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Packing Your Bag for The Great Resignation

Are you thinking of being part of the Great Resignation?

It makes sense to pack a bag for any trip. I love the analogy of a suitcase filled with just what you need. A nice portion of what I’ve read makes it sound like people are just resigning willy-nilly. I hope that’s not the case and that some of the stories are embroidered for interesting reading.

Regardless, if you are thinking of making a job change, here are the first four items you need to have packed for the journey. Are you ready to pack your bag?

  1. Solid Reasons

  2. Clarity

  3. Outstanding Resume

  4. Updated and Upgraded LinkedIn Profile

Let’s look at those four additions to your luggage one by one.

1. Solid Reasons.

The first thing to put in your bag are well thought out reasons for making a change. Yes, a lot of people are changing careers. And a lot of people are not. There are some solid reasons to change jobs and you want to be clear on what yours are. Here are the top ones from the surveys I’ve studied.

  • Lack of career growth. This is the big one, coming in at an enormous 80% of people polled. Over half of workers have gotten new skills during the pandemic, using that time to wisely retool. They are ready and eager to use those advantages but not seeing career opportunities where they are.

  • Burn out at work. Working from home has been very hard on parents and those who don’t like that model. Hiring has been slimmer in some industries and vacant positions have gone unfilled, adding work to already stressed out people who are also working in a different environment with no delineation point between work and home.

  • More balance. I don’t believe in constant “work/life balance” nirvana. There are too many variables on both sides of that seesaw, and it moves. If we think we can always have work/life balance, it only makes us more stressed. I do believe that factors like flex time and treating employees empathetically as whole humans can help balance those scales and that employees expect that now. Look for companies that stress the components of a reasonable workload and a schedule that matters to you.

  • Lack of pay increases or better compensation. While many companies had no good options except to freeze pay early in the pandemic, this makes staff feel dissatisfied after a point in time. People with new tools in their toolbelt know that many times the best way to get more pay is to change jobs.

  • Flexibility. This can manifest itself in flexible hours, a work from home job, or a position with a hybrid model. Note that not everyone wants to work from home and many jobs don’t have that option. It can also mean support for necessary down time for personal appointments.

  • A problematical manager. In your eyes. There are some personalities that just don’t mesh well together. A boss that’s a problem to you may be perceived differently by a coworker. That being said, the saying that people don’t leave companies, they leave managers has more than a few nuggets of truth in it. Here’s a small list of b-a-d manager traits.

o Micromanagement o Taking credit for their teams’ work

o Poor communication skills

o Bad temper

o Focus on blame versus solutions

o Lack of respect

o Doesn’t lead by example

o Lack of empathy

  • There are so many shades and varieties on all of these traits. Some can be super subtle. Others may not bother you as an individual. If it impacts your stress level at work, it’s a problem.

2. Clarity.

It’s not fruitful to pack your bag for vacation if you don’t know where you are going. What the weather is going to be. What activities you’ll be engaged in. What clothing is appropriate.

And it’s not fruitful to work on changing jobs or careers without clarifying where you are going. Ask yourself how many times you’ve done just that. I know I have. There’s no need to repeat it.

How do you get that clarity? By stopping, getting still, thinking and writing. If we don’t know where we are going in any endeavor, stopping is always the first step. And yet so many times we don’t do that. Humans like activity, even if its’ not taking us where we want to go. I’ve found that career clarification exercises are very helpful to my clients as part of this clarifying process. Clarity through thought provoking questions and giving your focus to a next step is critical and the insight it gives for your next great position is priceless.

I have exercises. A full tool belt that I use with my career clients. I’d like to share just two of them with you as we look as how you can clarify your career decisions.

The first tool is titled Identify Your Career Values and it’s a five-step workbook that helps you understand your unique work values. Values change over time, just like you do. Reviewing your values at different times in life is very enlightening in understanding your career goals. What are the themes over your career that show up time and again? How can you know, honor, and prioritize your values? How can you clearly identify the situations and environments that will best suit you in your career? A lot of our feelings of frustration or boredom are value driven so getting clear about those values is key.

The second tool is a Career Discovery Pondering Questions exercise that has thoughtful questions to open up your mind to patterns and threads that contain clues to what you will truly enjoy doing in your career. This is an in-depth, thinking exercise and you’ll notice themes emerging as you do it. I had a recent client tell me that this exercise gave her the confidence to apply for that big job with that huge pay increase. She got the position. You can, too.

3. Resume

When you have your reasons on job change established for yourself and have worked on clarity, you’ll know if it’s time to move ahead with the next step. That’s your resume. Is it resume update time? It probably is. You always deserve the very best representation you can give yourself on your resume. It’s much better to stay ahead of the game and always be what I call “resume ready”. This is not something you want to do in a panic or hurry.

A resume is unique and individual. It’s a representation of your career accomplishments. Here are a few general keys to keep in mind.

o Be strategic. Your resume isn't a list of everything you’ve done.

o Be consistent. Use the same format throughout the document.

o Think about what an employer would want to see.

o Keep it visually balanced with good white space. Make sure the font isn’t too small. I recommend Calibri or Arial fonts.

o Keep the resume updated and relevant. Think about new skills, certifications or responsibilities.

o Add great facts and figures. Numbers and hard data speak.

o Use appropriate key words for the type of job you want.

Need help with updating your resume? Yes, you do. A resume is too important to leave to chance. I can partner with you on ensuring that your resume is spot on, error free, and meeting current employer expectations.

4. Updated and Upgraded LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is THE professional online network. It serves as a key component in job search for company Recruiters, lead generation, your personal branding and building professional relationships. Did you know that 87% of companies use LinkedIn to look for candidates? It’s easy to “set it and forget it” and not give this important tool the ongoing attention it needs. Don’t do that!

Here’s what to focus on for your profile:

  • Use “fenceposts” to separate and add key components to your profile under your name. Don’t leave it super short or boring. Add in something personal about yourself to make it come to life. Check mine out here for an example: .

  • Insert a professionally done headshot picture or one that looks very well executed. Ask a few people for their opinions. Put a larger customized picture in the large space behind your personal picture. It’s a more thoughtful look than the standard design background from LinkedIn.

  • Tell a little story in your About Section. Like the profile section, dress it up a bit. Make it interesting and share information about who you are.

  • Check out your URL. When you initially get your LinkedIn account, numbers are added after your name. Go into Edit your custom URL in your account and delete the numbers behind your name. It should look like this:

  • Keep your profile updated. I recommend going in with an eye on what could be upgraded or changed twice a year.

LinkedIn Invitations – Having a profile matters when we have connections to see it.

  • Always include a personal note when sending an invite. If you have an individual referral that sent you their way, mention that. If you are interested in their company or their background, extend that compliment. If you met them at a networking event or other setting, a reminder is helpful.

  • When you receive an invitation, reply with a note of thanks after you accept.


Don’t feel like you need to personally author everything you post on LinkedIn, unless you like doing that. If so, that’s a great differentiator. These are other good ideas.

  • Articles focused on your field of work, motivational sharing, “how to” tips, blogs, or videos.

  • Announcements about positive changes at your company.

  • Tell your LinkedIn connects about your promotion, job availability, new skill, new degree or other professional news.

  • Want more lift? Tag people that you think would be particularly interested in the piece you’re publishing or who are a SME and ask them to weigh in. The post will travel to their networks.

  • Don’t forget Hashtags### on every post. Three is the recommended number.

Respond! We all know how it feels to post something and get…crickets.

  • Weigh in on posts from connections. A “like” is nice. A “comment” is better.

  • Be a real hero and share a post you particularly like with your audience. It will benefit them and elevate you in the eyes of the person who originally posted.

This packing has a much longer impact on your life than packing your vacation suitcase. Make sure you have what you need for this journey.

These are the four foundational items to pack. The must haves in your suitcase. In December, I’m going to give you the finishing touches you need to pack your bag for the great resignation. If you intend to participate next year, you’ll be ready.

If you’ve decided it’s go time, reach out to me at I offer a free 30-minute consultation on your next career steps. I’ve helped thousands of people find jobs at hundreds of different companies and I can help you.

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