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

5 Ways to Measure Your Job Search Networking Success

5 Ways to Measure Your Job Search Networking Success

Do you wonder whether you are really getting anywhere with your job search networking strategy? While you are in the midst of networking, the process can seem thankless. Did that connection you made a month ago turn into something? How do you know whether the presentation you attended was worth going to from a networking perspective? Although it is hard to pin job search success onto any one networking event, overall, you can measure your networking success with a few simple metrics.

Where is the bottleneck in your job search networking strategy?

Where is the bottleneck in your job search networking strategy?

1. New Connections on LinkedIn

When you collect business cards at a networking event, do you turn them into LinkedIn connections? If not, you are missing a huge opportunity to broaden your network. Measure the growth of your first-degree connections–those you have met in person and those you “meet” virtually–to see whether your networking efforts are bearing fruit.

2. Telephone Meetings

Often, first-degree connections on LinkedIn linger in purgatory, never becoming real-world connections with whom you have conversations. How many of these first-degree connections result in telephone conversations, during which you can ask your new contact a variety of questions about their experiences, positions, companies, and industries? If your number is small, you might need to open this bottleneck in the networking process.

3. Face-to-Face Meetings

How many of your telephone conversations turn into real-world meetings? Granted, the face-to-face meeting is likely to be a more rare event than the telephone meeting, but this makes in-person conversations that much more important. Stack the deck in your favor, and ASK for the meeting. Your connection might be too busy, but chances are that he or she will feel flattered, particularly if you are seeking expertise from a position of genuine curiosity about this person’s experience.

4. Introductions to Hiring Executives

Now recall the number of times you have been introduced by a connection, personally, to a hiring manager. More rare still, these opportunities to meet actual hiring executives are precious chances for you to demonstrate the value you could bring to a company or an industry. Prepare for these meetings wisely–they are not likely to be frequent, so make the most of the chance to make that special first impression.

5. Job Interviews

Interview offers can come in cold, from the submission of your resume to an indifferent web site or email, but they are more likely to develop as a result of your ongoing, powerful, and planned networking strategy. Therefore, this is the metric that matters most in your networking efforts. Bring your best game, and use this opportunity to show how you are the right fit for the company.

Conclusion: Identify the Bottleneck

Where in this process did your numbers drop off? Was it at step 1? Maybe you are not putting yourself out there sufficiently at the broadest level to create as many new connections as you can. Was it at step 4? Why do you think hiring managers–those with the power to extend critical interview offers–are not following through? Not getting a second interview? Then you must examine your interviewing strategy for step 5. Wherever the bottleneck seems to reside, you have to figure out why your experience has followed this pattern. Not sure why your job search networking strategy is not working? We can help.

Image courtesy of freeimages.com / cobrasoft

Put Yourself on the Job Search Map: Strategies for Your Address on Your Resume

Put Yourself on the Job Search Map: Strategies for Your Address on Your Resume

Your address on your resume is critical in your executive job search.

Your address on your resume is critical in your executive job search.

Job search in your own region is difficult, but it is even harder and more complicated to succeed in a job search when you are looking to move to a new geography. You might not have the time to go on cross-country treks for interviews, or you might be excluded from the running because you’re not a ‘”local” candidate. Read on for important resume strategies to improve your odds of getting interviews and job offers for executive jobs outside of your region.

Targeting only Local Executive Positions

Your address on your resume clearly places you in a specific location. If you are searching for a new executive role in your region, hiring leaders are likely to believe that you have some flexibility around interview and start date timing. After all, in most cases, an interview day will not require the expenses and frustrations of overnight travel. If you are applying for local role, therefore, your local address can be one more data point that compels a hiring executive to invite you to continue in the interview process. Therefore, including your address on your resume can improve your chances of being selected for an interview simply based on the convenience factor, all else being equal among you and the other candidates for the position.

Targeting Right Executive Job Openings Regardless of Their Location

On the other hand, if your address on your resume indicates that you are applying from a distance of hundreds or even thousands of miles, then the hiring leader might choose to exclude you on the basis of the complexity of bringing you in and, ultimately, requiring a move across the country.

Therefore, you might choose to include only your name, phone number, and professional email on your resume. This practice has become much more standard. Unlike decades past, your hiring executive is more likely to call your mobile phone or email you than send you a letter via the U.S. Postal Service. For convenience, many people keep their longstanding mobile numbers no matter where they move. We have all encountered executives whose mobile phone area codes do not match their locations, and this practice currently raises few red flags.

Targeting Your Executive Job Search on a Specific Region

If you are targeting a specific location across the state or across the country, you can implement a different type of strategy that enables you to include a local address on your resume. You can successfully and legitimately claim a local address

If removing your address and using your nonlocal but permanent mobile phone number make you uncomfortable, consider the following strategies for your address on your executive resume:

1. Secure a local street address in the city or region that you are targeting. The simplest method of doing this is to use a mailbox service with a street address in the new city.

2. If you want to be completely up front about your move, include the words “Relocating to” with a temporary local address.

3. Get a telephone number with a local area code. Many inexpensive or free phone redirect services enable you to have a telephone number with a local area code that redirects to your existing home or mobile phone number.

Your Resume’s Address: The Bottom Line

Your location matters in your job search for several key reasons, all of them financial. On the one hand, your hiring executive might want to interview all candidates within a certain time span, which could make bringing candidates in from other regions difficult. On the other, the costs of moving a family across the country plus temporary housing, meals, and the search for a new home–called a “relocation package”– can be thousands of additional dollars added to the expenses of hiring a new executive.

Of course, a sufficiently unique skill set and the proof that you are truly the right one for the position for the long term can drive a hiring executive to seek you out and negotiate with you for the position. The terms of negotiation could include relocation services directly paid by the new employer or a one-time signing bonus intended to cover the costs of relocation.

 

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