Approximately 60 percent of executives I speak with will share with me in our initial conversation that they have always been recruited for positions – and that for the first time in a very long time, they are faced with finding their next opportunity themselves. They may have some contacts and even a few recruiters they keep in touch with (read more about working with executive recruiters here). But their resume has not been updated in over a decade, they don’t do much with LinkedIn, and they are aware the job search landscape has changed … but don’t feel prepared for the trip. They generally think the right next move is to “update their resume and see what is out there…”
If that sounds like you, the tips below will help bring clarity regarding the correct steps to take to move forward confidently. It is a positive place to be, filled with opportunity since you come with no preconceived notions of the job search!
Equally important to note is you want to start your executive transition the right way. The reason why is because the wrong resume, the wrong approach, the wrong job search techniques and the wrong expectations can sap your energy and leave you feeling frustrated in a matter of weeks or months.
Here are some key tips to prevent that from happening to you:
DETERMINE YOUR FOCUS OF DIRECTION
First, you have to plan. A few things you will want to know are:
- What key skills do you want to use?
- What size company do you want to be with?
- What titles would you find enticing?
- Do you have a location preference?
- What industry would you like to be in?
- What are your driving motivators? (The things you have to have no matter what. This could be an industry change, a compensation range, a location or other.)
- What is your time frame and sense of urgency?
- How is the industry you are interested in doing economically? It is growing or stable? Is it in decline? Ideally, you want to fish where the fish are biting so bear that in mind if your industry is lagging … you may want to look for industries that are connected or on the periphery that present more opportunities. You can find several executive resume samples that show a crystal clear focus here.
BUILD YOUR EXECUTIVE RESUME
Now that you have defined the points important to you, you can (and must) build your resume TO them. That means beginning at the end and working backward. Your CXO resume is a marketing document, not a historical career narrative. A very valuable exercise is to explore online jobs to gauge what you are drawn to. Once you have found two or three, you can look for running themes in keywords and phrases. You want to use these as the basis for designing your executive resume. This is where a top executive resume writer can really pay off. It can be difficult to write about yourself in the light you truly should in order to accurately and crisply convey your value proposition and professional polish. Many executives feel as if they are bragging. When writing your resume, you can quell this feeling by simply focusing on your metric-driven accomplishments. The facts, as they say, speak for themselves. Always start your bullets with those facts. In other words, the result comes first, then you tell how you accomplished the result. More on the power of the C-level resume here.
EXECUTIVE JOB SEARCH STRATEGIES
Finally, you need to use the right job search techniques. Searching at the SVP or CXO level is tricky. The rulebook is completely different. You can’t exactly pass your resume around and ask your buddies if they know of any key executive roles (and to call you if they run across one). I mean, you can – but this strategy is counter to you as a leader. Leaders take charge. They maintain more control than this. Fortunately, there are many job search strategies that work flawlessly and are in alignment with leaders and executives. They involve helping others make good decisions for you by giving them the right information. The mediums can be both passive and active as there is a time and place for both strategies and they usually include a combination of executive recruiters, private equity firms, executive networking, LinkedIn and going direct (the hidden job market). I break these strategies down for you in this article. I even developed several easy and results-producing online courses on C-level job search strategies here.
This is a foolproof systematic approach used by top executives across the globe. I hope this empowers you with knowledge that you do not have to give up being the leader you are to facilitate your job transition. In fact, having control of your transition can instead mean that you get to cherry-pick your next ideal role and command premier compensation for it!