The Happy Engineer Podcast

103: Increase Velocity to Land Your Dream Career with Gina Riley | Talent Expert and Career Coach

In this episode, we answer the hard questions about how to increase velocity in your career with talent expert and career coach, Gina Riley.

You will learn why your previous role is blocking you from landing your next one, and how to prevent the cycle of loss from being a barrier.

We cover the three keys to executive presence, including one that I’ve never explored before on the podcast!

And most importantly, Gina will explain why you should NOT start with your resume when you want to reach the next level.

Gina is an authority in career transition. She’s the creator of the Career Velocity™ System – a comprehensive solution that helps leaders and executives map out a transition strategy that is proven. It has helped leaders to transition to their next role in 6 months or less, 85% of the time.

So press play and let’s chat… it’s time to hit the gas pedal and get results, because success loves speed!

Join us in a live webinar for deeper training, career Q&A, and FREE stuff!  HAPPY HOUR! Live with Zach

Get access to bonus content and live coaching as growth-minded leaders build careers together. Join our Facebook Group


The Happy Engineer Podcast




Previous Episode 102: Stop Being a Lazy Career Workaholic




You have career goals – reaching the next level, changing industries or companies, increasing your salary and compensation. But making that transition feels daunting.

I’ve been there myself, transitioning from Whirlpool to starting Oasis of Courage. 

To connect with engineering leaders, I used LinkedIn but lacked a clear plan. It became a time-consuming black hole.

Hiring a coach and creating a LinkedIn Power Hour helped me gain momentum and launch my company. Today, I’ll share a career transition power hour plan for focused action.

We need to focus on our career transition to generate energy and momentum. Dividing our attention among numerous tactics won’t yield results.

Divide the hour into four 15-minute segments. In the first segment, focus on personal development. Try the random word exercise from episode 93 to enhance communication skills. 

Practice answering key questions for interviews and networking.

Next, spend 15 minutes connecting with new people on LinkedIn. Reach out to recruiters, industry professionals, peers, mentors, and old contacts. Lead with generosity and authenticity.

Allocate the third segment to searching and applying for roles aligned with your vision. Highlight job descriptions, identifying what excites and concerns you. Look for recurring themes to prioritize your search and craft specific questions.

In the final 15 minutes, call contacts in your network. Reconnect with friends, colleagues, and family members who may have valuable connections. 

Ask for introductions or insights. Keep calling until someone answers.

To summarize: 15 minutes on personal development, 15 minutes on expanding your digital network, 15 minutes on searching and applying for roles, and 15 minutes on calling contacts.

As opportunities arise, shift your focus to action. 

Resist getting help. Don’t be a hero. Don’t be a lone wolf when it comes to these things. If getting to the next level and if transitioning your career is a true priority now, then reach out and get help.

Put it on the calendar. Go make it happen. And get yourself to that next level of your career and your life. It’s awesome to be a part of the journey with you.



Gina Riley is a Human Resources professional who sits at the powerful convergence between Career Coaching, Executive Search, and Interview Skills Training.

An authority in career transition, she is the creator of the Career Velocity™ System – a comprehensive solution that helps leaders and executives map out a transition strategy to last throughout their career.

Gina brings over 25 years of experience from small businesses to Fortune 50 companies and has a Master’s degree in Whole Systems Design.

With experience speaking at Portland’s first Disrupt HR forum and the 2019 Career Thought Leaders Symposium, Gina is sought after for her thought leadership in the areas of professional networking and career development.

As a certified YouMap® coach, Gina uses a rare strength combination of focus and action to customize her model for each client.

Gina’s unique approach helps leaders showcase themselves as a “Business Solution” and position themselves as authoritative problem solvers that accelerate career transition success.

With leadership clients that span coast to coast, her clients say she “connects familiar dots in new ways” and “pulls back the curtain” to share unseen processes and unheard conversations from an executive recruiter’s perspective.





Please note the full transcript is 90-95% accuracy. Reference the podcast audio to confirm exact quotations.

[00:00:00] Zach White: All right. Happy engineer, welcome back, and super excited to have Gina Riley in the house. Gina, welcome to the Happy Engineer Podcast. 

[00:00:10] Gina Riley: Thank you for having me. I’m super excited for this conversation. 

Expand to Read Full Transcript

[00:00:13] Gina Riley: you’re a career transition coach now. You’ve spent. Your entire life in the talent space, in hr, talent acquisition, recruiting, everything around this, 

[00:00:23] Zach White: and we’re in the middle of another wave of time where lots of people are asking new questions and hard questions around, yikes, what do I do with my career? Because they’ve been let go, laid off, or they want to transition and feel like, yikes, the economy’s not good. I, I don’t know what to do.

[00:00:41] Maybe now’s the time to just hunker down and stay safe and they’re not taking action. And so it’s a perfect time to talk about. What you call career velocity. This career velocity system and people who either need a job cause they’re unemployed. Mm-hmm. Or they still want to advance and grow and develop their career, but they feel kind of stuck on how to do it when the opportunities are not knocking on their door.

[00:01:04] So maybe the first thing I wanted to get curious about for your perspective mm-hmm. Is this old question that keeps coming back around that I wanna set the stage with. And engineers really, wanna know the truth. Do you need to change companies again and again in your career in order to maximize success?

[00:01:27] Mm-hmm. So before we talk about the strategies to find new jobs and transition, I just wanted to start with that idea, my clients generally believe. The old days of one company career building are gone every couple years. I need to be changing companies if I wanna build my career. you’ve been in the space.

[00:01:44] This is your zone of genius. What’s the truth, Gina? Is that the way it is? Or can you be successful by building a career within an organization? What do you think? 

[00:01:56] Gina Riley: I think the first question you ask yourself is, what does success look like for me? That’s the first question. so if success means I wanna maximize my earning potential and I’m only going to see certain incremental, increases.

[00:02:11] Depending on if I get promotions, et cetera, and doing your homework internally and finding out what that trajectory is and are you on the path and have you defined it and do you have a, performance plan for yourself, a professional development plan to get there? You can absolutely do it internally.

[00:02:28] There’s um, opportunities. There’s cross-functional opportunities. you can do it internally. You don’t have to leave. But what if it’s not salary? What if it’s, not getting visibility and opportunities internally and you’re hungry for, to learn more and do more, and yeah, be more, what is that definition for you?

[00:02:47] And then on the landscape, what kind of homework can you do to start informing your 

[00:02:53] Zach White: plan? is it a true statement then if someone wants to optimize around income, salary, total comp. The data suggests rotating companies is the fastest way to make that happen. 

[00:03:07] Gina Riley: it is possible that that’s the route that one needs to go.

[00:03:10] And think of it this way, um, I read a terrific book, two books. One is called Millennials. and management. And the other is called the Boomerang principle, written by Lee Caragher. what she talks about with the boomerang principle as a leader is treat your employees well. And she’s talking about that millennial generation cause she’s the next generation up.

[00:03:30] treat them well, so well that when they do go seek an opportunity elsewhere, that they want to boomerang back. And yes, you will be paying them more. There’s. Skill level went up and, and all of that. But if we’re treating each other well in these companies and, and we have those opportunities to come back and welcome people back, then we’re going to enhance our culture.

[00:03:51] We’re gonna enhance our knowledge base because people have been out there doing other things. So I would say to that mid-level career professional, don’t be scared to intentionally take another opportunity if it adds to your toolkit. 

[00:04:06] Zach White: I’ve not read that book yet. I’m gonna put it on my list. The Boomerang Principle.

[00:04:10] Principle. Okay. The Boomerang 

[00:04:11] Gina Riley: principle. I’ve got an three on my bookshelf cuz I 

[00:04:14] Zach White: give it away. I love that. What’s so interesting is that I think, like I mentioned to you before we hit record, I’ve had several conversations this week with engineering leaders who have been laid off for various reasons.

[00:04:25] There’s, you know, a lot of challenges in tech right now. Mm-hmm. And. two of them specifically told me in our conversation that they had already gone back to their previous employer, their previous manager. Mm-hmm. And specifically asked, is there any chance my old job is still available or that you have anything open for me?

[00:04:44] Because they wanted to go and see, cuz they already knew the culture, they knew the person, knew the leader. And unfortunately for these two individuals there was no open opportunity. But that’s really, A a good point. Treat everyone on your team as if there’s gonna be a day that they will come back and work for you again.

[00:05:04] Gina Riley: Love, absolutely have goodwill out there and you know, it’s not, it’s not abnormal to go see if the grass is greener on the other side as well. Or maybe you do have a great experience but you kind of miss whatever it was at your previous company. I was talking to my husband who’s an engineer by education and in his early career, and we were just talking a week ago or so, and he said, you know, some of.

[00:05:25] the smartest people where I felt like I was the most challenged by the people around me. And he, we both started at Intel. it’s not where we met, but he said some of the smartest people I’ve ever worked with were at some of these big companies where we were all. Culturally rowing in the same boat.

[00:05:43] We, we were behaving in similar ways. That’s part of the culture. We live out our values. Mm-hmm. And that’s what our culture is. So whether or not we say what our values are, it’s how we live them out. And at Intel, they, at least when I was there, did a great job of indoctrinating one into the culture and saying, Here’s how we operate together.

[00:06:01] Yeah, yeah. And he was with smart people and it was energizing. And so now he reflects on his whole career with you know, doing the startups and having all these other opportunities. He’s like, you know, I felt like I was in my genius zone when I was in that environment versus let’s say the startup environment.

[00:06:18] Zach White: Yeah, that’s great. And he learned, 

[00:06:20] Gina Riley: now he’s got a toolkit that’s way bigger than the people that stayed 28 years. 

[00:06:25] Zach White: Mm-hmm. Okay. So Gina, let’s set the stage around career transition. And I know the happy engineer wants to get all the tips, all the advice, and we don’t have time to cover the entire nine principles of career velocity.

[00:06:41] But first thing I’m curious about is, would you say there’s a difference in how we approach this if you’re currently laid off unemployed because of a challenging situation, economic or otherwise? Versus you’re employed and just want a new opportunity, or are the principles and the fundamentals the same?

[00:06:59] It’s just one person might have a little more urgency to work through it faster. What’s your thought about that? 

[00:07:05] Gina Riley: my fundamental belief is you first start with you, you’ve gotta know what you stand for.

[00:07:12] What your strengths and talents are, what your values are, and what motivates you and building up that storytelling so that as you lay out that transition plan, or maybe it’s a professional development plan internally, you already know what you stand for and where you’re heading. Yeah. It’s gotta start with you.

[00:07:33] I don’t care if you’ve been laid off, because if you’ve been laid off, there’s an extra piece that you have to consider. And that is, you’ve gotta deal with the transition management piece. You’ve gotta deal with the hurt, the anger, the trough of despair, and then make that plan for the new beginning.

[00:07:50] It’s a psychological curve. I recommend people by William Bridges transition management book. It’s only this big, and it has the psychological underpinnings of what happens to us. It’s similar. If we lost a loved one, you know, somebody passes away. We first have that shock. Disbelief, and then there’s the trough of sadness.

[00:08:11] and then we, we need to make comments for the new beginning. Absolutely. So if you’ve been laid off, you’ve got that piece. But if you’re, comfortable sitting in a company and you’re like, I’ve got time. Well make a plan to do this over months. Half of the people I work with are doing that.

[00:08:27] They have a job and sometimes there, there’s not a lot of urgency. the people who have been laid off, unless they have a cushion, there is urgency. 

[00:08:37] Zach White: So there’s two things I wanna highlight because I think it’s so important, and I see it all the time with the engineering leaders I’ve coached. Gina. One is we want to ignore.

[00:08:49] That transition dip it really manifests in many ways psychologically, like a grief cycle. You know, I always show people the old sort of Kubler Ross grief cycle model in these stages where we dip down and then coming back out of that it is a loss. You just lost your job and psychologically it processes as a loss.

[00:09:10] You will go through grief, you know, may not be as severe as losing a loved one, but at the same time, if you’ve spent 10 years of your life working for this company, pouring your life energy into that organization and those relationships, Yeah. It is a big loss psychologically, and people don’t wanna sit with that discomfort of grief and anxiety and, and stress and sadness and the, the whole experience of that.

[00:09:37] Engineers, especially, we lack some emotional intelligence. We don’t know how to be present with that. Yeah. And that’s not really part of the career coaching most people get. And so, right. I just love that you said, Don’t skip that part. Like you need to have a plan and the support and frankly a spouse or a partner is not always the right person.

[00:09:57] You know, having a professional there with you to support you through the grief Right. Can be really instrumental in accelerating your next steps. Cuz otherwise it just derails you subconsciously all day long. It does. 

[00:10:08] Gina Riley: And I’m gonna, tell your audience why. Here’s why. You can’t carry that, backpack full of rocks into your interview situation.

[00:10:16] Oh, yes. Or into the informational conversations that you have with people, or as you tap into your network. It is the worst because what you’re doing is you’re bringing other people down with you and they don’t know how to help, and they’re not equipped to deal with the emotional piece. So you’ve gotta deal with that so that you can put your best positive forward motion.

[00:10:38] Yes. You know, from 

[00:10:39] Zach White: the really good. I think people who are currently employed, mm-hmm. Making a transition to a new company, or maybe it’s even just a cross-functional one to a new department, but it’s gonna be very big in terms of the amount of change.

[00:10:53] They assume that this won’t happen to them because, Well, I’m going from one job to a better job, so this is an upgrade in my career. But I remind people it’s so common. You know, one week, two weeks, 90 days into your new job, you start to feel these negative emotions, this sadness or this, you know, some, some of the motivation’s not there.

[00:11:16] You have this off day. Yeah. And you’re not sure what’s going on. You’re like, wait, I’m in this better situation. Why do I feel sad today? What’s Don’t forget that just because you’ve upgraded your career, you still have a loss in your subconscious of the career you just walked away from hundred percent.

[00:11:33] So it’s not uncommon to experience a grief cycle in the first 30, 60, 90 days on your new role in this new company, even though it’s supposed to be this happy, exciting experience. Oh 

[00:11:43] Gina Riley: yeah. Oh yeah. I agree with you. 

[00:11:46] Zach White: I think what you said is so important that we need to begin with ourselves. And what I see is the unemployed person, because of that fear and urgency to go get a job, is they skip all these steps. Yep. They, they see the resume. I just hope people hear you saying this.

[00:12:02] You’ve helped, I mean, how many hundreds or thousands of people now? And it’s like you gotta still get that part right, regardless of where you’re starting from. Right. And I think the biggest failure mode I see with people who laid off is they just get kind of frantic and they don’t go do that core foundational work.

[00:12:19] They just start applying for jobs, jumping into interviews, stumbling over themselves, and it kicks off that downward spiral. Oh yeah. Where they lose confidence cause the interview doesn’t go well. Absolutely cuz they didn’t do this piece. So, you know, 

[00:12:31] Gina Riley: I, I have a story that kind of amplifies what you’re saying.

[00:12:33] If, if I may with a senior engineering leader who, through no fault of their own, had been through a couple of layoffs and we’re talking, you know, entered an ecosystem, was knocking it outta the park, but then the company decided we’re gonna let 125 people go and a certain percentage are those.

[00:12:53] Engineering leaders, the vp, you know, a couple VPs, GMs, what have you. Right? if a whole business is being carved off, that isn’t your fault. if you’re in technology, it’s not unusual to have those decisions being made. So yeah, was working with someone who had been through a couple of things like that with a few gaps because.

[00:13:12] the partner was moving to another location, then it was hard to get a job there, whatever the, the situation was. So the person I’m working with at the time now is feeling dog down. The emotions are very deep. The herd is deep. the networking connections aren’t, it’s not happening. And so when we started with, you know, my process, we’re doing that, tapping into what is your awesome sauce?

[00:13:34] Like, what, what can you deliver on? What is your unique value proposition? And, and we got very, very clear, literally in a few weeks time she started, she started like every, conversation she was way down in the frame of Zoom and by the time we worked a couple weeks together and she started to embrace what she could do and deliver on, she was.

[00:13:56] Very forward in the frame. You know, makeup on. Yeah. Bright colors. I mean, the transformation was amazing. Cause she’s like, oh, I can do this. Yes, it’s possible. Yes, I love that. But we gotta go through that. You know, we gotta tap into like what that is, because at first it was, I don’t think I am special and unique.

[00:14:17] Other people can do this too. I’m like, well, let’s see. Let’s see about that. 

[00:14:21] Zach White: And for those, just listen to the audio podcast not seeing you. It’s like a visible posture change that is a subconscious indication of a new level of confidence and power and readiness to step into your transition, which frankly, Is one of the most influential things in that interview.

[00:14:41] More than the words you’re gonna say. So it’s so 

[00:14:44] Gina Riley: incredibly important and I would, what I would, have people look into is executive presence. Mm-hmm. There’s three dimensions of executive presence. It’s appearance, communication, and gravitas. the first hurdle that we have to overcome when we meet people.

[00:14:59] Is 250 milliseconds. People are making a snap judgment about us when we, when we are seen, once we get past that first hurdle, now we’re in communication and gravitas, but that’s really important. So if you show up halfway down the frame, dark lighting, dark colors, and you’re sad, what are you telling people?

[00:15:20] Zach White: Okay, we have to jump around here because we can’t skip this point. Three core pieces to executive presence, and executive presence doesn’t mean you have to be a C-suite leader for this to matter. This is all of you listening. All right, so this is for everybody, and appearance, communication, gravitas, gravitas.

[00:15:41] tell me how you define that third one. I, I have a sense of what I think it is, but what is gravitas? How does that show up? How would you describe that for. The engineering leader who’s like, okay, that’s not really sure how to do that. What does that mean? What is that? 

[00:15:56] Gina Riley: What is that? Okay, so appearance is obvious and it’s it by, you know, the social science that’s the least important, but the first hurdle, communi, there’s like about 17 micro pieces.

[00:16:08] So, and communication is a little more obvious. It’s like how we’re showing up confidently and how we articulate ourselves, but gravitas is how we behave. are we showing up with confidence when we make a decision? I lean on the work by Sylvia Ann Hewlett, and she wrote a book called Executive Presidents, the Difference between Merit and Success, because we all put work into our career and we, think it’s obvious how great we are, but we don’t always know how we’re being perceived.

[00:16:38] Mm-hmm. So executive presence isn’t what we think of ourselves. It’s other people’s perceptions of us. So it’s how we, how we appear, it’s how we speak and how we act. And so you know it, you walk into a room and someone is there with confidence, who draws people in, who listens, not afraid to make the hard decisions.

[00:16:59] It’s the leader that people and the person that people want to listen to and follow because they show up with that aura about them. Yes, maybe it’s charisma. Right. It’s that secret sauce, right? And so how do we tap into that? Well, first again, you start with you. Do you feel confident in your own skin? Do you know why you’re special and unique?

[00:17:22] Do you know what your unique value proposition is? Can you speak to it? Yes. And do you feel good about 

[00:17:28] Zach White: it? Yes. did I answer that? So good. No, this is really important and. it’s funny, you know, we just did a great podcast episode with Brendan, uh, 

[00:17:38] but it’s a, it’s a fun challenging last name for me as a Midwestern guy, but this, it’s a how to become a top 1% communicator in your industry. And I just like, so for the happy engineer, go listen to that episode and work on this piece, the appearance piece. Maybe we need to get a personal brand designer in here and talk about appearance.

[00:17:56] But this gravitas, I’m so glad you articulated that because so often as a technical leader, what engineers. You know, and myself, I’m guilty of this for so long in my own career, I wanted my work to speak for itself. You know, we have this, this sense of merit needs to be defined by the results that I create and the value of my work alone.

[00:18:18] But that’s not the culture of companies and it’s not the culture around career transition. If you wanna land a new job, you can have two identical resumes, identical results, and the person who brings this edge of executive presence is the one who’s gonna get the role every, every single time. 

[00:18:34] Gina Riley: Yeah, a hundred percent.

[00:18:35] And let me amplify that even further. One is, As individuals. I mean, we’ve heard you need to own your own career. I mean, we said that inside of Intel all the time, you own your own career. but what I say is you cannot be the world’s best kept secret. You cannot expect people to come and tap you on the shoulder and go, you’re amazing.

[00:18:55] We want you to take the next best job. You can’t expect it. It happens to some people. But it doesn’t happen to most people. Right? So you’ve gotta own it if you wander through your career and things just happen to you, eventually there will be a tap out point.

[00:19:11] It’s just, yeah, it’s just life. 

[00:19:13] Zach White: Yeah. And Gene, I’d even say for the people who it just sort of happens to, we all wanna look at them and say, they’re so lucky they just got picked or whatever. Yeah. But when you really dig in and figure out what happened there, The truth is they weren’t a best kept secret.

[00:19:29] The truth is, somehow their work did get out. They did build that personal brand. Someone did get that reputation of who they are and the power and, and what they can bring to the table. They may not have had to be as proactive to make it happen. but the indicators of them not just being in the wings as the best kept secret are there every time you, you dig deeper.

[00:19:51] Gina Riley: Absolutely. And I did a, I just did a quick search and just to answer your question more precisely, gravitas is grace under fire, confidence and grace under fire, decisiveness, or showing teeth, taking that hard stand integrity are speaking truth to power, emotional intelligence. Reputation and standing and vision and charisma.

[00:20:13] Oh, so those are the, 

[00:20:15] Zach White: we, we could do a whole nother episode on gravitas. Oh, 

[00:20:17] Gina Riley: yeah. I, I wrote a three part series on this, so I’m really, I love this topic, so, okay. Have me back 

[00:20:23] Zach White: on. We’ll go there. All right. All right. So for the moment, We kind of jumped off the, uh, the normal path here. we talked about you gotta do the work on yourself first.

[00:20:32] Got it. Get clear on your strengths, your story, et cetera. And I’ll just say it bluntly. Go get help on that because it’s very hard to do for yourself, by yourself. So go through a guided process with a pro who can help you put the language around it and really extract your best, especially for engineering leaders, because we tend to be.

[00:20:51] I’ll call it humble. I’m using air quotes for those who can’t see. But in other words, you just don’t wanna talk about yourself. You’re, you have a self-esteem block to, to putting your best in front of other people. And that coach can help you say no. you need to say how good you are and here’s how to say it without coming across like an arrogant prick.

[00:21:10] Um, that is so powerful. So hire Gina, get, get the help on that. Now let’s shift cuz I wanna cover a few other things before we run outta time. We talked. Before we hit record today about resumes and LinkedIn a little bit, and I get asked about this all the time, so what’s the 1 0 1? On resumes and our digital resume and LinkedIn, where do we need to be focused there or where are the failure modes?

[00:21:35] what’s the most important kind of things we need to know, Gina? 

[00:21:38] Gina Riley: the most important thing that anybody needs to know, in my opinion, is to not start with the resume. It is a marketing document, whether it’s in paper or it’s digital. It helps you market yourself. Same with LinkedIn. I call it your marketing.

[00:21:52] Storefront window, people breeze by. They’re either attracted by, the shiny object to keep reading more or they pass you by and it’s all the things you said back in your December podcast of like, is your photo headline and banner attractive? Does it speak to the audience you’re trying to attract?

[00:22:11] We could talk about LinkedIn, you and I probably. All day long. So I, I won’t do that right now. but again, it kind of goes back to, if you understand who you are and your unique value proposition and you take a really good, sharp look at your whole career history, chronicle it out, and then tease out those big wins where you had an impact.

[00:22:34] On your company. That’s the fuel for your resume in the first place, and that’s the fuel for your stories for interviews. Yeah. So you gotta start again with you. Who are you, how do you show up? And then what are the big career wins and how do you add value? Yeah. 

[00:22:53] Zach White: So Gina’s referencing episode 89 for anybody who wants to go get the zip technical tips about LinkedIn, I really appreciate what you’re saying, and I think it’s important for us to be clear that you don’t win with the resume, this marketing storefront of your career.

[00:23:12] Mm-hmm. By simply focusing on tactics, keywords, this sort of thing. It’s do you have the right core content, the principles, you know, we have this piece. Right. Which for me, I’m passionate about. It’s almost, I think it’s an engineering thing, like life is built on first principles, the fundamentals of physics and all these things.

[00:23:30] And it’s funny how we then get into these high pressure situations. I need a job. And we kind of throw all that out the window and it’s like, just tell me what to do. Should I say this or that? Should I say this? And so go back to the core message. The marketing message the benefits of someone hiring you.

[00:23:49] Gina Riley: Yes. What’s your value? What will you bring to the person willing to pay you? Because your target audience needs to understand that. Now, is the resume important? Sure. It’s a, it can be a door opener, a conversation opener. When you’re in, in an interview, people are referring to it. You’ve gotta know what’s on that document.

[00:24:09] Like that’s the hard work is what goes into the document for the stories, not the beautiful formatting and all of that. And truth be told, what we should be doing as job seekers is we’re, opening up conversations through our network, getting introductions. We spend most of our time doing that versus just apply, apply, apply, which we call spray and pray.

[00:24:33] Because most of us, especially I would say, you know, technology experts, If I apply, someone will eventually call me. But we know the odds are very low because there’s hundreds and thousands of people that can apply to any given job. 

[00:24:48] Zach White: Yeah. Yep. Okay. I wanna come back to networking cuz I know everybody is like, well Gina, how do I do that?

[00:24:53] How do I do that? But really quick, I’ll just double down on something you said because it’s so important. Anytime I have an engineering leader who I coach, tell me they got stumped in an interview because somebody asked a question about something on their resume that they didn’t have a story or a good answer for.

[00:25:13] It just like kills me. It’s like, wait, what you have? You have something on your resume that you don’t know how to talk about, like that’s no good. I’m just kinda putting that out there. What you said is so important, like you’re the one deciding what goes on the resume. Yeah. So make sure that you know the aligned.

[00:25:34] Brand centric value proposition, storytelling response to any question about anything on your own resume. I, I, that’s a mic drop. I, I feel like it seems obvious, but it’s not always obvious, So don’t, don’t do that. Don’t just fill your resume with a bunch of random stuff that you don’t want people to ask you about.

[00:25:53] networking. We’re just gonna take it as truth that sitting in your, fluorescent lit basement, applying for jobs all day on is not the way to upgrade your career as far as the best path forward. So introductions, not conversations, tell us about where is the leverage, how do we do that effectively?

[00:26:16] Who should we be reaching out to? Couple of the key things. If you were just gonna say Zach, like, all right, Gina, I need a job. I just got let go from a Waco. It’s not looking good for me. I need a job. What should I do on this whole networking thing? Yeah. 

[00:26:31] Gina Riley: What would you say? the first thing that I would have people do is, um, well, there’s many things.

[00:26:37] One is you need to create a target list of the companies and organizations and the roles that you eventually, You know, where are you heading? If you don’t have a clear objective, people cannot help you. You should not be entering an ecosystem of conversations where you expect the person that you’re getting their time to magically inform you of your process.

[00:27:00] You need to have some idea, so you gotta start there. 

[00:27:03] Zach White: Okay. Wait, wait, wait. Gina, you mean I can’t just call all these people and say, I need a job? Do you have any openings? 

[00:27:10] Gina Riley: No, you’re absolutely not doing that. What you’re doing is you’re cracking open conversations through informational conversations, not do you have a job.

[00:27:19] It’s like I am prepared with questions. To ask you to inform my process, help me get smarter about what I’m doing. I just interviewed, uh, two months ago, this incredible man, his name’s Rich Lehman, and I published an article in Industry Expert magazine. Rich, not an engineer. he’s a supply chain leader.

[00:27:41] He went through three layoffs and the third one was in oh eight. He is at this point, in his sixties and he wants to work at Nike. So he spends 18 months, he gets 99 in-person conversations, 99 20 with one person that became a mentor. All the rest individual, all on the Nike campus in the coffee shop and the entire approach.

[00:28:06] He’s got eight steps. Was, don’t pull out your resume. When you get there, you have your questions laid out. You learn, you listen, you take notes. You find out about the people personally. You send the thank you note. It’s all, it’s like human behavior 1 0 1 and it landed. after he landed, he was there a decade and got laid off at, uh, I think it was 69.

[00:28:28] He got, it was some, I mean, still it’s an incredible story. And now he’s a career transition mentor for a local organization. It’s so beautiful, but these fundamentals are so important for all of us to like listen and embrace. So know your target. And then gain access to people by saying, can you help me get smarter about my process?

[00:28:49] Here’s where I think I’m heading. What are my roadblocks? What are the perceived road roadblocks? We may think we’re awesome, but you may have something running against you that you don’t even know. That’s a blind spot. Mm-hmm. 

[00:29:02] Zach White: Yeah. I just feel the energy, this whole conversation about how important it is to, build.

[00:29:09] In the right sequence, your strategy for how you’re gonna go out there in career transition, whether you’re unemployed today or you’re happily employed, but you wanna grow. It’s like doing these things in the right order with the right strategy so that when you are having a networking conversation, you’re asking the right questions and leaning on the right stories and all these things, you know, it’s all connected.

[00:29:30] And so I love that. Gina, if there was one thing that people just absolutely screw up when it comes to networking, what would it be? Oh my 

[00:29:40] Gina Riley: gosh. Uh, I’m gonna go back to, they show up, they’ll prepared. They’ll prepare to have the conversation and not, that’s not knowing your target. I’m kind of going off of the people close to me in my life,I have an executive for a husband and I know a lot of executives, it’s when you ask for people’s valuable time and you waste it and you squander it, who, that is the worst thing that you could possibly do.

[00:30:03] And typically when people do that, they’re still in the trough of despair. They haven’t just defined their target and their unique value proposition, and they feel dogged down. Hmm. You’ve gotta get in that place of like, I’m excited because I’m heading in this direction. Can you help me? Yes. Yes. So don’t go in ill prepared.

[00:30:22] That’s the worst thing you 

[00:30:23] Zach White: can do. I really appreciate that. And being on the receiving end of. Requests for my time every single week, constantly on LinkedIn and I have to say no to most of them cause I just don’t have the capacity. But when you do say yes to someone to have a conversation and then just show up and want to talk, it’s like, Ugh, please get the breeze.

[00:30:45] Oh, let 

[00:30:45] Gina Riley: me tell you about my whole career story. And you’re like, I don’t need your career story. Exactly. I need to know your pain points. 

[00:30:51] Zach White: Yeah, I wanna help you. What’s that movie? Help me help you. Help, help you. I 

[00:30:57] Gina Riley: know like for, for those of us, right, Zach, we wanna help people. We’re helpers. That’s why we’re doing what we’re doing.

[00:31:03] but we can only help those that are ready to embrace what we have to share with them. 

[00:31:09] Zach White: Yeah, it’s really good. Really, really good. And, I’ll just put one more piece on networking and see if this resonates for you or if you would take anything and add or subtract from this Gina. But a lot of engineers, because of our personality, I’m painting with broad brush stereotypes here, but introverted, maybe shy, communication skills are underdeveloped.

[00:31:30] In cases we get stuck on the, coal reluctance. Some of The courage that it takes to pick up the phone and make those calls, or do those outreaches, or we get caught on needing to know exactly what to say, what’s the exact right question, what’s the exact right way to have this networking chat?

[00:31:48] And, because we don’t feel confident in the script, we don’t wanna make the call. And I’ve just found over and over again It’s not about the script, it’s about the energy, not so much what you say, but how you say it and, and your heart. And did you do your work and prepare, do you know the, target, et cetera.

[00:32:08] And if you come in with that right energy, it’s gonna go fine and just relax, make the call. But what would you say? Is there any level of detail or scripting or thing like really is important or you would agree? Like honestly, if you’ve done your homework, if you’re ready, just go make the call. 

[00:32:23] Gina Riley: if you do your homework, like you’ve done some cursory company information, and it’s not just on the website, you’re looking at like, What’s in the media?

[00:32:32] what are the high points for a given company? What’s happening in your industry? That’s all informative because then you can start to create a more rich picture. Mm-hmm. Which will lead to better questions cuz the questions lead you to your answers. Right. But one, one thing that I recommend to your listeners is, um, a book by Steve Dalton.

[00:32:50] It’s called The Two Hour Job Search. And in the two hour job search, it’s all recipes for success. So it’s. Very much explaining the psychological underpinnings of why we go down the wrong rabbit hole, like spray and pray. he gives you reasons, percentages of success if you use formulas. And he’s got formulas in there.

[00:33:08] And I have all my coaching clients by that book, he’s got a formula or recipe called Tiara, and I’m not gonna get it all right right now But Tiara stands for what are the trends happening here in my industry? What insights do you have for me, you know, regarding X, Y, Z I forget what the A is right now.

[00:33:28] what resources do you have to offer? And then for those who are younger professionals, there’s this, the last A is about assignments like, Is there an some assignment I can give myself to go and learn more? So there are formulas and engineers love formulas, right? We like recipes. so there are formulas that you can follow that will lead to better success.

[00:33:50] And the t r M method is one way for you to have a construct. Love it, to have a conversation. 

[00:33:55] Zach White: Love it. We do well with a simple framework as an engineer that I can then build into. So exactly. 

[00:34:02] Gina Riley: I believe the frameworks, because that’s what mentally helps us move from point A to point B. Yeah. 

[00:34:07] Zach White: So speaking of frameworks, Gina, I know people are gonna wanna get support from you and the career velocity system is exactly that.

[00:34:15] You have this structured framework and approach to help somebody with all the things we talked about today and a lot more to succeed. Yeah. In your career transition. So where can people find out? More about you get plugged in with your work if they need help on this journey. 

[00:34:29] Gina Riley: Well, there’s lots of moving parts to career transition, success and it’s not all about one piece, it’s about all of ’em.

[00:34:35] And it doesn’t have have to happen all in it in an exact. Order, but I’ve defined a framework that I think works. I know it works, um, called Career Velocity. I have, on my website, gina riley If you go to the top, there’s a green button. Click on the green button, you get a, a webinar, a 30 minute webinar, and a downloadable workbook that may go to your spam folder.

[00:34:58] you can print the workbook. Listen to me as an earworm walking you through some of the things we talked about today. Do you understand your strengths? What are your core values? How does that relate to the job that you want, et cetera. That is the start to your plan. It is totally free. You don’t even have to call me.

[00:35:15] you can find me on Industry Expert Magazine. Um, I’ve written almost 40 articles, for that publication. and then LinkedIn, if you wanna reach out on LinkedIn, send a personalized connection request. Tell me that you heard me here talking with Zach, cuz we all get a lot of spam and a lot of sales pitches.

[00:35:34] And I look at every single inbound, request. I look at the whole profile. I look to see if you’re legit. I look at recommendations. About summary, I look at the whole thing. 

[00:35:43] Zach White: So cool. So mention the Happy Engineer and your LinkedIn connection request to Gina. So she’ll accept and, and give you the support you need.

[00:35:51] We’ll put all those links in the show notes. So click in whatever you’re tuned in. If it’s phone or if you’re on your computer, then it’ll be on our website. So, definitely wanna encourage you. If you’re interested in support, if you want to understand career velocity, go connect with Gina. Oh, we could go for hours.

[00:36:10] There’s so many things Gina, we could explore. But I’m excited to, to wrap things up here, and you know this as a coach yourself, you know, great coaching, great engineering. It all has in common that the questions lead the answers follow, right? And if we want better answers in our career transition, We need to ask better questions.

[00:36:28] So what would be the question you would lead the happy engineer with today? 

[00:36:34] Gina Riley: What would I leave people with today? what are my core strengths? And when I mean strengths, I mean your natural talents that you came to the planet with. And the first clue to go and start to figure that out and answer that question is doing the strengths finder or using the UAP career profile assessment, which gives you actually four ways to start answering that 

[00:37:01] Zach White: question.

[00:37:02] Love it. Love it. And shameless plug episode with Daria Williamson. We talked all about strengths for a whole episode, so you can go there too, Gina. I love that. What are your strengths? Let’s get that right. The foundation mm-hmm. Of your career velocity going forward. Gina, thank you so much for your time today.

[00:37:21] This has been incredibly fun. Uh, just wanna acknowledge you, the great work you’re doing, keep supporting all these amazing leaders in their transitions. And, we’ll have to do it again sometime. Thanks again. Thank you.