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Plan Your Exit from a Toxic Work Environment

One thing I’ve noticed since the Covid-19 shelter in place orders were first initiated in 2020, is that a lot of professionals had been working in jobs they didn’t much care for (for various reasons). When you’re working a job where your contributions go unappreciated, or the workplace culture is just not a good fit, it’s time to explore new opportunities.

As someone who’s been there and done that in their own career past life, I learned quickly that making yourself a priority in your personal and career lives is paramount. No one will do it for you. Don’t waste your time and talent suffering in an environment that doesn’t align with your talents and well-being. It can also kickstart a quick path to job burnout, but that’s a topic for another post.

Take Decisive Action

It’s one thing to recognize you’re ready to move on because you’ve hit a ceiling or you’re ready to pursue something new. It’s another thing entirely to plan and take decisive action steps in that direction. Creating and following an action plan helps you to measure your progress as you move closer to making an exit.

Keep an Updated Resume

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average time workers spend with an employer is 4.1 years, so it’s a good idea to keep your resume current and ready for the next job opportunity.

A job seeker contacted me once on a Friday (about 15-minutes before closing for the weekend) to request an emergency rush turnaround service for a job opening scheduled to close on the following Tuesday. She was a professional in a high-tech field with a 9-page resume and wanted to apply for a recently open position that required a very different skill-set at her current company.

I was unable to meet this last-minute deadline, but I did refer her to a colleague that provides rush resume writing services. Unfortunately, her only choices at that point were to pay an exorbitant rush fee or spend the weekend scrambling to re-write and refocus a 9-page resume into a much more streamlined document that effectively positioned her for the targeted position. Having an updated resume in hand, ready to submit would have made everything so much easier.

Activate Your Network

In today’s workforce, who you know still matters. Start laying the groundwork for your next (better) job by letting people in your network know that you’re looking. If keeping your current job until the next opportunity comes along is important, be discrete and be selective about who you let in on your job search.

Start with your LinkedIn network by sorting your contact list into order starting with first-degree contacts, and then second-degree and third-degree respectively. This makes it easier to identify your top contacts through the platform messaging feature where you can provide a short message about your job search or request a brief call or Zoom. After contacting your first-degree contacts, move on to second-degree and third-degree contacts.

LinkedIn also makes it easy to connect with alumni by using the platform search feature to locate fellow graduates or past coworkers from previous employers to add to your network.

Make Sure Your Brand is Clear

Who are you? What’s so unique about you? What are your professional strengths and skills? How is what you have to offer an employer different from others in your profession and industry? Somewhere in your responses to these questions, your individual personal brand will emerge.

Are you a thought leader, an industry Subject Matter Expert, or an effective team builder? Personal branding is a critical part of your career identity which also makes answering the dreaded “tell me about yourself” interview question much easier as well.

Image Credit: Herman Sanchez

Now be honest… is the resume and cover letter you’ve been submitting for jobs getting you noticed? What about your LinkedIn? Are you receiving invitations to interview? If not, we should talk! Contact me by phone: 1-866-562-0850, email:, or text: 256-733-0560 to schedule a NO COST, NO OBLIGATION 15-minute consultation. 

Kimberly Ben is a multi-credentialed Professional Resume and LinkedIn Writer and Job Search Coach. She has written hundreds of resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, and other career communications for multiple career industries and professions. Kimberly’s extensive education, training, and experience have resulted in a clear understanding of current hiring best practices and the most effective job search techniques, branding strategies, and insight on what it takes to gain the competitive edge and impress employers in a challenging job market.

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