The Whole Person Job Search from Liz Ryan

Posted July 2, 2013 by Katherine Toll in Career Moves

She bounded onto the stage with a flair rarely seen in a business presentation. She wore a fuchsia dress, lipstick to match, and jewelry that glittered in the light while she literally bounced back and forth on the stage as she greeted the rather shell-shocked audience. Holy shit, I thought! This is not your typical HR lady. Nope, not in the least, this was Liz Ryan.

For those of you who don’t know about Liz, here’s her bio:

Liz is a former Fortune 500 HR executive and one of the country’s most widely-read and well-respected workplace and branding authorities. Her columns on leadership, personal branding, recruiting, HR practices and life in the new-millennium workplace reach 30 million readers a month on, Kiplinger’s Finance, Yahoo!, the Huffington Post, the Denver Post, and the

She is also a Northwestern University alum, so the Northwestern Alumni Association played host to Liz who spoke to a standing room only crowd at Fulton on the River last Tuesday.

Liz is, among other things, an opera singer and self-professed 80’s music lover (who thought nothing of singing a few bars of favorite Blue Oyster Cult song during her presentation). She’s also the CEO and Founder of Human Workplace, a consulting firm who specializes in redesigning work so it works for people. Liz shared her whole person job search approach, which includes ‘The Mojofied Job Seeker” with us.

Here are just a few of the nuggets:

  • Tell a Story with Your Resume: Liz encouraged job seekers to put their personal voice into their resumes. Use your resume to tell potential employers your story –not just share a laundry list of skills and trophies. Inject some energy into it!
  •  Avoid ‘The Black Hole’: Liz refers to employers’ online application systems as the’ black hole’ meaning by now, most job seekers know to litter their resumes with the key words used in the job posting. This means a high percentage of resumes make it through the screening software and land on a haggard, overworked HR person’s desk. Good luck making it out of that pile!
  •  Skip the Cover Letter: What? Instead replace your cover letter with what Liz calls a ‘pain letter’.  What’s the pain the hiring manager feels as this position sits open? Lost revenues, decreased profitability, damage to the brand reputation? Find out and craft your pain letter accordingly.
  • Find the Hiring Manager: Skip the HR folks and find the hiring manager’s name and title, then (snail) MAIL her your resume in a 8 ½” by 11” envelope. And, make sure to follow up with her! If she likes what she sees and hears, she’ll get your resume to the HR group, not to worry.

For more of Liz’s insights view her presentation here and don’t forget your popcorn!

About the Author

Katherine Toll

Katherine (Kathi) Toll possesses more than 20 years of management and consulting experience within the retail and beauty industry. Her industry experience combined with her special brand of irreverence fuels her mission to find the ‘must-have’ beauty products for Career Girls of all ages. She aspires to remind women the airbrushed perfection of the beauty industry must be tempered with a healthy dose of humor. Kathi holds a general management certification from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, along with an undergraduate degree from Northwestern’s School of Communications.