As an accomplished executive, you’re accustomed to receiving support from others. From executive administrators, to direct reports, to peers and associates, you know exactly which resources to tap in order to get your job done efficiently. It’s easy to take for granted that you’re part of a well-oiled machine.
Now that you’re engaged in an executive job search, you find yourself on a virtual island. In an effort to keep your search confidential, you hesitate to share your goals with colleagues. Concerns about confidentiality also keep you from strategically networking externally.
Making matters worse, you are unclear about how to approach today’s complex job search process. It’s been many years since you last proactively searched for a job and times have changed. You’ve consulted the Internet for guidance, but you remain confused and now feel even more overwhelmed. There must be a more efficient way to make an executive career change, but you feel stuck and out of options.
Launching an executive job search is not unlike key initiatives you’ve spearheaded in your executive role. Follow these steps for a more efficient and successful executive career transition:
1. Identify the problem.
Corporations don’t hire employees, particularly highly paid executives, to fill headcount. They hire solutions to key problems. As you begin to consider your next executive position, clearly define the problem(s) you want to solve. How will your presence help the company generate new market opportunities, reduce operational inefficiencies, address competitive threats, etc.?
2. Evaluate the need.
Once you identify the problem(s) you want to solve, you must understand which companies are in need of your services, as well as their profile of an ideal candidate. Some companies may not yet have defined this need or profile, which provides you with a unique opportunity to proactively present yourself as the solution, rather than respond to a pre-defined opportunity. Not only does this enable you to influence the direction of the executive position, but it also significantly minimizes your competition.
3. Develop an effective marketing strategy.
You now know what you want to do next and where you’d like to target. The next step is to powerfully market yourself for the executive role you want. You’ll want a high quality career portfolio, which includes your executive resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile. You’ll also want a clear and compelling marketing message and career story that you can confidently deliver to recruiters and hiring managers. All of your messaging, written or otherwise, should reflect a cohesive strategy and executive brand.
4. Execute your executive career transition plan.
Armed with the marketing materials you need to best position yourself for the executive role you want, you can now take action. Reach out proactively to the targets you identified in step 2. You can also leverage other valuable resources, such as trusted associates, executive recruiters, and niche job sites to uncover additional executive targets.
The important thing to keep in mind as you approach this process is to follow these steps as linearly as possible. You won’t be prepared for, and, therefore, won’t be effective, in the later steps if you haven’t fully completed the earlier steps. This process is a progression that prepares you for maximum results.
If you struggle with how to approach any of these steps, engage an executive career expert to help you. Finding the right executive job has wide reaching implications for your career and life. You would never undertake a high stakes company initiative without a solid plan and a team of experienced resources. Don’t treat your executive job search with anything less than the level of respect and due diligence you would afford your work.
What additional strategies have you used to maximize your executive career transition? Please share them in the comments.