Crafting Your Career: Professional Branding and Executive Resume Building

March 6, 2024

Ali Taylor 0:12
Hello, Happy Wednesday. Welcome to the next edition of the Wednesday wisdom series. My name is Ali Taylor, I am the founder and consultant at wisdom and Wayfinder, where we help you find a clear path to growth and profitability. Unless you have discovered the secret to ever less than life, you don't have enough time to learn everything there is to learn about running, growing and scaling a business on your own. And so this series is where experienced professionals come and share their wisdom about how to do that. Today I'm here with Mike Farrago, CEO and founder of career ladders. And we're going to be diving deep into the art and science of professional branding and executive resume building. Mike has a rich background in Senior Commercial leadership within fortune 100 companies and a passion for storytelling. And today Mike is going to share some invaluable insights on how to stand out in today's competitive job market. From leveraging the power of keywords for AI and recruitment algorithms to personal branding and leadership effectiveness. I think you will enjoy his unique perspective on navigating career transitions and scaling your professional growth. And we'll also dive into some of his creative storytelling pursuits as it relates to all things Irish culture. Mike, thank you for being here today.

Mike Farragher, Chief Storytelling Officer 1:29
I think with all that big introduction, we're out of time. Okay. Bye. Bye, everybody. Thank you for that introduction. It was great.

Ali Taylor 1:37
Yeah, yeah, you're welcome. I took some time to practice it. I was like, Mike, you were in front of the mirror now. And I could tell I was it was like, He's the chief storytelling officer. So I gotta make sure I'm better up the game.

Mike Farragher, Chief Storytelling Officer 1:52
Good to see. Ya. You

Ali Taylor 1:54
too. You too. While speaking of upping the game. You know, just share a little bit about how did you transition from I know you have your work in the corporate field. But what made you decide to use your talents and your experience and your gifts towards the resume writing and executive career building?

Mike Farragher, Chief Storytelling Officer 2:13
It's a great question. So I can take you back to January, July of 2020. And I was working for a large fortune 100 company. And due to some shifts in the business with COVID, I was laid off. And on the same day, I was laid off that July, my mother in law passed away of COVID. So by all measures, thank you, by all measures, that was I'm an optimist, but by all measures, that was a really bad day, right? So I remember specifically with my wife, Barbara, who's a co founder of career ladders with me, you know, we sat there on the porch and we said you know we can we thank God we have the financial means to weather out the rest of the year grieve he'll be with the family, whatever we needed. So nobody would find fault with us doing that. Or it's July 1, or there abouts we have the rest of the year to create a banner year, what are we going to do. And we both had the same thinking that lets, you know, go with the fields, but let's not write off the rest of the year. So being a writer, and being a fortune 50 Hiring Manager, and also writing some of the books that I've written that are humorous, I typically get a number of requests around writing. The first one is, hey, can you help me with your resume? And then the other one is, hey, can you help me with my dating profile? You know, you're funny, and can you kind of punch that up? So long story short, my wife had the idea to say, you know, there are people that are charging folks online for dating, writing, profile writing, you're writing out in the back of napkins for free drinks at a bar with some of my single friends. Like you could be making a business out of that. And then also we you know, wanted to really take a look at what was missing in the resume writing and professional branding part. So after doing some of that research, just hanging the shingles, so we had career letters for resume writing and love letters, profiles for dating, profile writing. And I know we're here to talk about career letters, but I just want to do one quick thing detour about love letters. Yeah, as you can imagine, I got some of the craziest wildest dating stories as a result of talking with people about where, you know, love has not found them. And what I did was there was one in particular that we was so offbeat and hilarious, I said, I have to make a script out of this. So I made a script out of it. It wins the London screenwriting festival for Best Comedy. So I decided to produce it. And then it went on to win some awards for at the film festivals for Best Comedy, Best Actor, Best writer, and I share that story with anybody that might be listening that might be in a career, crosswords crossroads, or cross row words, whatever. Out of that darkest day, if you told me a year later, I'd be on the festival circuit with a best script from London, screenwriting and a film that's running around the festivals. I mean, that just wasn't even in the radar, I was in grief mode, I was shocked everything else. But a year later, there I was. So out of that darkest day came this incredible new chapter in my life that I couldn't have imagined. So I do ask people to really be open to any and all possibilities that might be before you and not just jump back into what I know, and what's safe, if you find yourself impacted by a layoff, or a divestiture or whatever.

Ali Taylor 6:25
Yeah, that's so incredibly important. And it's a couple of things that I that I liked about what you shared in terms of just the way that you and Barbara decided to look at what you were going through the take that pain and that grief that you were experiencing, and using that to channel it into something positive and creative out into the world. Like one I think people who do that, who have that kind of ability are superheroes in their in their own right. Just like a real force for good to be able to do that. But then also just touching upon how I think, love, you know, dating is the same energy or frequency is like, you know, money and looking for a career, right? It's the same type of effort, energy that you're putting into it and trying to find, where can you really express yourself? Where can you really show up inside of these two different avenues, and being able to write your own story out of you, no layoffs, a breakup, a divorce, etc. It's that same like same energy that that tends to happen. So I love the way that you and Barb decided to approach that and use your stuff to make that positive influence and positive impact. You

Mike Farragher, Chief Storytelling Officer 7:41
very, very perceptive on your part. It's the same story. People wonder like, well, that's how could you like I actually offered life packages where I would do your dating profile and your resume for one low price, whatever. And people were like, those are so different, but not really, because, you know, I'm not saying this about everybody. But if you find yourself out of a job for a while, or single for a while, and you don't want to be your it's the same things you're gonna say in your head, I'm damaged goods, nobody's gonna want me it's, you know, the list goes on. And every one of those disempowering contexts is keeping you from getting what you want. So part of the Career letters and the love letters for that matter is certainly writing, you know, being clever and funny on a dating profile or coming up with the, you know, really packing in the keywords to get the searches you want from LinkedIn, a lot of its writing and skill. And a lot of what I do is coaching and counseling. I'm not a psychologist, I won't play one on TV, but people really need a confidence boost because if they lost a job or if they've in some case, in some cases lost a significant other through death or breakup. Their confidence is taken ahead and an employer can see right through that you know, when you're on a zoom or stream yard, like we are now an employer can see right through that so it's, I can do everything I possibly can to get you the interview. But the rest is up to you. You have to sell it once you're on a zoom call or in front of a boardroom and then similar. You know, I get put the bait on the hook for the daters. You gotta wiggle the hook in the water. Right. So and both of those do well,

Ali Taylor 9:44
first, you got to go decide to go fishing, right that you're gonna go fishing to begin with.

Mike Farragher, Chief Storytelling Officer 9:49
That's right. That's right. So, but yeah, but people won't make that leap. And, you know, going over to the career part of it. People not only make that They won't make that leap. But they'll also not leap high enough. So, when you look at a job description, like a lot of people would go, Oh, I could do my boss's job. You know, I could do I'm more talented than he is. Or she is, okay, well, why don't we put your boss's job, find that job description, on line somewhere in some job board, compare and contrast that to your experience. And a lot of times that person's right, they could do your boss's job. So if you did get laid off, why not go for your boss's job or hire if you're qualified for it? And sometimes that that's the coaching I would do in career letters.

Ali Taylor 10:52
Yeah, there are a lot of ways in which people hold themselves back. And I think what's really powerful about what you do is that even though you're the chief storytelling officer, you're the one doing the writing, you're really empowering them to sort of rewrite their own narrative, or at least their the experience of their own story, when it comes to their career, or even their dating profile their love life.

Mike Farragher, Chief Storytelling Officer 11:15
Yeah, or become present to their own innate greatness, you know, that I am very marketable either as a as a data or a lover, or as a candidate. And I have had that feedback from some of the recruiters that I've worked on, I do have some relationships with, you know, large recruiter networks, and they come to me with like, Oh, my God, this, this person's resume was faxed over to me. And it's like, from the 90s, they haven't looked for a job in 37 years help. So yeah, and, you know, and you do find that sometimes the feedback I'll get, was that, wow, that person's confidence was here, and you brought them here, and what did you do? And, you know, it's, it's it goes from? Am I marketable to your GED? Right on marketable, you know, and I'll let you fill in the blanks there, you know, that, yeah, I'm marketable. And that's a part of it, that's extremely rewarding. I will say that. One of the things that taught that I was taught after the layoff was really looking at, and I'm at a certain age where I'm, you know, I got a number a few years left to retire, still have to work. But one of the things that I kind of came up with was, what's your mission statement? You know, every time you go to a company, the company will have their mission statement, why do we, Why do we exist? What Why do you exist, and then doing that work, and finding a job that would attract that is a bonus, I have a very good friend of mine that has gone through gene and Celts, Gene and cell therapy, like this is cancer came back. And he knock on wood has beat it again. And he has newly invigorated to be an advocate for patient voices in the pharma industry. So now he's pursuing jobs that would put him in a position to do that. So for me, my mission statement is aspire to inspire. And the universe will take notice. So it's really not about it's not about like, how many resumes Can I write? It's how many people can I reach? If I help a mother or a father, get a job and find financial security? I'm touching the lives of countless people, families I've never known. And that really becomes my North Star when I have myself bouts of confidence, because let's face it, we're human. Yeah, when I have my own bouts of confidence, I really look at that North Star and say, Are you right now? Inspiring to inspire? And is the universe taking notice and what do you need to do if you're not that get yourself back in that headspace? So I find that as you're going back to the job market, or looking to change careers, are looking at shift switch industries. You know, having your own mission statement, what's my life for and having a career commensurate with that? That's That's what work life balance is really about because then it won't feel like work when you're working all night. And I you know, I work. I have clients in Europe. I have clients in China. Yeah. It doesn't feel like work to me. My day job doesn't feel like work. To me, this doesn't feel like work to me, because it's all inside of a work life balance that I've attained over the years.

Ali Taylor 15:08
Yeah, it's all in service to the mission statement, the mission that you've really created for your life. And that reminds me of this book, here on Mission, which is written by Donald Miller, but really, it's like looking at your whole life, like you said, creating a mission statement for yourself. Like, yeah, the company has a mission statement. They have their vision, but what's yours, right, and does the job, or the jobs that you're applying to is your resume written in a way that actually services that mission? I think a lot of a lot of people, a lot of candidates today are very hopeless in some aspects, because they haven't taken the time to really create that mission for themselves. And they think they're just resigned to whatever job is available, because you know, they've got to, you've got to pay the rent, you got to get to take care of the kids or the dog and the bills and all those other things. And I think where a lot of people shortchange themselves is that they don't have that personal mission. And they don't find those things that align with that personal mission. Yeah,

Mike Farragher, Chief Storytelling Officer 16:11
100%. So, you know, if you don't want if you don't know what you want, ultimately, it's, you know, it's gonna be a very hollow life. When you're out there looking for a new new job. And you can, it's funny. I can't remember who said this. I think it was Jim Carrey. He said, Every actor should win an Oscar as soon as possible, so that they realize that ain't it? That's not what Yes. Yeah. So you know, I have I've plenty of people that I coach in my leadership, coaching and training where, you know, oh, my God, I, I was like, I was number two in the country. And I was like, Oh, my God, I'm number two in the country and like beating yourself up and it's like, yeah, yeah, but you were in the Diamond Club. You out your number. And every one of those is a milestone that you never celebrated. So if being number not being number one, is is the only thing you're heading towards that year after year. That's, that's a that's a hole or a trap that just doesn't have any cheese in it after a while.

Ali Taylor 17:32
Yeah, yeah, it's an endless black hole. That reminds me

Mike Farragher, Chief Storytelling Officer 17:36
so you shouldn't you shouldn't you should when you should, when Diamond Club salesperson of the year once early on, to realize that ain't it?

Ali Taylor 17:45
Yeah, it's not the thing that's gonna that's good. Yeah, yeah, I had a conversation the other night with a woman who works with a lot of ultra high net worth individuals. And she one of her famous lines, or at least that I've, that I, it's famous to me, is that money only solves money problems. And so she's working with a lot of these people who have access to wealth and luxury that, you know, most of us will, could only ever imagine or dream of, and the identity struggles that they that they come across, similar to you and I, everyday people, right?

Mike Farragher, Chief Storytelling Officer 18:26
If you're having girl problems, I feel bad for your problem. I mean, I'm not gonna finish that. But yeah. To quote the great Jay Z,

Ali Taylor 18:37
yes, yes, yes.

Mike Farragher, Chief Storytelling Officer 18:43
But you didn't think that was gonna happen today? Did you know I wasn't gonna bring out some Jay Z just willy nilly.

Ali Taylor 18:51
Let's say and you are you are tapped into a lot of different cultures and whatnot. And I want to I want to talk about some of the Irish culture stuff that you do as well. But first, I want to just jump back to you know, what, like, in your work with with a lot of the candidates that you're seeing when it comes to like their LinkedIn profile for say? What are some of the the most egregious mistakes that you're seeing people make when it comes to their LinkedIn to their, the way they present themselves online?

Mike Farragher, Chief Storytelling Officer 19:24
Well, I would probably answer that slightly different, where maybe I'd go through the process of what I do when I'm trying to attract a client. And it's so let's sell, I don't do sell. I ask them one simple question. If a customer, a future employer, or a business prospect landed on your LinkedIn profile, would that be what you'd want them to see? Yes or no? Um, yeah. And then I bring it up. And it's like, first of all, it looks Casper the Friendly Ghost, there's no profile picture, there's so it's just that white outline. It's even paler than I am. By the way, can you tell me this look at this big tam complexion in the in the Zoom light. But so that's the first thing I asked. There's no profile picture. And if there's anything worse than no profile picture, it's the profile picture of the mirrored sunglasses holding up a big bass, you know, bat, you know, like a big tuna fish with a trucker cap and you're like, Well, unless you're going out to be a big game fisherman, that image of your profile picture is not in line with what you're trying to attract. So sometimes we do I do recommend, and I do work with some profile, picture takers, so that you have a professional look. So just like people judge a book by its cover, and my author pursuits, they certainly judge a book by its image. So is that in line. And then the other thing that I think is the Venn diagram,

Ali Taylor 20:58
the Venn diagram of profile pictures of guys holding fish, and wearing the sunglasses for LinkedIn, and their dating profiles is a circle, just just so it is,

Mike Farragher, Chief Storytelling Officer 21:09
yeah, or the other one, like I really looked, I really looked really, really good in that suit. But unfortunately, it's got my I have my arm around my ex wife or ex girlfriend. So the arms cut out, I mean, on both profile pictures for dating and LinkedIn, I've seen him like, it's the same picture and some of the clients. I'm like, Oh, my God, really. So the other thing that I think is egregious as well, is that, you know, when you have a little bit of gray on your temples, a lot of people fancy themselves as a mentor, you know, so it's like, oh, you know, I help people I help, I'm a VP and I help people, you know, aspire to their careers, and there's going to be all that talk about and then you get to the bottom of their LinkedIn profile, and they haven't recommended one person. And nobody's recommended them. So it's not bad or wrong. But it's inconsistent with who you say you are. If you don't have people coming back to you and go and publicly writing on your profile, thank you for, you know, you helped me make my sales goal, you helped me get promoted, you helped me do this. And then also sprinkle the love as well. I call it practicing random acts of acknowledgement. And I suggest the clients do this typically. Fourth of July weekend, the week between Christmas and New Year's where people are, you know, kind of just trolling LinkedIn just because they're bored. Yeah, right, write a paragraph or two, on somebody that you're like, wow, that that teacher, that mentor, that person really set me straight. I wouldn't be here where I am without them. Who is that person, you can go on their profile, write a few sentences, on what that person meant for you so that the world knows it. And it's good karma. Nobody lost a job because of good karma. And it goes back to what I said earlier, aspire to inspire and the universe takes notice, if you put that kind of karma out there. Then when you are down on your luck in getting a job, you have all those people that remember like, wow, that, that that guy wrote on my page and give me a recommendation, I'm gonna see if I can find him a job here, karma doing something like that without expecting anything back. You will get a lot back. And I do tell people that if you're putting yourself out there as a mentor, where would I see that digitally? So that's Yeah, where's that?

Ali Taylor 23:56
Where's the evidence? Yeah, yeah. And

Mike Farragher, Chief Storytelling Officer 23:59
it's, it's, it's the apart from the tuna fish picture, profile picture. That would be the most egregious thing I see on LinkedIn profiles, especially when you're touting yourself as a mentor, when you haven't demonstrated in digitally that you are.

Ali Taylor 24:17
Yeah, I think it's it's really important, especially now to start giving people their flowers before, before their funeral. Start, you know, acknowledging people for the difference that they've made for you whether it's, you know, and even if you've never actually worked with someone, or if they've done something if they said something that has made a difference for you. Go ahead and do that. In fact, I actually had that happen to me. Very unexpectedly a couple of weeks ago, I went to a networking I'm part of a WhatsApp group. And so I went to one of the networking events at another chapter. And there was someone that I had met over Christmas, we had a conversation and he was telling me how he changed it up His whole Instagram strategy because of something that I had said that night, I don't even remember what I said. But it made such a difference for him and how he was showing up online. And it really influenced him. And then other people started taking notice. And he made it a point to let me know. And I tell you, it was such a gift to have that to hear that acknowledgement from him, and to see the way that he's been showing up online. And it's like, trust me, it makes a difference if you can do that for people.

Mike Farragher, Chief Storytelling Officer 25:29
Yeah. It also gives you a bit of a jumpstart scared, doesn't it? Because you're like, I said that. Boy, that's pretty smart. When did I say that?

Ali Taylor 25:42
Yeah, it's like damn sharp. Yeah, yeah. Awesome. All right. So let's dive into you did mention that you are of higher Irish heritage. And so I'd like to know a little bit more about like, how do you weave that into your storytelling? And given the awards that you've won recently? You know, obviously, I've been keeping up with that. Why do you think it resonates with people so much?

Mike Farragher, Chief Storytelling Officer 26:15
Well, I think on late on LinkedIn, people, people will always tell me I get a lot of DMS, especially in the last post I did where I want to Best Film Award and in a film festival recently, like, how do you do that? And like, work full time and do your day job? And like, like, Do you sleep? And Baba bah? And you know, my answer to that is anything that's meaningful to you, is going to be on your calendar. And you'll find a way. So I have plenty of examples, which I've learned about from mentors, by the way of, you know, senior vice presidents that were with me in Cologne, Germany for a meeting at Bear flew over there and right back home to meet to go to their daughters championship lacrosse game. That's a person that's knows what's important. Providing for his family and showing up for his family. I never forgot that. So if it's meaningful for you, it'll be on the calendar for me. You know, writing is to Mike. What fish is to water and breathing is just what I need to breathe. Yeah, I've you know, and the employers that get that I thrive under and the employers that don't get that final work for them. One of my most recent positions that I had, I got this job over, they said 30 other applicants, so they were all like PhDs and chemists and I'm not I graduated summer come lucky. From from University. I was like, Why did you hire me? Because I'm in these meetings. And yeah, we're talking about, you know, hepatocytes, and we're talking about livers and all this the workout what? And his answer was, you know, he said, I have plenty of chemists and biochemists and biologists, I don't have any writers. So these scientists can always tell the story of why this is important. So I thought, let me throw a writer in the mix. Yeah, and see what that does. And, you know, for a CEO to, for a CEO to acknowledge that I thought was really took me back. It's something I've always thought. But that's really where, you know, I know that the word diversity gets thrown around. But it's not just diversity in age, race or creed. It's also diversity and experiences where if you're top loaded with a lot of chemists and biochemist and they can't really talk to people, then you know, there is a place for a writer to be the storyteller and to frame the importance of this to customers when we're dealing with commercial negotiation. So So I think part of it is is to I write because that's what I need to do in my life. And then over the years, I've been grateful that I've been working for mentors and companies that see that they appreciate it. And many years, I was a closeted writer where I keep that off a LinkedIn and now I don't and I run it A memoir writing classes at Monmouth University on Zoom since the pandemic, I can't tell you how many bosses and senior people I've had over the last couple of years, former and current, that have come to my classes because they see me doing it. They want it for themselves, and they put themselves in a class to understand how to get started. So I think there's a lot of closeted writers on LinkedIn that look at those posts and go, I want to do that. It's all about putting a schedule together and getting it done.

Ali Taylor 30:34
Yeah, that's so very, very true. You know, what, what matters to you is going to get scheduled, it's going to be up to become a priority. It's that old saying, it's like, yeah, if it, if it's important to you, you'll find a way. If it's not, you'll find an excuse. Yeah, there will be, there'll be the next showed up to binge watch, there's always the Doom scrolling on tick tock that's available for you at any given point in time. But until you get real with yourself real honest with yourself about how important something is to you, it's not going to go into your calendar, and you're not going to organize your life in service of that thing.

Mike Farragher, Chief Storytelling Officer 31:14
Yeah, yeah. And a lot of times, and I'll just use, you know, I'll use I hope I don't embarrass you when I tell you this. But you know, I've seen pictures of you on Facebook and on LinkedIn, and there's pictures of you at the gym. And there was one that, you know, you were all ripped, and you look like a superhero. You know, and I was like, you know, I think you're gonna have a Superman shirt on, as I recall, because we're both Yeah, we're comic book nerds, we, that's a whole other podcast. But anyway, you know, there's a lot of people that are runners, yourself, you know, that, obviously, you were health and fitness is among your top priorities in your life, otherwise, you wouldn't look the way you do. I'd like to look like that I don't like and, you know, that's why I'm coming out with a book called my one skinny summer. This summer, because I've only ever had one. But you know, it's, it's if, if I took the intensity I have with writing into health and fitness, I'd have the results you do. So for many people, they have intensity somewhere, to be a runner, or to be the best woodworker. Or they're the or they're they do you know, they compete on professional dog, you know, the dog show circuit, I you know, plenty of people have those side hustles that they're intense about. And it's just a matter of taking that intense person over here and putting them into another category and having those results. So people that want to write that look like you, you took that same level intensity in the gym, and just wrote a few words a day, you'd have it done.

Ali Taylor 33:01
Yeah, absolutely. And I think the other thing, too, is is it doesn't always have to be I think a lot of people feel like they they're just stuck with one track. Right? Like, okay, I can only be this way, because that is what I'm used to. That's all that I know. And they don't want to do. The shitty sucky parts of sucking at first, right? Failing it first. You know, because there were those moments early on, you know, I used to be 50 pounds heavier. And, you know, I had to change my eating habits, I had to change my sleeping habits. I had to, you know, get up early and go do that and make that commitment, regardless of what the weather was like, outside and it's it sucked a lot. But once you get into that groove, you start to find a pattern to wear, I guess, you know, just your brain finally switches on. It's like, okay, this is what we're doing. This is what we need. We got to keep this momentum going. And so yeah, when it comes to writing, your first drafts are going to suck. But I think people need to give themselves permission to suck at first and we don't do that enough.

Mike Farragher, Chief Storytelling Officer 34:10
Yeah, yeah. And, you know, also, certainly, you know, people can go on my social medias, and they could see a book signing tonight. You know, this past Sunday, I was, you know, I won that award. So you'd be like, Wow, that seems like that's pretty incredible. It is pretty incredible. But what you also don't hear is that I applied to 12 festivals. I got into two Yeah. Yeah, you're gonna see the red carpet pictures of the two. Maybe I should be speaking a little bit more about the 10. I didn't get into. I've gone to book signings where I've literally spoken at Lincoln Center. across the lawn, there was 1000s of people there. And then there's times I drove all the way up to Boston and Six people showed up, you know, so yeah, you know, it's one of those things where you, you definitely never mind the writing process. But also once you get these things to fruition, there's, that's where the real work begins in that you're looking to always find an audience and, you know, making sure that you don't lose money. Maybe I'm not gonna make a lot of money, but I don't want to lose money doing these films and books. So keeping an eye on the bottom line that's equally as important as getting the first draft done. Yes, I really, I really enjoy my, some of my some of my creative heroes are not necessarily writers. They're, it's, you know, I'm a huge Rolling Stones fan. You know, Mick Jagger monos, the same way. You know, Mick Jagger is the creative, he puts the tour together, he writes the albums with Keith. And when it comes time to tour, he knows the city in which the tour breaks even. And the profitability starts. He's got that. Yeah. So it's like a London School, London School of Economics over here, creative over here. Those I have many, many friends, you being one of them. That that I really admire people that have that left brain, right brain to not only create something, but manage the creative business, the business of creativity, because it's, it's called show business for a reason. Yeah.

Ali Taylor 36:36
1,000% I, man. So I've been watching the marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Watching that for the first I'm like, damn, shows really good. And one of the things that I really liked is they showed the process of her workshopping the jokes and try them out and seeing which ones landed, which ones didn't. And she had to do a lot of really crappy, you know, greasy, low down and dirty dive bars in order to really practice and hone your skill. And I think with a lot of people, you know, a lot of people with their job searches, you know, like you were talking about the 10 shows that you didn't get into, you know, we don't always see all of the rejections from submitting an application submitting that, that resume. We don't see all the failures that come up, we just see you know, the success and find them when they get the corner office, and they get the job and their first paycheck, etc, we celebrate with them. But there is so much that goes on seen. Well, there

Mike Farragher, Chief Storytelling Officer 37:41
is certainly also in right now, for the date that we're recording this job market is pretty good. It's tightening up in some areas, not in others, which is kind of the story of life, right. But I look back on on the last two jobs that I got, I sent out 60 applications. And this is a guy that's kind of a pro at interviewing and a pro it, you know, optimizing LinkedIn and resume profiles, so I can I can do the best job on your resume, or LinkedIn profile ever. And yeah, it there's because of technology in the LinkedIn, easy Apply button as an example. People are just gonna, like be in their pajamas gone. Yeah. Oh, apply for that. So the result of that is that almost every job out there has, you know, 40 applications, and they're looking for one person. So there you have it, you have to be prepared that if you wanted to make a job switch, or if you're out of work, I tell people that it's you know, it's four to six months to find something else between pummeling the job market for job applications, waiting for somebody to get back from vacation to do that third, Zoom interview, going through four or five interviews, and you're thinking to yourself, Oh, my God, if you're, if you're going to take one more hour of my time, I'm going to 1099 you for it. Just give me the job already. That's part of the process. And it really is yeah. So

Ali Taylor 39:17
yeah, I think one of the I forgot when you were telling me this story, but you were, I think maybe it was with your niece that you had given her some coaching in her interview, to ask, you know, the CEO, it's like, like, what is it that they need or something like that to remember that story?

Mike Farragher, Chief Storytelling Officer 39:36
Yeah. My god daughter who got down and found herself laid off, not laid off her position was eliminated. So obviously, going through the shock of that, and she was, you know, one of those things where she got glowing reviews, you know, just a couple of months before and then all of a sudden they eliminated her position. And why me as like, first of all the answer is there's no logic behind it. They're just no longer in X business or why business there. It's like a it's like a waterbed. We're gonna blow it up here and deflated over there or whatever, you know. Yeah, I by the way, I'll I'll wait till people Google what the waterbed references because people of a certain age will have no idea what a waterbed has. But anyway, so then, you know, during the, during the interview session, I I coached her to say, what does? What are the things you're measured by Mr. Hiring Manager by success? And what were things in my credentials that you saw as an opportunity for me to contribute? Especially if a person of a certain age, the hiring manager, apparently the you know, the, the cranium blew off the front the top of his head? Because who asked me that, you know, when you have 30 people saying, so what, you know, what am I gonna get? When can I get promoted after I like, you know, what? Policy? What's the vacation policy? Yeah, just basically, wow, what are you looking for in this candidate? What was something in my resume that you thought would really be like? Well, I, I'm interested in that. And how can I contribute to your success? Nobody asked. Me, it's not a gimmick, either. By the way, it's not just me saying, here's how you stand out? Wouldn't you want to know that? Anyway, because that is an opportunity for you to determine whether or not the kind of work that's going to create success in that organization is the kind of work you want to do. So it's, it does set you out. It is an interview technique or a gimmick, but it's also something you'd kind of want to know anyway.

Ali Taylor 41:54
Yeah, I think everyone should take time to if your journal or whatnot, but take some time to sit down and really answer that question for yourself, if you're going to give up your time, your energy, you know, your resource, your vitality to this organization, you know, what is it that you would need to bring to the table to have that be successful? And not because you're trying to be loyal or to the company, because you know, they're going to make their decisions, you obviously want to protect yourself in some way, and don't over give. But I think anything that you add to your skill set that you add to your wisdom or ability can only help you in the future, in crafting whatever it is that you want to

Mike Farragher, Chief Storytelling Officer 42:44
do. Yeah, well, those are the kinds of things that we talk about when I do a career letters, consults. So, you know, with the career letters, which is career You know, what I do is I, first of all, once you've paid, I asked you for your current resume. And then I'm also going to ask somebody, what are the two or three jobs you're looking to go after? Can you send me links to those? Let's, let's format your resume, so works well with AI. But then also, let's, let's, you know, let's pack that with keywords that attract jobs like that, so that not only are you going to be more successful, going after the jobs, you know, but maybe recruiters might be looking for you. So you might be able to get access to jobs, you didn't know you didn't know what's out there. So we do that. And then part of that, no matter how much AI is out there. And so many of these resume writing companies utilize a lot of AI where you'll never talk to a human being. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I actually looked somebody square in the electronic eye ear over zoom. And I asked them what's important to you, and let's design it based on that. So as much as you can automate resumes, there's no automating that human connection, listening for what's important to somebody, and then crafting a resume that that attracts that crafting a dating profile that attracts that, as you know, going back to that as well. And that has been highly successful. One of the things I also think is egregious on LinkedIn, you know, that easy Apply button makes it really easy to just apply and upload your resume and you're done. But I tell people don't do that. You can hit the easy Apply button. But before you upload your resume, make sure that resume conforms with the job you're applying for. So make sure you're utilizing some of those key words. That kind of thing because those those things will make a difference at the end of The day, a human being is going to pick who comes in for the second interview. But it's the robot eyes, it's the AI robot eyes, that will sort the pile that you really want to master. And that's, that's what we take AI. And we turn it on its head and leverage it to make sure that you're at the top of the resume pile. And then we also offer that human touch to actually get on a zoom call with you and understand what you're looking for next. And that really helps delivering that in the way that an AI algorithm just can't.

Ali Taylor 45:38
Yeah, yeah. So so what I'm hearing is like, it's really, just to kind of recap everything is that one, when you get clear on your personal mission, your personal mission statement and vision for your life, you're going to look for and find things that actually match that. But then to just like with the dating apps, you know, the AI, job recruitment tools, but also the dating apps, there's a way that you need to organize and format your profile so that it actually gets through the filters so that a human human being can actually see that profile, see that person and then have a conversation, and then how you show up in that conversation is what's going to make the difference in whether you get that that job that position, that relationship, etc. Yeah,

Mike Farragher, Chief Storytelling Officer 46:32
exactly. I mean, there could be, and I get this all the time, like, I used to do this job, I used to work in that company, I want to get back to that company. Why did I not even get a callback answer, you know, and the reason is, is that somebody probably optimize their AI resume, so that the AI robot eyes move that person to the top, you're over here. And I tell people all the time to it's like a Google search, you know, if you put Chinese restaurants near me, how often do you go to page six? To find the Chinese restaurant? Page? Don't even go to page two? Yeah, you don't even go to page two. So why what would make you think that a hiring manager that's got 46 resumes in front of them, if they go through the first 15 and they find three candidates, they're not going to go down to the rest of the 40. So you want to just make sure that you're in the top third. I don't guarantee a job. But I guarantee that you're going to get increased traffic, for sure. And then you have to make your Yeah.

Ali Taylor 47:36
Yeah, you increase their opportunities to be seen. Absolutely. That goes for that goes for jobs and for dating

Mike Farragher, Chief Storytelling Officer 47:42
for anything. Yeah. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. Yeah. Cool.

Ali Taylor 47:47
Cool. All right. Well, we're getting close to our time here, I always like to ask everyone that comes on is what is one piece of wisdom that you would share? It doesn't have to be related to the topic for today, but just one piece of wisdom that you would like to impart to anybody that's watching today.

Mike Farragher, Chief Storytelling Officer 48:05
I go back to the mission statement aspire to inspire in the universe takes notice, my business really started to expand when I stopped measuring it by units, and measuring it by people impacted, as I said a little earlier, so it definitely is. How many people do I reach with, you know, how many units did I move from the for books, that's another example. I've had some really great successful years as an author. And the one that always sticks with me is a woman that told me she she ordered 40 copies of my book, One Christmas, and I was like, I called her I said, this must be a mistake. It's 40. Did you mean four? And she said, No, I'm in 40. Because my mother was in a chemo chair. And that book made her laugh. And she passed away. I didn't want to give that book to everybody that she loved so that they could read what she was reading that lifted her spirits during her darkest hours.

Ali Taylor 49:17
What wow,

Mike Farragher, Chief Storytelling Officer 49:18
you know, at the end of the day, that's what you want to be measured on not the units. So yeah, I tell myself that a lot during those days. Because you get tons of rejection from agents and TV producers. I mean, I'm just like, half the world. I'm trying to get into Netflix and all these other things. But I know that once I get in there, I can impact and reach people. But that can't be the game. You know, it has to be just Yeah. What are you doing right now to impact people and their families. If you can help if you can help a breadwinner. Be back into the job market earlier. unemployed sooner, you're impacting that whole family. That's what really keeps me going. And it can't just be about the numbers, the numbers, the numbers, it has to be about the impact you're making. So very long answer to your question, but I hope, I hope the answer is in there somewhere.

Ali Taylor 50:17
Oh, it's, it's just all I can say. It's just thank you. Just thank you for what you just shared. I think that is one of the most impactful things that I just heard, like, I got I have chills right from from what you just shared. And I think that's just the perfect place to kind of leave it. So if

Mike Farragher, Chief Storytelling Officer 50:41
we have to plug right we have to plug career letters.

Ali Taylor 50:46
Yeah, I'm gonna put all of that in the show notes.

Mike Farragher, Chief Storytelling Officer 50:48
COMM right there. There's my name somewhere there. All right. Got a bunch of websites?

Ali Taylor 50:53
Yeah, career? Well, career Of course, for anybody that wants to resume writing, there is the love for anybody that wants their dating profile done. But if you want to keep up with everything with Mike, go to Mike You know, umbrella website that we created for you to make sure that everybody has access to everything that you're doing. And where are you going to be this Saturday for anybody that's local. So

Mike Farragher, Chief Storytelling Officer 51:20
this Saturday, I'm produced with Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, New Jersey, the Irish American Film Festival, and I'm super excited about that, first of all, because one of my films is in there, the last temptation to marry which is based on my sixth book. But we had such a successful Festival last year, that we took some of the profits and we're actually flying in two young filmmakers from Dublin that were part of the Dublin international comedy film festival. So we have a partnership between the Count Basie Dublin international comedy film festival, we're flying these two young filmmakers into give them the thrill of watching an American audience laugh at their comedy. And again, it's all about people reached and yeah, the numbers will follow that I understand that we're nearing a sellout capacity. So if you are planning on going get a move on. No. Irish are usually the last you know they do last minute plans do not get shut out of this one. It's gonna be a really, really special night. I can't wait to give these Dublin filmmakers a jersey welcome and just watch their faces lineup. It's gonna be awesome.

Ali Taylor 52:32
Yeah, I'll be there. So I can't wait to see that as well. And, Mike, thank you so much for being here today. Really appreciate all of the knowledge and insights and wisdom that you shared. For everyone, whether it's on the business side on the dating side, or just for wanting to make a difference in an impact in the world around them. Now is the there's never been a better time to write your own story. And you as the chief storytelling officer are definitely an example of that. And so thank you once again for being here. And I will catch you

Mike Farragher, Chief Storytelling Officer 53:06
as well. Yeah, thank you. Well, of course you've been you've been a great contributor to my business, you've been a great friend. So I think your business insights on how to attract and gain your new customers or your business has been super valuable. So thank you for everything you're doing personally and professionally for me. I really appreciate it. Yeah,

Ali Taylor 53:25
thank you for those flowers. I've received them and accept them. All right. Everybody, take care. Thank you. And I'll see you all next week.

Transcribed by

In this episode of Wednesday Wisdom, I spoke with Mike Farragher, CEO and Co-Founder of Career Letters, to dive deep into the art and science of professional branding and executive resume building. 

With a rich background in senior commercial leadership within Fortune 100 companies and a passion for storytelling, Mike shares invaluable insights on how to stand out in today's competitive job market. 

From leveraging the power of keywords for AI and recruitment algorithms to personal branding and leadership effectiveness, Mike offers a unique perspective on navigating career transitions and scaling professional growth. 

Whether you're looking to reinvent yourself or simply refine your career narrative, this episode is packed with practical advice and inspiring stories to help you craft a career that truly resonates. 

Mike Farragher Website –
Career Letters Website –


About The Wednesday Wisdom Series

Unless you've discovered the secret to everlasting life, you don't have enough time to learn everything there is to learn about how to grow and scale your business on your own.

The Wednesday Wisdom Series is where experienced professionals share their wisdom on running, growing, and scaling a business.