Most executives line up their top references with such confidence that they just assume that those recommendations will be sterling. That may well be the case, but why risk a slip of someone else’s tongue? The use of online recommendations on sites such as LinkedIn makes the importance of soliciting, influencing and managing your references all the more critical.

If you’re a department head, vice president or director, now is a great time to start planning a move up to the C-suite in the coming year. Because you will need to reach out to your network, polish your resume, talk with executive recruiters and begin the extended interview process, making a change won’t happen overnight.

Here are seven steps that can help set you apart from the competition.

c_suite_executive_job_search1. Leverage social media.

2016 is around the corner. If you are making personal resolutions, why not extend that activity to your career as well? Welcome the New Year by reflecting on your job search plan.

Are you doing the same things in your job search today that you did five or 10 years ago and expecting the same results? What may have worked even a year ago may not today, so you need to reassess and retool your action plan to identify your successful strategies and change those that have not been effective.

new-year-executive-job-searchThe points below will help you to audit your job search activities:

With every new year comes new opportunities. Now is an excellent time to reflect on the past 12 months and how you envision your career for 2016.

Whether you want to change jobs — or careers, or simply get more out of your current job, use the next few weeks wisely and figure out what you need to do to lift your career to the next level. Perhaps it’s telling your network you’re looking to make a move. Or, perhaps it’s getting a promotion and a raise. Whatever it is, figure out how you’re going to make it happen.

manage_your_executive_career_new_yearHere are some clues to get started:

Career fulfilment is everyone’s responsibility. To fulfill your career, you should periodically align the value that you bring to the table to the value the role (or company) requires you to deliver. That’s easy to say, but hard to do.

In this respect, I will provide you three keys:
1) to qualify the contexts of your future leadership role,
2) to qualify the value the role needs to contribute and
3) to qualify yourself for that leadership role.

1. Which contexts to take into account?

“We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and everyone should be really excellent.” — Steve Jobs

AESC chats with Glenda K. Brown, Managing Director, BlueSteps & Global Partnerships, about why contrary to popular belief, the holidays could still be a good time to land your next executive position.

The prevailing wisdom is that the holidays are a bad time for executives to search for a job. Do you agree?

I don’t particularly agree. There are a few reasons that it can actually be an opportune time for executives to conduct a search.

As a Director or VP, one of the key questions you need to ask yourself is, do I really have a passion to advance to a C-level executive position? You cannot allow yourself to be purely driven by money or status, but rather ask the question, “Will I be happy, and fulfilled, in reaching the C-suite?” From the time we start our careers, we all naturally want to be at the top of the heap, but unfortunately, for many, achieving this objective results in a material decrease in job satisfaction.

Research surrounding the executive career management industry is extensive and the statistics available provide a resource paramount to the success of any senior executive career. These numbers warrant your attention.  You do not need to be a chief financial officer, mathematician or statistician to establish the relevance of results obtained from a wide range of resources - most importantly from decision makers - so do the math because your career depends on it.

At the end of the year, we often reflect on our goals for the New Year and beyond. As you think about your career goals, you may consider focusing on incorporating something you're passionate about.

Know Your Passion
It probably will not surprise you to know that the majority of people are not passionate about their work. In the United States, 77% have no job passion (Deloitte LLP, 2010); in Japan the number is 60% (The CONNECTYOU Report, 2009).

As the world increasingly becomes digitized, a lot of professionals suddenly find themselves short on relevance in various areas of work and life. While a natural reaction is to think that one has missed the bus, nothing could be farther from the truth. Here are eight ways to get out of the rut, based on actual feedback from surveys and consensus amongst industry observers: