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!
Mary Elizabeth Bradford, nationally recognized tactical job search coach and certified resume writer is offering an unprecedented opportunity to job seekers. Now you can receive coaching to learn to tap into the hidden or unadvertised job market for $35 for a 6-week program. Learn more here:
Dave Perry, Co Author of Guerrilla Marketing For Job Hunters 2.0 says in recessionary times – 95% of jobs are stealth or hidden jobs. If you are in a job search you MUST learn how to find hidden and unadvertised opportunities.
There is NOTHING in the market for job seekers that comes close to giving this much value at this price point. It doesn’t matter where you are at in your career, executive level or just starting out… this is critical information that will help you land the job you want and even exceed your salary expectations.
I love my assistant. She is incredibly sweet, supportive, intelligent, organized and experienced in all the technical areas that I know nothing about. I enjoy talking with her, reading her emails, I trust her and just working with her in general is an enjoyable experience.
This was one of my goals when I first knew I needed to hire an assistant – I wanted our working relationship to be easy, fun and productive. Being a sensitive person, I knew myself well enough to know that any other type of relationship in my “inner circle” would sap my energy and creativity. I remember in our interview I clearly communicated this to her.
So how does this relate to hiring a career coach or resume writer? It simply demonstrates that knowing your expectations and the way you like to work will help you determine the most harmonious partnership.
Here are several tips to help you choose the best resume writer and/or career coach for you:
1. Understand Why a Good Fit is Important
This is the person who is going to help market you, draw out your greatest strengths, guide you towards your ideal industry and position and possibly much more. You are putting a large part of your career success in their hands. You should like them and trust them. You need to have a good connection with this individual so they can help you.
2. Make Sure They Have Ample Experience
I am sure there are lots of great resume writers out there who are either new to the industry and/or not certified. However you are probably going to have better success overall by choosing a writer who has a good amount of experience (the more senior the executive the more experience you want your resume writer to have – working of course at your level).
3. Make Sure They Are Certified
You also will benefit from the peace of mind of knowing they are certified. Career Directors International and Career Masters Institute are my favorites. Their credentials are tough to obtain (a good thing), require renewal and these two associations are really good about keeping their members up on the latest trends and techniques.
4. Determine Their Style
You want to really make sure that you gel with their style. Are they super business-like and detail-oriented, or more friendly and informal? How does that fit with your style? With my site for example, you can tell right away I convey a highly personal, friendly and caring approach. I was very careful to design my site to communicate this to my clients and potential clients. Why? Because I want to attract and help professionals who are drawn to my personal style.
5. Do You Resonate With Them?
Here is a quick and easy way to discern whether you resonate with a resume writer/career coach (or not):
Look at their website. Do you like how it looks? Are you drawn to and do you relate to the content? Are you excited about their products and services? Chances are, if they know how to market themselves that’s a great sign they will know how to market you!
Talk to them. Does the conversation flow smoothly? Are they asking you a lot of questions in order to better understand your situation?
If the call was an appointment, were they on time? Have they returned your emails promptly? Do you feel that they understand your situation and have offered at least a general overview of what they can do to help you? Do you feel excited, or drained and overwhelmed at the conversation’s end?
If you get a funny feeling or sense it’s not going to be a fit, then quickly move on! It doesn’t necessarily mean that the resume writer/career coach is a bad one, but it could mean they are just not a good fit for you.
A Word About Money
I truly believe you should hire the very best you can afford. These professionals are paid to draw out and market your key skills and abilities and pull you forward in terms of everything career success means to you.
This is an investment in yourself; a serious one that helps you achieve wonderful results. Barring a few exceptions, this isn’t the time to go bargain basement shopping.
By keeping these simple points in mind, you can move forward with the resume writer/career coach of your choice with excitement and confidence!
You will be amazed at how your “partner” and “coach” will help you in more ways then you may have imagined during your job search. Having someone you like, trust and enjoy working with walking step-by-step beside you towards your goals will ease your burden, increase your confidence and motivation, and quicken your path to success.
Dave was an attorney with a big law firm. His dream was to move into a corporate counsel role with a big corporation. When he first hired me to write his resume he spent a lot of time telling me about how underappreciated he was at his current firm.
When we would brainstorm ideas on how he could transition into his chosen industry he constantly repeated that he “already tried that.” In fact, Dave spent a lot of time shooting down most ideas I knew would help him tremendously.
When we talked about job search strategies he shared with me he didn’t have any time. “Surely you understand,” he would say.” I am an attorney and I work incredibly long hours. Plus I have a family.”
When we discussed his salary goals he said he had to make at least 30% more than what he currently made to “justify the move.”
When I asked him why he had been fired from his last position he said that he and one of the partners could not get along. He refused to elaborate.
Despite the building complexities Dave was creating for himself, he maintained he wanted to be in a new position in less that 60 days. When I attempted share with Dave that it appeared that he was neither ready nor willing to do what it would take to move forward – he simply ignored my comments.
Dave never did make his corporate counsel move. He took a job with another firm…. A job that a recruiter had called to pitch him over the phone. It was the first and only opportunity Dave ever explored.
The story above illustrates how brilliant professionals can undermine their own career progress through not taking responsibility for their job search goals.
And then there was Brian.
Brian hired me as a career coach during a major transition in his life. He drove all the way from Houston to San Antonio to meet with me in person and discuss his situation.
He was a SVP for a mid size company in Houston and he was really ready for a CMO position with a large firm. He had done his research and picked two industries he was interested in exploring further.
He knew he had one chance to make a great first impression and he wanted to do it right. He wanted help researching particular companies, identifying what job search strategies would give him the most leverage and he wanted to make sure his resume was written to best position him for a CMO title.
I will always remember how positive Brian was. He always seemed to see the glass as half full. He took responsibility for his ultimate success and he stayed focused on the strategies I showed him to get quality interviews. He knew the power of a team approach.
Brian was busy and had a family too, but he made his career transition a priority during that window of time.
He landed several high quality interviews and accepted an offer from a company he was truly excited about – at the compensation level that met his goals. It didn’t happen overnight but it did happen within four months of our working together.
One of his goals was to work out of his home one day per week. With the coaching I gave him he successfully negotiated this into his compensation package.
Brian invested in himself and in his career move because as he put it, he knew that “for every $100 he put in he would get $1000 back.”
Brian was willing to listen. That was not true for Dave.
Being “successful” has so much to do with one’s mindset. And coupled with an industry expert’s guidance, moving forward happens much more quickly and easily.
So if you want to get yourself and your job search “unstuck” it’s a wise move to first make sure you are committed to doing what it takes to reach your goals before you hire a career coach or resume writer. However once you are certain about your commitment to your own success, these partnerships can make getting there faster and easier, and your confidence, clarity and motivation will soar.
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