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Business leaders have always been scrutinized for their decision making. In 1914, Henry Ford was both denounced as a fool and praised for doubling wages of factory employees from $2.34 to $5 per day. In 1987, Merck & Company decided to give away a cure for river blindness for free, an unfathomable choice for most pharmaceuticals, because they recognized the cost of the drug would be too high for impoverished international markets. Today, entire industries emerge and evaporate in just a few years, so executives must be ready to make substantive choices with limited information. Decisions on people – who to hire, fire, promote and reward – is even more complex; even if new algorithms are quantifying our daily behavior, humans create messy and imperfect data sets.

As you embark on your executive job search, you will quickly realize the digital age has vastly altered the way in which a successful job search at the executive level is conducted. With the introduction of social media and what appears to be the ease of applying through the vast selection of job boards, you will need to execute a savvy job search to identify and ultimately land the right-fit role.

In 2017, it seems like everything is being measured and quantified. Over time, this trend has spread to people-centric industries like executive search. Like it or not, the use of personality assessments – and other pre-employment testing – is alive and well as companies are hiring employees from the entry level to the executive level. I’m often asked by clients and candidates alike, “what role should personality testing play in the hiring process?” My response usually begins with the words “be careful…”

It can be a challenge for many senior level executives to muster the time and energy needed for building and maintaining their professional network. But without a robust network, executives put their careers at great risk by neglecting this vital aspect of career contingency planning. Executives hoping to safeguard their careers and improve their career trajectory must have a network in place before they come to rely on it for finding their next role. Like the Chinese proverb dictates, you must dig the well before you are thirsty, and executive networking is no exception. 

I see lots of resumes every week – some are sent in by my hiring team, some come to me from absolute strangers via LinkedIn & some come via referrals from friends & acquaintances.

Often, I have experienced a difference between the persona reflected in the resume, and the person you meet in reality. Based on my real-life experience, here’s my take on what C-level cover letters & resumes should look like: 

Most of the professionals I come into contact with as an executive resume writer are exceptionally talented individuals. They are master business strategists, breakthrough innovators, quality visionaries, and relentless change leaders—with the epic accomplishments to prove it. That’s why I am surprised when some of them fail to approach their executive job search with the same spirit of enterprise.  When asked about their plan, they say, “I’ll pay a recruiter to find me a job” and “All I need is a strong resume.”  

As an executive are you looking for a great way to differentiate yourself and make a personal connection with your choice employer(s)? Short videos can help executives deliver a quick and compelling message while translating your brand more effectively than the traditional cover letter. 

Subsequent to the first post on this series on ageism, there have been two publications reported by the Wall Street Journal which validate the active practice of ageism in the job market. As these reports come from the US, one involves a potential violation in US Labor Law. With that being said, the purpose of this publication series is not about how to find yourself engaged in a multiyear law suit, but rather proactively avoid the practice of ageism in your job search.

BlueSteps recently hosted an #ExecCareer TweetChat all about women in the C-suite with top executive search consultants, Cathy Logue from Stanton Chase and Bridget Papanicholas of TRANSEARCH International, and Kathy Simmons of BlueSteps’ Executive Career Services.

Some of the questions presented to our panel included:

Ageism is a discriminatory attitude broadly defined as prejudice or discrimination on the grounds of a person's age, in practice it can involve discriminating against younger, not just older workers, though the latter is the more usual connotation. The online Oxford Living Dictionary quotes ‘ageism in recruitment is an increasing problem’.  

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