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Executive Career Management

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:

With the rise of social media and easy publishing tools, 2015 is going to be the year of self-promotion through thought leadership. What does this mean for your career management strategy? It means that candidates who are looking to stand out will need to go beyond their personal brand to demonstrate their specific industry or functional area expertise.

This post will highlight the emerging trends you can join in on next year to showcase your thought leadership expertise out to your intended audience (executive recruiters and hiring managers). These include writing effective content, keyword optimization, publishing your content and tools to help expand your network.

My previous post discussed the C-suite Relationship Map, which I have based on the CFO Relationship Map I use in my executive coaching with Chief Financial Officers.  I have been working with this relationship map for the past few years.

I am fortunate to speak with hundreds of executives each year, in addition to those that I follow and track. Over the years, I have learned a lot about success, what works and what doesn’t, from these talented leaders.

One area that successful executives have in common is their ability to get the best out of their corporate relationships. No matter the discipline of the C-suite executive, their technical ability is just the base upon which they start having an impact on their organization. The CXO is not an island, but is integrated into an ecosystem that is mutually dependent. The success of any executive relies on others. Those who recognize, nurture and sustain successful corporate relationships are those that accomplish more.

When asked how they intend to find their next job, many executives answer, “I’ll contact a headhunter who can manage that for me.” Unfortunately, that statement reflects lack of knowledge about how executive recruiters work and the role an executive search firm plays in the careers of individual executives.
 

Now that you’ve climbed the ladder, how do you keep moving up?

Even experienced, successful executives need to ensure that they are always looking forward to the future. Being successful in the past is no guarantee of your future success. Effective career management is still necessary even at the top of the ladder.