Executive Career Management

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.

Businesses are crying out for great leaders causing organisations to commit significant resources to leadership development. While much is said about the effectiveness of leadership development, the question is how effective is leadership development when it does not start as a practice early in a person’s career? 

Today’s challenging business times require extraordinary leadership, and increasingly companies across the globe are heavily invested in finding and empowering leaders. They compete for the best people outside of the organisation and also realise that their strength lies in a well-developed talent pool. Yet, they still fall behind in truly building the leadership capacity they need for the future.

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.

The 2015 BlueSteps Job Outlook Report just released by Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants, shows that 72.4 percent of management-level professionals worldwide feel more optimistic about their career opportunities for 2015, an increase of 21.4 percentage points compared to the previous year. 88.2 percent of management-level professionals responded that they are open to new opportunities in 2015.

Posted recently on LinkedIn by one of my connections – and a personal friend of mine – was a notice: "I’m 58 years of age and refuse to retire or slow down. I want to continue my career.”
Here, on a digital platform, is the catch-cry of the middle aged.
It's a tribute to people such as my friend above that they're out there and fighting to remain relevant, but so many of those who once had careers are now struggling to keep the spotlight on themselves. Nobody told the baby boomers it was going to be like this. And this will soon be a situation that the older Gen Xers also face.

AESC retained executive search firms all have unique methods, tools and approaches to managing client relations, completing deep market analysis and screening candidates. However, in the same way each member firm of the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) adheres to a high level of ethical standards, a common outline for the executive search process is often followed.
executive search steps

When I speak to various professionals and executive leaders, a key theme that comes up repeatedly is advice on key career management tips. Having just thought about it deeply during a long flight, a distillation of my career-long learning is as follows:

1. Back yourself.

Self-confidence cannot be outsourced! When you encounter tough people or new situations, the only person who has full knowledge of your past success is you. Get inspired by Edmund Hillary's words to Mount Everest: “I'll come back to you. You cannot grow taller but I can.”

The time where executives could expect to spend their entire career in one company has long since evaporated. In today’s fast-changing executive career landscape, moving to new companies and shifting careers multiple times has become a professional norm, and is one that we all must adjust to.

Regardless of your current job status or whether or not you’re considering new executive opportunities, it is vital to have a well thought-out career management strategy in place. Executive careers can be unpredictable and if you are forced to enter a period of transition, you can reduce the time period with some careful forward planning. 

Being referred to a hiring manager by a trusted person increases an applicant’s odds of being hired 50–100X, according to Lou Adler, author of Performance-Based Hiring.
With odds like that, any job seeker would be foolish to ignore the power of networking. In fact, for an effective and efficient search, networking should be your primary strategy.
Not all executives believe this, however. I’ve heard lines like these countless times in my many years as a resume writer/career advisor: