10 key tips to help you land an exec gig
The C-suite is within your reach. This advice can help you get there.
The higher up the career ladder you go, the tougher it can be to land a promotion. Open positions grow scarcer, and the competition becomes exponentially stronger.
That means that if you want a seat at the big table, you need to step up your game.
The primary course of action is to network, but you need to do so strategically. Meeting as many professionals as possible matters less than how you tailor your interactions with them. Monster reached out to 10 executive coaches and other career experts to find out what it really takes to land an executive job.
“Be clear about your unique value proposition. Know what you do, what problems you solve and who you help better than anyone. Reframe your career trajectory from skills and accomplishments to value provided. Your interviews will be more compelling as a result, maximizing the odds of the perfect fit.” —Lori Scherwin, founder of Strategize That in New York City
Give as well as you receive
“Executive positions are found through people who know people. Increase your visibility with connections, and gather momentum with communication strategies that strike the right balance between ‘give’ and ‘get.’ Return the favor with others in your network by sharing information, leads and contacts whenever possible. Job seekers can’t expect to ask their network for support without sharing in return. If you build a reputation as someone who is open to helping others with their careers and job searches, then others will feel more compelled to assist when called upon.” —Adrienne Tom of Career Impressions in Calgary, Alberta
Have a respectable reputation
“Be nice. Everyone knows that you can't make it just on your own. You'll meet people on your way up. They'll remember you on your ascent. They might have even helped get you there. Those same people will have made up their minds up about you based on how you behaved to them.” —Kevin Robson, managing director at Capable Consultants in London
“Authenticity represents a leader’s most important strength. Searching for a new role can make even the most seasoned professional feel vulnerable, but an authentic approach positions candidates favorably by critically assessing both herself and the organization, and then evaluating honest alignment between the two.” —Kathryn Bingham, chief essentialist officer at LEADistics in San Diego
Leverage your strengths
“You start by knowing your own strengths. Once one knows that, it's important to be able to demonstrate how those strengths can be best used by the organization.” —Brad Galin, executive coach and blogger at RollercoasterHR.com
Revitalize your resume
“Your resume needs to communicate your vision and value. Show that you know the answer to the three big questions—who you are, what you have to offer and where you want to go—and throw away the old resume format. Highlight your achievements and experience with graphs and infographics.” —Steve Bohler, founder of The Oxford Program in Cooperstown, New York
Up your emotional intelligence
“For senior gigs, in my experience, the bigger issue is not technical competence. It’s socio-emotional intelligence. Practically, that amounts to someone’s ability to get others’ buy-in, to influence peers and superiors, and to manage without formal authority.” —Yosh Beier, executive coach and co-founder of Collaborative Coaching in New York City
Be ready to play politics
“Sharpen your elbows, because moving up in an organization or getting a top job elsewhere takes more than just being smart and collaborative. Sometimes you will need to figure out the politics to promote your own agenda and to beat out the competition.” —Roy Cohen, career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional's Survival Guide, based in New York City
Raise your profile
“Secure opportunities to speak publicly by serving on a conference panel or as a keynote speaker. Speaking at industry events establishes you as a credible source of insight and leadership. Webinars are helpful, as well, so long as you are the featured presenter.” —John Brady, executive director and principal at Protem Partners in Tinicum Township, Pennsylvania
Plan your first 90 days
“The most important action is to research the team, company and role and create a 90-day action plan for yourself in this role. Request information from the recruiter, HR representative, hiring manager and connections in your network. State your intention to provide effective strategies to help the company achieve its goals. Ask about the strengths and challenges of the team, why the previous executive is leaving, the three big areas that should be a focus for the business and what the team culture looks like. Then create a 90-day plan to leverage strengths and tackle opportunities for growth. While you may not have all the information you need to create a precise 90-day plan, this demonstrates your initiative and value, as well as helps the hiring panel visualize you in this role.” —Anu Mandapati, founder and CEO at IMPACT Leadership for Women in Austin, Texas
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