Tag: CEO job search
Landing your first, or second or third CEO role can be accelerated through understanding how to best market yourself in a way that most fluidly communicates your value points as well as gaining clarity on what the market best responds to. Here are a few quick tips to help you in your next executive transition:
Most of my CEO and other CxO clients who initially come to me for executive resumes tell me that this is the first time they have ever had to look or plan for a new position and that most of their CEO job opportunities have come to them through inside channels. Others state that their relationships with recruiters have helped them to vet new executive CEO job opportunities.
If you have also had a run of opportunities come to you—that’s great! But there seems to come a point in every executive’s career when they are called to ‘make rain’ and find opportunities that are a good fit for them. Another consideration regarding market leverage is that if you know how to do it, you don’t have to rely on opportunities that are coming to you at any given time, and you can actually set up and easily manage your own transition.
Here are a few resources and strategies my CEO clients use to get full market leverage in their executive job searches:
Yes, you can use ExecuNet or Bluesteps as paid executive job board options to find Chief Executive Officer job opportunities. You can also just set up email alerts for CEO jobs using an aggregator like indeed.com. LinkedIn also has a feature for setting up job alerts. The benefit here is that you set it up once—and the positions come to you daily or weekly. You can quickly scan them for relevancy in just a few minutes per week. Be sure not to spend too much time on this one; according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, positions paying more than 300K are only represented online at 10% of the actual jobs available, so you don’t want to spend too much time here. You can also use these CEO jobs that are delivered to you as a market indicator. Look for running patterns and themes, and note who is growing and hiring in your niche, and what recruiters are posting multiple positions that match your interest.
Identify recruiters who say they place CEOs and have Chief Executive Officer Job Postings. You can also research those executive recruiters who work with CEOs that work in your industry too. They often have contracts to fill positions, the majority of which will never be advertised.
If you are making a radical change of industries, a recruiter who places CEOs may not be the best source for you as they will be looking for “a match.” Having said that, there are generalist recruiters who have CEO job searches across multiple industries.
You can do an internet search for CEO recruiters+your industry. You can also look up CEO recruiters on LinkedIn. I offer a recruiter distribution here, and an in-depth course on how to work with executive recruiters here.
Direct Company Contact
The secret to finding CEO jobs by going directly to companies of interest to you is in the numbers. Contacting a company directly (knowing full well they probably have multiple open positions that are not advertised) is a great way to demonstrate leadership and take control of your job search. Are you interested in looking at the higher-education market in your state or the top organic food manufacturers in the U.S.? Or maybe the fastest-growing healthcare-oriented businesses in your city? All of these “lists” are accessible to you and allow you to easily tap right into your market of focus!
Here are a few ways you can connect with them to get interviews:
Send a letter to the CEO or Chairman at larger companies
They might need you as a GM, COO, or Division President. If you’re the CEO of a small company, perhaps you would fit in as the EVP, COO, or Division President of a larger company.
Send a letter to the CEO at smaller companies
The incumbent CEO might be looking for a successor because of retirement, business expansion, or just because he or she wants to move on and open a new company. Or, the existing CEO may want to step back, step down, or step up as the Chairman. The reasons don’t matter—what matters is that they need help more often than you’d expect.
Send a letter to the Money Brokers
Reach out to the VCs, Investment Bankers, Holding Companies, and others who invest in companies. There are more than 20,000 in the database, and they might need you for a portfolio company. If you have money to invest and/or mention that you’re looking for a stake in the outcome, this can significantly increase your odds.
An accident of timing
Sending a value proposition letter to those decision makers who are most likely to hire you is an accident of timing with predictable and statistical odds (85% in 90 days). And, it’s the only way to reach thousands of decision makers at the same time … when you’re available.
You can learn much more about the lucrative hidden job market and how to tap into it, here.
Think of LinkedIn as a CEO job database. If you connect with companies in industries and geographical areas that are of potential interest to you, you will grow your network on LinkedIn—and not only can you then tap into it as a talent source, but you will be in the first, second, or third degree network of MANY more companies that will now be able to see you in their network. So … when they are searching for candidates (like you) using LinkedIn (and most of them do), you will now rank in their search results!
Don’t be dispirited if you’ve never realized this before; this is not information that LinkedIn actively promotes. You can learn the mechanics of how to easily use LinkedIn to passively pull opportunities to you by growing your network here.
I have been coaching CEOs on their job-transition strategies for nearly two decades. If you take away anything from these tips … I hope it is that you DO have ample power, control and market leverage over your CEO job search! A clear focus of direction—supported by a CEO executive resume and two or three good CEO job search strategies layered in—should deliver in short time the interest, interviews, and offers you are looking for.
Here is a really interesting article I wanted to share with you outlining a successful track to the CEO seat. Some great insight here on adopting turnarounds, taking risks and stepping sideways. Check out HBR’s, The Fastest Path to the CEO Job, According to a 10-Year Study.
20+ years of expertise summarized in a 2- or 3-page document is not an easy feat. This explains why developing a Chief Executive Officer resume can be tricky. Often, CEOs will come to me with original 5- pages resumes, simply as a result of not knowing what strengths to emphasize and which to minimize or exclude.
However, here are three Executive CEO Resume samples that demonstrate universal selling points that are generally applicable across all C-Level resumes.
Executive Resume Sample #1
Give your audience a clear table of contents at the top of Page 1.
Click to view full resume.
In this first resume, you see how the CEO spelled out who he is, and where he wants to go—very clearly. For example, just the keywords at the top give you the following information:
- Industry of Preference and Expertise: Tech Companies in Growth Mode
- Title: CEO / Advisor
- Organizational Structure Preferred: Private Equity
- Special Area of Expertise: M&A’s, Growth
As the eye draws to the document’s other supporting areas, what this CEO specializes in is very clear:
Risk Controls / Executive Board Partnerships / Strategic Exits
With this context – now the reader not only knows the CEO’s primary skills, strengths, and industry preferences, he/she also has enough context to read deeper into the document and digest it. In other words, without a table of contents or summary overview, it’s difficult to digest the details.
View the full CEO executive resume sample #1 here.
Executive Resume Sample #2
Speak from a position of leadership and metrics to set the perception as a results-driven leader in the minds of your readers.
Click to view full resume.
Leaders are expected to garner results. It is anticipated that their vision and personality will inspire and motivate their teams. By clearly focusing on the results you deliver, you inspire the trust of your readers.
This second executive resume example demonstrates the results the CEO garners. It spans revenue growth, expansions, major transactions, major awards (industry thought leadership), and high-visibility projects.
IMPORTANT: Note that the bullets begin with the CEO’s result…not the activity and THEN the metric result at the end. I wrote a more in depth post about C-level resume tips like this here.
View the full CEO executive resume sample #2 here.
Executive Resume Sample #3
Set up your storyline to make it easy for your reader to understand your value.
Click to view full resume.
This particular resume has some special components. First, it’s a one-page version of a three- page resume. One-page resumes are often preferred by banks, boards, and private equity firms. This resume is also color-branded to the CEO’s industry of choice. It clearly demonstrates her thought leadership and industry expertise. It gives scale and scope at the cursory glance. It is visually very attractive.
Even though it’s only one page, this resume clearly outlines this CEO’s career narrative. It starts with her title and provides a summary of why she was hired. Then, it crisply delivers her primary accomplishments, which are supported with just enough detail in the few bullets below the summary accomplishment. This respects the reader and sets up the storyline so that the reader WANTS to digest, read, and understand this CEO’s career narrative.
IMPORTANT: Note that each bullet begins with her quantifiable result…NOT the activity and then, the result at the end. Beginning with the result shows more energy and power. It translates that this CEO understands it’s the RESULT—not the activity—that is of primary importance.
View the full CEO executive resume sample #3 here.
In summary, the majority of CEOs hire a resume writing firm to develop their marketing documents —but even if you don’t write your own resume, these tips will help you know what to look for in a top executive resume writer or executive resume writing firm!
If you would like to chat about executive resume services, you can request a confidential, complimentary call here.
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!
At the CEO level, your career transition landscape has a unique terrain: there are fewer C-level positions, they come up less often and each has its specific requirements. As a smart CEO, you will first plan your upcoming transition by defining and writing down your wants, needs, career goals and driving motivators. You will want to layer in some due diligence respective to the short and long term economic growth and stability of the industries you have in your sights. The reason this due diligence is so critical is because today’s leadership resume must be written to what you wish to do moving forward vs. a chronological list of what you have done.
Demonstrating you can communicate your focus, your purpose and your value inspires confidence and will attract the positions you wish to explore.
Once you have a plan in place, this is the bull’s eye that you can now create and design your CEO resume for. A primary complaint from C-level executives, and one of the major issues with C-level executive resumes, is that they contain too much information. You may find that you have done and achieved so much in your career, you can’t find the objectivity needed to understand what to leave in and what to leave out of your executive leadership resume.
As a CEO, you need to communicate certain things in your resume that demonstrate your value in a C-level role to potential companies. In addition, you may be interviewed by a board of directors, and often in these cases, they like to see an executive biography in addition to your resume.
Hiring a professional resume writer to help craft a CEO resume can not only serve as a huge weight off of your shoulders, but bring you a substantial ROI in many ways, including:
- Helping to present yourself in a highly professional polished manner.
- Helping to showcase the metrics of your accomplishments.
- Helping to communicate the value that you bring to the table.
All of these benefits can and do have a positive effect on your interviews and offers. Regardless of who writes your CEO resume, there are two critical factors you must not miss.
The first is to write to the positions you are focusing on. You can start this process by finding 2 or 3 representative positions and then literally highlighting the keywords and phrases in those positions that match you. From this you will be able to see running themes and gain clarity on your own personal branding (what you are attracted to) as well as understanding what keywords and phrases to layer in.
The second is to be sure you are speaking to the needs of the companies with whom you have defined represent ideal positions for you. At the CEO resume level, it is a mistake to use an old resume or a 6-page resume which may contain task-oriented details from past positions you held 15 or 20 years ago. At this point in your career everything needs to be recalibrated. Older positions may be placed in a “Past Career Highlights” section and given a brief nod with perhaps one notable accomplishment listed. For more recent positions, again, be sure to omit any task-driven details and concentrate on leadership skills. You may wish to emphasize leadership skills such as your visionary ability, how you empower organizational change, drive profitability through developing and initiating business goals, provide overall corporate direction, and inspire core teams across various divisions and reinforce corporate branding.
If you find yourself unsure of what accomplishments of yours to highlight, simply refer back to the ideal career positions you unearthed. Whatever they are asking for, those are the skills you match and reflect back to them using quantifiable accomplishments wherever and whenever you can.
If these basics are not reflected in your CEO resume, it could cost you a job interview or offer. You don’t have to list your entire detailed career history in your leadership resume. Simply present a polished document that shows what kind of a CEO you could be to their company.
I recently read this very interesting article in INC titled: The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship – which discusses how many successful entrepreneurs really struggled with financial and emotional stress during the start up phase of their companies. I believe job seekers can experience very similar stresses and thus I share this article in the spirit of “knowledge is power”.