These are some of the job hunting challenges that you are bound to face as an executive looking for a job in today's economy.
If you are about to make a career move, it will be helpful to keep in mind the following perspective. Each executive career is a journey. At each stop along the way, as you decide on a new job, you choose from a number of possible futures. Your selection immediately changes your life, but it also determines all the remaining career choices that will ever become available to you.
That's why finding the "right" new job is so critical. If you just settle for an "okay" job, chances are you will end up disappointed. "Okay" jobs are positions that don't stretch you and expand your future opportunities. They don't require the full use of your skills, traits and knowledge. They don't enable you to develop new skills, don't offer a major increase in income, and fail to make you more marketable. How often have you seen others take jobs without challenge or with average potential? They took jobs that were just "okay."
On the following pages, we will briefly review the eight dilemmas which most professionals face in a job search... all of which we will be addressing.
What Is the Career Field and Industry Where I Belong?
The first dilemma can be challenging. However, more high-level people than ever are making career changes. They move from education and government to business, from nonprofit to the private sector and vice-versa. Of course, many change careers within business. But how do you know which new career options to explore? How do you qualify yourself for a new career? And, how do you know your true market worth? As part of our service for you, we will be addressing these issues. When it comes to industry options, there is obviously a world of added opportunity when you are in a growth industry ... rather than one that is tired or declining.
But how do you know which new options to pursue? And, how do you identify those unique elements of your experience that would get people in new industries excited about seeing you? One of the great strengths of our service is helping clients clearly identify their industry options. We also identify the skills, assets, key words, and phrases that should be communicated in all resumes and letters.
How Should I Handle My Liabilities?
This is the second dilemma. Make no mistake about it. Everyone who recruits is looking for liabilities. This means you need to be sure to bring to our attention anything that may be a concern. Many liabilities can restrict a job search, but the most common ones include:
- Career may have peaked/or have age concerns
- Lacking blue chip or large firm experience
- Being unemployed
- Leaving a firm that performed poorly
- Having changed jobs too often
- Being seen as too narrow or too generalized
- Closely associated with a firm or industry
- Leaving a short-term position
- Lacking the right education credentials
- Lacking impressive titles/career progression
- Having gaps in your work history
- Lacking line or staff experience
Appropriate strategies for handling these concerns and others are critically important. We provide communicative solutions for dealing with all of them. We then integrate your solutions into all forms of communications throughout each search.
I Need a Superior Resume and a Plan of Attack.
Does your resume go beyond a simple presentation of where you've been and some achievements? Will employers easily see the full value of what you bring to the table? At your level, employers have to see a lot of value to make a hiring decision! You should focus on creating highly persuasive and distinctive materials, which capture the very best expression of you. Details on our resumes are covered later in this guide.
Once you have your materials, just like a sports contest, it's important to have a game plan ... a step-by-step action plan that lays out what should be done, where, when and how. If you just jump into the job market, chances are you will fall victim to trial-and- error job hunting ... and that can go on for a long time. To avoid that, we encourage you to create a marketing plan aimed at developing several of the right interview opportunities in each of seven action channels. A good plan can cut your job hunting time in half; and when you generate a lot of activity, you will feel better and do better in all aspects of the job search.
How Do I Get Ready for Serious Interviewing and Negotiating?
Interviewing isn't what it used to be, not when there are as many as ten finalists under consideration. We've worked with some of the most polished executives in the world, who previously disappointed themselves in interviews. How do you take control of the direction and pace of these critical sessions? How do you separate yourself from the others in the final stages? Can you wrap things up without missing a step, comfortably and predictably? Our Interview strategy video training is a great way to start. We help you with each of these issues. Our goal is to make sure you are fully equipped and ready to compete during interviewing with a maximum advantage.
Negotiating, of course, is not just about money, stock options and perks, but the nature of each position and everything that goes with it. Since most of us seldom face this experience, few of us are real experts here. This handbook will acquaint you with our negotiation philosophy. Then, as you go through our service, we will be there to strategize each stage of the discussions that will determine your final compensation package.
How Do I Use the Internet to Get the Right Interviews?
Advertised openings on the Internet can represent opportunity. But how do you find time to track down the best ones? And when you respond, how do you differentiate yourself from hundreds of others? The overwhelming size and scope of the Internet is intimidating. Navigating it is a hit-or-miss proposition. Its global reach vastly increases competition. It's easy to be disappointed when you try to uncover the best positions.
Can I Use Recruiters to Get Enough Interviews?
Recruiters are an option. But, which ones should be approached? And how? Will your resume command top consideration? And, how do you get a recruiter to present you for a job offering real career advancement rather than just an "okay" job? As discussed later in this handbook, recruiters account for about nine percent of all executive opportunities. With this in mind, as part of our service, clients can blanket this segment of the marketplace. Some of the things we do include distributing your resume electronically to thousands of recruiters who may have some interest.
We also supplement electronic distributions with first class mailings. Perhaps most importantly, with our unique private website at your fingertips, you will be able to review openings with recruiters throughout your search ... and submit your credentials accordingly.
How Do I Maximize Response From Networking?
As you may have experienced, traditional networking can be time-consuming and, in some respects, demeaning. The fact that there has been so much written about the values of networking, and that it is such a widely used approach to job hunting have led to a lot of misunderstandings.
We believe in the value of networking, but at the executive level, we have a different approach. It is briefly outlined in this handbook. Approximately 10 percent of our clients accept new positions which stem from the networking philosophy that is described.
How Do I Handle Direct Mail?"
The key is to have the right targets, use superior materials, and take advantage of finely tuned strategies. Done properly, direct mail can produce highly qualified responses —in a far less competitive environment. We believe in using direct mail to CEOs and officers as part of most senior job campaigns. While some direct mail to employers is part of our base suggestions, we hope you adapt your marketing plan to what you believe is best for your market.
For the most senior executives, contacting board members is a viable option. However, do you know what works and what doesn't? Are you aware of the kind of materials required? A lot of finesse is involved. To assist you here, we can give you the benefit of what we have learned ... and have you handle a certain number of board member mailings. Or, as an optional part of our service, we can handle this for you.
Should I Resign From a Bad Situation?
Many successful executives have asked us this question. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer. An executive based in Mexico wanted to return to a position in Florida. He had served for 22 years with a blue chip firm, and his responsibilities had taken him to several countries. His firm had been acquired, and the relationship with new management was causing continuous stress. We developed a full marketing plan and all written materials. At that point, he approached the employer to negotiate a reasonable exit package. This worked out well for all parties and freed him to concentrate on his search, and to do so with an optimistic frame of mind.
Another executive in New York felt that she was to be downsized as part of a reorganization at Citibank. She was extremely passionate about her work, and this caused significant stress and borderline depression. Her severance package and all benefits when leaving the company were defined as part of corporate policy. In this situation, our client met with her employer and expressed that the uncertainty was such that she thought it was in everyone's interest that she resign. With our guidance, she asked for more than the additional benefit package. Surprisingly, she found both her direct boss and CEO had strong feelings about wanting her to remain. We advised her throughout the negotiation process, and she received a promotion, with a contract.
In another situation, a junior executive had a recent Harvard MBA, and had spent several years consulting at McKinsey. The environment was not appropriate. However, the individual had been financially rewarded above his peers. In this situation, the client retained our firm and ran a successful search. His resignation was submitted with adequate notice, and he left on good terms. As mentioned earlier, there are no set rules of thumb when it comes to advising people on this subject. Economic considerations are important. For many younger executives, the need for continued income throughout their search is paramount.
At the higher levels, the situation is often different. Work is usually so demanding that it is difficult to budget sufficient time to do a professional job search. When a person has invested many years with a company, working out an exit arrangement over time is often easier than anticipated. It allows people to part on good terms and gives the company time to recruit a replacement. Unfortunately, there are rare occasions where the mere discussion of leaving has caused an emotional situation that made things worse.
Recapping Your Situation
If you're highly marketable, you need to make the most of the fine record you've built. And if you are average, or a little below average in marketability, you need a competitive advantage to make up the difference. On your own, it is difficult to deal with everything that should be addressed before you search. However, with our guidance, we will take steps to address each of them, and ensure that you are presented to the market in the best possible light.
In addition, when it comes to executing your search, without enough market exposure, your chances of winning the "right" job, instead of an "okay" job, are not good. That is where our resources come in. For most people, their job hunting challenge is "how to generate enough interest" ... so that they can be in control of their destiny, going on the right interviews, having choices and negotiating.
One of our primary goals in working together is to enable you to uncover far more suitable options than you could do on your own, in less time, and with less effort.