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This is a video for those of you who are in senior management, in the C suite or otherwise senior level professionals and looking for work.
I want to talk to those of you who are senior professionals, unemployed executives, individuals in the C suite, talking with you about your search, because if you're watching this video, you're probably out looking for work, you've been out for a while, and you probably are a little bit nervous, exhausted some of your relationships. So, you think, and you're looking for some advice.
The first thing I'm going to tell you to do is recognize that your search generally will go on for nine to 12 months on average. That means some of you it's going to go on longer than a year. Some of you less than that nine-month period.
If you're in that "over a year category," you know, there's a certain amount of anxiety that you're feeling like your careers disappearing. And it's certainly possible that that will happen. But let's look at a couple of things that you need to do whether you're relatively new and looking for work, or you've been out for a longer period of time.
Number one is capital conservation. If you've been out for a year, you're seeing that the money go out the door, and less is coming in. So what can you do to conserve capital? What can you spend less on? If you've got a family, ss there some way that you can work with the kid's school, with some of your vendors, where they can buy a little time with us, particularly if you if they have if you have a mortgage with them. So see if you can just do interest payments on your mortgage for a period of time. Do things to hold on.
Another thing I want you to do is regular reviews of how the search is going. Now, this is a painful process for all of you because you've been in control for the longest time. and now you have to take, frankly, a hatchet to some of your actions. So, what's going well in your search.
I'm looking at some notes on my phone. What's going well? What do you want to try differently that you're not doing up until this point, even though it's harder? Are you getting responses to resumes that you have forwarded to search firms or to organizations? Are you getting first interviews but not invited back in? Are you making it to the final but not getting offers? Where are you in processes? And where is it breaking down?
As I've said for the longest time, if you're not getting interviews at all, either you're applying for the wrong roles, tur resume isn't congruent with the job description or your LinkedIn profile undermines what your resume is saying. So, you've got to tighten that gap between the resume, the LinkedIn profile and or apply for the correct jobs.
If you get into the first interview, but not invited back in, you know you're talking to the screener And you're not demonstrating a fit for the role. If you get into the final round, well, there are a couple of variables here. But the biggest one most likely is the person who's interviewing you doesn't walk out with a warm fuzzy. They don't feel like they can trust you. Or, of course, there's someone who has comparable skills and is willing to work for us. That's, certainly, a possibility. But normally, it's the first one and not making connection with the final interview.
Another thing you want to do is start tightening your documents, tightening your resume, your LinkedIn profile, emphasize certain key points about your background. I know the temptation is to go broad but all that does is dilute your messaging, with the result winding up being that it's just going to take you longer.
If you're looking for jack of all trades, that's one thing but, normally, at your level is an expertise that's been sought, and you have to really hammer it hard. Another thing you want to keep doing is being in touch with your network but also expanding a network.
Is there a consultant assignment that you get? Is there volunteer work that you could do from organization that puts you into the middle of certain areas that make sense for you. For example, if you're an IT worker, and you're involved with a trade group that relates to your area of expertise, like a local PMI chapter, that surely makes sense for you.
I want to remind you that it's very natural in feeling disappointed, to start feeling depressed and to "pull in." The result winds up being that we're not out there really connecting with people and telling them what you can really do to help them.
So, again, encouragement, brag, talk about some of your successes, tell some stories along the way as you're talking to people at your contract assignment, or at the volunteer gig so that, in this way, they have a sense of what you've done in the past, and you've got a smile on your face. Which brings me to the next point.
Never, ever let people see worried. Never let them see you concerned. When I started my first business, it seems like 100 years ago, my partner and I were doing terribly. I used to work in recruiting before I got into career coaching, and leadership coaching.
And I remember, in our first year, we going into the end of the first year had sold less than $20,000 in business. Now, fees were a lot smaller, but $20,000 split between two people, even at that time, was not a living wage.
So, I remember clients would say, "So how's it going?" I told him the truth. One day, my brother told me always tell them it's going great. As soon as I switched gears, and when people ask me, how's it going, "It's like we turned on a dime. We've closed a bunch of business." Suddenly, we started to get more jobs to work on and more opportunities. It just helped us turn a corner. All because I started to position us as been successful and effective and not struggling.
You know you have to practice for the interviews so I'm not going to go down that road. I'll just simply say, sometimes, people put too tight, a series of constraints on their search and they don't open themselves up to other possibilities. It's been a while, you're still not working, open yourself up a little bit and explore other options. Getting into action, getting into motion is going to help you a lot. It will help you perform better, and will help you be more successful. It will get you out and about talking to more people; you will feel better about yourself and it will help you with your performance on other interviews.
So keep plugging. Do critical thinking and critical review at every point along the way. I'm not saying every week but, once a month, sit down with yourself and and be honest and see where things are going. How it's gone.
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching and life coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1200 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.
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