You’re at least 10 years along in your desired profession, considered an expert in your field, won awards and garnered praise from your cohorts, grown your career accepting new positions and challenges along the way. Now it’s time to take the next step to the VP ranks or C-Suite and seek out elite, exhilarating executive jobs.
As we all know, not all paths are direct, often they meander. But there are a few proven steps you can take to land those illusive executive jobs with great pay and benefits. Consider the following:
Establish your personal brand, narrative
Do this now, before you start looking for your ideal executive positions. This is a multi-layered dynamic that entails both your professional experience and personal passions, volunteer work, family life. It’s a balancing act that combines your leadership and executive skills with warmth and compassion for the world around you.
Ask yourself a few key questions:
– How would I describe my career path or arch as a 30-second elevator pitch?
– How would I tell a longer version with personal anecdotes sprinkled in – birth of your first child, continuing education, milestones, etc.?
– How do I give back to my community? How does it align with my career?
– How can I combine all of these elements in an executive bio? How does that read?
Act on holes in your personal brand, narrative
You’ve worked hard and your career has progressed. You have two school-aged children and you support their extracurriculars but you haven’t had time for personal pursuits or to join a professional organization or charity. You need to volunteer to round out your personal narrative and to be considered for next level executive jobs.
Perhaps you have an interest in childhood literacy, animal welfare or supporting single mothers. There is a charity and volunteer board for every interest. Provide free services and advice related to your field; be it accounting, legal, IT, sales/fundraising, etc. You’ll feel good donating this time, it looks good on your resume, and it places you in the leadership realm.
Update all your social accounts, resume
Along the same vein as the personal brand and narrative suggestions, your resume and social accounts need to be updated and reflect your personal interests as well as professional – especially as you pursue those coveted executive positions. Be an authority and write papers, blogs and give interviews on the subject or personal passion. Keep it professional and apolitical. Include your volunteer work, and if needed, enlist the help of a personal coach, social media expert, publicist or resume preparer. It’s worth the investment to put your best face forward and have your social feed and printed materials reflective of your elevated stature.
Build your network
Attend conferences and events within your desired field, go to all the events and make new connections. With enough advance notice, offer to host a talk or join a panel. Share your ideas with a group or through interpersonal interactions at a luncheon or cocktail reception. Share your experience on your social media pages, and follow up with everyone you meet.
If your company participates in an industry meeting, conference or expo, volunteer to man a booth or represent the company. It shows that you’re leadership material within your existing company, or it will provide an opportunity to make new contacts in your industry.
Hire an executive recruiter
An experienced executive recruiter is a difference maker. Find one that specializes in your field and ask which companies they are working with to fill positions. Executive recruiters often know of unadvertised opportunities or know of executive jobs that are coming to market through conversations and relationships they have with hiring managers.
Recruiters also will assess your resume, social media and help you fill any gaps you may have overlooked such as specialized training or certification that will elevate your application. They will help hone your personal brand and narrative, suggestions for references or recommendations and other tidbits to place you in the best possible position for your next executive job.
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko