The Real Reason Your Executive Resume Isn’t Working

As an executive who seeks a greater challenge, you know it’s time for a change. You’re restless, unsatisfied, and eager for more. You want to take the next step, but where do you begin?

If you’re like most executives, you immediately turn your attention to your resume. You assume that if you arm yourself with a powerful executive resume, the rest of the pieces will fall into place. This assumption, The Real Reason Your Executive Resume Isn't Workinghowever, has stopped many well-intentioned executives dead in their tracks.

An executive resume is an important tool in your job search process, but it’s just that – a tool. It’s not a strategy and it, alone, will not help you land your next executive role. To successfully move forward, you need a comprehensive marketing strategy that best positions you for the job you want.

Your marketing strategy must consist of three important elements:

1. Your career story

Many executives sabotage their search efforts by jumping into the job search process prematurely. Until you know exactly what you want to do and why you’re the best fit for that role, you can’t effectively sell yourself to others.

When you’re ready to make a change, it’s tempting to take immediate action. Circulating your executive resume, contacting executive recruiters, and applying for open positions provide instant gratification. Without a clear focus and a strong message, however, you set yourself up for failure. This leads to a cycle of disappointment that frustrates your efforts and diminishes your confidence.

Take the time to clarify your target, understand your motivation, and articulate your value. If, like many executives, you struggle with this, seek help from others who can see beyond your emotional blinders. Until you have this piece solidly in pace, your executive resume holds no value.

2. Your executive network

By now you know that the most effective way to find a new executive career opportunity is by networking. What you probably don’t know is how to do this most effectively. Nearly all of my clients think that they are networking when, in actuality, they are simply circulating their resumes and asking others to keep them in mind for new opportunities.

To maximize your executive network, you must first identify the key players – the most relevant and influential leaders you know. Even if you haven’t consistently nurtured your existing network, or made efforts to strategically expand your network, you undoubtedly know people who can help you learn about new opportunities, share valuable information, and facilitate additional connections. For more on how to maximize your network, read, “The #1 Secret to Maximizing Your Executive Network.”

Once you’ve identified your contacts, network with a plan. What do you specifically need from others? What do you have to offer in return? Without a plan, you’ll waste valuable time and experience minimal results.

3. Your action plan

You cannot effectively execute a job search without a clear and actionable plan. Particularly in today’s job market, where executive opportunities are limited and competition is fierce, you need specific goals and action steps to drive you forward. You can’t afford to lose time “winging” it.

Your action plan serves two important purposes:  it gives you direction, and it holds you accountable. To develop your action plan, decide which resources you’ll leverage and how you’ll do so. Then set timeframes to ensure completion.

Developing an action plan can be challenging because it isn’t always clear which steps to take. If you have a high sense of urgency and need to make an immediate change, engage a career expert to minimize inefficiencies and maximize results.

Making an executive career transition is a complex process that requires personal reflection, clear goals, and powerful execution. As you’ve successfully done throughout your career, leverage your resources in areas where you need help. With a comprehensive marketing strategy, you’ll achieve your goals and accelerate your success.

Has a lack of a comprehensive marketing strategy limited your executive job search? What advice would you have for others interested in making an executive career transition? Please share in the comments.

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