There are plenty of smart, successful executives who struggle with finding a new position and/or a satisfying career. If your job search isn’t working, it’s time to do something different. First don’t think of it as setting out to “find” a job which assumes fitting into an existing job that may or may not be a good match. Treat this as a career discovery project, with defined objectives, an action plan, and a timeline. Ask someone you trust (a spouse, friend, another jobseeker, or a career coach) to be your accountability partner — someone who will support, encourage, and motivate you in your quest.
Clarify what you want
A successful job search requires that you identify and articulate your “career vision” — the type of work environment, location and lifestyle, and job you want — so that you can see what will be a good fit based on your identified values.
Author Lewis Carroll wrote, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” The same is true in your job search. And many executives get to a point in their career where they are questioning what they want next.
With that in mind:
• Have you clearly defined what you want to do and what kind of environment is most attractive to you?
• Ask yourself:
– What am I good at?
– What am I not so good at?
– What do I like doing and want to avoid?
– What skills do I need to update to stay current?
• Next, can you clearly describe the value you would bring to an organization? You know in your experience as an executive that the companies you have worked for have had specific goals. Does your experience highlight your contributions in any of these areas:
– Make money
– Save money
– Save time
– Solve a specific problem
– Be more competitive
– Build relationship / an image
– Expand business
– Attract new customers
– Retain existing customers
Think about how you’re able to help an employer meet these “employer buying motivators.” Sometimes just taking a fresh look at your career goals can help you see things from a different perspective. Putting together a Career Action Plan will be much easier once you have a clear picture of where you want to go next in your career.
Review your resume
Is your resume focused for one particular job target? This may be for a specific job title (Chief Operating Officer) or several jobs that are similarly suited — for example, senior accountant/finance manager/chief financial officer. If you’re not getting calls for interviews, your resume may be the issue.
Take a close look at your resume
• If it was professionally written, have you changed the wording from the original version? Did you change anything on the recommendation of a friend or colleague? Did you “water down” the language by adding or removing information?
• Did you give your resume writer the strongest examples of your accomplishments — and quantify them with numbers, percentages, and dollars (whenever possible)?
• Are you using the resume to apply for different positions than it was originally intended? (For example, the resume was developed to pursue a CFO position, but you’re using it to apply for a job on a corporate board.)
If you wrote the resume yourself, at a minimum consider having it reviewed by a professional resume writer who can give you objective advice about whether it meets today’s standards and identifies your “personal brand” (what makes you unique as an executive job seeker). Collect strong accomplishments that will help define how you can be an asset to your next employer as part of the resume development process.
Try these two tips today you may start seeing better results.
Of course job search strategies include many other factors including how you are looking for your next position, i.e., applying online, reaching out to recruiters, utilizing LinkedIn job search tools, and networking. These also play an important role in a successful job search. Carefully examine how you can improve your approach to these career strategies for a higher success rate.