Landing a great-fit executive job today – that is, one that mutually benefits both you, the job seeker, and the employer – does not work the way it did even a few years ago.

With more qualified candidates often competing for fewer jobs, and the impact of the digital age, job search requires focus, hard work, and new strategies.

Toxic Executive Job Search

Because many of them haven’t been in the job market since everything changed, the c-suite job seekers I encounter either expect all the old ways to still work, or misuse the new job-hunting best practices.

They’re often misguided about how to proceed, not knowing what specific steps they need to take to meet their career goals.

And if they do understand that finding a job is a full time job, they don’t realize that job search these days catapults them into entrepreneurship, running their own company of one. That requires a marketing strategy and over-arching action plan to manage their time, relationships, and finances . . . all aided by a supportive network.

Before diving into job-hunting, they need to understand and embrace the linear path successful job search follows:

  • Targeting
  • Industry and company research
  • Personal branding
  • Personal marketing content creation (resume, bio, LinkedIn profile, etc.)
  • Online presence-building
  • Networking (social networking and one-on-one in-person networking)
  • Interview preparation
  • Salary/benefits negotiation with job offers.

Instead, too many plow ahead, guided by outdated, sometimes toxic notions that can sabotage their chances and prolong their search.

Here are 5 of the worst toxic executive job search beliefs, with links to full articles on each one:

1.  “First things first. I’ve got to get my resume together.”

You can’t write your resume or LinkedIn profile until you know who you’re targeting so your content will speak to them.

2.  “I don’t need personal branding. I’m not a brand. I’m a person!”

Why personal branding is no longer optional in executive job search.

3.  “I don’t have time for social networks and I don’t like the idea of putting myself ‘out there’ online. So I won’t.”

If you’re not visible online, you may never be found by the very people you need to be smack dab in front of.

4.  “My branded resume and LinkedIn profile are ready. Time to hit the job boards hard.”

Job boards typically yield a dismal estimated 5% success rate, especially for c-suite and senior-level executives.

5.  “I’m terrible at networking. I hate asking people for favors. I’ll skip that part.”

Without networking, you can’t get to the goldmine of “hidden jobs” at your target companies.

Bottom line:

Sure, you may land a great-fit job even if you hold fast to these toxic beliefs. You may even hit the jackpot early in your search.

It happens. But you may not be so lucky. You may prolong the time it takes to get yourself into a good-fit job by being resistant to, or unaware of, the best, new job search strategies.

More About Today’s Executive Job Search

My popular ebook – 23 Ways You Sabotage Your Executive Job Search and How Your Brand Will Help You Land

How Do I Find a Job in the “Hidden” Job Market?

The New 10-Step Executive Personal Branding Worksheet

How to Network Your Way Into a Great-Fit Executive Job

Social Proof: Where Online Presence Meets Personal Branding

How to Write An Irresistible C-level Executive Resume in 10 Steps

10 Best Ways to Build Your Personal Brand Online

graphic on Wikimedia


What’s Your Executive Career Brand Story?

by Meg Guiseppi on February 23, 2015

Capturing the attention of people assessing you through your resume, LinkedIn profile, and biography – typically rather dry, business-oriented content – can be a challenge.

Storytelling for Executive Job Search SuccessSure, you need to include all the right keywords representing your skill sets and areas of expertise . . . but that’s just to keep pace with your competitors.

How will you catapult your value and good-fit qualities above the crowd, in these often anemic personal marketing materials?

Use the Time-Honored Tradition of Storytelling

If you’ve ever listened to a great storyteller, you know how connected it made you feel to the person and what’s being said.

In job search, storytelling works similarly. Building stories around your skill sets, accomplishments, and good-fit qualities helps attract people to you and differentiates the unique value you offer.

Storytelling helps you make an emotional connection with employers and generate chemistry for yourself as a candidate, compelling hiring decision makers to want to learn more about you by asking for an interview.

Storytelling helps employers get a feel for the kind of person you are and how you make things happen, and envision you contributing on the job.

Start with Targeting and Personal Branding

First, before you can write your resume, LinkedIn profile, biography, and other job search collaterals, you need to know who will be reading these things, so your content will speak directly to that target audience.

Narrow your job search by targeting specific employers, researching their current challenges, and identifying how you can help them right now.

Then define your brand and promise of value to them so your content will resonate with the values, vision, attributes, passions, and driving strengths they’re looking for.

Then Use the C-A-Rs (Challenge – Actions – Results) Strategy

This method of job search storytelling is a good way to start. You’ll showcase a few significant contributions you’ve made to past employers by describing in depth the Challenge you faced, what Actions you took, and what the Results were that benefitted the company.

But you can take storytelling a few steps further, beyond the metrics-driven accomplishments the C-A-Rs method is designed to elicit.

But Move Beyond C-A-Rs

Here are some questions to prompt career brand stories around your personality and attributes. Use abbreviated versions in your resume, LinkedIn profile, and especially your biography – a vehicle tailor-made for storytelling – and rely on them as you network and interview:

1. What things are you most passionate about doing – in your personal life and work life?

2. What differentiates you from others who do the same work – your competition in the job market? What combination of skills and personal attributes do you have to offer that no one else does?

3. What drove or inspired you to become involved in your field?

4. What are 2 or 3 defining moments for you as your career progressed? Things that shaped your career path, had the most impact on making you who you are today, and led you to add value to your companies.

5. What 1 or 2 things are you most proud of accomplishing in your career?

6. Which of your personal attributes proved most beneficial in your career and why?

7. Describe a few times when you drew upon your best attributes and strengths to accomplish something that benefitted the company you worked for.

8. How have adversity and challenges made you stronger and a more valuable worker, manager, or leader?

9. What aspects of your professional journey do you consider particularly unique and why?

10. To what do you attribute your success as a manager or leader (if applicable)?

11. What are the two or three most important lessons you learned along the way that others could benefit from? How did you use those lessons in your career?

12. Do you have a code of ethics or set of beliefs that dictate the choices you make. Were there times when this code was challenged?

13. Talk about some of the people you’ve mentored. How did you help them? What were the circumstances? What impact did your guidance have on their career progression? How did your mentoring impact and benefit the company or organization?

14. Talk about a mentor of yours who helped shape your career or who most influenced you. How did they help you be a better contributor to your employers?

Yes, it takes time to dig deep and do this work. But, if the content you create based on your stories resonates with your target employers and results in more job interviews for the jobs you want, isn’t it worth the effort?

This article was first posted on Quint Careers as part of Job Action Day 2014.

More Information About Executive Job Search

How Do I Find a Job in the “Hidden” Job Market?

10 Best Ways to Build Your Personal Brand Online

Does Your Executive Resume Position You as the Best Hiring Choice?

How to Write An Irresistible C-level Executive Resume in 10 Steps

Executive Job Search: Research Your Target Employers

Does LinkedIn Make the Executive Resume Obsolete?

The New 10-Step Executive Personal Branding Worksheet

How to Network Your Way Into a Great-Fit Executive Job

How to Connect on LinkedIn with People You Don’t Know . . . and Get Action