Meet Adrienne Tom, President and Chief Executive Resume Strategist at Career Impressions

Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only organization for successful leading business and career coaches. In this spotlight series, we profile our incredible members and share their advice with you. This week: Adrienne Tom.

With eight professional certifications, including Certified Employment Strategist and Certified Professional Resume Writer, Adrienne Tom specializes in helping C-suite professionals, executives and top managers navigate career change. As Canada’s first Certified Executive Resume Master, her work has been published in four career books and she has worked for LinkedIn. You can learn more at or follow Adrienne on Twitter @Adrienne_Tom.

What inspired you to become a coach?

I always pictured myself becoming a writer, sharing inspiration through written words. Imagine my delight when I started coaching clients and writing ‘career stories’ in the form of executive resumes that blended my love of words with job search strategies.

It is extremely validating to guide a client through the extraction of their unique career stories. I feel so blessed when astute business leaders turn to me for support with unearthing their value and differentiating themselves from the competition to secure greater recognition and higher compensation.

What one piece of advice do you find yourself relying on most? Why?

My personal motto is ‘slow burn.’ When things get overwhelming and balancing the demands of work and life becomes challenging, I remind myself to take it one day at a time, one step at a time.

This strategy applies to both my work with clients and with fostering personal growth. There is no need to rush things. Focused perseverance and deep dedication to my clients and my work ensure that things progress in the right direction every time.

Some goals take days and some take years, and that is okay. What is right is what works for each individual. We each define our own success, shaping and molding it as we grow.

What is the biggest hurdle your clients face? What advice would you give others struggling with this issue?

Executive job searches have changed dramatically over recent years. Often clients approach me overwhelmed or frustrated. People know they are skilled, but demonstrating career achievement quickly and succinctly with modern tools can be a challenge. This is where my success at writing impactful career stories comes in.

I advise executives to start measuring their success, especially if they haven’t been doing so in the past. This means starting and maintaining a ‘brag file’ of sorts with performance reviews, testimonials and client feedback, along with measurable business impacts they have delivered throughout the course of their career.

After our work together, I commonly hear from clients the greatest benefit they received wasn’t just the end result or product, but the process it took to create it. Helping business leaders take a long, hard look at their value and invest in continuous career management is what makes me proudest.