know, reasonably qualified for what they were asking me to do, the biggest thing was, they trusted who I was, and then I could hold the trust of these people on both sides of both management and the workforce fence. And everybody was happy with, well, everybody was satisfied and felt complete. And to me, that was a huge moment that said, this had nothing to do with what I know, other than some experience doing it some common sense and, you know, basic management principles and things like this. But I wasn't an expert in that field. It was who I was, and who I had meant to these people and the trust that I had garnered earlier. Thanks for asking, I didn't really expect my story to be in the middle of this. But you know, yeah, that really would, would probably be the moment. And then it became clearer and clearer when I went in. And I designed great, designed good processes, I was running Enterprise Risk Portfolios and things like this, but it always boil down to leadership. And leadership always boil down to character. And when I teach brand, both for teams and individuals, I like to say: don't confuse brand with marketing. We can talk about it that way. But it's not just the font and the color. You can say anything on a piece of paper. But what do people experience? And so if you're going to put something down on on a piece of paper, it better be the same thing they experience, because that's truly your brand. The moment they experience you, any words you put down on paper are secondary. But from a resume perspective, to say it that way, they better be consistent, right?
Yes, absolutely. And one of the many things I've learned from you is the flow state that you often talk about. And so I feel that if someone is to trust you to that point, right, so when they experience you after reading your resume, they know they're not getting catfished because Tim is exactly what we expect, right?
You're exactly who I expected. When I got to know you on LinkedIn. I wasn't shocked, necessarily. I was delighted. But I wasn't shocked that you were who I had experienced through your marketing, and then aligned with who you are really, and who your real brand really represents. Right. I wasn't shocked that you were who I thought you were. But I think that it takes a level of that trust that you build to give people the confidence to say, look, we need this thing done. And we know that it's not necessarily your specialty. But we believe in we trust you. And we know you. And so we are comfortable with saying, Tim, please help us get in the flow. And then you learn from there.
Yeah. Well, I think that's, that's important. And I'm gonna throw it back at you, sorry, but I got to do this because it's funny. When I talk to my, when I talk to the people that help me with production and social media and those kinds of things. And we're talking just, just last week, we were talking about a carousel post something simple on LinkedIn, when we talk about, you know, part of the things that have to carry, carry us and yes, it was my brand, but she said, you know, what do you like? And I said, go to Claire Davis's page and take a look. I'm serious. And not a word of a lie. And I will, and again, not to pump your tires too much. But I mean, for people again, go to Claire's page. And see because the thing is, is it's it's professional and slick, but it's also you, like through and through. And you go for the carousel posts stay for the Claire. That's what I would say to everybody out there.
That’s gonna be my new tagline, Tim, thank you. You’re hired.
Better than a breath of fresh Claire, we could say. No, sorry. No, but I mean, seriously, like, as you know, and you've helped me suss this out. I work with a lot of linear thinkers and a lot of engineers. And I remember, oh, man, it must have been 11-12 years ago, and I was working with a group in a mega project. Somebody came up to me afterwards. Hey, man, that was awesome. Because I had done this collaboration session between competitors. And they said that man, you sure sneak up on people. And I said, What? And he's like, we had no idea who you were or what you were about to do to us. And I'm quite comfortable in the nebulous, right. But as a comment, they said, just so you know, engineers, geologists, scientists, whatnot, we're pretty linear, for the most part. And we really like it when you tell us what you're about to do. And maybe even risk spoiling the surprise a little bit. But don't try to pull back the punch line. So now, I mean, I think I'm kind of message forward with everything. They're gonna figure it out anyway. And I'd rather not surprise them, so.
Oh, yeah, absolutely. Well, and you know, I think, I don't know if you know, this, but I have a degree in advertising, from Ohio University, Go Bobcats. If there's any Bobcats out there, there you go. And, you know, when we were coming through and earning that degree, a lot of what we learned was that being clever was part of the job. And now there's something to be said about people who can bring levity to a message and really, you know, kind of zag when people zig and so on and so forth. But sometimes, if we're a little bit too clever, or if we sacrifice clarity for cleverness, it can get lost, it can get lost just as ambiguity can and something I see commonly with resumes. What I find is people are usually very nervous to speak about the specifics that they know that they are good at, because they feel that the industry expects them to use certain words and to use certain ways of putting things so that they will look prestigious on paper. But what happens is, everybody ends up saying the same thing. While I'd love to say there were like magic power words, right? Let's list some right now: experienced, team player, market disrupter, okay, those are have already been overused. And instead, a large part of what we do at Traction Resume is that we help people to recalibrate and understand what are those specific things that you're known for doing? What do people commonly comment or compliment you on Tim? Because probably, that's something that people know you for. And you might not even have an opportunity to recognize that until you work with a resume writer, a coach, a storytelling strategist, somebody who makes you stop and say, Oh, ha, there is a through line. And I'll be darned, that does sound a bit like a system I might have been using all along and I didn't even recognize it, but that's who you are.
You nailed it, which is why I mean, I really appreciate you as a peer mentor, like I do. Like I'm just coming up on the anniversary of this double knee surgery, right. And I think I told you the story where there was a really essential piece of work that I had to do and I ended up doing it the day after I got home from the hospital, in my bed, marathon two nine-hour day virtual sessions. The second one after sitting too long. The first day was 100% from my back with my laptop propped up and you know, so that they're looking down on me as I'm resting my head. Oh, and my knees are up in the air with ice packs on them. But I got such a nice compliment from one of the people coming out of that session. And he said, you know, you've got this way of, of making sure that everybody's voice is heard, and everybody feels listened to in the room, and you always find a way to make space for everybody to get their thoughts out. And I never thought about that at all, as being something that I was able to do. But it's 100% core to my process. And it's also core to me individually, because, you know, from an empathetic perspective, I hate to feel like, just because you're introverted, or you're taking time to process what you're listening to, you're not getting your point across, because meetings aren't always built for everybody in the room. So from that perspective, and as you say that I'm like, You know what, I haven't even put that on my resume yet, or my profile. I've never really, I think I put the quote on my LinkedIn or something at one point. But as you say that I've never actually connected those dots till right now that that was meaningful for that, for that reason. So thanks for that, of course. And you know, what I find most often, especially with people who have been in business for a while, and even not in business, it doesn't matter if you're in business necessarily to recognize this. But what I find is what is most familiar and natural for us what is just something we do so naturally, we would never even recognize it as quote-unquote special is exactly what is so remarkable to other people about us. It's like our mundane is remarkable to others. I remember, I was talking with my husband a long time ago about cooking. And I learned everything that I know about cooking from his mother, as far as it comes from a recipe and she was this incredible chef, baker, she could make absolutely anything people would come from literally for miles to join us for dinner at her house. And so she taught me everything that I knew about cooking from a recipe. So one day, we're in the kitchen, and you know, we're talking about what we're going to make, and we didn't happen to have the things for the recipe, my husband and I, and his mother. And so I look in the fridge and I, I kind of just look at the chaos that's going on in there. You know, we've got like three jars of pickles, we've got like a couple of things a tuna and like a couple of and I go well, we can make a pretty decent casserole. And both of them are like, I'm sorry, what? Like, like a casserole? And I was like, like, if you connect these dots and so on, this might work and that's kind of a vinegary thing. And, you know, and it'll make sense, you know, that all the chaos will make sense. And both of them stopped in their tracks like, okay, okay, well, let's try it, you know, but I was so used to, I think cobbling together. Because we didn't do a lot of recipes growing up, that for me, I am very much like an order out of chaos type. But I never looked at myself that way until a little things like that will come up or someone will tell me. Someone will get on a phone with me before we write their resume. And we'll talk for two hours and they will throw every detail from when they were 25 and on at me. And we will talk through everything.
And you take the chaos and you make it clear.
And they they often even apologize. Hey, oh my gosh, I'm so sorry. I was rambling. And I'm like, no, no, no, that's the good stuff. The stuff you don't think is like mind blowing, is what people often miss about themselves. That's so incredible. But it's hard when you're so used to doing things one way you don't recognize it as significant.
So Claire Davis takes a messy career pantry turns it into an amazing resume casserole.
Exactly. That makes that gets you a job.
That gets you a job. A three star Michelin casserole.
Exactly. Thank you.
With nothing but Ritz crackers. And, and well, no, it's got to have more than Ritz crackers and a can of tuna but no, that's great. And it's funny because so I don't know if you knew this but I mean, I was a professional chef for a number of years.
Oh gosh. So this is you shaking your head.
No, no, I love it. No, I'm I love we used to call it in the kitchen, the Jesus Christ factor not to be sacrilegious, but to say that this is a person that can turn water into wine.
I love it.
And you often face those things where something doesn't turn out and you have to make it work. And I remember going through my classical chef training and there were there were three masters. There was Escoffier which which the American School teaches and there was (Richard) Hering which was slightly different approach which are, er, which was a German original master. And that's the school that I trained under in Alberta here because we had a lot of Swiss German and Austrian chefs we were working with. And among the the Masters, there was a book by Saulnier, called The Repertoire. And the difference between those three books is that Sony just told you what the ingredients were no levels, no preparations, the book was tiny. And it expected, because you were creative, and flexible, and knew the basics about how all the ingredients work together, that you'd be able to figure it out. And it was an amazing book, it says the rest of the books are quite thick. And Saulnier was just this tiny little thing, and it would just say, Okay, we're going to make this classical dish, here's the six ingredients. And that was it.
Period. Good luck. But the thing is, is that, that when you think about it, you never know exactly the nuances of what you're dealing with. And so, you know, balance, and composure and your back to flow. Right? When you're talking about that. There's the creative anxiety that has to be there, the excitement and the ability to take something, and then the ability to turn that into something digestible, and the control that's needed. What do I do with it? How do I form it up? How do I make it useful? And so a balance between those two things, right, the chaos and the order, very, like really, really important, and in a way, so much more dynamic. And it has so much more potential than starting, you know, paint by number, which is like rounding around to the original part. And maybe this is a great place for us to begin to wrap up and maybe consider where we go next conversation. Is that the resumes, as you said, originally, they can't be formulaic. And they can't be so traditional, because we've gone the route of painting by number, and it puts you into the hopper with a bunch of other people that look pretty similar to you. Not a lot of differentiation. So maybe part of brand is embracing the chaos. And getting through the messy stuff. I love this thought of like brand casserole. Wow.
And maybe a little Jesus Christ moment on top. You know, all you need is a little help.
A little help, But I mean, and that's the thing. Why? Why do we need help? Well, if we're in a project, if we're in a project, we need a lot of different personalities or workstyles. To bring that project home, we need the deep thinkers, and the inventors and we need the people who can tell what's a good idea and what's a bad idea. And we need those people that are going to connect the dots, we need those people that are going to bring the essentials to making it happen. And then we need those people that are actually going to bring it home and produce that thing. And anything we do that's of consequence and worth has all of that it's rare that a single person, let alone the person from the inside the, the applicant can do that fairly for themselves. It takes an outside view to become fluent. So anyway, I'm excited by this, the casserole, so we could maybe next time and maybe not too long, we should really try to find time. I know it's summer, but let's let's go for it. Let's talk about some of that internal journey and some of that chaos and dealing with it. And then also maybe some of the fear that stops people in their tracks for for saying you know what? You got pickles. Got some tomato paste. This could work.
There’s a caper.
A caper. You know, we're either going to have, we're going to have a casserole or we're going to have some warm antipasto. So, let's, let's make this happen. All right.
Yeah. Also, now I'm hungry.
Final thoughts there, Claire? And maybe as we as we wrap up, let people know where you are, what you're doing, how can they get in touch? How can they learn more.
So thank you so much for having me today. I can't tell you what an honor it is to be in leagues with you. And you're so incredibly generous with the advice and the peer mentorship that you share. So thank you so much for having me. It's such an honor to be on your show, you know.
Now it's a lot of fun. We just keep impromptu recording shows together. It's how it should always be. But I would say you know if anybody is out there and they are struggling moving forward in their career, or you've been laid off, or you want to get a promotion and you are stuck and you keep getting passed over or hey, maybe you've had a beautiful career, and you want to get into the C-suite, but you're just not sure how to package yourself to do those things. Give us a call because Traction Resumes. That's our bread and butter. What we do is we really listen to your story. And believe me, we've heard some really complex, challenging ones, and we help you to sort it out so that not only do you show up brilliantly as you are on paper, but also so that you learn how to talk about yourself too. Because a lot of times just going through the process can remind you what that system for success really looks like for you. And why that makes you absolutely powerful. And what that system is that you're ready to bring in terms of value to somebody else. So if you want to find me, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn, I pretty much live there. Or you can always find out more at tractionresume.com That's tractionresume.com
And we'll have all of those links in the shownotes.
So we'll make sure. And you know, one more time, I know that you've really helped me clarify who I am and what my offering is.
And so, you know, honestly, I can speak for an experience that you, people will know. Just don't go and see, folks.
You can send me a message. I'll send you a voice note.
There you go.
Love it. Yeah.
All right, Claire, thank you so much. And I can't wait till we do this again.
Me too. Thanks, Tim.
Thank you so much for listening to Sweet on Leadership. If you found today's podcast valuable, consider visiting our website and signing up for the companion newsletter. You can find the link in the show notes. If like us, you think it's important to bring new ideas and skills into the practice of leadership. Please give us positive rating and review on Apple Podcasts. This helps us spread the word to other committed leaders. And you can spread the word to by sharing this with your friends, teams and colleagues. Thanks again for listening to be sure to tune in in two weeks time for another episode of Sweet on Leadership. In the meantime, I'm your host, Tim Sweet, encouraging you to keep on leading.
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