One-on-One Coaching with Sarah Johnston


Why Work with Sarah Johnston?

For as long as I can remember, I have had the professional goal of helping job seekers find positions where they would flourish. I spent the first 10-years of my career as a corporate recruiter and development professional. While I loved recruiting, I got tired of seeing hard-working people get passed over for opportunities because they didn’t interview well or know how to position their strengths. My clients have landed roles at top companies like Medtronic, Deloitte, Alphabet (Google), lululemon, and more.

I think what makes me different from other coaches is that I can relate to the job seeker experience. I’ve made multiple cross-country relocations for my spouse’s job and successfully launched job searches in cold markets. I would be honored to help you achieve higher levels of earning potential and career satisfaction.

I’m a former recruiter…

I am one of the few job search coaches who has actually been a recruiter. I’ve interviewed hundreds of job seekers and know what companies are looking for in a candidate. I’ve also used applicant tracking systems (ATS) like Taleo and iCims and understand how recruiters scan resumes.

Excellent outcomes for my clients…

I get regular e-mails from clients saying that the work we did together made a difference. Additionally, around 25% of my clients are referrals from either past clients, close friends or former colleagues.

My goal is to always make sure my clients are being portrayed in the best possible way. If I am not the best person for the job and another coaching specialist would be a better fit–I will quickly let you know and will offer highly qualified referrals.

I care deeply about your success…

Friends and clients would describe me as a straight shooter but also kind. I genuinely want you to thrive at work. I want to know about your “wins.” I believe in you, and I am rooting for you.

Sarah Johnston has been featured in:


4 Step Method That Teaches You How To Land Your Dream Job Using EQ


How To Jump Start Your Job Search With Advice From 15 Career Experts

Reader’s Digest

Best Answers to “Why Should We Hire You?”

Business Insider

Salary: Here’s What To Say To The Hiring Manager


Please Don’t Apply To Every Open Role At A Single Company


Why You Should Always Ask The Hiring Manager This One Simple Question


6 Tips To Kickstart Your 2020 Job Search


Is Ghosting The New Normal In A Competitive Job Market?

The Ladders

The 4 Words Far Too Few People Forget To Say In An Interview

The Voice of Job Seekers

Podcast: Modern Job Search Trends 2020


15 Career Experts To Follow in 2019

Executive Career Brand

Smart Job Interviewing Tips


Applicant Tracking 101: How To Get Past The Dreaded ATS System

Career Metis

Interview Series: Sarah Johnston

Self Made Millennial

Video Interview: How To Make a Good First Impression


How To Prepare For a Job Interview

Career Sidekick

10 Best LinkedIn Headlines With Examples

Reader’s Digest

Things HR People Won’t Tell You About Salary & Raises

Business Insider

6 Steps You Need To Take To Successfully Change Careers

Student Doctor

9 Tips For Residency interview Success

Career Sherpa

Best Twitter Accounts To Follow For A Job Search

Mac’s List (Podcast)

Why You Didn’t Ace the Job Interview and Get an Offer


Coronavirus: Job interviews go online as candidates stuck at home

HR Magazine

Online job interviews advised as part of social distancing

Cultivated Culture

COVID-19: Job Market Insights from Career Experts


How to Know Your Resume Is Ready to be Submitted


Hot Job Interview Trends for 2020: What the Experts Say

LinkedIn: Get Hired

Special Edition – Job interviews during a pandemic

Job Scan

Top Job Search Experts to Follow on LinkedIn for 2020


Smart, Actionable Advice From Top LinkedIn Career And Job Search Professionals

Andy Foote’s Podcast Foote Notes

Episode 13


How To Ask A Stranger For Help With Job Referrals And Connections

Scripps Media: Local News Interview

Tips on searching the ‘hidden job market’ and finding jobs before they’re listed


How to Ask for a Raise During the Pandemic
Sample Resumes
I thought you would be happy to know I was just offered (and accepted) the perfect next position! You should know my hiring manager commented on my resume and said it was very well-done. Thank you again for partnering with me on this project. It was well worth the investment!
— Pharmaceutical Sales Manager, Columbus, OH
Thanks for following up. My interview went well and I felt like it was my best performance yet on residency interviews. I felt that the time I spent with you was very productive, and that you have a lot to offer medical students. I think the most valuable thing for me was gaining confidence through practice. Your interview was more difficult than most radiology interviews which are really casual, but I’m glad that I built up confidence by running through those questions. I also found some ways to sneak in my “tell me about yourself” response even though I wasn’t asked that question directly by any of my interviewers.
— Medical Student
Some additional feedback for you – I feel your interview prep services are worth more. I appreciate people/companies who really love what they do and deliver more than expected. You did that for me.
— Vice President in Trade Industry, Washington D.C.
Celebrations are definitely in order! I couldn’t have asked for a better time to hear from you. I’m not just saying this, but your check in call saved the day. I had no idea what to say going into the call. I took your advice and pretty much said the script you wrote out for me. I feel like I would have froze if it weren’t for you. I left the call feeling a lot less discouraged but wasn’t going to hold my breath. I received an e-mail a little after we hung up. He said that he was glad we talked and that he heard how excited I was about the position. I was offered the job! Thank you for all of your help.
— Claire, Project Management, Columbus, OH
I’ve made it to [XX] and the family will be transitioning here in a few weeks. Thanks so much for all of the help during the interview process. You really helped me frame my answers in a thoughtful way. If you ever need a reference, please let me know.
— Senior Vice President of Innovation, Raleigh, NC
I think it was extremely helpful for him to have you as a career coach. It was important for him to have a professional to work with and guide him. I am very proud of him and glad that he was open to working with you and seeking your advice. Thank you for guiding him though a stressful process, and for helping him show his best qualities. I will gladly recommend your services to anyone I know that could benefit from them.
— Stephany, Mother of a New Grad Client, Atlanta

Sarah Johnston: A Brief Career History

“At the University of Georgia, I took a class through my Leadership Fellowship that encouraged us to reflect on our career goals… as a 20-year-old, I decided my mission was to place people in positions I see them really flourishing.”

— Sarah Johnston

Recruiter Turned Executive Coach

Sarah went to work for one of the largest privately held companies in the southeast. She fell in love with recruiting. Sarah loved meeting diverse, interesting people and was passionate about uncovering their talents, strengths, and dreams.

As a trailing spouse, she’s made multiple cross-country moves for her spouse’s career. Following her husband has meant she’s reinvented herself in cities where she knew no one. She’s an expert networker and friend to all. Her experience job searching in cold markets gives her a unique perspective.

Sarah Johnston Named Top Career Voice

Sarah was named a LinkedIn Top Voice in the career space. Her influence on the platform has allowed her to speak regularly to podcasts job search clubs across the country. Her business, The Briefcase Coach, was named the top executive resume writing firm for experienced executives by Balance Careers. Sarah has been named to HR Weekly’s list of 100 Most Influential People in HR Globally.

Executive Resume Writer and Job Search Coach Based in Durham, NC

Sarah is based in the “Research Triangle” of North Carolina. Sarah and her family are “frequent flyers” at the Durham Farmers Market, the soccer fields, and local foodie festivals (when it’s not a pandemic).

Sarah Johnston based in Durham, NC

Sarah Johnston
Founder of Briefcase Coach

University of Georgia
A.B. Communications Studies, ILAD Leadership Fellow

Based in Durham, NC but working with clients internationally

We help clients land amazing jobs.

Our mission is to help our clients land the best possible opportunities through strategic marketing documents, thoughtful career planning and targeted messaging that presents the best version of themselves. As a company, we strive to always be learning, produce superior documents and provide the best possible client experience.

Icon of Navigating the Hidden Job Market-- Job Search Strategy
Navigating the Hidden Job Market-- Job Search Strategy

Develop a plan that will take you from a re-active to a proactive job search.

Icon of LinkedIn Strategy
LinkedIn Strategy

Work one-on-one with one of the leading LinkedIn experts to stand out.

Icon of Mock Interviews
Mock Interviews

Practice your interview to give you an invaluable edge and a confidence boost.

Need focused coaching time?

Let’s get started