By Karen Armon, CEO/Founder, MarketOne Executive
Question:Would you be interested in an executive job search system that would guarantee feedback so that you could improve your results?
Answer: Of course you would.
In this article, I share with you the top three mistakes every $150K+ executive makes and how to avoid them when looking for job leads. I also show you how to change your approach so that you can measure your results every step of the way.
Mistake #1: The Executive Job Search Model
Most $150K+ executives, when looking for their next opportunity, fall back into old models that were learned early in their career. Often, presented by an outplacement firm that started with the classic lead-generation approach, it included these elements:
- Create a list of target companies that you would want to work for
- Contact your network to find people who work for those companies currently
- Call your network and ask for an “informational interview”
- Continue the process until you find a position.
But there are real problems with this approach.
First, targeting a company uses what I call a “front-door” approach and there are many gatekeepers challenged to keep you out.
Second, many executives because of the demand on their jobs have abandoned their network. As well, many of those in their network that are active are peers. Peers, regardless of how well intentioned they are, are often unable (or unwilling) to help you.
Third, the informational interview is gamed. That is, we know what you are up to with this call and most of us, although we would want to give you ten minutes of our time, just can’t afford to accommodate you. I know that if I granted every informational interview request that was asked of me, I’d have no time to do my real job!
What is the answer to this traditional model of finding a job? Use a new model.
The model that I suggest is one that is the heart of the MarketOne Executive system that I have developed. It moves you from an “activity-based” approach that the traditional model employs to a “synergistic-positioning” approach that:
- Positions you as a top thought leader in your industry
- Leverages your current job, network and career for greater momentum
- Utilizes marketing and sales strategies to turn strangers into interested parties.
Mistake #2: The Executive Job Search Message
The next mistake most $150K+executives make is how they design their value proposition presentation – both in print and in person. Traditionally, we are taught to pull out our old resume, dust it off with a few new bullet points of achievements and add in our last employer and job title. The executive summary (and thereby the elevator pitch) is a fluff piece that focuses on the most recent achievement using flowery words in the hopes to impress the listener and wow their next potential employer.
The problem is that the pitch is boring, flat and sounds like everyone else.
In marketing terms, you are part of the cacophony of noise that will not get you noticed or asked to be interviewed. You haven’t defined a compelling message that engages, excited and resonates with anyone – not even a recruiter!
The answer is to shift your message to present yourself as a top talent that brings thought leadership to a company and propels that company to its future. I call that message “potential.”
Potential is THE question that is asked when looking to bring on top talent and IS the difference between one candidate over the other. Potential, in my view, is the difference between what the industry/company wants today in a top talent candidate that moves the company forward and addresses the key interests of all CEOs and Boards of Directors. It is an “un-definable” gap between what a decision maker “needs” and what that decision maker “wants” – kind of like art: you know it when you see it but you don’t know what it is until then.
I can’t tell you how often, when two or three top VPs are almost equal in experience, when a CEO has turned to me and asked, “Which one has the greatest potential for our firm?”
The key, then, is to shift your presentation to your audience instead of you!
Mistake #3: The Executive Job Search Method
The final mistake most $150K+ executive make in finding job leads is their method. Without a system or a plan, the current wisdom is to contact everyone (again, without a message that is compelling or interesting) and blast their resume to everyone they know. Then the follow-up is to (embarrassingly) ask if the person they are contacting knows of any openings. If the answer is “no,” then that’s where it ends.
Unfortunately, that can keep an executive out of a job for a long, long time.
The MarketOne Executive Bottom Line
What’s the answer? To develop a systematic game plan that creates metrics and benchmarks so that improvement can be made along the way and the job search campaign can create results! Most $150K+ executives would never launch a new product or service, a new process for operational success, or anything without a clear system or process.
Why shouldn’t our $150K+ job search campaign have the same focus?