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Executive Job Search & Career Transitions

Reader question: I am a 50-year old jobseeker and the idea of launching a job search after 25 years in one company is paralyzing me. How bad are my chances given my age and what can I do?

Even if you are not in this exact circumstance, I have heard other preconceived fears that paralyze job searches – my school isn’t a top 10, my major wasn’t business-related, my experience isn’t analytical enough, there is a glass ceiling for women anyway. The subtext is, “Why bother trying?”

In this week of the Ivy Exec blog spotlight, we repost Brad Attig's question and answer session regarding transitioning from consultant to a full time position, and how to balance job requirements with long term personal commitments during a job search.

Question: I have 15 years broad and in depth experience in human resource management. However, I’ve been a contract consultant through all of it. My assignments have been anywhere between 3 to 18 months working from my client’s site.

I’ve been networking actively to find a new position and truly want to join a firm full time.

A career transition marks a pivotal point in your life and career that allows you to re-evaluate your past and plan for your future. With this comes a lot of pressure. Stanlee Phelps, SVP of outplacement firm Lee Hecht Harrison wrote a great article offering 15 'Strategies to Ease a Career Transition', providing the inspiration for this article. Read on to avoid negativity and ensure that you are approaching your job search with the correct mindset.

A recent LinkedIn update detailed a title change of a contact from Consultant Financial Advisor to Senior Vice President Finance, reminding me of an often forgotten benefit to being a successful consultant – the chance of landing highly coveted executive positions.

Engaging in consulting assignments often features in the careers of senior executives, and as demonstrated above, can result in working relationships that develop into fulltime positions. But is consulting right for you?

In the latest installment of our Ivy Exec blog spotlight, we look at an article posted by Caroline Ceniza-Levine offering 10 tips for excelling in your job search right through to secondary interview rounds. Take her expert advice to ensure you get the job offer you deserve:

Those who are active in a job search will come across three important stages: interviews with HR, 2nd & 3rd round interviews with upper management, and the final rounds of interviews and salary negotiation. Depending on where you may run into trouble, there are different solutions. Here are 10 ways you can accelerate that process.

If you aren’t getting interviews:

1. Define, Expand and Explore. Before a successful job search can begin you must define your personal brand and relate your skills to target roles. Look beyond your current career trajectory. Too often executives consider themselves pigeon-holed into one option when there is an expanse of directions available with their experience. Define and document all potential career paths and track progress towards landing your next executive position. You should also consider expanding your geographical search area to ensure you are considered for the top positions in your industry.


The reasons for coming home for Australian expats are many and varied. It can be to give children the opportunity of "being Australian‟ and enjoying a simpler, freer and cleaner environment to grow up in. For others it is to take care of aging parents and for others still, it is simply to reconnect with the beaches, the outdoors and the space. Many expats do move for a job but this is rarely a step up career-wise and comes about as part of a bigger plan to relocate for other reasons.


A senior executive’s network is an essential part of his or her career management plan, and is a very powerful, yet still underestimated, tool for job search
Whether in an active executive job search or developing an ongoing career management plan, senior executives should develop a solid network and build good relationships so they can best communicate their aims and goals to these useful contacts when in transition.

Many executives need a little help when deciding who to approach in networking for executive opportunities and how best to explain their situation, so read on for BlueSteps’ top tips:
Planning your executive career from one stage to the next is essential, but how do you know when to make that move? The truth is, there are no certain answers, but read on to see my thoughts.
 
1. When should an executive make a career move?
 
Although there are many factors in making a decision to move executive jobs, I would recommend considering a career move when there is no longer sufficient opportunity to progress and to be challenged, or when you become aware of an opportunity that better fits your short and  long-term career goals.
 
For the first reason, ask yourself; are you still being challenged and learning everyday? If not perhaps it is time to move on.
 

A senior executive in the AESC / BlueSteps LinkedIn group asked us whether or not BlueSteps is worth the value of the one-time membership fee. Working for the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) who owns and operates BlueSteps makes me biased, but nonetheless I believe joining BlueSteps is essential for all senior executives.

Here's my response to explain why: