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It’s Not Too Late to Change Careers

Time for Career ChangeAs an executive coach, I am committed to helping professionals achieve success and satisfaction on their terms. I’ve worked with many talented individuals who have overcome significant obstacles to achieve their goals. So it’s always disheartening to me when someone has a professional goal or vision but shrugs it off, claiming that it’s too late.

In rare cases, it might be too late. If you’re 50 years old and dreaming of becoming an NBA all-star, that ship has likely sailed. But for most of us, our goals are much more attainable with the right attitude and level of effort.

For some people, having a dream that they write off due to age is a way of shirking responsibility. Instead of making the effort to make their goal a reality, they blame their age and continue to suffer in their less desirable job. In this scenario, it’s not their fault that they don’t have a more rewarding career. It’s simply too late to make the required changes.

The unfortunate effect of this belief is that you give up not only your dream but also your power. You’re a victim of external forces, which hold you hostage in an unfulfilling role. Is that how you want to live?

It’s important to be realistic about what’s possible but if you really want something, it’s also critical that you question your assumptions and limiting beliefs. If you’re thinking about making a career change but worry that you’re too old, consider the following:

1. What do you want to do?

One of the greatest forces against change is lack of clarity about what you actually want. Many professionals have created an ambiguous vision that allows them to fantasize about an escape from their current jobs. The vision lacks structure so taking action to achieve it is virtually impossible. But it serves the purpose of giving them something to think about when times are tough. Is that what you’re doing, or is there something more?

Before giving up on a dream, take time to clearly articulate what you would do if age and other factors were not an issue. Be as detailed as possible. Don’t stop until you can visualize yourself in that role.

Taking the time to clarify the vision can often make it feel more attainable. Once you’re clear about what you want to do, you can begin to recognize it in real settings, rather than simply imagining it in your mind. That makes it far easier to explore the possibilities and the changes you would need to make to successfully make a transition.

2. Why do you want to do it?

Once you’ve painted a clear picture of what you want to do, ask yourself why. What is it that motivates you to want to do this? Think deeply beyond the superficial reasons that tend to surface immediately.

Is this simply a mental escape from your current job or is it more than that? What would this type of work offer you that you’re not getting today?

Exploring your motivations for wanting a change can be very powerful. Not only does it help you to gauge your level of interest in making a change, it can also help you to recognize opportunities for change in your current situation. Perhaps the change you really want can be achieved by making some tweaks to your current role, or by taking on a new role in your company or industry. Many times we think we need to make dramatic changes to achieve our goals when small changes will have the same effect.

Be clear about what is driving you to make a change. And recognize that the vision you’ve outlined is likely only one way of achieving your goals. Are there other ways you can satisfy your need for change?

3. How badly do you want it?

Making a career change at any age isn’t easy. As you get older, though, it does tend to get more complicated. Complications aren’t a function of age but of life. As you get older, family and financial responsibilities make it more challenging to shift gears. Change is possible but it requires effort. The more badly you want something, the more likely you’ll be to commit to the process.

On a scale of 1-10, how badly do you want this? Is it something that you deeply desire? When you imagine yourself in the role, how does it make you feel?

If you’re like most people, you haven’t had an opportunity to truly think about these questions. Take some time to seriously reflect on them. Think also about another important question:

At the end of your life, which will you regret more: pursuing a more fulfilling career, regardless of the outcome, or remaining in your comfort zone, however miserable you may feel today?

If you can clearly articulate your goal, tap into your deeper motivations, and determine that you truly want to achieve it, don’t let age stand in your way. It’s perfectly normal to feel anxious and uncertain about how to proceed but you don’t have to go it alone. There are countless resources available to help you explore and execute this type of transition.

Most importantly, remember this. You can’t change your age but you can change your circumstances. You can either be over 50 with an unsatisfying job or over 50 with meaningful work.

This is a post on behalf of Job Action Day.

Job Action Day

How to Engage in a Confidential Executive Job Search

confidential job searchYou’re ready to make an executive career transition but you recognize that this could take a while. In the meantime, you want to avoid potential backlash and protect your current role. To minimize risks to your current position, you hope to keep your job search activities confidential.

So how do you search for a new role without alerting your current employer? Conducting an executive job search while you’re employed can be tricky but here are a few approaches you can take to maximize confidentiality.

Be discreet.

The use of social media can greatly accelerate your job search but if you’re not careful, you risk exposure. Pay special attention to your LinkedIn profile. Be sure that it is complete and that it powerfully reflects your accomplishments and career direction. Do not, however, announce your interest in finding a new job.

While making changes to your profile, adjust your privacy settings to ensure that your activity is not broadcast to your network. This is particularly important if you haven’t been a consistent LinkedIn user, as a sudden burst of activity could raise suspicions. Be discreet with other social media platforms as well.

Use discretion with your colleagues too. While you might be tempted to discuss your plans with co-workers, don’t assume that they will maintain your confidentiality. Until you are prepared to share your decision with your manager, you should avoid discussing it with anyone else internally.

Avoid the use of company resources.

When it comes to the use of mobile devices, email, and other technologies, the line between personal and professional activity is often blurred. It is critical, however, that you limit all job search activity to your personal resources. Messages sent through your company email address, searches you conduct through your company’s network, etc. can all be monitored by your company’s IT group, which can blow your cover.

Ideally you should reserve all job search activity for non-business hours. At times, however, you may need to respond to an email or speak with a recruiter during your work day. Use your personal email account for all job search-related correspondence. When connecting by phone, be sure that you are speaking in a private setting, even if that means taking the call in your car.

Stay committed to your current role.

Your time is limited. And as your enthusiasm for making a change has grown, you’ve mentally begun to check out of your current position. You’d much prefer to focus your efforts on your transition. Although it’s difficult to balance the demands of your existing role and an executive job search, the easiest way to raise suspicions is to let your performance slide.

Until you officially exit your role, you have a responsibility to perform at your best. Stay engaged with your team, continue to add value, and be sure to meet all deadlines. It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s also important to your reputation. You never know when you might need a reference from a current leader or may work with current colleagues again in the future.

Conducting a confidential job search can be a challenge. With the right level of strategy and discretion, however, you can be successful. Follow these steps to maximize your executive career transition.

Struggling to Manage Your Executive Job Search?

Struggling to Manage Executive Job SearchYou’re ready for an executive career change and have recently begun to explore new career opportunities. The responsibilities of your current role, however, have limited your time and ability to focus on your next step. Each time you take a step forward in your job search, your efforts are derailed by a crisis, deadline or other distraction. You worry that you’ll remain trapped in your current role simply because you lack the bandwidth to find something new.

So how do you manage your current personal and professional responsibilities while effectively pursuing a new executive career? Finding a new job as you manage an existing job can be a challenging balancing act but with the right approach, you can achieve success.

Follow these steps to maximize your executive career transition:

Define

Begin by defining your current responsibilities. Pay special attention to activities that have the potential to be time-consuming and disruptive to your job search efforts. Do you have a busy month of travel ahead? Are you facing a challenging deadline? Are you in the midst of a product launch, quarter end, PR crisis, etc.?

Competing responsibilities such as these don’t have to delay your career transition but you need to have a clear view of what lies ahead. The better you understand your schedule and associated time limitations, the more realistically you can approach your executive job search.

Prioritize

As a results-oriented executive, you are accustomed to having a full calendar. You regularly take on new responsibilities knowing that they need to get done and believing that you’re the best qualified to tackle them. If you’re serious about making a career change, however, you must be willing to prioritize.

Look carefully at your calendar and to-do list and be honest with yourself. What needs your immediate attention? What can you postpone until the more critical issues are addressed? And, perhaps more importantly, what can you delegate? If you’re planning to make a career transition, someone will need to step into your shoes when you leave. Can you begin to offload some of your responsibilities onto a likely successor?

Plan

With a clear understanding of your key responsibilities and how to effectively prioritize them, you can begin to develop a job search plan to guide your efforts. One of the biggest challenges facing busy executives in career transition is the struggle to efficiently use the limited free time they do have. When they find themselves with a free moment, they don’t know how to spend it. Without a plan, you’ll waste a lot of time trying to determine where to focus.

Based on your current schedule, designate specific blocks of time to work on your job search. You do not need to set aside hours of time; 15-20 minute intervals add up over time. You’ll inevitably need to make occasional adjustments due to scheduling conflicts but, to the extent possible, treat these blocks of time as you would any meeting on your calendar. Use these time blocks to take very specific actions, such as contacting key members of your network, conducting research on target roles, etc.

Organize

You don’t have time to waste so it will be very important to find a manageable system to track all of your job search activity. Consider using a spreadsheet to track all networking meetings and follow up activity, which will ensure that nothing slips through the cracks. Use this or another system to manage target positions, interviews, etc. as well.

Proactively creating an organizational system will minimize the stress and frustration of the administrative process. And because your system will increase your efficiency, you’ll maximize your ability to focus on high-payoff career transition activities.

Pursuing a new executive role under any circumstances can feel overwhelming. In addition to the fear and doubt that inevitably surface, there is often anxiety and uncertainty about how to focus your efforts for maximum success. Adding in the high-pressure responsibilities of an existing executive role only compounds the stress. By following these steps to take as much control of your job search approach as possible, you’ll maximize your time and overall success.

Feeling Stuck in Your Current Role? 3 Paths to Greater Career Growth

greater career growthAs a highly driven executive, you’ve always been motivated to perform at your best. You continuously strive to expand your skill set and eagerly embrace new challenges. Your current role, however, has left you feeling stuck and underutilized.

Reaching a plateau in your career can negatively affect your motivation, confidence, and overall mood. It’s difficult to get out of bed every morning when what lies ahead is another monotonous day of going through the motions. You not only suffer the frustration of a tedious daily routine but you also worry about your future. Will you be prepared for advancement opportunities if you’re not assuming new responsibilities? Will you be perceived as someone who can take on increasingly more challenging work if you’ve been stuck in a holding pattern for a while?

If you’re feeling stagnant in your current role, you’re not alone. All positions are naturally cyclical, beginning with a learning curve that flattens out as you master your role. You have the ability to control your destiny by deciding how to move forward. Here are three options to consider.

Re-design your existing role.

Before concluding that you’ve reached a dead end in your existing role, take a moment to shift your perspective. Can you expand your role to include more challenging activities? Are there cross-functional projects that would broaden your skill set and internal network? Can you spearhead a new initiative within your group?

Don’t wait for others to delegate additional responsibilities to you. Do your research and then approach your manager with your goals and ideas. He/she will more than likely appreciate your initiative and gladly explore opportunities for you to assume greater levels of responsibility.

Seek an internal transfer or promotion.

If, after exploring opportunities for growth within your current role, you determine that it’s time for something new, consider an internal transfer or promotion. Many executives allow their frustration to reach such a level of intensity that when they do become ready to make a change, they feel that an external position is their only option. Before jumping ship, explore your options internally.

Leverage your internal relationships to learn more about potential opportunities in other groups. Keep in mind that not all positions will be posted so you may need to do some digging to understand where the possibilities lie. Often by engaging in these types of exploratory discussions, you uncover hidden opportunities or find ways to create your own role.

Pursue an external career option.

Sometimes there simply are no good or immediate opportunities for career growth internally. If your company lacks advancement opportunities, or you decide to make a company or industry change, your best option is to pursue an external position. An external transition can be more challenging so it’s important to have a plan.

Before taking action to find a new executive role, be clear about what you want and don’t want from your next position. Many frustrated executives are so eager to leave a bad situation that they jump right into a new one. Take time to understand your needs and interests to ensure that you’re making the best change for you.

If you’re feeling stuck in your current role, there is hope! Carefully weigh the options presented here and take action to pursue the path that is right for you. Remember that each day you spend in an unsatisfying role is time you could be using to advance your career. Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you. Take charge of your own career to overcome stagnation and maximize your career growth.

Is Fear Preventing You from Making a Career Change?

FearIf you’ve been considering a career change, you know how daunting a process this can be. Making a career change has important implications for your professional and personal life. It’s no surprise that you’re feeling overwhelmed by confusion, uncertainty, and self-doubt.

Many executives begin by making assumptions about the career transition process. Beliefs such as, “I’m not qualified to make an industry change,” “I’ll never find a position that pays as well as my current role,” or, “I can’t have job satisfaction and a high-level, challenging position at the same time,” keep you securely in your comfort zone. Unfortunately, they also prevent you from taking steps toward a more rewarding career.

So how do you overcome the fear and limiting beliefs that stand in the way of greater career satisfaction? All transitions involve some degree of risk but you can take proactive steps to minimize the risk and maximize the reward.

Ask yourself key questions

Begin by making an effort to understand your real motivation for making a change. What do you truly want from your next role? Answering this question might require some soul searching. Many executives seek career opportunities because of external expectations rather than internal motivations. For example, they can’t imagine how others, including their loved ones, would respond if they gave up a stable corporate position to pursue a riskier start-up venture. Or they worry about what others would think if they gave up a large compensation package to work for a non-profit.

Take some time to think about what is most important to you. What do you specifically want to do? What do you not want to do? What type of environment will best allow you to thrive? The more thought you give to these types of questions, the clearer your vision will be.

Establish clear goals

Having a clear vision is the first step to a successful career transition but without clear goals, you’re unlikely to take action and make your vision a reality. Begin with a timeline. Would you like to make a change in 6 months? 2 years? 5 years? Knowing your timeline will allow you to translate your vision to a strategic plan.

Your strategic plan should include clear goals and associated action steps. Goals might include clarifying your specific career target, developing a marketing strategy that positions you for your ideal role, engaging your executive network, etc. Making the effort to create specific and measurable goals will greatly increase your chances of success.

Confront your fears

Even with a clear vision and an actionable plan, you still might find it difficult to take the next step. You know what you need to do but fear and uncertainty stand in your way. Take some time to reflect on these fears. Common fears include leaving the safety and security of your current company, regretting the change after you’ve made it, qualifying for the position you really want, earning enough money in your new role, maintaining your work/life balance, etc.

All of these fears are normal but they don’t have to hold you back. By exploring these fears and understanding what lies at the root of them, you’ll dilute their power and approach your career transition with more clarity and confidence. Suppressing your fears or allowing them to control you only keeps you in a state of stagnation and frustration.

Following these steps will help you to maximize the often stressful and overwhelming process of making a career transition. Sometimes, however, fear can continue to keep you frozen in your tracks. If you still find yourself stuck or unclear about how to move forward, consider asking for help. Getting support from a resource who is not as close to the situation as you are can often help you gain new perspective, slowly step outside your comfort zone, and eventually reach your goal.

You’re Not Just an Executive, You’re a Valuable Asset. What Problems Can You Solve?

What Problems Can You Solve?As an accomplished executive, you have long been perceived by your staff and broader organization as a valuable asset. Because of your ability to problem solve and make critical decisions, you are accustomed to being a “go to” person at your company. You’ve earned a powerful reputation and established yourself as a key resource.

Now that you are engaged in an executive job search, you must demonstrate your unique value to prospective employers who aren’t necessarily familiar with your track record. To establish yourself as the ideal candidate, you must position yourself as a “go to” person for their company. They need to see you, not just as an experienced executive, but as a key asset to their organization.

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.? Take the time to determine what you will specifically bring to their organization.

As you reflect on the problems you are uniquely qualified to solve, follow these steps:

  1. Define and document key problems you’ve addressed, including what, where, why, when and how they occurred.
  2. Elaborate on the analysis you performed to determine the root cause of each problem.
  3. Document your plan to resolve each issue. What specific steps did you take? How did you arrive at that approach?
  4. How did you monitor the plan to ensure success? Did you need to make adjustments along the way?
  5. What was the outcome? How did you determine that the issue was resolved?

Once you’ve carefully thought through and documented these examples, you’ll feel much more confident in your value proposition. Use these stories to strengthen your executive resume, boost your LinkedIn profile, and prepare for interviews.

Preparing in advance to answer questions regarding your approach to problem solving will best position you for the executive role you want. Don’t try to think on your feet. With some time and careful reflection, you’ll be able to best illustrate your unique strengths and powerfully differentiate yourself from your competition.

Thinking About an Executive Career Change? Start with a Clear Career Target

Clear Career TargetYou’re ready for an executive career change. It’s now time to advance your career. While it’s tempting to pursue any position that might seem like a fit, this is not the best approach. Applying for a variety of positions can have a negative impact on you and your search. It can lead to an unsatisfying job, as well as cost you in terms of time, money, and damage to your self-confidence. Having a clear career target focuses your executive job search and empowers you to best position yourself for a successful transition.

Each time you pursue a new executive career opportunity, you compete with other highly qualified executives. To compete effectively, you must genuinely believe that you are the right executive for the position and you must successfully communicate this to your target audience. When you broaden your career options, you lose the ability to speak powerfully about your fit for the role.

Start your search by evaluating your career. Where are you now? Where would you like to go next? Where do you want to be in 3-5 years? Identify your current skills and leadership qualities, focusing particularly on areas that differentiate you from your competition. List your accomplishments and determine what skills you used to achieve them. How do your skills and accomplishments uniquely qualify you for the role you want?

Once you are clear about what you want to do and why you’re the right fit, ensure that your marketing strategy completely aligns with your career target. Your resume, social media presence, and messaging must all consistently support your career direction and establish you as the best candidate for the executive role you seek. If you struggle with how to market yourself for the job you want, seek the help of a career expert.

Remember, an executive job search is not a numbers game. Keeping your career options open merely shifts your attention away from your target. Zeroing in on the right executive opportunities will strengthen your confidence, message and candidacy.

Too Busy for an Executive Career Transition? Try This!

executive career transitionYou’re an accomplished executive who is ready for your next challenge. You’ve reached your potential in your current role and are eager to spread your wings in a new group, company, or industry. You’re excited for your next step.

But… you’re busy! You have a great deal of responsibility in your current executive role. While you know you can’t take the next step without committing to the process, you have very little time to engage in an executive job search.

Here are 4 steps to help you maximize your executive career transition when you have limited bandwidth:

1. Have a clear focus.

Because you don’t have time to waste, you must be strategic about your executive career transition. Before you even begin your search, know exactly what you want:

    • Be crystal clear about your career target.
    • Identify your specific target companies.
    • Know what you need from your next work environment.

If you’re not clear about this yet, set aside small, but consistent, blocks of time to conduct research, engage in soul searching, or talk with others. With a clear focus, you’ll avoid a time-consuming and frustrating trial and error process.

2. Avoid known executive job search pitfalls.

You know job boards are an ineffective executive job search strategy, so don’t waste precious time on them. Engage in the highest payoff activities to accelerate the career transition process.

You already know that networking is the most effective strategy, so make time to connect or re-connect with your friends, colleagues, and associates. Networking doesn’t have to be all consuming. Schedule one 30-minute call per week to build momentum.

3. Take incremental steps.

One of the greatest challenges facing busy executives in career transition is their belief that they need to do too much too soon. Trying to boil the ocean will only set you up to fail.

Determine how much time you can reasonably commit to your executive job search each week and mark it on your calendar. Occasional 30-minute blocks in the morning, or 1-hour blocks in the evening will produce a cumulative effect over time. If you wait until you have large chunks of time available, you will never move forward.

4. Seek help.

Making an executive career transition under any circumstances is challenging. Doing so when you’re actively employed is even more complicated. Don’t try to do it alone. You may be a rock star in your role, but navigating an executive job search does not come naturally to most. Evaluate your strengths and determine where you need help.

    • Do you need help clarifying your career direction?
    • Do you need a more effective networking strategy?
    • Do you need support crafting your value proposition?

An executive career strategist can help you minimize the inefficiencies of an executive job search process. With the right support, you’ll stay focused, maximize your time, and reach your target with far less stress and uncertainty than you would on your own.

If you’re a busy executive who is ready for a career change, don’t let time stand in your way. With a clear focus, the right strategies, and a strong support system, you can achieve your career goals. And you won’t lose your sanity in the process!

5 Critical Interview Questions You Must Ask

5 Critical Interview Questions You Must AskYou know that you should be prepared to ask questions during an interview. If you’re like most executives, however, you view this as a formality. You create a list of questions “for show,” but focus most of your interview preparation on how you’ll respond to the interviewer’s questions.

Most executives forget that the interview is as much for them as it is for the employer. You’re not there simply to convince the hiring manager that you’re right for the role. Take advantage of the interview process to gather information that will help you determine whether or not this role is the right fit for you.

Asking questions not only provides you with important information about the role, hiring manager, company culture, work environment, etc., it also allows you to better frame your responses to the interviewer’s questions. Use questions to clarify, gain additional context, and get a deeper sense of the hiring manager’s approach. This will help you shape your responses in order to present yourself as the best candidate for the role.

So which questions should you ask? Here are 5 critical questions that you must ask in every interview.

1. Why is this position open?

Before you step into a new role, you want to understand the circumstances under which you’re being hired. Is this a new position in a growing group? Was the previous person fired for poor performance? Was the last person a rock star who was adored by all?

Each of these scenarios has important implications. By asking this question, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the type of environment you’d be stepping into, any baggage associated with the position, and the expectations of the person who takes the role.

2. What keeps you up at night?

This question provides you with important insights into the hiring manager and the group. As he/she reveals frustrations and challenges, you develop a deeper understanding of the problems facing your would-be organization. This is a great way to assess whether or not this is an environment you want to be part of.

This interview question also allows you to strategically position yourself as the solution to those challenges. As you learn more about the issues confronting the group, discuss specific ways in which you’ve successfully approached similar problems in the past.  When you do, you’ll be much more memorable to the interviewer.

3. What is the criteria for success in this role?

Before you take a new role, you want to understand how the hiring manager defines success. What qualities is he/she looking for in an employee? What goals are you expected to achieve in the short and long-term? Are those goals formally assigned?

You also want to know how you’ll be measured. Understand how the hiring manager, as well as the company, evaluates its employees. How is feedback communicated? Is there a formal review process? These questions not only allow you to understand their expectations, but they give you a window into their approach to management, which can help you better evaluate the fit.

4. Based on what you know today, do you have any reservations about my candidacy?

Many executives are afraid to ask this question for fear of how the interviewer will respond. It’s a powerful opportunity to gauge where you stand, however. Whether or not the interviewer provides a candid response, his/her body language will reveal important information. Many executives leave an interview believing that it went well without ever validating this with the interviewer. Here’s your opportunity to get early feedback.

The question also allows you to respond to any objections raised. Perhaps the hiring manager misunderstood one of your responses, or didn’t get a sufficient understanding of one of your skills.  If he/she provides concerns, you now have an opportunity to immediately address any objections and reinforce your candidacy before you leave the room.

5. What are the next steps?

This may seem obvious, but many executives fail to ask what’s next. Knowing the timeline for next steps will provide you with a sense of the process so that you’re not left wondering when you’ll hear something. It also allows you to follow up appropriately if you don’t hear back within the timeframe provided.

Asking powerful interview questions helps you differentiate yourself from your competition. Because most executives treat interviews as an interrogation, rather than a two-way dialogue, your questions will help you shine. You’ll also gather important information to help you decide whether or not you want the position.

Are there additional interview questions you would add to the list? Please share them in the comments section.

Jack-of-All-Trades? 4 Steps to a More Powerful Career Marketing Strategy

Jack-of-All-Trades? 4 Steps to a More Powerful Career Marketing StrategyIn the past few weeks, I’ve had the same conversation with at least a dozen corporate executives, so it seemed to warrant a dedicated blog post. One of the greatest challenges facing my clients and countless executives is how to effectively market yourself when you’re a generalist, rather than a specialist. In other words, how do you create a focused value proposition when you’re a jack-of-all-trades, master of none (or, more likely, master of some)?

This tends to be more pervasive among rising and higher-level executives, which makes a lot of sense. As you progress through an organization, your role becomes more strategic, which requires a broader perspective, as well as involvement in groups or activities that fall outside your official domain. Whereas early in your career you specialized rather narrowly in a particular area, you’ve since traded depth for breadth.

When this becomes a challenge is when you decide it’s time to make a career transition and you must now market yourself to your next executive role. Personal marketing is uncomfortable for many executives, but particularly those experiencing pressure to distill their diverse background and skills into a concise and powerful branding statement.

Here are 4 things to consider as you develop your marketing strategy:

1. Recognize that diverse experience is an asset, not a liability.

Before you can craft a compelling value proposition, you must shift your mindset. Your perceived lack of specialization is not a liability. Your breadth of experience and diverse skill set offer you a unique perspective. Because you understand the bigger picture, you are able to conceptualize the benefits and limitations of key decisions. You also possess the ability to effectively communicate with different audiences because you understand their objectives and motivations. To position yourself for the executive role you want, focus on what makes you unique.

2. Have a clear target.

What do you specifically want to do next? Are you having difficulty marketing yourself because you aren’t clear about your target? Are you struggling to narrow your focus because you’ve worked in a number of areas in the past and feel qualified to perform many roles?

While you may be capable of working in a number of different capacities, you must define your target to successfully market yourself. (See Why Keeping Your Career Options Open is a Bad Idea for more about the importance of focusing your executive job search.) Choose a target that best aligns with your strengths and interests and focus on finding opportunities that match that profile. If you need to, you can always adjust your target along the way, but building your marketing strategy around a specific focus will yield much greater results.

3. Emphasize relevant experience.

Just because you have a broad range of skills and experiences doesn’t mean you have to showcase all of them at one time. Once you’ve selected your target, focus on the strengths and accomplishments that are most relevant to that target. Choose examples from your work history that best illustrate your fit for the position you want.

As you move deeper into discussions with hiring managers or networking contacts, you may find it helpful to reference other skills or experiences. These may help to strengthen your candidacy. Leading with this information, however, will only confuse your audience and dilute your message.

 4. Believe in your story.

To effectively sell yourself to others, you need to know and believe in your own story. Why are you the right person for the job you want? Most of the executives that come to me struggle, not because they lack a compelling story, but because they lack confidence in their story. They undermine their own value in the way they talk about themselves.

Once you have a clear target and understand your unique differentiators, you must embrace your story. Until you believe in yourself, others will not see you as the leader you want to be. Get rid of statements such as, “I’m the glue that holds this place together,” and emphasize the measurable value you bring to an organization.

If you’re a jack-of-all-trades interested in marketing yourself to your next executive role, the key to success is focus! Don’t get bogged down in the details of your diverse work experience. Select a clear target, develop a value proposition that aligns with that target, and confidently position yourself for that role. If you struggle with this process, contact me to learn more about how I’ve helped many executives overcome this challenge and successfully land their ideal roles

Are you a “jack-of-all-trades?” How do you manage the challenges of marketing yourself to new career opportunities?