Justin Kinney - Director of Industrial Controls

Justin Kinney - Director of Industrial Controls

Client: Justin Kinney was senior manager of robotics at an American multinational that provides equipment, technologies, and expertise to oil and gas industry customers.

Industry: Energy, Industrial, Oil & Gas, Utilities, Manufacturing, Robotics, Supply Chain, Distribution

Robotics, Software, Industrial Controls, Management

Justin felt that his team was neither supported nor valued as much as it deserved by management, and he wanted a more fulfilling career.

Learning how to align his resume and his interviewing skills perfectly to each opportunity was critical in helping Justin land his new role.

Justin not only landed a higher-level role, but also in a new industry – and at a higher compensation level.

Study: Justin Kinney was senior manager of robotics at an American multinational that provides equipment, technology, and expertise to oil & gas industry customers. For four and a half years, he grew and led a team that invented and developed robotics for oil & gas applications, becoming a leader in that space. He was proud of the work, but he felt as though management was not providing the professional development, support, nor rewards that the team merited. So, Justin took measures to advance his career into his own hands.

“I thought my career wasn’t going anywhere. So, I decided to take the next step, myself,” said Justin.

Justin launched a covert job search while he continued working. Although he had spent the bulk of his career in the oil & gas industry, he wanted to get out of it. 

“Most robotics development is in the manufacturing and distribution industries, so that was my focus. But it was hard to break out of oil & gas. I have spent so much of my career there that hiring managers in other industries didn’t see how I could do any other kind of work. That was my biggest hurdle,” said Justin. 

For three months, Justin job searched, using LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Indeed, but he had little success. He got a few interviews, but none of them resulted in an offer. On one occasion, he made it all the way to the final round of interviews for a director-level position only to be informed that he didn’t get the job. 

Four days later, he hired The Barrett Group.

“When I lost that opportunity, I decided I needed help. Robotics is a competitive market, and my oil & gas experience was hurting me,” said Justin.

When he began the Clarity Program, Justin tried to learn everything he could. 

“I started by having weekly meetings with Stacy Ballinger, my Clarity coach, for a few weeks. I liked working with Stacy. She was always available, and we had good conversations,” said Justin. “Clarity confirmed that I was headed in the right direction, and it highlighted things I needed to work on.”

Clarity also helped Justin think through parameters of his job search, such as salary, and geography. 

In the next part of the program, Justin worked through elements as quickly as possible, starting with the social capital building exercises. 

“I struggled with the social capital component at first, but I knew I needed to make all those calls. My network was really weak in my target industry. My contacts were mostly in oil & gas. In the end, I did expand my network to a lot of people in robotics and automation and grew it in a way that I wanted to grow it,” said Justin. “I really see the value in it, and I enjoy those conversations. I plan to continue reaching out to people going forward.”

Justin found his career consultant, Joan Sebring, to be responsive to his questions and needs as she took him through the program, but also firm.

“Joan was good, but she didn’t coddle me. I can be hard-headed and sometimes I didn’t want to do what she asked me to do. She would sometimes tell me to stop doing something and do something else. I had to keep telling myself, ‘I need to just listen to what TBG is telling me to do, even if I think I know better, because what I was doing before didn’t work for me!’” said Justin.

Justin determined to have faith in his career coach and everything that she requested of him. Some of the tasks she assigned him, Justin found easy. Others were challenging.

“I did not have a good resume, and updating it was hard because the resume writing team asked me to give metrics for everything on it. That information is hard to track down! But the writing team and I went back and forth on it, which was helpful because now I know how to manage my resume for the future. “Now,” Justin added, “My resume is really good!”

Justin learned a lot of good interviewing skills, too.

“I didn’t interview well, but I thought I did! That was a problem I had to work on as I went through the program. At one company I had three interviews. The hiring manager narrowed the candidates down to me and another guy – and then chose the other guy.” 

Accepting that there was a lot he could learn about job seeking – and making a concerted effort to improve in those areas – made all the difference in Justin’s job search journey. Although he still faced some rejections, Justin found that with his new resume and his interview skills, he got much farther along in the hiring process. 

“Before, I would apply to jobs and get few responses. After working with The Barrett Group, though, I made sure to align my resume with the job description and consistently got past the screening interview. That became almost automatic.” 

In the end, Justin credits his improvements in exactly the areas where he was weakest with his eventual landing. He saw a job posting on LinkedIn for a director-level position that, ironically, was at the same company where he had been an unsuccessful finalist just prior to engaging The Barrett Group. The company, a developer of innovative robotics and software for the supply chain, offered Justin fantastic career growth.

“I kept following this company because I knew they would grow. Six months after failing to get a job there, they posted another job that lined up with my experience and was an even better role than the one I didn’t get. I applied through LinkedIn – this time, with a better resume, because I aligned it perfectly with the role.” 

Justin sailed past all the normal obstacles.

“The hiring manager was the same person as before! Then I met with managers I hadn’t met before, including the CTO. I nailed the interviews because I went into them understanding what they needed for the role. For every question they asked, I aligned my answers with the position. I didn’t make anything up – I just focused on things that were important to the role.

When the job offer came in, Justin got everything he wanted and more.

“I didn’t even try to negotiate because I thought the offer was so good. They even gave me a sign-on bonus!” 

Justin is delighted to have transitioned not only to a director position, but also to an exciting new industry.

“The job I got positions me well for future career growth. It was hard to both move up and into another industry, where I didn’t know anyone, simultaneously. But practicing how to frame my experiences properly helped me. For me, the best value of The Barrett Group program was in the resume writing and interview coaching. I didn’t know what I didn’t know! Aligning yourself perfectly with the role – it all comes down to that.”

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