Is Your Executive Job Search Taking Too Long?

Is Your Executive Job Search Taking Too Long?

Have you been wondering whether your executive job search has been going on too long? Do you have a sense of whether your motivation is too low–or whether you are simply overanxious? On the one hand, you might be spinning your wheels. On the other, you might be working within a very reasonable time frame, even though your executive job search seems to feel endless.

Orange hourglass tipped on angle

Why is your executive job search taking so long?

There is a rule of thumb that indicates that a reasonable job search takes the number of tens of thousands in your annual compensation and converts it to months: In other words, a $450,000 / year job should take almost 4 years to secure! If this seems irrational to you, you definitely are not alone. I do not think your job search should take that long, either. Although I cannot specifically say that X or Y months is the right length of time for your specific job search, I can definitely say that with the right strategies, often in partnership with a career transition expert, your job search will proceed much more efficiently than with a scattershot approach.

Signs You Are Wasting Time in Your Executive Job Search

Take stock of the techniques that you are using to identify, apply for, and evaluate your future role. Clear signs that you are wasting time with ineffective techniques include:

  • You have no overarching job search strategy.
  • You focus on the tools and techniques to the exclusion of identifying long- versus short-term goals.
  • You are applying for dozens of positions per week with no apparent ROI on the process.

For just a moment, imagine that your job search could be compared, loosely, to a hammer. All of these “techniques” can be likened to the steel head of that hammer. They work well, but without the handle and good aim, you are likely to miss your nail. Or, if you hit it, you probably will have to bash the nail, inefficiently, dozens of times before you succeed in pounding it in. The same will be true with an inefficient job search: You potentially, could hit the right combination of tactics, but more than likely your random successes will fall outside of a targeted, planned, strategic job search process. And, yes, that will definitely use up a great deal of your 45 months.

Signs You Are Efficient in Your Executive Job Search

Let us imagine a different scenario, one in which you are planning and strategizing to make your job search targeted, focused, clear, and tuned to the expectations of your executive audience. In this type of strategic job search, you might be engaging in any number of the following:

  • Broad networking to slake your curiosity about what people do in their roles and/or industries.
  • Focused networking to build credibility and authenticity, especially if you are changing roles and industries at the same time.
  • Developing a highly tuned career portfolio (executive resume, LinkedIn profile, and more) that speaks to what you know to be the needs of your executive audience.

Clearly, if you are able to match your strategic goals with the strategic needs of companies actually engaged in the recruitment process, your likelihood of success is much greater. Moreover, the time it takes to complete a successful executive job search is minimized, according to your clear focus and efficient strategy.

 

Image courtesy of freeimages.com / dsilva

Who Are Your Advocates in Your Executive Job Search?

Who Are Your Advocates in Your Executive Job Search?

When you’re looking down the double barrels of a complex job search, you might be feeling isolated. In most cases, you can’t talk to your immediate colleagues, your suppliers, or your customers. What do you do when you want to move on from your current role, but you have no idea to whom you will turn for help? Who are your advocates in your executive job search?

Your Existing Network

Desert with rock towers

Who are your advocates in your job search?

Certainly, speaking to your current employees or executive team about your plans to make a career move is tricky–or professionally suicidal. However, you likely have a “professional board of directors” who can serve as your sounding board. If you’re planning to change companies or careers, these individuals can advise you on the status of their companies, industries, and more.

Where to look: Start with your close contacts, such as relatives or close former colleagues–these will be your safest audience.

Recruiters

Recruiters can be your best confidential advocates–if they have identified you as a unique resource to pitch to their clients. Of necessity, recruiters follow the needs of their clients, which are the companies that hire them to find unique talent. So while your job search should never start with the premise that you will “work with recruiters.” They know how to find you if they need you, and spreading yourself thinly across a pool of recruiters dilutes your uniqueness. If a recruiter finds you and asks you about your interest in a particular position, that’s a call for which you should always make time.

Where to look: Don’t look at all. Let them find you.

Executive Career Coach and Executive Resume Writer

Your executive career coach and resume writer can be your best advocate throughout your career transition. This professional is always on your side, helping you to develop clarity for your:

  • Target executive title
  • Target industry
  • Target company
  • Messaging and story telling
  • Marketing portfolio, e.g., your executive resume and cover letter
  • Social media presence, including but not limited to LinkedIn profile development

Where to look: Call me to identify whether we are a good fit.

 

Image courtesy of freeimages.com / sscharlo

How to Find Joy in Your Executive Career

How to Find Joy in Your Executive Career

How to Find Joy in Your Executive Career

How to Find Joy in Your Executive Career

To misquote Simon and Garfunkel’s “Kodachrome,” I don’t remember a lot of what I learned in high school specifically. Significantly, however, I do remember learning about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and this concept has always resonated with me. Particularly now in my practice as an executive resume writer and career coach, I think about what pushes executives to stay on their existing career paths—and what induces them to push harder to find joy in their careers.

Briefly, Maslow demonstrated that at the most basic level we need food, clothing, shelter, and all of the fundamental things that enable our bodies to survive. At the highest level, we self-actualize, which has been interpreted as reaching our full potential. In the realm of your executive career, your joy in your work is your self-actualization.

The idea that you’re at your best when you love what you do should not come as a complete surprise. I’m sure there have been many moments in your career that sparked a smile on your face, not to mention accolades from your team or boss. In aggregate, that’s your personal definition of career-related joy.

The harder question is this: How do you make those moments happen more often and more predictably. You can start by asking yourself the following questions:

  1. Are you dissatisfied with your company’s trajectory?
  2. Do you wish you could earn a promotion or better compensation faster?
  3. Are you sure your industry the right one for you?
  4. If you had no obstacles to a career change, would you immediately change industries or job functions to ones you’ve already thought about?
  5. Do you dread Monday mornings?

If you’ve answered “yes” to any or all of these questions, you might not be finding the joy every executive deserves in his or her career. Give me a call—we can talk about your specific situation and develop a strategy to identify the ways you can recover the joy you felt when you first started down this career path.

 

 

Image courtesy of freeimages.com / asifthebes

Treat Your Executive Career the Way You Run Your Company

Treat Your Executive Career the Way You Run Your Company

Recently, I read on several social media outlets a meme that reads, roughly:

Executive #1: “What if we invest in our workforce and they choose to leave?”
Executive #2: “What if we don’t, and they stay?”

Of course this meme was designed to incite executives to invest in their company’s talent. I don’t believe that there is an executive out there who thinks that ignoring the needs of his or her workforce is wise.

Despite the axiomatic value of investing in the talent and expertise of their company, so many executives refuse to do the same for themselves. These executives adamantly refuse to treat their own career growth with the same care and insightfulness.

Executive board room with chairs and table.

Do you refuse to treat your own career growth with care and insightfulness?

Examples of this lack of preparation and investment appear in a number of ways. These executives:

  • Lose their former passion for their work but keep trudging along the same paths on which they have been successful in the past.
  • Fail to create a thoughtful business plan for the success of their careers.
  • Neglect to build a career plan “inventory” in the form of a compelling current resume, recognizable branding, engaging social media presence, and so on.
  • Abandon their warm contacts when they secured the position that was right at the time, treating networking as a goal-specific strategy whose value dropped the moment the ink dried on their contracts.
  • Decline to budget to hire the right consultants to guide them in making complex career decisions.

These executives are smart and insightful, so, probably, they didn’t forget these key steps on purpose. What started as benign neglect quickly turned to outright apathy. The pattern disintegrates into painful lack of motivation and career subsistence. In other words, they are unhappy in their roles, know they can do better, but choose to do nothing, simply because change is too daunting. Fortunately, mastering the enterprise known as your career is not as complicated as running your company–although the personal stakes are infinitely greater.

The broad plan is simple. The expert consultant you need to engage knows the way your career is supposed to work. And the sooner you start, the less time you lose to indifference or fear, and the sooner you can tackle each step of the process, with support, one piece at a time. You simply need to choose to master your career.

 

image courtesy of freeimages.com / svilen001

Learn about Career Paths with LinkedIn’s “Past Company”

Learn about Career Paths with LinkedIn’s “Past Company”

Have you ever wondered where you could go from your current job? Are you concerned that your career path is unclear, and you do not know what your next position might be? Use LinkedIn’s “Past Company” built-in search feature to learn where your company’s former employees landed to help you craft your own path.

Your Colleagues' Career Paths Can Inform Your Own

Your Colleagues’ Career Paths Can Inform Your Own

Start by logging into LinkedIn. Now click on the “Advanced” link, to the right of the search bar at the top of your screen. A number of search options beyond the simple search become visible. The one you need to look at is called “Past Company,” and there is an “+Add” icon that you can click to add your current company’s name. You can add your own title, a different title, or prospective title. You also can select the degree of connection (you might not specify this at this point). Now scroll down and click the blue “Search” button in the left sidebar.

The list that results from this type of search yields profiles of your connections — first through third, depending on your choices — who used to work at your company. Explore these profiles to see what types of roles they had, what they did after that, and what their most recent positions are. From a selected sample of these profiles, you might be getting a better picture of the career paths your former colleagues have taken.

To take this exercise a notch up, select for only first-degree connections. Now do the search again. This list can serve as a starting point for your networking and informational interview strategy. You definitely will have something in common with these individuals, which makes for a great conversation starter. You also have a goal in mind for your informational interview: “Could you please tell me how you chose to leave [former role at former company] for [next role at next company]? What led you to that choice? What skills did you need to acquire to make that jump? How do you feel about your decision now?”

Image courtesy of Freeimage.com / ColinBroug

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