SUGGESTIONS OF A CEO
EFFECTIVE STRATEGY IN JOB SEARCH: A CEO's ADVICE
CEOs hate attrition. Especially when it’s a valued employee in question. But the issue continues to challenge modern day corporations. As well-wishers, here are some suggestions that CEOs – even at the cost of strengthening the armours of their globalised competitors – can offer to subordinates who have made up their mind to jump ship.
Issue Date - 15/12/2011
Finding another job may be the most difficult “work” you have done in a long time. You have to design your overall strategy while focusing on and executing each tactical step in order to make your job search successful. There are certain things you can do to accelerate that process and make it more productive. Here are eight of them:
1. Understand what you want and why:
Identify what you “Must have” in your next position, what you “Would like to have”, then what you “Want to avoid”, and “What you need to consider” for your next job. You are developing a profile of the perfect position. Then you can compare this profile with the realities of the marketplace during your search process. “Must haves” are givens that cannot be negotiated, like a higher level of responsibility or a salary level. “Avoids” are elements that you cannot accept in your next position, like an autocratic boss. Segment what are the flexible items and which are firm. Define how you will differentiate yourself from all others. What makes you unique? Maintain a professional continuity strategy by reprioritising this profile as you learn more about the marketplace and your place in it.
2. Develop targets:
Develop a set of building block-targets for your search. Design a Career Map to show the steps along the way. Build in alternatives or detours like getting an advanced MBA degree or specialised training. You’ll need some decisions around long/short term objectives, horizontal versus vertical experiences, and line versus staff functions. Develop a flexible action plan and time line, by week, over the next 60 to 120 days. Define where in your search you want to be within 3 months, like a goal of interviewing with at least 2 companies.
3. Research, research, research:
Research the industries of interest, then the sectors within them, then the segments, then potential companies. Identify at least 100 people your know, either directly or indirectly, in priority of their potential value: Associates and friends who know of your performance results, people who know you socially, connections from those associates who can provide referrals on to someone else. Design a networking strategy connecting all of the above. Since most jobs are found through networking and not through ads, focus 80% of your time and effort on making the connects work.
4. Tell a compelling story (two ways):
Compile an historical list of major accomplishments over your career to date, with measurable results for each one. This is the core material for your resume and interview. The resume will focus on the “what” items (What was the issue? What did you do? What were the results?) The interview will focus on the “how” items. (How did you achieve those results? How did you manage the project? How were the alternatives developed?) Take each job, activity and result and develop 30-second “mini-pitches”. A mini-pitch is a well-practiced articulation of your primary achievements that parallel the function for which you are interviewing. Describe why you are the right candidate above all others. Focus on results, not on activities.
5. Find and connect your dots:
Begin contacting the prioritised list of 100. Determine the most effective way to make contact, using electronic and non-electronic connections to people and opportunities. It’s a numbers game. The more connections, the more exposure, and the greater the potential to be “discovered” in your target areas, the better the chances of finding the right person and job. Your objective is to convert the power of your resume and cover letter to an interview. Your resume, no matter in what form, must be compelling. A compelling resume documents results, preferably with a number, followed by the activity, that describes your contribution (12.3% increase in revenue through an incentive plan designed for field sales, or $500,000 cost elimination of obsolete inventory through a program of products to resellers).
6. Use a pro to give you the edge:
A professional, becomes your personal and committed mentor, dedicated to your results. Using a mentor gives you an edge that others do not have available to them. A mentor can spell out alternatives to penetrate the marketplace, create a powerful resume, strategies for different interviews, practice interviews, and help to negotiate an offer. A pro has broad experiences to draw upon, from both a strategic perspective and to develop the best tactics for results. Make sure the pro that you use is a full-service organisation and not just a resume writing business or hobby for someone.
7. Be consistent, persistent and assertive:
Be assertive but not aggressive. Hiring managers are not only looking for talented individuals to fulfill a function, but also employees they are comfortable with, who can fit in with the rest of his/her “team”. Maintain a consistent approach to the search process in time and effort. This is your full time job until you replace it. Look for alternative opportunities to demonstrate your value to an organization. This can be achieved through a part-time job, business coaching, consulting or a project that can convert into a permanent position. Volunteering on a non-profit board of directors puts you in touch with area businesses and owners who may either be looking for a talented individual or can become one of the 100-referral points. Keep active, persistent and always positive.
8. Close the deal:
When you interview and get an offer, find out what is possible and what is not when it comes to pay, travel, moving, expectations, title, and so on. The higher in an organisation the position, the greater the flexibility of expanding the offer to include other considerations. You’ll first get a phone call with the job offer, to make sure you are still interested and available. Try to see how firm the offer is by asking such question like, “How flexible is the compensation package?” or “Is there opportunity to discuss the offer in more detail?” But always ask for the offer and respond in writing. Lastly, design an entry strategy into the new organisation to guarantee your performance results and success over the first year.