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5 Ways for Executives to Get Their Sea Legs in Job Search
5 Ways for Executives to Get Their Sea Legs in Job Search
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I love the phrase, “you don’t know what you don’t know,” because it is one that regularly arises in my head or in conversation.

It’s especially true for executives who suddenly find themselves embarking on job search. Although it’s usually not a sudden decision, the abruptness of the changes they find themselves embarking on feels startling.

For example, if you haven’t composed an executive resume in awhile, the idea of writing a ‘story’ may seem awkward, odd and/or off-putting. Or, it may seem exhilarating, intriguing and unfamiliarly thrilling. Either way, you may be feeling adrift in a sea of unknown, without a life raft, and sinking, fast.

Here are 5 things you can do today to get your sea legs in executive job search so that you are feeling more confident in riding the waves.

1. Don’t go it alone.
  • Locate 4 or 5 favorite executive resume writing bloggers and imbibe in their content. Make notes, physically and mentally. Calendar at least 1 action-item from your readings to do each day that will contribute toward your executive resume story development goals. Feel the traction.
  • Locate 4 or 5 favorite career advice bloggers and immerse in their content. As with the above, make notes, calendaring and following through on action items. Career advice bloggers may include resume bloggers, but also can extend out to strategists focused specifically on how to conduct your job search once you have your storied content in-hand, including strategies for using social media and other net-weaving initiatives and tactics for interviewing.
  • Start by following me on twitter at @ValueIntoWords where I personally share some of my favorite resume writing and career advice bloggers’ content (including my own) as well as @CareerTrend where I have set-up auto-sharing of a few bloggers who consistently blog on careers and leadership topics. I also regularly blog on leadership career + interviewing topics over at Glassdoor for Employers.

2. Ask questions.
  • It may seem obvious to ‘ask questions,’ but sometimes you don’t know what the heck to ask. So, ask people in your network what questions you should be asking and what information you need to know to conduct a meaningful exec job search. In particular, reach out to colleagues or friends who recently have undergone a job or career switch and, well, ask. This can be a simple phone call or email; it doesn’t necessarily require a meeting or lunch date. Text even works. But, start inquiring and doing your due diligence!

3. Dig In
  • Execs are familiar with familiarity. While it’s true, they are masters of transformation when it comes to sweeping changes in their organization, executives often are not so nimble when it comes to the nuances of job search. For example, when capturing their value proposition; e.g, 3-4 key areas of value that distinguish them from others, they initially regurgitate the same-old, “visionary and transformational” language of their peers.
  • As such, they often need to unearth, through introspection, pages of info, and then navigate a several-day editing process to synthesize their thoughts before their unique core message reveals itself, with clarity.
  • Bottom line: prepare for a marathon, not a sprint.

4. Organize + Prioritize Your Energy
  • One of the tools I personally invested energy into earlier this year was a virtual self-study called Start Line. As the owner of the program, Joe Jacobi describes, this is a “Performance Coaching Program that resets your conditions for success and gradually moves you into an achievable daily practice of better habits, awareness, creativity, and performance.”
  • If you are an executive who wants to energize your career, initiate a job search or engage in other transformative habits to compel your performance, I highly recommend Jacobi’s actionable program as a start line. As a bonus, Jacobi, a former Olympic Gold medalist, avails himself personally via email throughout the 5-week program to help unravel any insights with which you may be struggling.

5. Tell Your Story for a Human, Not for an ATS
  • This topic is an article unto itself. I’ll just briefly assert that if you are a VP or CXO-level executive or aspiring to enter that realm, and you are writing your resume for applicant tracking systems, then you are doing it wrong.
  • Write your executive resume story with an approach focused on 2 things: 1. the target audience’s needs; and 2. YOUR needs (type of opportunity you wish to attract), and the right words organically bubble up. Moreover, unleash your fears and embrace the discomfort, and your next resume story will sing versus falling flat into the black hole of bad, boring and uninspired career obituaries.