GCM 69 | Unlocking Career Possibilities


Gone are the days when you are supposed to stick to one job or one organization all your life. Your education, experience, and exposure can unlock a different career possibility if you allow it. In today’s episode, Kanika Tolver, author, certified professional coach, CEO and Founder of Career Rehab, talks about how you can shift your mindset, rebuild your personal branding, and be perceived as the CEO of your own career. Kanika shares her formula for getting a six-figure salary because she has done it before turning 30. Catch her tips on interviews and LinkedIn profile optimization so you can find your dream job or contribute to the organization you admire. She also introduces her book, Career Rehab: Rebuild Your Personal Brand and Rethink the Way You Work, that’s coming out soon.

Listen to the podcast here:

Education, Experience, And Exposure: The Keys To Unlocking Career Possibilities with Kanika Tolver

I have a young lady in the studio with me who has an extraordinary commitment to social change and helping others create their own epic lives. She is the CEO and Founder of Career Rehab, located right here in Washington, DC. She focuses on assisting career transformations for students, professionals, and retirees. Her company provides career coaching programs, events, webinars and digital resources to help people reach their career goals.

Welcome to the show, Kanika.

Thank you for having me.

It’s a pleasure to have you on the show. I was looking into the work that you do. I was intrigued by the title of your company, Career Rehab. Being a person that’s been through a lot of physical and occupational rehab, I haven’t been through career rehab. Please tell me and the audience what is Career Rehab all about.

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Career Rehab is all about professionals having a mindset shift about being able to rebuild or renovate their career. A lot of times, we get to a place where we even become unhappy or we need to take our skills to the next level, or we want to do a career change. Sometimes, it requires us to do some rebuilding, some renovation, taking out the bad things that are not happening for our career and making those things happen for us. That’s why I call it Career Rehab.

You specialize in helping people get rid of everything that may be preventing them from reaching the dream job or having the right business, etc. Can you elaborate a bit more on that?

I don’t focus on entrepreneurship as much, but to those that want to become career dropouts as I call them in my book. Those are people that want to transition into entrepreneurship. My focus is primarily helping people understand how to brand, market and sell themselves. In order to be able to do that, you have to understand how to build your brand, how to create the foundation for your brand that you want people to be able to understand when they’re looking at your resume, when they’re looking at your LinkedIn profile. I focus on helping professionals understand how to market themselves which is about being able to identify what skills are marketable and how to market yourselves when you’re at networking events, meeting new people, meeting recruiters and connecting with other professionals. Selling yourself is about hooking it in and sealing the deal for the job offers and for the other opportunities that you plan to acquire in your career journey.

I’ve heard selling, branding, marketing yourself as it relates to entrepreneurs. What you’re talking about here is in the corporate spaces, preparing and positioning yourself for certain types of jobs. I’m thinking high-profile executive, leadership/management-type positions. Am I correct with that?

GCM 69 | Unlocking Career Possibilities

Unlocking Career Possibilities: Form alliances with those who have the expertise that you don’t have and gain that knowledge from them. They are the ones who can get you to the next level.


My professionals are any person from college graduate all the way up to someone that may be retiring, but a lot of things that I do focus on is helping people understand how to maximize their brand to make the money that they want to make. Since I made six figures before 30, I’d understand the formula to that success if that’s your goal, but it doesn’t mean you have to be an executive to make six figures. You still could be someone that is a team contributor or maybe a subject-matter expert on the team that is still making that type of money that people may look at as an executive level. I do coach people on the executive level, but I focus primarily on people that had ten or more years of work experience.

Talk to us about the brand. You hear that it’s a trendy, catchy word in business and entrepreneurship. However, you’re speaking of it in the corporate spaces. Talk to us about why branding is so important in corporate spaces.

I like to talk in the corporate space because I look at you as a professional, as a little business. You have a subject-matter expertise or unique offering that some other professionals may not have. You want to be able to cultivate and create this brand to make it seem like you are a CEO of your career, like you are the boss. Even though you may go to a job every day, you have 100% career ownership over what you want for your career. The same way people own businesses is the same way that you own your career. That’s why I use the word personal branding.

How do you market yourself in that environment?

In that environment, you market yourself by understanding how to network like a hustler, like I talked about in my book. I talked about how to understand how to network like a hustler. You have to understand how to use Corporate America as someone would use it as their block of doing something illegal. You have to change your mindset and think like a hustler would. You have to know how to connect with the right people, internal and external stakeholders, the right leadership, joining forces with alliances, with people on your team who have information or who have expertise that you don’t have and gain that knowledge from them, then know who the gatekeepers are. Those are the people that can get you to the next level and understand how to build those relationships. If you don’t understand how to communicate effectively with people, not just through your LinkedIn profile but face-to-face, it’s going to hold you back going to the new levels that you’re trying to go to.

Collaboration is a big focal point in your philosophy for Career Rehab.

Collaboration is a huge philosophy. It should be even in business. People can’t create new products and services without collaborating with a consumer, with their clients or with their audience if they are artists. It’s the same thing as a professional. In order to be an effective brand, you have to learn how to collaborate with other professionals that can take you to the next level or could just teach you a few new skills here and there.

Connecting with people that can take you to the next level, I understand what you mean by that. It’s being in a position where you have relationships where people can provide opportunities for you, but then there’s that thing where you have to be in the right position to take advantage of that opportunity. The reason why I’m bringing that up is because I want to expose both sides of the coin here. You have to be ready to go through the door when that opportunity comes but then at the same time, you have to have someone that can help you create that opportunity or make you aware of that opportunity.

All people should be mindful of that. No one can stop you from the next opportunity, only you can. It makes it easier when you build relationships with people that have the know-how and the power to do that. I always say, and I said this on Twitter, “No one can block you. You got to go around them sometimes.” You have to be able to learn how to not just collaborate but learn how to cultivate and create your own opportunities. If you’re not getting it that in that particular organization, it’s okay to go and figure out there’s a new organization where you can sell yourself into that next-level position. Sometimes, it’s going to be unforeseen things you just can’t do in Corporate America. Somebody may not even allow you to get to the next level because of the good-old-boy network or whatever reasons that are just out of our control. It’s good to understand that you shouldn’t allow one person to be able to validate that opportunity for you.

What do you think is stopping people from finding career happiness?

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One thing is fear because people had been so conditioned to go to the same job for such a long time that they’re bred to be stuck than to try something new because they’re scared of the unknown. Other things that are stopping people for finding career happiness is zeroing in on understanding what’s going to make them happy. They may have been doing the job for so long. They don’t even know what would make them happy because they’ve never been exploratory. They never said, “I’ve been doing this job for five, ten years. I’ve never even sat down and thought about like, ‘What are my passions? What is my purpose? What are my gifts? What are my talents?’ I just have been conditioned to be an employee and not a brand.” When you have an employee mindset, you just do what you’re told and you don’t go above and beyond those little four walls or that little cubicle that you’re sitting in, and you haven’t had that conversation or that a-ha moment to say, “I want to do this.” Career changes are even harder because it requires you to be open to learn new skills, take a new training class, a new certification or even maybe go back to school and people are not willing to be determined to make that sacrifice.

I believe that a lot of us, we get complacent with the programming. Everything that we’ve learned in the past, things that our parents have taught us, everything that we know about careers, we stick with that and it worked for us for a while. We expect for it to keep working. I agree with you. We don’t challenge those thoughts, those strategies and the way things were before in order to discover new, more improved, completely different ways of thinking, different levels of consciousness that can open up other opportunities for us. I’m sure there’s a lot of people out there that feel stuck. They feel like, “I’ve been on this job for X amount of years.” They’re feeling devalued, underpaid, overworked, and they would love to do something else. They know that there’s more value that they can bring to a corporation. What would you say to that person?

I would say first to re-evaluate the professional circle that you have. When I went from federal government to the private sector, I had to do a transformation of how I thought, because I had a federal government mindset, “Give the government job. Stay in their job. Don’t rock the boat. Just go with the flow.” I had to change my circle. I had to reach out to other like-minded professionals like me who were in companies and organizations that I desire to work for and build relationships. I asked, “What should I be thinking about changing with my skills? Maybe I should be rebranding my resume because I have a government resume and now, I’m trying to go in the private sector.” I had to change my circle around because the people that I was with were federal government people who felt like, “This is comfortable.” I had to get away from the comfortable people and learn how to connect with the people that were comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Number two, you have to focus in on making sure that you understand the knowledge gaps that you have. If you know that you have a passion or a desire to learn a new technology or new skill, you need to dedicate and create a realistic timeline for being able to learn that new skillset. Number three is you need to be able to understand how to connect with the right people at those organizations, meaning that being able to go to networking events and connecting yourself with the recruiters at those organizations, that you can show them that you’ve done the work and you’ve repositioned yourself for that new opportunity.

You’re the author of Career Rehab: Rebuild Your Personal Brand and Rethink the Way You Work. It says that you help readers strip away what’s holding them back. How do you do that as a coach?

As a coach, I focus on mindset shift. In the book, I’ve talked about the rehab evaluation and understanding, “Are you ready to commit?” It’s the same thing if someone is ready to sell their house. They know they need to renovate their home. They have to be ready to commit with that contractor to tear down that old bathroom, tear down that old kitchen so they can get that house ready to be marketable for homebuyers to see. It’s the same thing with professionals. You have to be ready to evaluate yourself and ask yourself, “Are you ready to make that level of commitment?” The first step is mindset shift. One thing that I talked about a lot in the book is you got to be ready to learn how to build the brand by dating jobs.

What do you mean by that?

It’s a concept that I came up with that I feel like, “When you build your brand by dating jobs, you are looking at the job until I find the ideal role that I’m ready to marry. I’m in the mindset that I might stay here for one to two years and I am maximizing every training, every new project, every new exposure to meeting new people to maximize my brand. When I feel like I’m done with it, I’m dumping you.” I’m moving on to the next thing. It’s the same thing as, “When men are looking for their wives, they may go through several iterations of dating women until they find like, ‘She’s the one.’” It’s the same thing with the job. You have certain expectations that she wants from the job and until you get to a place where you say, “I have to stay here for five, ten years. I could see myself growing into this,” you just be day jobs.

GCM 69 | Unlocking Career Possibilities

Unlocking Career Possibilities: You fall short on exposure when you do all the work but do not get to articulate yourself in meetings, presentations, or on conference calls to show that you’re adding the value.


It’s leveraging the experiences and training that you can gain from each of the jobs in an effort to build yourself, to build your resume, get the skill set that you may need. It’s a growing strategy, a development.

It’s the same thing as, “Once you go through bad relationships with people, you learn something from their relationship that probably you shouldn’t take into the new relationship.” It’s the same thing with the job. We’ve all been on jobs that we didn’t like and didn’t care for, but we’re like, “When I meet this next job, I hope this next job isn’t like the last job.” It’s the same thing with professionals. We have to look at jobs as, “What’s in it for me?” Once we figure that out, we maximize it to the full capacity and then we move on when we feel like we’re ready to move on.

I understand your concept, but I want to have a conversation about a conflict with game changer mentality because we’re all about service and contributing. How does that philosophy coincide with the idea of contributing in service?

I worked for the federal government. I served the public. Early on, my experience had been in the federal government. When you think about that, you’re bringing it back to the mission of your organization. You are focusing in on understanding, “How do I bring my subject-matter expertise to add value to the strategic plan into the mission of the organization?” As a brand, you’re providing a service. You’re serving people because you have a subject-matter expertise and you’re giving that back or you’re being re-skilled or skilled up to provide that back on the project level or the program level. It’s important and I’m glad that you brought that up because when you have an emotional connection to a mission, you’re more inclined to be excited about that opportunity. When you keep taking jobs for the sake of taking a job and you’re not finding the value in what you plan to offer, you’re probably always going to be in shambles of not liking your job because you’re not emotionally connected.

There’s still some strategy to job dating that you’re talking about. Is there a plan that you offer to people that get involved with Career Rehab? You should not just arbitrarily go select jobs but be strategic in your pursuit to develop yourself. Is that part of what you offer as well?

I definitely offer that. It’s strategic. I like to talk about the three E’s: education, experience and exposure. These are things that edify you as a professional. Some people went to college, have certifications, have a certain level of experience that they’re bringing with them. Certain people are looking for exposure. The exposure is where a lot of people fall short on because they don’t want to do presentations and briefings. They don’t want to be on front street. You can’t allow people to continue to sit you in the cubicle. You do all the work and you’re not getting exposure to being able to articulate yourselves in meetings, doing presentations or even on conference calls to show that you’re adding the value that you probably put into the report you’ve built for your manager to go display at another meeting. That’s where I feel like when people are dating jobs. They should be focusing on maximizing those three E’s.

Is this part of the system, the art of finding a satisfying career? In your books and part of this conversation, you’re describing a system of philosophy to help people change the game in their career, be more satisfied with their career choices, and you have mastered that. Is that what we’re discussing here in detail or is there any other parts of the art of finding the satisfying career?

The missing piece that we haven’t talked about is the second piece that is the subtitle of the book. The book is called Rebuild Your Personal Brand. A lot of the things that we’ve talked about thus far is about the rebuilding of the personal brand. In order to have a happy career, you have to have a happy life. Rethink in the way you work. We talked about what I talked about in the book. I talked about thinking about things like how to manage stress, anxiety and depression. That could be work-related or personal-related. Also, thinking about reasonable commutes. I call that commutes worth the coins. Are we traveling three hours a day to a job that we hate and knowing that there’s a job in remote opportunity or closer to home that can provide us the work-life balance that you know you and your family need? Rethinking on the way you work is not saying that, “I’m always thinking about the money and thinking about building the brand, but I’m thinking about my personal happiness. I’m thinking about my family. I’m thinking about exercise and I’m thinking about eating right. I’m thinking about working out.” Those are the things that I try to focus in on the book, to change the mindset that is not about work.

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Work is a piece of your career or your career is a piece of your life. Talk to us about the process that you’ve been through over the last fifteen years, working with the federal government and also Fortune 500 companies.

The reason probably why I wrote the book is because I’m in Career Rehab. It’s been a test of my own faith, a test of my own trials and tribulation as a woman of color in tech, sometimes being the only person of color on the team. This goes into other things that go beyond just my education and my experience. I like to call them career heartbreaks, because I feel like we’ve all been through a career heartbreak. Majority of my career has been in federal government. I moved up in the federal government extremely fast. I was like a rockstar. I got to a place where I was so unhappy and I hated my job. I left to go work for Deloitte Consulting. I was able to see not just the government perspective but a global perspective about technology and business.

I worked for some other consulting companies as well. I feel like for me, the things that I have learned over the years is when things don’t go right on the job, that is okay. It’s not abnormal to feel like you got anxiety, depression or stress because of a job. What is normal is that we should be changing our mindset, to channel our energy to find out what is a good fit for us. For me, it’s culture fit. It’s location. It’s not even about the money at this point because I’m rethinking the way I work now because I got to the money. I’m just trying to get to the peace of mind.

As I listen to you, I can feel people in the audience reevaluating where they are and what they would like to have in terms of a career. What I’m feeling, what’s coming up for me, is that it’s competitive out there. There are more people, more resources than there are jobs and then when you get the job, it seems like there’s not enough resources. There’s one job and everyone’s competing for that particular job that may be in the right area, provide the peace, the right culture fit. Now, there’s frustration because I feel like a person has put themselves in the best opportunity and the best position possible to take advantage of this opportunity, but then there’s so few opportunities. Is that the right way of thinking? What are your thoughts to that?

Basically, you’re saying there’s lack of opportunity for career growth at an organization.

It could be, and I’m not speaking just at an organization as well. I’m thinking just in the market. I feel that there’s people out there that may want to change careers and they’re looking. They’ve been on the interviews and revamped their resumes. They know what they want and what’s going to provide the balance and peace that they need. They’ve gone on interviews and they can’t get the job. It’s competitive. I’m sure that person is probably looking at your book, looking at the philosophies and they’re saying, “Yes,” but then it’s like, “I’m doing all of this stuff and I still can’t seem to land a job that I like to have.”

My advice to them would be there’s something missing in that personal brand and there’s something missing from the formula of what makes up a personal brand. In the book, I’ve talked a lot about comparing personal brands as professionals to celebrities. I’ve talked about how we admire Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg, all these different people. They figured out their niche and they figured out how to cultivate that into a brand. I talked about resume, interviews. It’s like showtime. It’s like, “Time to hit the stage.” If you can’t easily articulate yourself on a job interview, that’s maybe a part of the problem, or it could be that you are not specifically zeroing in and interviewing for positions that specifically are a good fit for you.

People are just applying the jobs and going on interviews and they haven’t dissected the job description. They haven’t done their research. They haven’t said, “What are the possible potential questions that I’m going to be asked?” That’s like going on dates just to be going on dates knowing that you keep going on dates with people that you know every time is going to be like, “This is going to be the wrong match or the wrong person.” You’ve got to be more strategic in your job search strategy and in your interview skills so you can hook it in by revisiting interviews. If you’ve been on a rack of interviews and you’re still not getting jobs, then there’s nothing wrong with that. I want to tell someone to reassess their interview skills.

How does one align? What are some of the things that a person can do to ensure that their skillset, their brand aligns with the job that they’re looking for?

One thing I will say is I always do this personally myself. I put my resume up and I pulled the job description up on separate windows. I do it side-by-side. I do a cross-check. I make sure that what the job description is describing and the skills and the qualifications that they’re describing that there is probably 60% to 70% of the things that is in that job description should be relevant to my resume. If they’re not a one-on-one match, you apply on the wrong job automatically. It’s the same thing as me. I’m married. I like tall, brown-skinned and skinny men. If I see you on an online dating site and you’re dark skinned, ball-headed and short, there’s a big possibility that you’re the wrong guy.

GCM 69 | Unlocking Career Possibilities

Unlocking Career Possibilities: If you only have three out of the ten skills that the job advertisement is describing, don’t bother to apply.


We’re making job hunting a lot more difficult than it is. You already know what you’re good at. Zero in on the vacancy announcements that had those things. The great thing about LinkedIn is when you put up a job or LinkedIn based upon your profile and what you’ve put in your profile, it will tell you five out of ten skills you have. Three out of the ten skills that the job announcement is advertising, you had. If you only have three out of the ten skills that the job advertisement is describing, you shouldn’t even apply. You should update your profile with the skills if you know you had those skills because maybe it’s just an oversight on your resume. You got to bleed those buzzwords all the way through your LinkedIn profile and on your resume to get the callbacks that you deserve.

We get into a trap with chasing the money. We apply for jobs because of the money. The salary looks good or the benefits look good. That’s what I want, but we haven’t taken the time to properly align ourselves and then we get frustrated when we don’t get the job because we weren’t a good fit for the job.

A lot of times, when we’re looking at jobs, whether federal government jobs or on Indeed.com, we still survive $80,000 to $100,000. I’m just going to do that because a lot of people want to be in $80,000 and up bracket such in the DC market. It costs a lot to live here, $100,000-plus bracket, but I said to myself that I wouldn’t take a job over my head anymore. I will stop taking jobs that I didn’t have the skillset or the management skills or the technical skillset for. I have zeroed in about maybe five to ten skillset that I know that I’m good at and I stick with that formula. It works for me, but it goes back to my analogy. It’s the same way as a man or a woman at the club. She looked real good or he looked real good from the exterior, but when she get to meet her or him and you get to talk to them, you’re like, “This is not it.”

You’re also the author of Life Rehab: Don’t Overdose on Pain, People and Power. What inspired you to write that book?

I published that in 2013 to 2014-ish. I was younger and I was trying to find myself as a young woman and I felt like I was going through some. It’s like when you’re about to turn 30, you should figure out like, “This is who I am and who I want to be, but I need to let some of these things go.” Pain, people and power came from painful situations and sometimes, it’s holding us back from being able to change how we feel about ourselves in our future. I had to let go of the pain. People, I had to let go of relationships that weren’t healthy, family, friends, learning how to stop overdosing on relationships because of a tenure and calling it quits because it’s just overstated. Power, I’m from the DC area. Everybody has to have this facade of like, “I drive this. I make this. I wear this Gucci bag. I live in this zip code.” Power, I was put on a power mask and I was allowing those superficial things to define who I was. I was turning into this crazy person that was arrogant, egotistical. Knowing that I wasn’t that girl but because everybody else is like that, I was overdosing on power. The book is good. People always like to talk about that book, but it’s something that I feel I needed to heal. It was a healing time for me.

What are some of the steps that you took? I know in the book you provide a step-by-step plan on how to rehab your life. It’s not so much the career but you’re talking about how to rehab your life. What are some of the steps that you took to get to a place where, “I think my life is where it needs to be. Now, I can go focus truly on my career?” That’s the fundamental step. We’re talking about career and based on my research with you, I get that, but then I feel like sometimes we have to take a step back. We’re not ready to talk about getting your career job because there are some fundamental things in our lives that we need to correct or address.

To me, that’s the game changer. Once we get those down, we have that foundation built, then we can start building on that. We try to build before the foundation, then we get upset and frustrated when things don’t go right, but we haven’t taken the necessary steps to prepare to build. What are some of those fundamental things that you would offer from your book to help us build that foundation?

It is the game changer, understanding who you are as a person first before you are this brand. You are a human being who goes through things. The first step that I would tell people is to be willing to walk this journey alone because a lot of things that you’re trying to strip yourself away, you’re not going to have the validation of your spouse or your family members to understand. When I used to say, “I was checking myself into Life Rehab,” it was like I’m zeroing and I’m focusing on my spiritual, my physical, and my emotional state of mind because if those things are not intact, then you get off track. I would say, “Be willing to walk this journey alone. Be able to learn how to do things alone. Be able to come in tuned with who you are and become more comfortable with being whatever you desire to be.”

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The other thing that I would say is to journal. I did a lot of journaling during that process because I wanted to get all of my emotions onto paper. I extracted those emotions into goals, short-term executable and long-term goals to identify how am I going to deal with the pain. I have to forgive people. I have to let people go. Even though they may have done bad things to me, I have to let go of that. I’ve created goals for myself. I used that journal as an accountability partner to say, “I’m going do a check-in with myself periodically to see where I am with those goals.” You start to evolve into this new person and people see it because when you have darkness inside of you, it’s shown from the exterior. When you start pouring into yourself, so much beautiful things, sunshine, love, hope, peace and passion organically started to come out. That’s what I would tell people. For me, it was working out. I used working out as one of my goals. I wanted to work out, get into shape, and make sure that I’m healthy. I wanted to create new relationships with people and be open to meet new people who had the same mindset as me.

I interview a lot of people, Kanika. One of the common themes from the people that I interview is they all have a strong sense of self. When you have a strong sense of self, I feel that there’s lack of frustration because you can manage your expectations so much better. When you don’t have a strong sense of self, you have a lot of expectations because you need those expectations to validate who you are or who you’re trying to be. You get a lot of frustration because a lot of times, those expectations are superficial. It goes unmet and you’re feeling like less of yourself. It creates a cycle because you start wanting more because you need more validation because of the lack of validation that you’ve been getting. You start reaching for stuff because of the money. You’re in this vicious cycle.

The people that I interview like you have a strong sense of self and it provides so much presence. They have a sense of being spiritually and emotionally grounded. I feel that it puts them in a better position to maneuver in corporate spaces, maneuvering their relationships. You can sense when someone has a strong sense of self or you can sense when someone is out for themselves. They don’t have that sense of contribution and service. It puts you in a position where you don’t want to work with them or you may not hire them. You may look for someone who does have that strong sense of self. Having that strong sense of self in itself is an advantage.

Some people are intimidated by it too. That’s the thing that you may encounter, managers or leaders or family members that are still insecure about who they are or who they desire to be. Either people are going to be encouraged by your sense of self or people are going to hate on it. That’s the thing that a lot of people are not willing to do the work, to find themselves, because it requires you to go into dark places, deal with challenges and issues that you may have been sweeping under the rug, deal with pain, departing from relationships from people that you may have known for a long time. It’s hurtful. It hurts that you have to go through that to be a better person. It’s a toxic relationship. I talked about toxic relationships in the Life Rehab book. Toxic relationships are a big thing that people are struggling with. They can’t let those people go and they turn into toxic human beings and then they just start hurting other people. It’s like a disease that spreads. If you’re toxic, then I’m toxic. It keeps going on and on. It’s a few people that are not affected.

Another thing that I found interesting about you, Kanika, is not only do you specialize in helping individuals establish themselves as the architects of their own lives, but you do it in a way that promotes restoration, balance and nurturing to one’s authentic self. I want to get into the way you conduct your service in order to promote restoration, balance and nurturing of one’s authentic self.

Restoration as a whole on a basic level starts with getting rid of the things that don’t need to be there and restoring it with the things that do. Other authors have their own words. My words are always rebuild and restore. I feel like in order to be your true authentic self, it’s so important for you to strip away from the things that you’re already told about, the superficial stuff, the things that are blocking you from being authentic. You can’t nurture anything fake. Flowers don’t grow out of the ground because they’re fake. They grow because they’re real, a root and a foundation. That restoring part is creating a foundation of understanding who you are and pouring into it and nurturing it by continuously developing your passions and your gifts and being able to share them with the world. If you’re nurturing them and you’re being your authentic self, people will constantly see your personal brand. Even outside of personal brand, people would be like, “I see you growing. I see something different about you because you took time to restore yourself to a place that could grow and to be nurtured.” That would be my advice, is that people got to strip away from all the things that’s holding them back from growth.

When I think about Career Rehab and I think about individuals that may want to read the book, people that are out there that are attempting to define and land their dream job, that phrase, authentic self comes up for me. A lot of times when we’re after that dream job, we feel like we have to put on all of this stuff in order to convince someone to say, “Yes,” convince someone to write the check, that you are deserving, that you deserve that opportunity. We don’t want to present ourselves in our most authentic selves possible because we are afraid that the person is going to say, “No,” or we’re going to get rejected, but it’s the opposite.

This is full circle back to where we started, maybe before trying to present yourself with all the bells and whistles and maybe not all that being 100% true, maybe that work. When you’re trying to land your dream job, something that you want to be happy with for the rest of your life, not only make a certain amount of money because you got to think about it. When they say, “Yes,” then you got to maintain that facade or whatever it is that you put on once you get that job. Being your authentic self is so much easier and more effective.

GCM 69 | Unlocking Career Possibilities

Unlocking Career Possibilities: Put more focus on you and in loving yourself more in a way that helps you to be able to spread love positively.


You bring your authentic self to work like people may not want to see the full you. In some work cultures, you can’t because everybody is not going to be receptive of that. The way that you know that you possibly can bring your authentic selves is when you be observant of how they receive you in the job interview. When I interview for jobs, it’s not just about what’s on the resume. I know that at the back of my head, I’m also bringing doses of Kanika the same way that I am communicating with this interview.

I’m not sharing all my businesses and all my books and stuff, but I’m sharing my personality, character, integrity, ways to effectively communicate, being comfortable within my own skin by being laughable, being funny, having a good conversation. If an organization is intimidated by that, you’re not going to be the good behavior fit anyway. They’ll be able to pick up on that immediately in the interview and that’s not an organization you want to be with if you have to suppress yourself to be something that you’re not.

How do you use technology in your coaching? I learned that you’re a tech geek and you use technology to leverage your coaching services. How do you do that?

We’re in the process of building the Career Rehab courses. We will be providing more courses in the future. I do video coaching as well. We use tools like Zoom and different webinar tools to do coaching. I have a lot of presentations, courses and my catalog that I use on an ad-hoc basis depending on someone’s needs. We are launching a YouTube channel, the Career Rehab Show with Kanika Tolver. If you don’t want to pay for my services but you want to have access to me, follow my channel. I probably drop in one video a week. I will be providing those Career Rehab tips there. LinkedIn is my favorite tool for reaching professionals. I share a lot of information on social media.

What are those social media handles and how can someone connect with you if they want to work with you?

All of my handles, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, is @KanikaTolver. The brand is consistent. It’s clear, concise and unambiguous. You don’t have to put in a different handle for different channels. I’m pretty much the same girl, Kanika Tolver, on everything.

Thank you for coming on the show, Kanika. This has been an enlightening conversation. When we started talking about one’s authentic self and being authentic in the workplace and company, it may not accept you for who you are, that is a challenge that we have. Now that we’re in the 21st century and where we see ourselves in the future because I feel like things are shifting. It’s not so much that the company makes the people, but the people is what’s making the company. We got to open ourselves up to being more diverse and accepting to people for who they are, allowing that authenticity to come through. It only helps the organization. The organization is run by people and if we can’t allow the differences that people have to come through, then we’re holding ourselves back.

Those companies that are able to do that are going to be the frontrunners. We can leverage this as this change is happening and find ourselves being more authentic freely without having to put on the mask in order to be a part of an organization. The time for that is now. This has been wonderful. For those that are reading, go out and get Kanika’s book. Check her out at KanikaTolver.com. Check out both of her books. Check out the trainings and all that she has to offer. Career Rehab is the name of the company located in Washington, DC. You may want to check her out if you’re in the market for a career change. Again, Kanika, thank you for being on the show. Any last words, maybe a game changer mentality message you would like to leave with us?

We had so many game changer mentality advices on this show, but I guess one game changer mentality that me and my mom talked about is sometimes you got to save yourself. Stop trying to save other people. Sometimes, try to learn how to save yourself because if you can save yourself, you’re healthy and you’re good, then it’ll be better for you to be able to help others in the future. Sometimes, we’re in a place where we’re not healthy enough to save ourselves. It’s impossible for you to try to help all these other people that are maybe leaning on you. That would be my advice, to change your mindset on putting more focus in on you and in loving yourself more, not in a selfish way but in a way that helps you to be able to spread love in a positive way. You can’t love other people if you don’t have that love within your heart for yourself. It’s impossible to do effectively. Thank you for having me.

That’s the call to action. What’s the call to action?

The action is preorder Career Rehab on Amazon.com. It drops in January 2020, but you can preorder it now.

Kanika, thank you for coming on the show. You are a certified game-changer and we appreciate you. We love you. Anything we can do to support you, please let us know. Remember to remain resilient in your pursuit for greatness.

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About Kanika Tolver

GCM 69 | Unlocking Career PossibilitiesKanika Tolver is no ordinary “social-preneur.” This highly decorated information technology Federal Government professional, rebel entrepreneur and Certified Professional Coach is a serial innovator who’s fueled by an extraordinary commitment to social change and helping others create their own “epic lives.”

Tolver is the CEO and Founder of Career Rehab, LLC in Washington, DC. Career Rehab focuses on assisting career transformations for students, professionals and retirees. Her company provides career coaching programs, events, webinars, and digital resources to help people reach their career goals.

Tolver is an in-demand coach, consultant, speaker and thought leader who’s often tapped as an expert source for the media, having been featured on CNN, CBS Radio, Yahoo, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Black Enterprise, the Washington Post and in a variety of radio interviews. However, she specializes in helping individuals establish themselves as the “architects of their own lives” and realize career, business, life and spiritual success—all in a way that promotes restoration, balance and nurturing of one’s authentic self. Her services include career and technology coaching. A self-professed “tech geek” and career technologist enamored by the latest and greatest gadgetry, Tolver is also an advocate that promotes “people of color” becoming more involved in science and technology.

Tolver is also the author of the acclaimed title, Career Rehab: Rebuild Your Personal Brand and Rethink the Way You Work. In Career Rehab, Tolver helps readers strip away what’s holding them back to create the career of their dreams. Readers learn how to create an online brand presence, market an authentic personal brand, and sell their brand-offering expertise and skills. It’s time to take stock and renovate your life by making strategic professional changes that help you achieve not only the job―but also life―you want.

Kanika Tolver, who graduated from Bowie State University in Maryland, currently hails from Washington, DC, where she has lived for most of her life. She enjoys spending time with her husband, family, and friends.

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