“Historically there may have been periods on our planet where it was conceivable to “not change” for most of a person’s lifetime. Mostly because people tended to die off before things changed materially. Those days are gone and we are now entering an era of exponential change – where ground breaking and fundamental change in all aspects of life happens within years or months (not decades or centuries).”
Stefan Korn, CEO, Creative HQ, Wellington, New Zealand
How helpful are job posting boards like LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter, and iHire? If you are seeking executives in specialty fields such as healthcare finance, not very much. They tend to open the doors for dozens, in some cases more, of candidates who do not meet the minimum requirements — such as experience in the industry doing the recruiting.
This is a time wasting proposition for executive recruiters but we still use the services because, for the money we spend, even if we identify only one qualified candidate that we did not know about from our extensive telephone networking, it is worth it. The time we waste looking at resumes from candidates who are not even residents of the US, or who do not meet even the minimum job requirements, is just an accepted part of the routine for recruiters and their researchers.
But here is my real concern: All those people wasting their time applying for jobs they have no chance of landing. The sad part is that many of these candidates have no clue how to go about looking for a job. Many are so obsessed with the financial reasons to find their next position that they mistakenly believe that the volume of applications they submit is more important than the quality of the applications they make — that is to say to companies in their industry who are seeking individuals with the competencies and experience necessary to be successful in the job.
I do not know if they were told to throw dozens, hundreds or even thousands of applications against the wall in hopes that something would stick, or if they came to that inaccurate conclusion on their own. If they were given that advice by some career counselor or outplacement consultant, shame on those supposed professionals. By the way, for every good to great outplacement or career counselor — and make no mistake, there are some really good ones in a variety of professions — there or four or five that probably should find a new line of work. This is based on our research with candidates we interview and the resumes they present from such career counselors/resume writers.
Here are three big ideas I want you to think about for career management and your next job search.
- If you start to look for your next job after you’ve already been laid off or terminated, it is too late. This is one of the hardest concepts for the majority of managers and executives, including directors and managers, to master. The best executives must engage in continuous networking, always look ahead in case of a “what if” – as in what if I am fired or my job is eliminated.
- Make an investment in your career. There really is a common thread among the best and most successful of candidates: continuous learning that typically translates into excellent performance. Many executives are generally knowledgable but they have not been to a professional education program in years and they lack energy of new thinking and a sharp focus when they try to explain how they can add value to a potential employer. Your ideas and beliefs must constantly evolve. Continuous education, continuous learning is the key.
- Be flexible. Be willing to let your career evolve with changing market and regulatory conditions. A mistake that too many executives make is that they get locked into a traditional career path and resist change. “I have always been in operations and I do not want to change. I do not want to move into other delivery segments.” Certainly you can appreciate an executive’s desire to do what they like to do. But there are times that this reluctance to expand professional horizons, to broaden skill sets and to take on new challenges, can lead to a career dead end.