YOP041: Kolby Goodman – The Job Huntr

By July 28, 2015Podcast Episode

Kolby Goodman is a certified career coach and has ran TheJobHuntr.com for nearly 5 years. He specializes in helping his clients create eye catching resumes, craft memorable interview answers, establish a professional LinkedIn profile, and explore new opportunities in their personal and professional networks.


Zephan: What’s going on, Year of Purpose podcast? This is Zephan Blaxberg, and I’m joined today by Kolby Goodman. And Kolby is a certified career coach and has ran thejobhuntr.com for nearly five years. He specialized in helping his clients create eye catching resumes, craft memorable interview answers, establish a professional LinkedIn profile, and explore new opportunities in their personal and professional networks. And the reason why I wasn’t to bring him in today is to have a little bit of a different episodes. A lot of the time, we talk about what it’s like to quit your job, leave it all behind, and join the entrepreneurial world—and the truth is you don’t have to necessarily do that. and so that’s why I’m bringing him in today to chat about how we can find a job that just better aligns with what we want to do and where you want to go in life. So, Kolby, maybe talk a little bit—introduce yourself and tell everybody what The Job Huntr is.

Kolby: Awesome. Thanks, I appreciate being on here today. So, like you said, I’ve been running The Job Huntr for the last five years. I’ve been helping people with their resumes, kind of figuring out what they want to do in their careers, how to get better opportunities, more money…etcetera. Ever since I was in college, honestly, being a peer career coach and leadership development counselor in my fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi, out here in sunny San Diego, I’ve kind of learned that people need that little bit of a push, and they need a little bit of help.

What I see mostly come across my desk, as a career coach, is people not really understanding their value as a candidate. I think a lot of people—and, by no fault of their own, you do your job, you do it well, you go into your 9-to-5, five days a week, and it becomes obvious, it become habitual, it becomes normal. But unfortunately, people take that perspective on their candidacy and on their worth as a professional and put it towards looking for a new job. They feel like they don’t have a lot to offer, they feel like they have no value, and it’s my job to sit these people down and ask them the right questions and kind of hold this mirror up to them—in a positive light—and ask them “What really can you do? and what impact are you having on your job so that you can either get a raise or a title bump or another employer can recognize that and bring you on board to have you help them?”

Zephan: Very coo. So you are giving people a better opportunity and the tools to either work their way into a job at their existing company, that better aligns with what they want, whether it’s more money or a better role. Or it sounds like you’re also placing people if they’re in search of a job and don’t have one currently in a much better role.

Kolby: Yeah, I think the key with all of that, like I said before, is just understanding how to sell yourself, for lack of a better term. I think that—the term “personal branding” has been this buzz phrase for the last handful of years. It doesn’t have to be that complicated, doesn’t have to be that high tech. it can just be “How do you hold yourself in a situation where it matters the most?” which is an interview or professional networking or wherever an opportunity might arise. And I think a lot of people have issues with it because, you know, growing up in our society, we’re really told not to be braggy, not to really be boastful of our talents or our accomplishments, but sadly that’s exactly what you have to do when you look for new employment. You have to do it—because if you don’t do it, nobody else will, and your next employer only has to go on what you have written on your resume and what’s coming out of your mouth in an interview.

So if you’re humble and if you’re standoffish and if you’re kind of mousy about the whole situation, then as a hiring manager, as a recruiter, as an HR coordinator, that person has no choice but to assume that’s who you really are and that’s what you can really bring and they’ll pass you over and go to the next person. So it’s might job to kind of help people break down those walls a little bit, and really understand their value and understand what they’re worth—I want to say monetarily, but also what they’re worth to the department, to the company, to their team…so they can better perform also.

I think a lot of what I see are people coming in my door, and they’re depressed and they’re sad and they feel deflated because their jobs don’t line up with their passions or their interests, or the people around them don’t facilitate good energy or positive vibes. And it’s kind of—they come in here and my goal is to help them understand and discover those things within themselves so they can go out there and, like I said, either find that in their own company or look elsewhere for new employment, for better satisfaction.

Zephan: So you brought up a unique point that a lot of people aren’t necessarily encouraged right now when it comes to the job search. We hear a lot of the stuff how “It’s a tough market and it’s hard to find a job!” But at the end of the day, I just saw Amazon opened up a warehouse in Baltimore city about twenty minutes from my house, and they hired a thousand new people. So jobs are being created every day. But, I guess, how do we go about finding that dream job? Because, you know, just for an example, I was at Apple, and I worked there for quite some time, and that’s ultimately what led me to go into the entrepreneurial journey, but if I had left Apple and looked for a “dream job,” I probably would’ve looked in the video field, because that’s my specialty and where I went to college.

And one of my dream jobs that I considered was “What if I could do video for Facebook?” Like, what if I’m the guy who’s literally filming in Mark Zuckerberg’s office, right. And the funny thing is within the last year, I got approached by Facebook and actually went through the interview process, just to see what it was like, because they considered me for that role. So, funny story, it happened two years AFTER I started a video business and had this portfolio. But how do I go after that coming from Apple? Like, I just worked for this company for the last year and a half, doing nothing related to what I really want to do. How do I sell myself to a company or a position when my past experience really has nothing to do with my dream experience?

Kolby: Sure. So I think—this is where I think traditional job searching and entrepreneurship kind of cross paths. Is that—kind of like what you did. You went out and you did your thing. You produced video, you edited, you shot, that was your passion, that’s what you did. You probably would have been doing it even if nobody paid you to do it. But the key for you was to find those clients and get notoriety for your skillsets, and that’s kind of the same thing, whether you want to go and be independent and be an entrepreneur, or have a more traditional corporate position. You need to go out there and be noticed in some form or way. So whether that’s going out there and doing your thing independently—so if you want to create content, whether with video or the audio or with the written word, you need to start just doing it. You need to have some kind of soapbox to stand on when it comes to say “I don’t have any professional experience doing this, but here’s my portfolio of experience through my passion that I could show you.”

Also, too, you need to go out there and start making those connections. No matter how great our resume looks, no matter how much depth of experience you have, a personal introduction is your most powerful and efficient way for you to get an opportunity.

I think a lot of young people, people that I deal with, that are coming out of college and looking for their first career job is they think that if they just simply ask, then it’ll happen. If you go through that approach in finding your dream opportunity—“Hey, I want to”—if you simply just ask somebody “I want to lead video production on Facebook,” you probably would have been laughed at or your email would’ve went into the trash. But if, instead, you went—or one of your listeners can go out—find those people who are already doing what you want to do, and just have a conversation with them. If they’re local, buy them coffee, buy them lunch, buy them a beer after work. If they’re not, send them an email. Be very purposeful in finding as much information as possible, so you can learn from somebody that’s already done it. I think that’s a very valuable tool, because that will also allow you to interact with this person, create some good rapport, and maybe get that introduction or that referral that you wouldn’t otherwise, because you were this curious person, because you were not looking for a handout, that you were really looking for information so that you can better understand the path that you’re gonna need to take in order to achieve what you want to do.

Zephan: So I’m really glad that you brought that up. So, just to share with everybody listening, that’s actually exactly what I did. So I’m really glad that you shared it. So now I guess proof of concept, let me share with you guys how this works.

So I had—I guess it wasn’t my ultimate dream, but I thought I had this idea of like “Hey, it would be really cool to work at Facebook to run this video stuff.” Like, I’m still dedicated to my business and the entrepreneurial journey, but it can never hurt to explore other options, because you’re never gonna find out if you would like it until you at least try it. So when I took a month off from my business last November, and I was traveling all around the country, one of the places I happened to stop was in San Francisco. And, as many of us know, Facebook is about a thirty minute drive from San Francisco, and depending on which part you are, you’re pretty much right there. And it’s all Silicon Valley area. And I found that one of my fraternity brothers from college worked there, and he was a huge head of marketing. And I hit him up, I was like “Hey, man, I’m gonna be there, I’d love to meet up with you,” and he said “Oh, yeah, just come to Facebook headquarters, just sign it at the front desk and we’ll have lunch and we’ll hang out!” And I’m like “…Well, that was easy…”

Kolby: And I think that’s the thing that people are too scared of, is just simply asking. We can kind of go over this later but I think your already established professional network already allows you to kind of get your foot in the door there, but I think it’s simply just asking the question that I think a lot of people struggle with. Picking up the phone is really important, which I know a lot of young people, you and I included, are probably not—it’s not our favorite activity, to talk on the phone with a stranger. But it’s those kind of small risks that have large rewards in the grand scheme of things.

Zephan: Yeah. And so, ultimately, that led to—you know, I got contacted by a recruiter later down the road for when a position did open up to be like a producer and do their video work, and it was a very interesting and great experience to go through the interview process. And obviously, I’m still here in Maryland, and doing my thing, but it’s one of those things I definitely don’t regret doing it, and I would totally consider it down the road. So, proof of concept here, exactly what you said. Finding a way to get your foot in the door and just work your way into that, I think, is a great thing.

I guess this comes along with a lot of patience, so I have to ask you, how do we bide our time? How do we say, “I want to quit my job, but I need about six months to a year to build the things to get to the next one.”

Kolby: Yeah. So I think the key is to have a balance. I think that’s the one thing—it’s the one thing I tell all my clients, especially my employee clients where all they have to do is look for a job. You cannot feasibly do effective job searching for forty hours a week. Same with—you know, if you have your job. You feel like you’re a corporate slave, or you feel like you’re doing entry level service work, if you’re a waiter, a bartender. So having some sort of balance. You have to go to work, you have to make some money, you gotta pay your bills—but understanding, too, that you need to dedicate time away from that to do what you want to do, and doing it actively.

If kinda goes—same thing, any good habit, whether it’s working out or meditating or owning your own business, you have to create these good structures for yourself, so that in six to twelve months from now, you can finally—you can see it come to fruition. It’s not gonna be overnight, no such thing as an overnight sensation, whether it’s somebody like Mark Zuckerberg or somebody who’s risen the ranks at a Fortune 500 company. It doesn’t matter, you have to still put in the time. But I think the key is to kind of stave off insanity a little bit, is understanding this is temporary. And because the work that you’re doing on a daily or weekly basis will eventually come to fruition at some point, that the time put into it isn’t wasted.

Zephan: Right.

Kolby: And I think you and I can attest to that, as entrepreneurs. There were things in the beginning of our businesses that we hated doing that were grunt work or busywork, but we knew that we had to do it. And if you did it on a constant basis, it kinda—things started happening quicker and quicker and quicker. And I think those are the things that job searchers and young people, especially who are looking to go along that path, is understanding that it’s going to take a little bit of time—but also understanding that your journey is also part of your experience and your value. As a career coach—you know, before I became a fulltime career coach, I had a traditional corporate job. And without that experience, I wouldn’t be as insightful and I would be able to provide the insight and the perspective that I do, than if I became a twenty-two year old career coach—which sounds ridiculous coming out loud anyways.

But you need to have these experiences. You need to—they don’t call it “paying your dues” for nothing, and it’s not that you’re punished for this, it’s that there are good lessons to learn while you wait tables or while you fetch the CEO coffee or while you work late on nights and weekends. There are good values to learn there and good lessons to have, and there are also good stories. When it comes to interviewing, you should be having these good, impactful stories that you’re telling, and if you’ve been failing upward you whole life without actually earning anything, then it doesn’t come off as genuine. You seem pompous, you seem lucky, and nobody wants to hire that kind of person. You need to be able to earn it and kind of slog through it as much as you can, so that when you do get to the top, you get some good perspective and you have some experience to draw off of to be more impactful when you get to that point in your life.

Zephan: [cut in] I love this episode so far, and I want to take a brief moment to talk about improving yourself each day. I know you’re a huge fan of living life on your own terms, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my journey, we need to constantly grow and look to others who have been in our shoes, which is why I’ve partnered up with Audible to give you one free download of your choice from over a hundred and eighty thousand books. Start your free thirty days trial but visiting yearofpurpose.com/audible. Now back to the show.

Zephan: So let me play out—I have an idea for you. I’d love to play out an experience and just see where you would take it and where you would go with it.

Kolby: Sure!

Zephan: In almost combining working, having a 9-to-5 job, and figuring out how to leverage that to transition into the entrepreneurial world. So let’s say I work right now 9-to-5, forty hours a week, and it doesn’t really matter what I do right now. What matters is that it’s totally unrelated to what I want to do. So perhaps maybe I’m with a non-profit, which is great because I’m helping other people, but it’s not the right way in which I want to help people. And my dream, you know, a big hobby—and this is me personally—has always been photography. I love taking my camera out around town and just shooting creative stuff. So let’s say my big dream is photography. How could I go from this 9-to-5 that I have now to—and maybe perhaps you would lead somebody to some sort of a photography job somewhere else, which ultimately allows them to learn enough so that they could start their own thing later down the road. How would I start that journey of, like, “Alright, I’m still in my 9-to-5…where do I go?”

Kolby: Sure. So what I would say, first and foremost, is apply that passion inside of your 9-to-5 as it is. So in your specific scenario, as a non-profit, you’re probably having events or fundraising events, or you need to use some kind of marketing—so volunteer yourself as the office photographer, as the office videographer. Take pictures, create—do the blog postings. Maybe create end of the year photo booklet as a Christmas gift for everybody.

And just become—when somebody thinks of a photographer, make sure that you become the Pavlovian response. So that way, people understand—“Kolby’s a really good photographer, he does really good work on our blog and our marketing stuff. Maybe he should come out and do my wedding” or “Maybe he should come out and do my son’s first birthday.” And that way, you just become the person who does that.

And that’s kind of how I started, is that I helped my friends and my family with their resumes, with their interview, and with their LinkedIns, and just kind of as passion project, and it just came to the point where if any of those people who had friends or family members that needed that kind of help, I became the immediate person that they would go to. Because those dots were already connected.

Zephan: So the first step is figure out how to basically pull that passion into your existing job. And you’re not asking for any more money, any more pay, or a change in your role or position, but this is just how do we start to bring in that passion just ever so slightly and it sounds like you’ll take on a few more projects as it grows.

Kolby: Yeah. And I think, too, it—I think as entrepreneurs and those listening, I think the phrase “ask forgiveness and not permission” kinda plays a role here. Is that—you know, you can’t go to your boss and say “I want to be the lead photographer for this non-profit.” No, you just start taking pictures. Like, go above and beyond a little bit, inject your passion into your daily life, and it’ll hopefully take over more and more. And I think, you know, you will become a better—everything will become better, because you’re able to apply your passions at work. You’re gonna be happier, you’re gonna know more people. I think that’s really important, too, is understanding how to apply your passions, not only in your immediate department or company, but how—I’m sorry, department or team, but how the entire company can benefit from it.

My case in point, my first job out of college was doing help desk support for a large financial organization based out here in San Diego. As much as I like fixing computers, it kinda got pretty quickly sick and tired of answering the phone every day and helping computer illiterate people how to restart their computers. So it was—I started to figure “What else can I do?” and I really like public speaking. I did a lot of workshops and presented a lot of workshops in college, and I found out that our company did this large nationwide sales conference once a year at this big hotel in San Diego. And so I said “Is there an IT component?” and there wasn’t. and I said “Well, if I created a quick sixty minute basic Good Practices for IT Management, could I give it?” and they said “Sure.” And I just did it. I didn’t get paid more for it, I stayed later at worked, it was something that I asked—I asked a little bit of permission, but I was gonna do it anyways, and it wasn’t anything that was asked of me, I just kinda volunteered myself.

And that allowed me to get a bigger—got up in front of four hundred people and gave this speech, and as an IT person, as you can attest, we’re not really the—we’re not really known widely as being socially poignant and persistent.

Zephan: Yes.

Kolby: [laugh] And so, being kind of the face of my department all of a sudden, even above people like my boss or her boss or his boss, allowed me to network better inside the company, allowed me bigger and better opportunities along the line. And it just—it kinda cascades from there. If you just start being that person and, like I said before, become the go-to resource for your passion, then things start to fall in line a lot quicker.

Zephan: So I’ve opened up this space to bring the passion into my existing company. As the same time, it’s probably not a 100% the way to me dream, right. I mean, it’s 50% of the way. So I guess my questions now is do I want to find a job that aligns with that or do I want to create a position or do I want od leave and start my own thing? What do you think is the best way to go?

Kolby: I think—you know, it depends what your risk tolerance is, right. Do you want to go out—obviously, the grass is greener on the other side, but the Devil you know is better than the Devil you don’t. So kind of figuring out what you want to do. with your specific scenario with the non-profit, if your heart’s in it, partially, but your head and your actions are not, maybe figuring out a way to kind of merge the two a little bit. if you’ve—you know, if you want to do something creative like photography and you can build a portfolio, then take that portfolio elsewhere and see what you can do. Or if you have the wherewithal to turn it into its own personal business, I think that’s an opportunity also.

There’s no right answer to that question. I think that’s kind of—you’re gonna have to really take a deep look inside and figure out what you really want. Because people—you can still do your passion, but also have stability. I think the important thing, too, is to understand that, you know, a job sometimes is just a job. I think that’s—a lot of—especially young people, you and I age, who come out of school and we’ve kind of been pumped with this whole like “Follow your dreams!” stuff, and you can still do that, but there are some necessities in life that require a steady paying job. And understand that a job is just a job and if you allow it more power than it really should allow in your life, then it wins. You can still show up at your 9-to-5 and you don’t have to love it, but you can still do a decent job. But when you leave, if you’re able to leave it there and come home and be somebody else or be who you really want to be, then take that.

And that kind of understanding of it, where your job should be your identity, and vice versa. And I think, coming out of college, a lot of young people struggle with that, because all you are is what you are at school. You might be the video guy, or you’re the DJ or you’re the popular kid, or you’re the IT guy like I was. So understanding that you can separate the majority of what you do from actually who you are can allow you to take that deeper look inside and say “Okay, what do I really want out of life?” And I think—if you’re under thirty, you should start exploring what you want to do. Because maybe—and I think people struggle with understanding it’s okay to change your mind about what your dream it. I think that’s something that people fight a lot.

Zephan: I’ve done it.

Kolby: Yeah, and that makes two of us. I think people need to understand it’s okay to change your mind, first and foremost, and also what I was say before, almost like paying your dues is understanding what you don’t want to do is equally as valuable as understanding what you do want to do, because that all adds up to the same equation.

Zephan: Yeah, it—so you said something there that I really liked, which was essentially that you don’t have to have the same passion throughout your entire life. Like, your story can change. And I’d like to think of it almost as…you know how the Fast and Furious movie series now has like seven movies out, and I’m sure at some point they’ll probably make an eighth, ninth, and tenth? I almost want to see our lives as if each part of our story is its own unique movie. Because, at the end of the day, when you watch a movie, most of the time, most movies, don’t cover a person’s like from birth until death. Most movies, while their timelines are very skewed, you’re only seeing what could probably be compressed into about a year of their life.

And so I think that if we look at our life as if each unique story that we have is its own movie, we get to hit the reset button and make a sequel and make it whatever we want. And that’s awesome.

Kolby: Yeah! And I think that’s the opportunity. Especially now in this day and age, with technology and being able to reach out and touch—I mean, you’re in Baltimore, I’m in San Diego, and we met on a website—like it was just… If we told or grandparents what we’d be capable of today, they wouldn’t believe us, and that opportunity today, and those resources, allow us to do that more easily now.

Think about it this way, too. I wanted to be an astronaut, I wanted to be a paleontologist, I wanted to be a football player when I was a kid. But because I’m not those things now doesn’t make me any worst of a human being. Doesn’t make—I don’t look at myself bad in the mirror because I’ve given up on my dreams. It’s just that shifted. And I think understanding, too, is that kind of—and I think also too what I’m doing now has been a shift in dream. I’ve always been good at this, I know I’ve always been passionate about it, but I think, too, I psychologically didn’t think there’d be any money, wouldn’t be able to support myself and the future I want to create doing what I like to do, and so I kind of ignored it for a long time.

But it wasn’t until I embraced it and did it   because—without pay because I wanted to do it, and that’s when things started really happening for me. And I think that’s something also, too, is that—as cliché as it sounds, life isn’t gonna go—it’s not gonna look the way you want it to look. Ever. Because if it did, it would be way too easy, and it honestly would be pretty boring. And so understanding—looking for those signs of those “Aha!” moments or those moments of epiphany so that you can understand “Okay, this is what my next step is gonna be.” Because I think if you ultimately think it’s gonna go step one, two, three, and four, you’re gonna be very disappointed. Because, really, it’s you’re gonna take step A, and then you’re gonna take step A, part 1, and then you may go to B—there’s like—it’s just not gonna work out the way you think it is. And I think being okay with that is really important.

And being—but still knowing that you have control. You’re not a victim of your own life, and I think that’s a lot of—a lot of what I seem coming through my own door, especially people who have kind of fallen on hard times, is—the thing I have to kind of browbeat out of them before we can even get started doing the productive work is understanding that you’re in control. As much as it may feel like you’re completely out of control, you are completely in control. And that’s a lesson I learned, both as an entrepreneur and as a young college student kind of experiencing being away from home and losing that structure. Your attitude to what you’re doing makes it or breaks it entirely.

So if you can go into it with a good attitude—like I said before, if you can understand that your job is just a job, and it’s not who you are, it’s not your identity, it’s not gonna be your entire life, I think you can tolerate it more, you can survive it more, and you have a better attitude, and thus you’ll maybe get a promotion, you’ll get recognized by a senior leader, you’ll get a pay raise. And kind of understanding that this is part of your journey a little bit, and it will—not that it’s all gonna work out. Because I think that attitude is—that laissez faire attitude has also ruined as many people as who think “I’m a victim of my circumstances,” but just understanding that you can control what you control, and that’s—you can’t think of any more.

So let me—I don’t know if I can take this down and show you here… This is what I have—I don’t know if you can—it’s probably backwards. But this is the sign I have. It’s just a plain white piece of computer paper above my desk, and I—

Zephan: No, actually it is right side. It is. I can see it.

Kolby: Okay cool. Cool. So I’ll read them off real quick for your audio listeners.

Zephan: Yeah, go for it.

Kolby: I have four sayings that I have that are taped above my desk every day, and it’s these things. “If I want something I’ve never had, I’m gonna do something I’ve never done.” “I refuse to waste time worrying about the things that I cannot control.” “Every day in every way, I am getting better and better by the choices that I make and the work that I do.” And lastly, “I am tough enough to do whatever needs to be done for as long as it takes.” And I think it—again, I’m also not a proponent of big touchy-feely things, but I think these kind of affirmations and this kind of constant reminder that, you know what, you’re not a victim, and you should be taking control. It’s your right as a human being to take control of your own life, and if you’re not, then you’re doing yourself and everybody you know and your community as a whole a disservice.

Zephan: I think that’s the best way to look at this. So, just to round things out, I would say I don’t think that having a job is the Devil. I think a lot of it comes off that way upfront because I love being an entrepreneur way more than I loved that particular job that I was in before I got to this point. But I think you’ve given a lot of really good perspective on how you truly can find or almost create a job that you do absolutely love and enjoy and I think a very good point with, you know, as long as you can realize that your job is not part of who you are, and kind of leave work at work. Another thing that I pulled away from just chatting with you today is something someone always told me was “Don’t ask, don’t get.” And so not going at live with this entitled attitude of “Well, I went to college, so I deserve a job now,” but saying “You know what, could I have that job?” and just seeing what happens.

Kolby: Sure. Like I said before, it’s just kinda—if you can ask the right questions to the right people, you’ll be very surprised at the answers that you’re gonna get.

Zephan: Yeah. Awesome, well it’s been great to chat with you today. Let’s share with everybody, if someone’s interested in getting their resume checked out, if they want to have somebody who can help them create a resume—I know this is a totally different episode, so I’m really excited that we get to go off topic of entrepreneurship here and actually look at the other side of the table. So yeah, share with everybody what they can do.

Kolby: Sure. So if you want to learn more about my services—career coaching, resume writing, etcetera—you can go to thejobhuntr.com. That’s T-H-E-J-O-B-H-U-N-T-R.com. You can just email me at kolby@thejobhuntr.com. If you look me up on LinkedIn, it’s just Kolby-space-Goodman. K-O-L-B-Y. And mention the podcast, I’ll give you a little bit of a discount if you want to move forward with some services. I’d love to help you listeners kind of—maybe identify what they want to do next, and how to kind of figure that into their traditional, professional lives.