You come up with a breakthrough idea that will disrupt your market or sharpen your company’s competitive edge. You hire the most reputable researchers to meticulously analyze the potential market and its challengers. You recruit the best prototype engineers to labor over features and design. You partner with acclaimed product-testing labs to ensure that you get it right the first time. You invest heavily in high-price-tag Big-5 consultants to scrupulously plan every detail of the supply chain to optimize performance from Day 1.
When seeking an executive role, relying on a single executive job search strategy–such as job ads–is akin to trying to get in shape merely by doing some sit-ups. Learn the executive job search equivalent of a full-body workout to maximize results.
If you’re like me, summer vacation is long over, but you are still carrying around its remnants in the form of extra pounds. Returning to the gym after beach snoozing—stirring only for ice cream or Piña Coladas—can be brutal.
It’s easy to get discouraged when conducting an executive job search. As a lower-level manager or professional, perhaps it seemed that job opportunities abounded. But now, at the executive level, the available positions are harder to come by and it can be difficult to be privy to information about vacancies.
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.”
First of all, recruiters are paid by client companies, not the job seeker.
It may come as a surprise that—as someone who earns a living writing resumes for executives—I do, on occasion, turn prospective clients away.
The reason? They aren’t ready for my services.
For a resume to be effective, it must unequivocally position a candidate for the function, industry, and challenge they are hoping to take on next. But I often speak to executive job seekers who don’t have a clear idea of where they are aiming. Trying to polish and prime your resume when you haven’t clarified your objective is akin to sharpening arrows and then hoping to shoot them blindfolded and still hit the target.
I hear it all the time. “Nobody is calling me for interviews because of my age”.
Ageism is alive and kicking at all hiring levels, even at the senior-executive level. Many senior executives go from feeling that they’ve finally reached the pinnacle of achievement and experience in their career to seemingly overnight being concerned about being “too old”. In fact, senior executives are often caught in the worst Catch-22 of all: their calm maturity, experience, and 360-degree view of operations gained through decades of overcoming business challenges are precisely where their unique value resides.
With the excitement of the holidays wearing off, most of us are shifting gears with our eye on positive change in 2017. For many, this involves a fresh career start, meaning that the daunting task of the resume overhaul is at the top of the New Year’s resolution list.
We all want to be more efficient, more effective, and more aligned with the rapidly changing world around us. So, too, should our executive resumes.
The following are tips for ensuring that your resume is 2017-ready.
The level of responsibility that goes hand in hand with an executive role can leave little time to think about personal career management. And when your greatest career advances have been thanks to your ability to improve performance, drive change, and develop your organization, it may feel like focusing on business results is managing your career. Besides, your current role may be such a great opportunity and challenge that the thought of “what’s next” may not even come to mind yet.
Landing the perfect-fit C-suite position is hardly as formulaic as polishing up your resume and shooting it out into the universe in response to job ads—hoping that the perfect hiring agent takes the bait. If that were the case, a well-crafted resume (and perhaps an equally brilliant cover letter) would be the only components of your job-search arsenal needed to secure your next position.
But the reality is that the vast majority of executive-level jobs never make their way into an advertisement—meaning that your chance to be privy to such opportunities requires you to rely heavily on your network of contacts for introductions and hints regarding such undisclosed opportunities.
Few would deny that self-awareness is critical in optimizing our performance—whether we’re trying to ride a bike or coach a large team to overturn a period of stagnation in business. Endless literature backs up the benefits of pausing, meditating, reflecting, prioritizing, and in general improving our self-awareness. In fact, it is at the heart of everything from executive coaching to mindfulness retreats to your run-of-the-mill self-help books.