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Executive Job Search & Career Transitions

How much time and effort do you put into checking out a prospective company before accepting an offer for a potential position - let alone applying to an organization?

Executives already know that a large percentage of success when hiring new employees is how well they fit into the company culture. But how does a prospective employee learn what they need to know to determine if they are a good fit with any one organization?
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1. If the company is local, drive to their offices and do a little surveillance.

Perhaps the only task harder than reaching a C-level position in the first place is recapturing that rank after you’ve had to step down a rung on the corporate ladder. Yet that’s the dilemma many executives have faced in their careers and usually not by choice.

How did this happen to me?

One or more factors probably play a key part in this situation, including:

Nearly every time I talk with executives about their job search and the career documents they need the long-standing question comes up…

Do I really need a cover letter and is it really being read? executive_job_search_cover_letter

Some executives will tell me that they personally don’t read candidate cover letters (the reasons: they are usually not well written, sound canned, not tailored, etc.). Others will tell me that they do read them—some before they read the resume and others after they read the resume, looking for consistency between the two documents and interest in their company and the position.

In today’s increasingly globalized business environment, the demand is growing for internationally minded executives who can produce results across a variety of markets and cultures. It can be argued that there has never been a better time to pursue an expatriate career as finding and developing these individuals is a key priority for multinational firms. However, searching for the right position abroad presents its own set of challenges. Below are some tips to keep in mind.
 

expatriate_job_searchIdentify your unique strengths

For more on this topic, register for the "Career Transition Planning: Finding Your Next Opportunity" webinar.
 

As an executive, career planning is critical to your professional success, and a vital step for anyone seeking to expand their options, regardless of whether they intend to make a career move now or in the future. Planning your career transition in advance gives you the opportunity to understand and analyze a full range of options and adequately prepare ahead of time.

If you are a seasoned executive in today’s job queue, you are no doubt being sensitized to the quandary of age discrimination. From the lunch lady in Springfield, Illinois to the CEO of a men’s haberdashery, companies are betting on youth to preserve their vitality and inject new blood to ramp up their corporate circulation. A recent Google web search on “Age Discrimination” yielded 15.5 million results while the news category alone showed 753,000 hits. I suspect that the topic will continue to be one of great concern and importance as Baby Boomers, (those born between 1945 and 1964) and Gen X’ers (born between 1960 and 1980,) come face to face with their mortality and the trend to jettison old cargo.

BlueSteps recently hosted an #ExecCareer Chat on the topic of executive job search in the tech sector, featuring Stephen Van Vreede, BlueSteps executive career advisor.

Some of the questions asked included:

In today’s problematic job market and economy, you might think it’s safer and a no-brainer to stay where you are, if you’re currently employed and not facing a layoff—as far as you know. Or you might be one of those risk-takers with an entrepreneurial spirit for whom staying in one place more than a few years, at most, is unthinkable.

On the other hand, you might be part of the great middle group that could go either way, depending on a number of factors. The question in any case is, what do you need and want to consider before pursuing a new opportunity or deciding to stay where you are?

Why might you want to move on?

Are you looking for a practically foolproof executive job search strategy? What would you say if I told you there was a job search method that yields success in the form of desirable employment more than 80% of the time? If you’re like most executives, you’d overlook this strategy in spite of its success rate. Why? Because it’s a bit more work than blindly applying to open positions on executive job boards or sending your resume to executive recruiters.
 
But if you don’t mind a little bit of work, this strategy is a winner and one that has the support of job search guru Richard Bolles of What Color Is Your Parachute? fame, not to mention your BlueSteps Executive Career Services team.

It’s fairly easy to craft a professional brand for career advancement when you’ve been building on the same career track the whole time. Your brand is essentially a summary of what you’ve been doing all this while and how you’re ready to take it to a whole new level. But what do you do if you’re looking for a career change?
 
The good news is that the biggest obstacle career changers face is more often one of perception rather than ability—in other words, it’s not so much a matter of having the requisite skills to take on a new role but convincing others that you can make the switch. (Of course, this assumes you do, in fact, have the technical skillset and necessary qualifications.)