One of the most common assumptions in the world of career transitions is that executives, regardless of their competence, know how to look for a job. That is just not true.  

Hours, days, weeks and months are routinely lost in job searches because executives engage in a trial and error methodology. While looking for a full-time job is a full-time job that requires discipline and focus, that is where the similarities end.  

Courtesy FastCompany

For executives with no marketing or sales experience the process of a job search is more like running a sales promotion campaign than running a business.  In this sales campaign, you have one product that consultant Tom Peters labeled as a “Brand called You”  in his August 1997 article in Fast Company magazine. 

“It’s time for me — and you — to take a lesson from the big brands, a lesson that’s true for anyone who’s interested in what it takes to stand out and prosper in the new world of work.

“Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You,” Peters wrote.

It is a simple enough concept that baffles many executives.  Why?

Most of us were reared by our parents with the admonition against bragging brightly etched into our brains. Show people with your actions, your accomplishments, not your words, was the rationale behind the no-brag rule.  In today’s digital world that is like saying do a good job, develop a good resume and prospective employers will sort it out.  No worries. 

Nothing could be further from the truth.  The sidelines are filled with competent executives who are waiting to get back in the game, watching lesser mortals grab the top jobs because they do a better job selling themselves.  Oh, they are qualified but their track record may not be as impressive as those of the frustrated executives struggling to find another position.  

Some of this talent disparity can be blamed on inexpert recruiters, faulty talent evaluation processes or both, but the most common reason that some executives get hired while more qualified leaders do not is the latter group’s inability to master the new rules of a job search in the digital age.

Take Aways

  1. Develop an uplifting Value Brand Statement that emphasizes your strengths supported by quantifiable evidence of your performance.  Be confident and positive in how you tell your value story.
  2. Finding a job can be tough, grinding work spiced with rejection and more than a little frustration. Get organized and follow a daily routine — if you are not investing five or six hours a day with your search the chances are that your success will not come as quickly as you want it to.
  3. Only a few really weird people enjoy cold calling — sales types call it dialing for dollars — but 95 percent of the time it is a necessary part of a successful job search.  Use LinkedIn to get connected but then you must do your homework and make the cold call. Most people are kind and generous with their time.  Even if they are not, relax, they can’t/won’t kill you.  
  4. An experienced career transition advisor can help you with these and other issues.  Executives who rely on a coach for support, tend to find jobs faster than those who do not.

Career Transition Coaching is an invaluable resource for executives planning to take the next step in their careers, or those who have laid off or terminated. For more information on our plans, including affordable options to our popular programs, contact us, CareerTransitions@JohnGSelf.Com

John G,. Self