The Value of Asking for Help in Your Executive Career Job Search

The Value of Asking for Help in Your Executive Career Job Search

If you’re contemplating a career change, you’ll know that executive job search is a lonely business. You probably believe you need to prevent your search from becoming water cooler talk–or worse. So you’re also probably wondering how you can be effective in your job search if you can’t talk about it. Read on for some tips on how to open yourself to new career options without exposing your plans unnecessarily.

1. Find an executive job search mentor

Although you might find it tough to open up to more than one person about your plans to exit your current executive role, you might find it easier to build a relationship with one key person whom you can trust to give you solid advice–a mentor. This person is likely to be

  • Best-in-class
  • Know a lot about the executive job function
  • Know a lot about the industry
  • Noncompetitive with you in any way, given that he/she sits several rungs above you on the traditional corporate ladder
  • Have your best interests in mind, although this person might not know you well enough to like you personally

In exchange for your request for mentorship, you must promise that person that you will not abuse the relationship by relying on him/her to offer you a specific executive job. This is not the role of this person in your executive job search; rather it is to support you with solid advice and insights available only to someone at that level.

2. Build a trusted board of personal directors for your executive career strategy

Your personal board of directors is a team of individuals whom you have asked formally or added tacitly to reflect back to you the knowledge and insights that you need to know, even when the truth is uncomfortable. You can choose this team based on their level, knowledge of your industry, or their willingness to be unflinchingly honest with you.

Although you can choose to have as many members on your personal board of directors as you wish, the core team should reflect at least these four types:

  • The Connector–one who knows many people and can facilitate introductions.
  • The Challenger–one who will not let you follow unsubstantiated lines of logic.
  • The Clarifier–one who will ask you question after question to help you uncover hidden truths about yourself and your executive environment.
  • The Wise Elder–one with senior status who serves as the typical mentor, listening to you and advising you.

3. Recruit a team of experts

A third option for you is to engage a team of experts in the executive career transition and executive coaching space, whose focus on you is guaranteed 100%. Although certainly not a step that every executive will take, and a step only for the extremely committed, engaging experts is a sure way to help you clarify your goals, motivation, messaging, and strategy related to your executive career search (read on for an example of this type of service).