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Is your New Year’s resolution to find a new executive job? 76% of executives are looking to change careers, so it’s likely that you are too. New Year’s resolutions are often easier said than done. As a busy executive, you may not have a lot of time to put into an executive job search, so how can you find the time to achieve this potentially challenging goal in the New Year?

One of the best ways to tackle a long-term goal, such as finding a new executive job, is to separate the goal into smaller, more manageable ones. Meet your career goals this year by choosing a few or all of the following short-term resolutions. You can also add a few of your own short-term resolutions if there are more specific goals that apply to your specific executive job search situation. If you’re actively seeking a new position, it would be best to incorporate all of the following achievable resolutions in your career management plan.

1. Attend one networking event per week.
Like it or not, networking is still one of the best ways to land a new executive job. Whether you’re currently employed or not, networking should still be included in your career management strategy. Be sure to follow-up with any new connections you meet at each event to continue or branch off of conversations you had during your initial meeting. It is also important to keep in touch with your existing and old contacts; they could still be helpful to your job search.
 
If you live in a smaller town where there are less events to attend, you may consider changing this to a monthly goal of attending one long-distance networking event per month. Numerous sites are available to help you find networking events in your location, industry or career function. Some of these include:

  • Meetup—join groups in your area  that meet to discuss a topic related to your industry or career function
  • Eventbrite
  • Professional Social Media Networks—follow industry or career function-related publications, events, influencers, etc to see announcements of upcoming events
  • Join industry associations—these associations often have events for their members and often post about upcoming events in their specific industry
  • Lanyrd
  • Eventful
  • LinkedIn Groups—join groups related to your industry or career function to find out about any upcoming events
  • MediaBistro—great for media industry executives


2. Block out one day per month.
Executives often find that the “backlog” of personal and professional projects on their to-do lists can be difficult to clear out. Some of the items on this list may never be completed (if not started for 6+ months). Sometimes these projects have landed on this list because they were not vital at the time, but eventually they can become critical. In order to complete the most critical “backlog” projects in the New Year, block out one day per month (even if it’s a weekend) to get the highest priority items finished on this list. If your New Year’s resolution is to find a new executive job, then the highest priority items in your “backlog” will be related to your career management and job search strategy.
 
3. Refine your resume quarterly.
Your executive resume should be updated at least every few months. It is still your most essential executive branding tool and should always represent the most up-to-date version of yourself. You may also consider creating different targeted resumes, such as a board resume or one that’s targeted to executive recruiters. If your resume requires a quick boost, you may consider hiring an expert resume writer to help.
 
4. Develop one new in-demand skill this year.
Developing additional skills, such as learning a foreign language could help you stay one step ahead of your competition in the executive job market. To decide what skills may be valuable to your career, think about what skills are useful for executives to have in your field and at your desired job function. Are there any that you do not have or that you could build on?
 
According to the 2013 Industrial & Manufacturing Executive Job Trends Report, the following skills were considered top skill sets for manufacturing executives’ success:
1. Management and people motivation
2. Leadership
3. Strategic thinking
4. Sector knowledge
5. Communication
 
Once you decide which skill to focus on this year, you will need to decide how you will gain the skill. One way to do this would be through signing up for EMBA courses online or at your local university. For more technical skills, there is a wide-range of courses available online. You may also be able to learn your chosen skill by seeking out a mentor who has already mastered the skill. This could be your current boss, a co-worker or someone you’ve met at a networking event.
 
5. Update your LinkedIn, BlueSteps and professional profiles monthly.
This is a relatively simple, yet time-consuming resolution (if you have a lot of profiles to update). Nonetheless, it’s an important part of an executive’s career management strategy. By keeping all of your online profiles up-to-date, you will continue to be accessible to executive search consultants and hiring managers 24/7 through search engines and through direct searching through the databases or social media sites. When you’re updating these profiles, be sure to include your most up-to-date resume, any new relevant keywords, changes in your status, etc.

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