The start of a new year can naturally kick-start a period of self-reflection and a new motivation to self-improve. Often the dreaded end of year review can act as a catalyst for executives who feel that they ought to be progressing further in their careers or are not being fairly compensated for their work. For many executives, the final quarter of the year can help provide the clarity and drive needed to begin an executive job search.
But before launching your search, it is vital to develop a strategic plan to maximize your time and efforts: an executive’s two most precious commodities. To help you optimize your job search strategy, BlueSteps have gathered our top 7 tips to help you move in the right direction:
1. Optimize Your Career Documents in Advance
If a search consultant or potential employer considers you for a role, after viewing your bio or online profile, the first thing they will request is your resume, making it vital for you to optimize these documents at the earliest opportunity. They are the cornerstone of any job search and so you must make sure they are current, consistent, and compelling. Each one should adhere to executive career document conventions and be optimized to present yourself as an ideal candidate.
2. Learn How to Articulate Your Key Success Stories
Your success stories should not only be artfully articulated throughout your career documents (see above), but should also prepared for you to vocalize during interviews and networking opportunities. Metrics and data can help authenticate your stories and give scale to your professional accomplishments, as do awards, so spending time understanding how best to present them is advisable.
3. Carefully Curate Your Online Presence
In today’s digital age, whether on the BlueSteps database, LinkedIn or elsewhere online, recruiters and employers are taking to the internet to search for, and vet, potential executive candidates. Is your online persona professional and consistent with your personal brand image? Think clearly about what your online profiles say about you and what could be improved. You can also use online platforms to increase your visibility to the search community by authoring thought leadership pieces or sharing your expert insights with those in your industry and beyond. Having a bare, blank or boring online profile can be just as damaging as a poorly constructed one. Having a polished online profile is now an expectation, not a choice.
4. Prepare Your Executive Interview Answers
As one would expect, executive interviews are fraught with tough questions for potential candidates to navigate, testing your ability to perform under pressure. Often executives are asked tricky questions, including those relating to professional failure. Be open and honest, but make sure you are able to demonstrate your ability to learn from mistakes and improve your decision-making skills. You could also be asked for reasons about reasons for leaving your last employment. Again, it is important to be honest, yet professional. Research and make a list of possible executive interview questions, and practice your responses to boost your chances of success.
5. Build and Maintain Your Professional Network
Executives who wait until a time of instability to begin networking are often met with failure. Professional networks should be nurtured throughout your career to ensure you can depend on it during periods of uncertainty. It is a safety net worth the investment of your time. To create the most robust network, make sure that your relationships are mutually beneficial and contribute regularly to the “favor bank.” Executive recruiters should also be a key component to your professional network. When recruiters call, even if you are not interested in the role, you can cultivate a long-term professional relationship with them by offering helpful candidate suggestions or explaining your thoughts regarding why the opportunity might not be right for you.
6. Keep Up to Date with Industry and Functional Trends
The executive job market is a rapidly changing environment and it pays to keep up to date on relevant trends relating to your industry or function. To help you stay ahead of trends and utilize them in your executive job search, join BlueSteps for their unique webinar where top search consultants share their insights and answer your questions during a live Q&A.
7.Continually Critically Assess Your Executive Job Search Efforts
To make sure you don’t succumb to job-seeker drifting, give yourself time-bound goals throughout your search. Look critically at your resume, interview technique and possible pitfalls. Evaluate the success of each of your tactics to ensure you are investing your time wisely and concentrating your efforts appropriately. Setting realistic benchmarks should help to keep you on track and motivated during your period of transition.
If you would like help making your executive job search more strategic, focused and mindful of emerging executive trends, register for our complimentary BlueSteps webinar “Executive Job Search Tips for 2018”.