Big moves and senior level / global appointments at Goldman Sachs, UBS, Nasdaq and German financial technologies investor group, Deutsche Börse…to name a few.
Big moves and senior level / global appointments at Goldman Sachs, UBS, Nasdaq and German financial technologies investor group, Deutsche Börse…to name a few.
JobMob has thoughtfully compiled a list of the best job search advice for 2015! You’ll find my article, “Executive Job Interviews and Money: The Secret to Landing Bigger Job Offers” listed among those of some of the top career professionals in the industry such as Jason Alba (JibberJobber.com), Marc Miller (CareerPivot), J.T. O’Donnell (CareerHMO), Martin Yate (Knock ’em Dead book series), and Undercover Recruiter. Enjoy!
One of the major reasons resume writers—or any writers for that matter—are in business is because it’s simply so hard for people to be objective when writing about themselves or their businesses.
It’s for this very reason you may find it tricky to customize your own resume for the position you are going after. To make it easier, here are three tips that you can use to “tweak” your resume properly. I call it “The Mirroring Technique.”
Tip #1: Find Your Focus. This is an obvious one, but there is a trick to it. So often, professions only think their resume is “focused,” when in reality, they are generalizing. I believe this is because many professionals believe (incorrectly) that they should not focus their job search goals too narrowly for fear of losing out on possible open positions. You can exacerbate this misguided belief by limiting your job search to job boards for executive jobs and positions. Job boards represent about 1 percent of actual jobs that are available and are awash with competition.
The first thing I do when working with my clients is have them complete my Career Success Blueprint™. This gets them hyper-focused on exactly what they want and really understanding where the low-hanging fruit is for them. This information, now on paper, also gets them out of “job board” head space and helps direct their energies to thoughts like, “what exactly do I really want and what are some of my primary job search motivators (i.e. money, geographic, and industry parameters)?” When they get crystal clear on these important components, then and only then can they take the next step—which is to write their resume and formulate the right job search plan. The same is true for you.
Tip #2: Shift Your Perspective. You must approach the information contained in your resume through the eyes of potential employers. In other words, you are going to want to write some things about your career history that will probably not be applicable to your ideal position. Shift your perspective by taking into consideration the position requirements that you know of and, most importantly, the results you can bring to the table: your quantifiable achievements.
For example, if you have a background of experience in operations AND marketing and you are focusing on a marketing director position, you will most likely want to minimize your operations experience and draw forth only the experience relevant to your goals.
Tip #3: Use “The Mirroring Technique.” This is an extension of shifting your perspective. Take an example of your ideal job from any relevant job description using a job aggregator like indeed.com. Next, highlight ALL the keywords and phrases used in the job description that communicate the ideal candidate and also match your skills and strengths. Now weave those keywords into the first page of your resume, essentially “mirroring” what they are asking for.
So often we say to ourselves mentally, “Oh, this position fits me perfectly!” and yet we fail to take that rather simple next step, which is to and make sure we are communicating this in our resume. By using the mirroring technique, it becomes quite easy!
Let me elaborate on the technique of using a sample position from indeed.com—and how powerful this little exercise truly is. Let’s say, that you are interested in a VP of Sales position for a mid-size technology company. Using those search keywords, in about 10 or 15 minutes you will have found three or four position descriptions that sound like a great match for you. It doesn’t matter where these positions are located or even what companies they are with. You are looking for descriptions that excite and energize you and you will know you have found a great match by the emotions they evoke in you. Cut and paste each of these descriptions into a Word document and highlight all of the keywords and phrases that match you. Most likely you will begin to see a pattern of keywords in each position. Simply take and use these keywords and phrases in your resume. You can use them in your showcase keywords at the top of your resume, in your opening statement, and in your bulleted list of core competencies.
Bonus Tip: I like to use a lot of keywords at the very beginning of my resumes so that the reader can (at a glance) get a pretty good idea of what my client is all about in just a few seconds. By using very clear communication at the very top of your resume—which also can be called “good branding”—not only will your resume clearly and powerfully communicate your career objectives and expertise, but you can subtly tweak your keywords to “mirror” a particular industry or position. For example, let’s say you have both start-up and turnaround experience. “Technology Start-Ups” might be one of your keyword phrases at the top of your resume. If you are reaching out to a mid-size technology firm that you know needs a turnaround expert, you can replace “Technology Start-Ups” with “Turnaround Expert.”
Using the simple techniques above should increase your interviews and interest from potential employers.
I always approach any tips I provide you from the perspective of the job seeker going direct to employers versus waiting for the perfect job found on a job board. Remember, almost ALL jobs (more than 85 percent) are not publicly advertised. So no matter what your industry is, or what stage you are at in your career, it makes total sense for you to get your information to the key decision-makers, companies, and industries that you are most interested in. You might be surprised at their show of interest in YOU and your initiative! If you are ready to learn more about how easy it is to tap into the hidden job market, you can check out my home study program at www.job-searchsystem.com.
I hope if you have identified with any of these points, it will help you to quickly and easily take action to shore up areas for improvement. I promise this will result in a much more enjoyable and fruitful job search for you!
Many of my executive-level, 6-figure+ clients secure BIG salary and title increases. Although each executive job seeker’s situation is different, there are some strategies that seem to always be a part of an SVP’s or CXO’s successful career transition. They are as follows:
A clear focus of direction.
As a general rule, you want to play the best poker hand you can. Identify your driving motivators (what is most important to you: money, location, and industry), and check the economic strength of the industries you want to go into or remain in.
If they are strong, are they strong within your geographical parameters?
Do you know which industries are the strongest and fastest-growing in your target market?
Or are you isolating a niche market and your geographic preference is global?
All of these items must be defined. It is the foundation and core of your career transition, and without it you can’t create good marketing collateral or identify and initiate the right job search strategies.
A well-aligned and designed resume.
I can’t say enough about this point.
I just spoke with a wonderful executive today who had all the skills and expertise and P&L responsibility that a mid-size company in his industry could want—but his resume was laid out in such a way that it took an awful lot of reading time to figure that out.
That’s irritating to top recruiters and key decision makers.
You need to create a framework of perception that is satisfying—and takes only about 10 seconds.
You need to be clear on titles/industry/size/scope, and also offer—right at the top of page one—a strong snapshot argument for that target. An executive certified resume writer can help with this!
Other executive clients have five-page resumes because they have done it all. The missing piece here is that you need to write and design your resume TO what you want—not FROM where you have been.
A good design sets you apart from your competition and keeps the reader on the page longer. Psychologically, the reader thinks, “Wow! This looks a little different—the content must be unique as well.”
Demonstrate your understanding of the value of metric-driven accomplishments.
Intrigue is created by front loading your quantifiable achievements. So we say you drove bottom-line revenue by $410M in 24 months by doing XYZ. Not only is this the right thing to do (and it provides you with talking points for your interviews), but it demonstrates psychologically to the reader (or listener) that YOU understand your foundational leadership value and can communicate it fluently.
You want to draw opportunities to yourself. You want to create intrigue. Overexposure—and any communication that conveys any whiff of frustration, desperation, or passive receivership—can unnecessarily diminish your value.
Career transitions test your resolve and who you are as a person. By going in with your eyes wide open, with a plan, and with good marketing collateral and the right job search strategies, you retain your confidence—and that creates the right attraction. The right intrigue.
Demonstrate your leadership.
Leaders let their incoming calls go to voicemail.
Real executives use the highest-quality stationery.
Real executive leaders/mentors possess virtues that establish an interviewer’s confidence and trust in you. As an executive—and also as a human being. Virtues such as internal strength, kindness, wisdom, discernment, respectfulness, and true caring. Traits that, deep down, others want to emulate.
Everybody is different, but when you are going into a company at an executive level, remember … the air is thinner at the top—and you are being watched closely to see how you will “fit in” at the executive table. Get them excited about your foundational strengths—and show them you are a gracious leader with a solid personality who doesn’t get defensive when the hard questions are asked—and you will score a lot of points in a shorter period of time.
Don’t provide anyone with exact numbers regarding your salary if you can absolutely help it.
Recruiters will insist on it.
Key executives will ask about it.
Learn how to answer this question in a satisfying way by giving ranges and then asking if they have a budgeted range for the position.
Leaders don’t say they make $475k base and 30% bonus based on etc., etc … Why? because they are leaders, and they know their job is to steer that conversation back to reality—which is the VALUE you bring to the table. Real leaders demonstrate their leadership by graciously steering communication away from what they made or make somewhere else. Why? Because it has nothing to do with the meeting at hand. So they discourage creating this touchstone, which is likened to playing Russian roulette with the interview process.
Done in harmony with one another, these tips, along with strong marketing collateral and the right job search strategies, have proven to be some of the strongest foundational components associated with my most successful clients. I hope it helps you, too, rise to the fullness of your leadership potential.
Have you come out of an interview floating on a cloud, but after a week or two still haven’t heard back from the company? Don’t despair. Here are some tips to get through the interview roller coaster.
Let me begin by saying that I have never walked through a job search with a SVP or COO and NOT had the subject come up of either a recruiter or a company not getting back to them promptly. So, let’s just establish that these things happen to the most wonderful of executives. The trick is how you manage the situation and keep your composure during the emotional highs and lows associated with most job transitions.
Follow Up Begins in The Interview
The challenge in deciding appropriate level of follow-up on your part is that some employers prefer you were very aggressive in your initiative, while others may find it off-putting. The solution requires getting more information up front during your interviews. One of the last questions you should ask in a phone or in-person interview is, “Where do we go from here?”
Get a Commitment
If possible, get a commitment to a day or week time frame when they will get back to you. If that day/week passes, then simply follow up with a polite, brief e-mail. You can even follow up with a phone call. Restate your excitement about the opportunity, the date they shared with you, and that you are following up with a courtesy call. If you don’t hear back, follow up again a few days later, just don’t get defensive. Maintain your composure at all times! Keep your phone and e-mail messages short and positive.
Another legitimate reason to follow up is because you’ve heard positive news about the company. Set up an alert in Google for the company, and when a press release or article is published about it, Google will send it to your e-mail. If the information has to do with growth, an award, or any relevant subject of discussion, send it to your contact(s) with a short, positive note. This is very flattering, puts the focus on them, and shows your initiative.
Keep it Positive
You should always follow up confidently, consistently, politely, and with positive excitement. Remember, your personality is being evaluated as if every message or e-mail you leave is a post-interview. Leaving the safety of any of these virtues can backfire on you, so be careful! It is human nature to take job search “rejection” or “silence” personally—even though we all know it is not personal—and many times, it is simply due to the very benign reason that no one has followed up with you. Keep in mind that we cannot judge accurately what might be happening on the other end.
You will be much better prepared to deal with the wins and losses associated with your job search (that are an inevitable part of the process) if you come up with two or three job search strategies to secure your interviews. Do those things consistently each week, while being as objective as you can about the end game. After all, if you list a bike on Craigslist and 3,000 people see it, does that mean you are going to get 3,000 calls? You will (maybe) get a less-than-1% response. This is good to remember in a job search. Do the right things consistently—and keep your pipeline full of potential opportunities.
Networking is one of those dreaded and feared activities that every executive job seeker has to face throughout their career. However, it’s also well known that over 50% of jobs are landed through some form of networking!
Here are 5 tips to get you started in your networking success:
Tip 1: Stand Up and Smile
When networking on the phone, stand up and smile! No kidding; it improves your tone and your energy level.
Tip 2: Create a Simple Script
Create a short, simple script for when you are at a networking event or following up on the phone, and practice it out loud a few times. You will be amazed how much more comfortable and confident you will feel with this extra foundation of support!
Tip 3: Make a List
Create a list of everyone you know that might have information on your industry of choice. Your list can include friends, associates, family, people you worship with and people with whom you do business, such as your banker, CPA or realtor. This is my favorite network because I am their customer and people in service industries completely understand the benefits of networking.
Even if you are not on LinkedIn or Facebook, it’s never too late to sign up! You will be amazed how quickly you can build a network, join groups and get the word out through social networking.
Tip 5: Don’t Ask For a Job
Networking is best done in a diplomatic way that puts the focus of interest on the person you are talking to. This is primarily true when meeting someone for the first time, but also when asking to be mentored by someone in an industry you want to get into.
When you are networking with your friends and associates in order to gather information, be sure that you are only asking whether they know of anyone in your industry who may be able to give you some guidance. This takes the pressure off of them and increases your positive responses.
Then if you show up (so to speak) the job interviews will come.
Want more great tips and strategies for networking? Checkout my popular online program “Savvy Networking Secrets for Executives.”
When you think of the phrase “job search,” what words come to mind? Are they things like exciting, fulfilling, more money and more work-life balance? Or are they more like agonizing, frustrating, depressing and overwhelming?
If your thoughts immediately turn negative at the idea of looking for a job, how could that affect your demeanor and the way you come across to those you talk to in your job interviews?
You see, how you feel about your job search is intrinsically connected to its outcome. So it’s in your best interest to set up simple strategies that make your job transition easier, faster and more effective. Here are a few common mistakes executive job seekers make and how to avoid them.
Mistake #1: Hoping the Perfect Job Will Come to You
This is an easy – though fatal – mistake to make. Believing a job is going to just land in your lap will leave you helpless to do anything but sift through your emails and surf dozens of job boards hoping and waiting to see that dream job you are really excited about. When you finally find it (add insult to injury if you don’t really know what you dream job looks like but you will “know it when you see it”), you will invest a big wave of energy focusing on creating and sending off the perfect resume.
What you might not know is that by competing on job boards for positions, your unseen competition could be hundreds or thousands of applicants, many of which might be more qualified than you.
“Hoping” to find the perfect job is not a strategy. Successful people don’t reach their goals by waiting for things to materialize in front of them. So, brainstorm on what you are looking for and what motivates you, then write it all down! Get crystal clear and check to make sure it harmonizes with others in your life that your choices will affect.
Then learn job search strategies other than surfing job boards. Did you know that your success rate using job boards is somewhere between 1 and 3%? Those odds alone are enough to depress any job seeker and tempt them to believe they are as lackluster as their results are indicating.
Mistake #2: Wishing For Someone to “Place” You in a Job
This is the same line of thinking as Mistake #1, but with slightly different elements. I often hear executives say that they are hoping to find someone who will place them in a job. But let’s give this a little thought – do you really want to just be “placed”?
The bottom line is, you will never find any one single person who will bring you enough possible job openings (and then place you in one of them) to make you happy with their service. Why? Because no one knows what you are looking for like you do! Add to this the fact that even if such a person existed, the majority of us wouldn’t be able to afford them!
It’s good to have contacts in a few companies that can introduce you to key people. After all, most jobs are found through networking right? Well here is an inside tip: The best networking is not done through one or two people that can send your resume to an HR department with their endorsement; in fact that is what I would call a very poor networking experience with very little benefit to you!
No, good networking is when YOU take the initiative to go after what you want. Don’t be a “passive receiver” in your job search. When we think in terms of someone placing us, we are giving away our power. If that is your mindset in job search, you will undoubtedly set yourself up for disappointment.
The solution is to simply commit to taking action and initiative in your job search. Map out a plan to find and connect with your market(s) of choice. Give yourself a timeline that doesn’t put undue pressure on you. Learn proven marketing methods for getting a potential employer’s attention and talk with recruiters, resume writers and career coaches as needed. Know that your ultimate success (and satisfaction with the outcome) will come from your commitment to taking positive action.
Mistake #3: Not Asking for Help
The opposite of expecting someone else to manage your career transition for you is trying to do everything yourself. In my business there is much to do. As a business owner, I naturally want to control each and every component. But I know in order for my business to thrive, I must delegate tasks to others. I have to plan. If I don’t, I will quickly become overworked and stressed out, which does not honor or benefit my clients.
An executive job search is no different. If you are struggling or feeling stuck, consult an expert to help you so you can free yourself up to focus on your success. The alternative will likely be to avoid those strategies you don’t know how to do (which might otherwise work brilliantly for your situation!) or might just decide to give up. Neither are good options.
Most people will fall back on what they know when it seems too hard to try another way. Fortunately, these strategies are easy to learn and your choice of resources are abundant! What you will gain from investing in yourself and this job search will not only help you with your current career change (more interviews, better positions, more money, etc.), but will benefit you your entire professional life.
Don’t risk feeling depressed and anxious when you are worth so much more. By following these simple steps you will be on the right track to success!
It all starts in the interview, when the salary discussion is initiated.
If the topic of money arises in your first interview or in a phone interview, and you give up to much information – such as how much you made in your last position or what you are looking for in terms of compensation – then you have successfully steered the focus of the interview in the wrong direction.
When money is brought to the spotlight before a company has had time to get to know you and all of the value you can bring them, how much it will “cost” to hire you takes center stage. When this happens, you will have to work harder to compel your interviewers to see above and beyond your price tag.
Not only do you stand to lose your negotiating power by prematurely mentioning money, but the dollar figure you throw out will now serve as an immovable backdrop against the successful communication of your strengths and attributes.
It’s interesting how this works, but it is very true.
You might be thinking, “Well, how do I get around such a direct question about money in my interviews? After all, I don’t want to appear rude and hurt my chances of being invited back.” It’s wise to be considerate of these points; however you can successfully sidestep these questions and prolong discussions about money for a later interview by using the following simple techniques.
#1: Discuss Benefits
When you are asked how much money you are looking for, simply state that salary is important to you, but benefits are equally important; and since you are on the subject, would they share their benefit package with you? This is a simple diversion that is extremely effective.
If asked how much compensation you are looking for or what you currently make, you might say, “Although I would be happy to discuss money with you, I was hoping to get a better understanding of the opportunity and give you a little more time to get to know me, in order to see if there is a potential fit.”
Follow this statement up by asking them “If that’s okay.” After all, you are declining to answer their question, so your diplomacy and polite response will help you to successfully sidestep this question until a later interview.
These two simple techniques will help you keep the interviewer focused on your skills and abilities as they relate to the position and set the tone and pace for a bigger and better offer later!
Here are a few mistakes you can easily avoid with a little practice:
Mistake #1: Too Arrogant
There is a fine line between the confidence you need to have and being overly confident in a job interview. If you catch yourself saying any of the following statements you might be you might be skating that line:
“I am in no rush.”
“I need XXX of money.”
“I am being interviewed by ___ other companies.”
State your achievements, but stay grounded, respectful and diplomatic to ensure the best outcome. Make certain your potential employer knows you are enthusiastic about the position!
Mistake #2: Too Laid Back
I am a big believer that things end where they begin and most employers would agree that first impressions are paramount. Failing to promptly return calls and send thank you notes are easy errors to make that have disastrous implications.
Mistake #3: Still Grieving
A tumultuous split, being fired, or being laid off, are all difficult situations that usually require a grieving process to get over. Denying yourself the time it takes to heal and move on can result in your being “less than your best” in your interviews. You might not even notice it, but unfortunately, your interviewers will.
Give yourself a little time. Have some kind of “moving on” ceremony (this helps tremendously), so when it comes time to talk about your past employment, you can do so without raising any red flags.
When you put the focus on the salary you will command too early in the interview, or before you are asked about money, then you are perceived as asking for money, not wanting to add value to the company. Keep the focus on the value you bring to your potential employer and the money almost always takes care of itself.
Mistake #5: Too Vague
The best way for you to pique the interest of potential employers from the start is to take a strong sales/consultant role. Meaning specifically, you must continue to peel back the onion of their needs and then speak to those needs. They will be the key reasons for wanting to hire you, so show them you understand what their challenges are and demonstrate you have the solutions. Failing to zero in on your potential employers’ needs can cost you the job.
By understanding how we are perceived in interview situations it’s much easier to circumvent potential roadblocks to your career success and the job of your dreams.