DFN: Though written specifically to Executives, these strategies are good for the ‘masses’.
7 Effective Job Search Strategies for Executive Career Transitions
By CAREEREALISM-Approved Expert, Abby Locke
Has it been more than 10 years since you launched an executive job search campaign? If you are among the few fortunate executives who have enjoyed a long, consistent career with the same company, an unexpected thrust in unemployment or career transition can really turn your world upside down.
Even if you are Internet savvy, you can easily become overwhelmed by the growing maze of job search boards, company databases, and online recruiting networks unless you have a solid job search strategy plan. It is essential to understand that while it is critical to engage in online job search activities, it should only be a portion—not the entire component—of your job search strategy plan.
There are several strategies you can engage in right now to re-brand yourself, revive your network and personal contacts, and re-position yourself for top-paying career opportunities.
1. Identify Your Target Position: Before burying yourself in a frenzy of resume-writing and cover letter activities, determine what your ideal job target is. Do you want to stay in the same field, are you using this opportunity to pursue your dream job or are you only interested in lateral movement until retirement. Maximize resources like hoovers.com, wetfeet.com, and vault.com to find critical “insider” information on companies in your target industries.
2. Define and Promote Your Personal Brand: Your job search is not worth the effort unless you have clearly identified your personal brand and unique value proposition for potential employers. You must be able to articulate why a company should hire you and highlight the consistent theme of achievements from your overall career. Are you the cost savings guru, have you been repeatedly called upon to lead high-profile initiatives or can you be classified as the turnaround agent?
A manufacturing executive’s personal brand could be:
SENIOR MANUFACTURING EXECUTIVE
Engaging cutting-edge technologies to advance corporate-wide initiatives that expedite manufacturing processes and achieve aggressive revenue growth, cost-cutting objectives, and profitability margins.
3. Develop an Achievement-Focused Executive Resume: Your executive should be a strategic career marketing document not a career obituary. Focus on relevant content supported by career-defining “WOW” achievements throughout the resume. Use the Situation-Task-Action-Results formula for development achievement statements for your resume with the goal of having at least five achievements for each position listed on the resume. For example:
Situation: As Chief Financial Officer – synthesize finance and operations departments following the recent merger of two manufacturing companies.
Tasks: Eliminate duplication of resources, increase operational efficiency, and boost work productivity and results.
Action: Developed short-term strategy and execution plan by developing team with key representatives for technology, finance, and operations divisions.
Results: Reduced company’s overhead costs by $5 million in 6 months and improved efficiency 25%.
Achievement statement for resume: Shrunk annual overhead costs by $5 million in six months by assembling core operations team that further eliminated duplication of resources and increased operational efficiency by 25%.
4. Compile a ROI-Based, Brand-Focused Portfolio: In order to generate success in today’s job market, you have to go beyond a standard executive resume. Invest in an entire portfolio of career marketing documents including a networking resume, career biography, accomplishment summary, and cover letters for both employers and recruiters. The networking resume works well for quick introductions to executive recruiters and personal contacts and the leadership profile is a powerful leave-behind document for interviews.
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5. Have a Memorable 30-Second Commercial: Once you get to the networking phase of your job search, you need to display confidence and value in your verbal presentation. Build upon your personal brand to create a unique, 30-second commercial that speaks volumes about what you can bring to the table. For example:
“Hi, my name is Carl Brown. As an experienced Manufacturing Executive, I have enjoyed a progressive career with top companies like ABC Plastics, Newform Manufacturing, and TechNec Corporation. With a reputation for engaging cutting-edge technologies that helped global manufacturing companies achieve aggressive revenue growth and improve operating cost objectives, I am seeking new executive opportunities at global companies that would benefit from my strengths in P&L management, product innovation and turnaround operations.”
6. Actively Build & Expand Your Networks: Join professional and industry-related associations, alumni groups, and Chamber of Commerce committees. Identify key industry leaders you want to meet, schedule informational meetings/interviews, and start building your own team of alliances.
Don’t forget to use online social networks like LinkedIn.com, E-cademy.com, Zoominfo.com, and Ziggs.com and Facebook.com to connect with former associates and friends; also search for industry experts and top people in your target companies.
7. Limit Online Job Search to Niche Boards & Career Specialty Sites: Huge commercial career sites have over hundreds of thousands of candidates in their database and are usually geared for entry-level to mid-management positions. To avoid feeling discouraged and frustrated, subscribe to specialized online job boards that focus on a particular occupation, industry, job function or type of job seeker like CEO, Sales Executives, or MBAs.
Abby M. Locke of Premier Writing Solutions (www.premierwriting.com) is a highly credentialed executive career architect and leadership brand coach who partners with executive women MBAs to help them achieve career success through cutting-edge, brand-focused career documents, innovative job search tools, and proactive career management strategies. She has been interviewed and quoted in Essence Magazine, the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, CEO Update, Monster.com, Kiss 105.9, ABCnews.com and SHRM. Her distinctive resume samples have been featured in national career publications including Top Notch Executive Resumes, Sales & Marketing Resumes for $100,000 Careers, Resume Magic and Jobseeker’s Guide for Working with Executive Recruiters.