To reach the executive level, professionals need the skills, knowledge, ambition and determination to succeed. Yet, achieving one executive position is not usually a professional’s ultimate career goal. To climb the ranks of the executive ladder, professionals need to make savvy career decisions that propel them forward and upward — and many executives make mistakes that hold them back from the success they crave.
Fortunately, many executive job search mistakes are easy to remedy. Here are some primary reasons executives see delays in obtaining their next career boost and what they can do to accelerate their climb to success.
Focusing on Online Job Boards
Online job boards can be addictive. Like social media, it is possible to continue scrolling through them all day without seeing the same posting twice. However, job boards are notoriously bad at connecting executives with jobs befitting their experience and skill. Though applying for an executive position to help improve one’s skills through executive education online would be a full-time job, most of the effort involved in finding an ideal executive role should be spent, researching companies and interacting with hiring decision-makers.
Forgetting One’s Network
Between 80 and 90 percent of executive jobs are filled through networking — but many executives neglect to re-engage with their network during the job hunt process. As soon as an executive determines the need for a new role, they should reach out to their most valuable professional connections in search of insights into new opportunities. By endeavoring to maintain professional relationships at all times, executives can lean on their network when they require career support.
Neglecting to Research Target Companies
Companies want executives who are knowledgeable about their operations and passionate about their goals. Before they can effectively convey these valuable attributes to hiring decision-makers, executive applicants need to understand the distinctive culture and values of individual organizations. Job board websites can be useful resources for understanding what organizations want in their executive staff. Executives might also try to connect with existing members of company management to gain unique insights into how to impress the hiring board and earn a position.
Missing Daily Goals
While an executive is on the hunt for a new position, every day presents an opportunity to progress toward the job of one’s dreams. Executives should set daily goals for their job search, like reaching out to a member of their network, researching a target company, pursuing an advanced credential or refining their application materials. Daily goals can help executives feel that they have momentum toward improving their career, and making realistic efforts toward achieving daily goals is essential for success in the job hunt.
Failing to Measure Progress
Just as organizations just identify and measure key performance indicators to determine whether a project is moving forward appropriately, executives need to develop benchmarks to help them verify that their job hunt is progressing. Executives might track the number of suitable positions found, the number of interviews held, the amount of time spent researching and more. If certain efforts are not contributing to dream job success, executives can consider their metrics and revise their approach accordingly.
Skipping Personal Branding
Personal branding was a trendy practice for job hunters more than a decade ago; today, it is all but essential for ensuring that executive applicants stand out. Executives need to recognize themselves as a product they are selling to potential employers and tailor their application materials to a brand identity that fits the interests and values of their target audience. There are many useful online guides to help executives develop attractive personal brands.
Opting to Interview Cold
Many executives make the mistake of believing that their expertise will provide them with the perfect answers to any and all interview questions. However, interviews are stressful, and a lack of practice can put some executives at a severe disadvantage. Executives should warm up their interview skills beforehand by reviewing common interview prompts, such as “Tell me about yourself” and “Describe your management style.” Executives should also study their employment history and pull out examples of strong management decision-making to use throughout the interview process.
Most American organizations hire every five to 10 years. With the right experience, attitude and actions, executives can be in the prime position to reach their career goals with their next job hunt.
This source would need to be updated to one published in the past two years.