Schedule a Call

60. Craft a winning resume with Emily Kapit of Refresh Your Step

podcast episodes prepare for a job search Apr 15, 2024
Blog/podcast cover with title: Craft a winning resume with Emily Kapit of Refresh Your Step




Are you getting ready to apply for a new position? 

Emily Kapit shares what works in resumes, branding, and a successful job search. 

In a world where job hunting feels like a never-ending maze, Emily Kapit swoops in with her career wisdom and resume magic. With over 15 years of experience, Emily shares her journey from broadcasting to resume writing, all while juggling the chaos of toxic work environments. Through her "Kapitalize" process, she helps clients navigate the job market storm by focusing on record of achievement, networking, and strategic job search tactics. As she works on her upcoming book, "Sink or Swim: Strategies for Career Resilience," Emily emphasizes the power of connections over resumes. Dive into Emily's world at Refresh Your Step for a career transformation like no other.


We'll talk about:

  • Resume is not just about words.

  • Networking is crucial for hiring.

  • Documenting your record of achievement is key.


About Emily Kapit:

Emily Kapit is a 3X-certified Master Resume Writer as well as an industry leading career strategist and career resilience expert. She is also the Founder of ReFresh Your Step, LLC, a career advisory firm with clients located nationally and internationally. She and her team collaborate extensively with clients on The Kapitalize Process, an innovative methodology that addresses all facets of one’s career progression (internal & external) and resilience, including tactical career guidance, job search strategies, mock interviews, negotiation tactics, written professional assets, and more. Emily’s insights and guidance have been published in Forbes, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Medium, HuffPost, and MindBodyGreen, among others. Emily is currently working on her first book, Sink or Swim: The Life-Changing Strategies for Career Resilience, due out in 2024.


More from Emily Kapit


Connect with me:



60. Craft a winning resume with Emily Kapit of Refresh Your Step

PATRICIA: Emily, I'm so excited to have you here. How are you?
EMILY: I'm fine. How are you? Thank you so much for having me.

PATRICIA: Yeah, absolutely. I saw, you know, what you do, your website. I took a look at things and I just thought, you know, you've got a lot of insight and you could really help some of our listeners. And so I thought, let's hop on and have a conversation. Let's do it. Excited. Great. Well, let's start with just getting to know you a little bit. You've got this amazing business. You've got all these accolades. Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into this.

EMILY: No, that's such a great question. Thank you. So my name is Emily Caput. I'm a triple certified master's resume writer and career strategist. I launched my business back in 2008, so over 15 years ago. And prior to that, which plays into why I launched the business, I was in broadcasting. I was up in Manhattan working at NBC and ABC in broadcasting. That had been my undergrad work as well. And I Loved the actual work, but was not so fond of the pretty toxic environments that I was encountering. So in my brilliant wisdom at the ripe old age of 22 or whatever I was, I said, well, let me go into something else here in Manhattan that may be less toxic, better working hours. So again, brilliance. I went and worked at an investment bank. and not better hours, slightly better. I mean, they weren't like nights and weekends the way that you get in the broadcasting world, but still very toxic. And so I was doing public relations, corporate communications, as well as recruiting for one of the major investment banks and just recognized, look, I see so many issues here. I want to be part of the solution, not the problem. There were so many people from the C-suite all the way down to the analysts recruiting off of college campuses to everybody in between. And they would talk to me. I don't like what I'm doing. I don't love that I'm here. Yes, I get it. I'm making good money or I will be making good money. I'm not happy. I don't know how to get out. And that was the very clear message that I just kept getting. And I felt like, you know what? I really do want to be part of the solution. So I left the firm and I started back in grad school. And I actually got a master's degree in educational psychology, which plays very much into the career advisory work that I do. But because I was already naturally a writer, I understood how to craft the resumes. There's an art to it. It's very much the strategy side combined with the psychology of it all. And so I launched Refresh Your Step back in 2008, initially to do more of the career advisory work with some resume built in as needed. But it became very clear very quickly that nobody was marrying the way that I was envisioning. And so I very quickly was like, all right, if I'm gonna be also a resume writer, I better be really well known as a resume writer and distinguish myself as such. And so I worked towards that. the triple certification, which is quite rare to have. But at the time when I actually got the third one, the master resume writer one, I was the youngest globally to do so, which was pretty cool. I remember getting that designation and my daughter at that time was maybe 18 months old and I saw it pop up that it came through and I got it and I remember just being so excited. And it is really cool to have. And so I've grown the company quite a bit in the last over 15 years and At this point, I have a wonderful team of writers. They're all so phenomenal at what they do. And they're very talented writers on the resume and LinkedIn side. They just don't want to run the business because running a business is its own bag of tricks. And I do more of the career advisory side. I do some other career advisor partners that we work with who are all absolutely wonderful. And what we do is we work with clients across all levels, all sectors. and helping them recognize where they are in their careers, working, figuring out where do I want to be, where do I want to be going, what's my record of achievement, and how do we integrate that into the documents, resume, LinkedIn, bios if they need it, whatever that collateral may be, and then helping them align that with their job search goals.

PATRICIA: Wow. So you've been in this business, you said, for 15 years now. As your craft has developed and now you're showing other people how to, and bringing on qualified talent to then help other people with their resumes, what are the strategies or qualities, what do you look for in a great resume writer that if our listeners come to you, they can say, we're in good hands?

EMILY: No, I appreciate that. The very first thing that I look for in a resume writer that I think is so valuable for a client that works with us is we want to understand who you are. We want to understand where you are struggling right now. Because people come to us in some version of a crisis. They always do, right? It may be like the wave crashing down upon them crisis kind of thing of like their toxic company, toxic boss. you know, company acquisition, something like that, the industry's changing, no more global pandemics, I hope, but like stuff like that, something is happening. We want to help them take a step back and we wanna listen and we wanna hear what's happening so that this might be, and honestly often is, the very first time that individual is being heard and understood. and validated for how they're feeling, which has nothing to do with the resumes, but also everything to do with the resume. And so we use that initial consultation to really hear and listen and provide some support and insight, especially if it's a critical thing that's happening. And then we start to also talk about like what we see based on what we're hearing as important to call out versus like not focus on in the resumes. We start to demonstrate like, Hey, we, we hear you and here's how that would impact the documents. So that clients feel that what they're saying is applicable in some way and, you know, actually integrated in. And so, um, so much of what we do is. very much tied to the documents themselves, but it's, it's tied to the strategy of what we're writing. It's tied to like the approach that we need to take given that person. And so it's, it's not just. What words are we putting on here to make you look good to get past applicant tracking systems, which of course is important. Don't get me wrong. It's absolutely critical, but it's also who is this person and what do we need to know and understand to help fine tune that approach, that, that particular, that particular need. So as someone is coming to us or looking at any resume writer, my suggestion is definitely make sure that they have certifications that is an indication of their proficiency. That's for sure. The other thing I would say is make sure that in talking with them, you feel that they are listening to where you are and what you're struggling with and what's going on and they're hearing that and integrating that into their approach for how they would craft your documents because they have to be tailored for you.

PATRICIA: I absolutely love that. So you said, I think, three key things, two or three key things. And one of them is that the resume is not just words on a paper. So often we think, throw your accomplishments in there, follow the Google XYZ formula. And that just doesn't work, especially not when you're a leader of leaders. There's an entirely different strategy behind it. You also mentioned that one of the things that you do differently that, thank you for doing differently, because I can't tell you how many times I have had conversations with people who come to me as a coach and who have said, I've had a resume written before, but I feel that it wasn't reflective of who I was. Right. And that's that important piece of you want to feel heard. Sure. So at the same time as you're listening for what they're. who they are, what crossroads they're at, what they need next, but also helping them clarify that for themselves. Because sometimes you can ask someone, give me three job descriptions to create a resume. And they'll be like, oh, here's three. And they're just like, you know, they're not focused. There's maybe different, there's differences in there that you're finding. And so I love how you're so intentional about bringing that piece in.

EMILY: Well, and very intentional about it. And that's also why every one of my clients speaks with their writer, because look, the reality is we're ghostwriters, right? We're very strategic, you know, very thoughtful ghostwriters, but we're ghostwriters. And so it's so critical that we learn from that client and step into their shoes to craft something that's going to honestly sound like it's coming from them, right? And so what we like to tell our clients, and this is part of our philosophy, is we are the expert resume writers and career advisors. That's our expertise. You, client, are the expert in you. And we have to come together to be able to discuss and pass ideas back and forth and pull out what we should focus on versus what we shouldn't. And it should be a true collaboration. And that allows us to ensure that whatever we're crafting represents you, resonates with you, and will also engage others in a very clear, directed way. So it's such a collaboration.

PATRICIA: And how it needs to be in alignment with all other communications that, you know, as a ghostwriter, you don't have, you don't have control over, this will be the candidate. So if the resume says one thing and the interview contributes a completely different message, I mean, it breaks down that communication.

EMILY: Oh, for sure. And that's why a key aspect of our process, I don't know, we'll get into what my process is in a minute, but a key aspect to it is understanding what are those records of that record of achievement, those examples of success. Why are we pulling out what's integrated into the resume? And then, you know, we obviously will leave some in the back pocket to pull out in the interviews as further strategy. But we want to make sure that everything is aligned so that there is no surprise. In the interview, or if there is there's a we do interview prep so that there's understanding of this question popped up. How do I approach this question and understand the strategies underlying that.

PATRICIA: I love that. Well, why don't we go in that direction? Why don't we kind of walk through your process? I'm sure there's going to be folks that are listening that are thinking this is the exact process I want to go through. I want to reach out to.

EMILY: Absolutely. Thank you. So we call it the capitalized process because my last name is Capet. I do like a good pun for better or for worse. So it is the capitalized process and it's really centered on let's take a step back. Let's understand some very key elements in this process and start working towards the documents and what they need to be. And then also your job search strategy. So a key component of the entire process is what is your record of achievement? What have you done and done well? and what has been the outcome throughout your career. Because whether you are moving up in one straight trajectory within the same general industry, or your career has done more of this thing, which happens all the time, and you're moving into a different niche altogether, what we need to establish is that you have a pattern of excellence. And we want to understand what it is. Because to show and demonstrate that you have consistently done great work, is essentially everything in the documents, in conversation, in negotiations, right? So that record of achievement piece is the nexus. It is the thing that which everything is sort of shooting off from that and the documents, the interviews, all the conversations, the networking, all of it. So knowing your record of achievement, and we have a particular process, A worksheet tied to that, that's critical. The other two steps initially in the process are the theoretical job search. You kind of hit on this a minute ago. It's not just, hey, send us three random job descriptions. It's send us some job links that you feel are both Ideally, the direction you want to go, but realistically make sense if you are an attorney or you're in finance. I don't anticipate that you are going to be a kindergarten teacher right like we are you're going to. you know, do dolphin training at, you know, SeaWorld. I don't know if they do that anymore, but if they did, or whatever the case may be, we expect you to, people switch industries, but we have a general understanding of the direction you're going to go in. And we want to understand ideally, realistically, what are those, what's that combination, that overlap, that Venn diagram, if you will. So what job links take both of those. And that helps people to better identify where they want to go, but being realistic with themselves. So they'll send us links tied to that, and that helps click in their minds, like, this is what I really want to do. Another piece of the process is starting to get those recommendations in order. So LinkedIn recommendations are a pretty big deal. They do play into how the algorithms work, of course. And it's also so important that people in getting the recommendations in order are thinking through their network a little bit. So this is a little bit of network activation, which we have. We have more exercises on that, but it's not an initial step in the capitalized process. We do want you to start getting your network in order. And a way to do that is focusing on recommendations for LinkedIn. So some of times this is pulled this is specific to people that you are going to ask to write your recommendation on LinkedIn. Sometimes this is also tied to performance reviews and sending us stuff from there and utilizing that as foundation for remembering what you've done in previous years and who your managers were and how that's going to play into the the record of achievement piece, as well as you can reach out for recommendations. One key thing I recommend for recommendations is thinking of yourself in the middle of a circle, and you're thinking of people you have reported into, so people above you, making sure to ask one or two of those, people you've worked with cross-functionally, internally or externally, sometimes clients will fit the bill for this, as well as people who have reported up into you. And so you want to categorize a few people for each of those areas and start to think through not just who is this person, what's this person's name and how do they know me, but also what does this person know about me? I reported to Mary. Mary was so keenly aware of my strong communication skills and my ability to project manage. And I was also just a really strong within the organization and how that allowed me to be a liaison. Mary knows this about me. When I asked Mary to write me a recommendation, I'm going to say, hey Mary, can you please write me a recommendation on LinkedIn? I know you know these key areas about me. I'd love for you to mention them. Also, I'd be happy to write you a recommendation too. So repeating that process. So you're giving people a starting off point. You're not writing it for them. Sometimes that is requested, but you're not starting off with that you are in fact giving them just a starting off point. Which makes it easier for them to get started on writing it and then you are also offering to write them a recommendation to so I do give people that that general. you know, strategy and approach to doing that. So the theoretical job search, the recommendation poll, and the strategies around that, and then the record of achievement, that gets people like, so ready for their job search, they know the direction they're going to go in, they've got the people to back them up, and then we're getting those documents in order. And from there, we can just, you know, hit the ground running with everything else we need to do as it applies to their job search.

PATRICIA: Nice. So there's a structured process. People, when they meet with you, when they start working with you, they're going to know exactly what to go through. So in this broader job search process, there are some things that individual contributor resumes share in common, and there's some differences between individual contributor resumes and executive resumes, leader resumes, you know, not overloading people with information, the length of the resume, lack of strategy, right? What do you find to be the most important pieces of an executive level resume that are different from what maybe people are used to in an individual contributor?

EMILY: So that's a great question. So individual contributor is typically going to indicate to me that they don't manage people. Right. That unless you have a different interpretation of the definition. All right. Yeah, typically. So so whereas with an executive, there is going to be a much more prominent management piece that needs to be very much built into the document. Right. So individual contributor, depending on whatever their sector is and whatever industry or level that they're at, needs to be more reflective of their specific area of work and the ways that they've been impactful. But it's a little bit more like what have I done, what have I done, which is still important to show when we write plenty of those versus an executive or anyone who's in a management position balancing out the core function of their work with the soft skills, but still very critical skill of managing others and how that works and how they are strong managers and how they grow others and how they are, you know, supportive of careers and whatever the case may be. So making sure that that very key balance is in there. And either way, we want to show record of success, and we also want to show cross-functional collaboration. So even as an individual contributor, you may not manage others, but you are probably managing relationships cross-functionally. It's very, very rare that all you do is sit in your cubicle or in your office and interact with nobody. That's very rare. So we still need to be able to show that you can function within your organism, so to speak. But at that executive level, we need to be much more strategic and mindful about how we're showing that management piece.

PATRICIA: Absolutely. Thank you for sharing that. I think that's a piece that's missed very often because we think of a resume, we think of one scenario in which it's used. So, okay, I'm going to switch gears because we can go on forever, but I also want to be mindful of our time. But I've got two questions. One of them is a sneak peek. I want to get to know a little bit about something that you've been sharing online and that I've seen. But right before that, There is so much going on. I can't even say in the industry, in the market, in the entire job market right now, we're in January or February 2024, early 2024. There's usually this expectation more jobs are going to open up at the beginning of the year, and that's actually not the case this year. What are your thoughts on what is going on, what we should expect?

EMILY: Yeah, well, it's interesting you say that we've had so many clients get jobs just in the last few weeks, I actually did have a post up last weekend, I think of like, I think I'd gotten like four or five emails, I just got this brand new job. And as you know, I'm getting paid 33% more was one of them. I mean, there is hiring happening. But to your point, you're absolutely right, though, to your point, it's it's a very odd year, in the sense that There's hiring, but there's also a lot of stop and go hiring where it's happening and people are being reached out to about roles, but then it's like, hurry up and wait. And I think that is reflective of economics. I think it's reflective of a lot of instability just in the larger world. And there is, there's a lot of instability from a macroeconomic perspective. It's obviously an election year. So there's a lot of just insanity tied to it and how that impacts hiring in different industries. What I would say, and I've said this before and I will very likely say it again, your hiring prospects are only as strong as A, your documents and B, your network. So while it is nice to see you know, roles open on Indeed, which I don't really love Indeed, no offense to Indeed, but it's not really where a lot of hiring happens. You might see a lot of roles open on LinkedIn, that more hiring does happen through LinkedIn. That's fine. Utilize that as research to know who is hiring. But don't just apply constantly through that easy apply button. That is where job search prospects essentially are sucked into a black hole. Thank you for that. Yeah, it's true. I mean, it's just so true, right? Where I don't care the level that you're at, but the more senior you are, the more true this is. It's true for all levels. Your network is A1A what you need to be focusing on to get a job. And that is true if you are younger and don't have as much experience. It is also incredibly true the more senior you are. So leverage that network, expand that network, do whatever you need to do to get your foot in the door at target places. And so know what those target places are. Know where you want to go. Have your general companies that I want to work at and start working backwards to gain networking and connections to those places to have the conversation. So because we know they hire from within, they hire referrals, they hire people that are directly messaging them, connecting with them on a deeper level, be that person. Work backwards, don't just apply online and expect things to happen. So down network or down year with some hiring doesn't need to be.

PATRICIA: Yes, and that's part of the part of the conversation that I feel like I'm having with multiple people is you see the news, you see layoffs, and then, you know, you see all these things, but really what's happening is a shuffling. There's a reshuffling between technology, globalization, like you said, economics, like all these different factors are changing, not just the demand and what jobs are opening and what jobs are not, but also how the entire process happens. And I think we're, we have this idea of what the career search should be, and more and more, it's becoming a branding a marketing effort more so than here's what I have, do you need it or not? It's more of how do you communicate that? And I agree with you. This is hiring is happening despite everything you see on the news. But it's different who is being selected.

EMILY: So it's very different. And so. Everyone that has emailed me just in the last few weeks that were clients of ours, it was not happening through online portal application tracking systems. It was through the network. And I will also say the news is, it's meant to be brief. It's meant to be an overview. So when they say layoffs are happening, yes, layoffs are happening. And that's common kind of all the time. But it's a generalization, right? And that's how they have to approach it. Plus, they want clicks and this and that. So that plays into their headlines, too.

PATRICIA: Yeah. There's a lot going on in the world. OK, so let's switch gears real quick. Sure. So I hear you're working on a book.

EMILY: I am working on a book, slowly but surely working on a book. And it's called Sink or Swim, Strategies for Career Resilience. And what it does is it actually really takes our capitalized process and puts it into a book slash workbook form so that people can utilize that same wisdom on their own if they feel like that would be a better approach for them, with us still here as resources to answer questions and be helpful, of course. And so in between running the business and working with our clients, as well as Honestly, just living life and raising children and all of that. I am writing the book. And so little bits are coming. I mean, we've got whole chapters together and we are, we are essentially workshopping those in the sense that we send chapters to clients as needed and getting really positive feedback for how they are loving it and they are finding that it's all really useful and helpful in that form. So we look forward to continuing getting that done hopefully within the year and being able to get that out to the larger market.

PATRICIA: Thank you. Wonderful. We are excited to just keep an eye out for it and see when it comes out. Where can we find you?

EMILY: Great question. So, um, I, you can find me on, um, online, refresh your Um, definitely check us out there. We are, of course, on most major social media. Um, so, you know, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, obviously LinkedIn. You can find us there as well. And, you know, shoot us an email, Always happy to connect there. And, you know, we are, you know, for anyone who is based in the Atlanta region, I am local to the Atlanta area. Always happy to meet clients here, although our clients are national and international in scope. But do have to give a shout out to a town where I am and we are always happy to meet clients in person here too.

PATRICIA: Wonderful. Okay, well, last thing, imagine you've got one minute and the entire world is listening. What do you want to share?

EMILY: As much as resumes are important, they are not that important. It's your network. It is your connection to other people. It is tracking the ways that you have been impactful that really matter and learning to communicate that. Focus on who you are and what drives you and ultimately the kind of work that makes you smile. That's your worth. That's your value. That's where you'll start to shine. So go with that.

PATRICIA: I love it. Thank you so much for spending time with us today. We really appreciate it.

EMILY: Anytime. Thank you so much for having me.

PATRICIA: Awesome. Thank you everyone for listening and we'll see you on the next one.


Recent Posts & Episodes


Listen to the podcast on your favorite player

Listen and follow the podcast to have episodessent directly to your device:



Make a intentional career move that aligns with your life and purpose.



I'm your podcast host, and a career counselor & transition coach here to help seasoned professionals find and go after what lights them up. Welcome to the space - make yourself at home!