Focus Your Executive Career Transition Strategy

Focus Your Executive Career Transition Strategy

When you’re focusing on the quotidian details of your job, you hardly have time to think about the larger issues surrounding your executive career trajectory. It might be too overwhelming, too abstract, or simply not relevant to your finishing tasks a, b, and c before deadlines 1, 2, and 3. Here are some tips to help you create simple steps to advancing your career in a way that empowers you, makes you feel successful, and, more importantly, enables to believe in your own success.

Set Manageable Goals Today

The first item on your career change agenda should be to set manageable goals today. This item really has two parts: The goals need to be manageable, and you need to set them today. So stop what you are doing, take a pen and paper, and create a wish list of all the things you wish your current executive role did for you, or all the things that it does do for you that you love. Remember, delaying your decision to make a choice is also a choice, so be sure that if you are putting off making a decision that it’s for the right reasons, not because choosing to act is simply too hard.

Now examine this list:

  • Are all of these rewards possible in your current job? If not, what executive role might you be targeting next?
  • Are all of these ideal factors achievable in a reasonable time frame, assuming you put a reasonable amount of resources toward achieving them?
  • Do you believe that you are empowered on your own to achieve these goals? If not, whom might you call on among your personal board of directors to help you reach these goals?

Devise Several Sets of Plans to Achieve Your Goals

The second item on your executive career change agenda is to look critically at the goals you just established and think, broadly, about how you will layer your plans to accomplish them. For example, if one of your goals for your own executive career satisfaction is to lead a larger team, does that mean your current company needs to hire more people (an internal business decision), or do you need to look outside your company for a role that gives you this opportunity? If the former, with whom do you need to speak to start building a business case to grow your team? If the latter, what executive job offer would be so compelling that you couldn’t ignore it? Could you define this role more clearly? If you can define it, are you ready to set that level of change in motion? Knowing how you will plan for various outcomes of your research can help you establish a series of steps that won’t overwhelm your busy schedule.

Overall, plan for your executive career change in several layers–what you can do today, what you can achieve in the medium term, and what you need to do to ensure that you reach your long-term goals. Also think about what you can do on your own to achieve your goals and what will require you to involve others who can support your goal-achievement strategy.

Find a Sounding Board to Test Your Logic and Help You Move Forward

If you’re working through this exercise, you might be finding that you don’t have answers advance your decision-making process. Don’t be afraid to call on your personal board of directors, including a career coach if necessary, to help you take your questions apart and build a plan that will help you win the executive career that supports your specific aspirations.

How to Prepare for a Volatile Executive Employment Marketplace

How to Prepare for a Volatile Executive Employment Marketplace

Executive career change, particularly for those who have not engaged in it for a decade or more, is inherently destabilizing for the individual, that person’s family, and maybe even for that person’s company. So how do you create a “career strategy emergency kit” to prepare for a time when your situation demands change?

Build Your Network Now

Do not wait another day to reach out to that person you met last week—or six months ago—but with whom you never reconnected. Start becoming more active on specific LinkedIn groups of your choice, and turn those online connections into human ones. The executive job market is still about who you know, and you need to meet the right people to advance your career. In the process, you might find the chance to help out others who are in similar situations, so the transactions are not always unidirectional. Always try to give more than you get, and you’ll develop significant goodwill that you can use when you need it.

Talk to Your Boss Today

This is critical–don’t wait for projects to land in your lap by accident. Research your company’s direction and start to feel out your executive leadership about the ways you can contribute. In this process, you’ll achieve two goals. First, you’ll start to interact with key decision makers. Rather than becoming one of those who is always asking for something, you’re communicating with them to offer your expertise and your assistance and asking for nothing but the opportunity to provide it in return.

Second, when you are put onto new projects, you’re developing significant new skills, leadership, and talents. You might find that these will power your plan to apply your talents to an advanced role, a different company, or even a different industry.

Think about What You Want Next

We often hear about executives who have separated from their companies prematurely, whether by choice or by structural change. All of a sudden, they are confronted with a world of opportunities, all of which could be viable choices, some of which are likely, and a few of which are exactly right. Identifying the types of positions, verticals, product groups, and industries ahead of time will save you time as you go through the volatility of looking for a new position.

In conclusion, smart executives need to prepare themselves for a volatile employment marketplace. Executives in career transition seeking stability need to create a solid career change strategy long before they embark on it.

10 Common Fears that Hold Back Successful Executive Career Growth

10 Common Fears that Hold Back Successful Executive Career Growth

Executives whom I have coached through complex career changes are among the strongest, most fearless individuals I have met in my career. They lead large teams. They put innovative products to market. They guide budgets in the millions if not hundreds of millions. In a word, they are powerful, interesting individuals who overcome meaningful professional challenges every day.

Whether these executives know exactly what they are seeking in a new role, or whether they are truly exploring the many options before them, and as daring as each of these leaders are, they often share a number of fears about the career change process. If your blood pressure rises slightly at the thought of one or more of these common fears about career change, you’re certainly not alone, as unique as your career situation might be.

Fears about Getting Started in an Executive Job Search

1. Fear of having to make a choice to leave a “good enough” situation at work.

2. Fear of walking the career transition journey alone without someone with whom you can be brutally honest.

3. Fear of adding more stress to days that already have 25 hours of distractions.

4. Fear of having to network to find the right role–especially for introverts.

5. Fear of adding One. More. Thing. to today’s to-do list.

6. Fear of writing a resume (or gnawing feeling that you don’t have the right resume).

7. Fear of having the boss find out (note: Your LinkedIn profile doesn’t have to announce it).

Fears about Not Getting Started in an Executive Job Search

8. Fear of showing up to the same job again on Monday.

9. Fear of wasting time by inaction today.

10. Fear that the right job is out there, waiting for you, but someone else snagged it first.

Do any of these resonate with you? I would guess that if none of these strikes a chord with you that you’re not really ready to engage in a career transition, as you haven’t thought deeply about how their answers inform your wants and needs in a future career. Without that type of thinking, although you will of course continue to be successful, you won’t be as insightful about your own process as you could be. Neither will you challenge yourself to grow.

But if your blood pressure is just a little higher right now than it was when you opened this article, then there is opportunity for you to offload some of that anxiety. In fact, this expert would consider it an honor to be privileged with your trust. At the same time you can get some real clarity about your goals and fearlessly seek out and achieve the executive career opportunities that you know are right for you.


Choose to Change Your Executive Career and Power It with the “Rule of Fives”

Choose to Change Your Executive Career and Power It with the “Rule of Fives”

The one thing that might be holding back your executive career change is fear of the unknown. If you’re like many executives who are contemplating career change, you might be asking yourself some of these questions:

  • Do I want to do something different?
  • Is this the right time to make a change?
  • How do I leave my team right at this moment?
  • What will I tell my executive team if I leave the company?
  • Will the new job be any better than my current one?
  • How can I make a decision when I have a dozen problems competing for my attention?

If any of these questions resonate with you, then you will know what I mean when I say that overload and fear often can prevent an executive who is very wise about his company from being very wise about his career.

Decide to Make the Decision—Either Today or in Five Days

Your decision actually is less complicated than you think. In fact, the only decision you have to make is to decide whether to explore new career options. By focusing the first step on the choice to do or not do simplifies the vast universe of questions and unknowns that conflict and only serve to create mental noise.

If you’re an executive who is considering a career change, challenge yourself to decide whether today is the right day to change your mindset. If you decide that your calendar is too full, and you can’t devote the time to determining that today is the day you’ll start pursuing an executive career change, then you’ve made a valid decision. You’ve taken this particular issue off the table, and you can now schedule that decision and the strategy for it for five days from now. Put it on your calendar, and don’t think about it for the entire five days. Come back to it when you’re fresh.

Be Accountable to Yourself Following the “Rule of Fives”

You owe it to yourself to take your decision to move ahead in your executive career change to hold yourself accountable to the choice you make. You can do this in many small ways and assign quantifiable metrics to each, so you know whether you’ve completed each task satisfactorily. By following the “rule of fives,” you’ll have amassed significant information and strategy that will inform and propel your executive career change:

  • Collect your annual reviews from the last five years.
  • Reinvigorate your network and add five new members to your network each week.
  • Comment on five LinkedIn group posts each week (or each day, if you’re ambitious).
  • Research in depth five companies each week that you find interesting.
  • Read five articles in your industry’s top news sources.
  • Call five people in your network with whom you’ve not spoken in five months.

Be Accountable to a Five Strengths Expert

If you’re committing to an executive career change, consider adding our five key strengths to your portfolio of excellence. By working with our experts in these five strengths, you’ll become accountable in critical ways that will make you more successful in your executive career change.

3 Tips to Take Charge of Your Executive Promotion Strategy

3 Tips to Take Charge of Your Executive Advancement Strategy

These 3 tips provide a foundation for you to take charge of your own promotion strategy while helping others help you. If you are looking to advance within your company or search outside of it, developing a strategy now will position you better to create short-term and long-term career transition goals.

Ask a Network Connection for Advice

Sometimes, you need a bit of advice on one aspect of your career transition, and you might have a network connection that can mentor you through that question. Reach out with LinkedIn or email, and ask for a quick call or coffee within a specific time frame. This network connection probably won’t be the hiring leader, but he or she might be able to help you in other ways—connecting you with someone they know, pointing you to a web or printed industry resource, or suggesting a company they believe would be a good fit for your expertise and aspirations.

Keep a Written Account of Your Career Successes

Keep track of your own career successes, so that when you need to report on them in your annual reviews, you’ll be prepared to report on your accomplishments easily. Your manager probably won’t remember every detail of your major projects, but you can remind him or her when you write out your annual self-assessment and when you report on them formally in your annual review. In fact, by doing so, you’re helping your leadership evaluate you effectively. In the best scenario, your manager will use this material to help you create a career plan to help you rise to the next career level.

Let Executive Recruiters Connect You to Additional Companies

Executive recruiters are in the business of brokering successful executive placements for their clients–the businesses that pay them to source the right talent. As a byproduct of this process, they also broker executive career transitions for the candidates they are sourcing.  Contract executive recruiters who reach out to you likely have exclusivity on positions—ranging from director-level to CEO openings—that you would not otherwise learn about. On the other hand, if you’re not right for the role at that moment, then feel free to recommend one or two people in your network. Your executive recruiter will appreciate your willingness to help and come back to you when the right opening becomes available.

Conclusion: Nobody Will Advance Your Career for You, but You Always Can Ask for Help

There is nobody who is as invested in your career as you are, so you must take charge of your executive career transition and turn organic growth into planned executive success. Of course, you can ask for advice judiciously, from the right resources, and when you are confident that you can reciprocate. By planning now for a future career advancement, you’ll be ready when the right opportunity is presented.

Write Your Own Headline to Jump Start Your Executive Career Change

Write Your Own Headline to Jump Start Your Executive Career Change

Nobody Has Time to Listen Anymore

If I am right, you barely have time to read this blog post. You’re busy, you’ve got work to do. I respect that.

Hiring executives have the same problem. They don’t have any spare time, either. So as you approach the executives who can help you throughout your job search, you’ll come up against their time crunches. You have to convince the hiring executive that you’re the one for whom they should put their calendar on hold to speak with you or meet you in person. But we know that you’re an expert with a great reputation in your industry, and you’re being tapped for a great position. Let’s assume, then, that you are meeting with this key executive.

Knowing what you do about busy executives—after all, you’re a busy executive yourself—how do you make this meeting easy for your contact? You keep it brief, at least until you’re challenged to expand on the assets you bring and the accomplishments you’ve demonstrated.

“Hello. Nice to meet you. Why don’t you tell me about yourself.”

This is the deadliest question, and your answer can make or break your interview—almost before it starts. The more succinct you are in answering this question, the more likely you will be called on for additional details. Therefore, you need to prepare this message, your mission, and your value proposition ahead of time, long before you get the question—because no doubt you will get the question.

To develop your core message or “elevator pitch,” as it so often is called (although the typical elevator ride is bound to be longer than the time you should spend delivering your speech), explore the following:

How Do You Label Yourself?

Tell me who you are in 10 seconds or less. Alternatively, tell me who you are in three bullets. I know that this is a tough exercise, particularly the first time you try it, but I’m confident that you’ll hone it to perfection in plenty of time for that important interview or networking event. Consider the answers to the following questions, which might help you uncover your core message:

  • What is your current job title?
  • What do you aspire to do?
  • In what industry do you aspire to do it?
  • What is your noble purpose?
  • What is a representative example of the type of contribution you make?

Are you getting closer to the 10-second mark? I will bet that you are.

How Would Others Label You?

If you’re still stuck for a self-description, imagine what your executive leader, your co-workers, or your subordinates might say about you. For example, are you:

  • Compassionate?
  • Visionary?
  • Technologically savvy?

Have you reached the 10-second mark? If so, job well done. Now you need to practice it. I heard one theatre coach suggest that an actor doesn’t really remember his lines until he can recite them while doing jumping jacks. While I don’t suggest that you either play a part or prepare yourself in a cardiovascular sense, the premise remains a logical one. You should be able to recite your 10-second pitch in any context, under any circumstances, with confidence, strong inflection, and a smile.

Take some time to practice. If you’re still struggling about what to say or how to say it, you can always ask for help. After all, “I’m a career search strategist who markets executives for choice positions better than they do.”

Resume Writing for Entrepreneurs and Business Owners

Resume Writing for Entrepreneurs and Business Owners

Getting Back into the Corporate World

In a tough economy, when small businesses thrive, it’s due to their team strategy, marketing, and more–including their executive leadership. These entrepreneurs are the power on which our successful economy rests. If you’re an entrepreneur who has chosen to exit your small business, you need to know how your skills and assets can impress a hiring manager.

You–a current or former business owner–need to convince a hiring manager that

  • You’re an executive ready to lead the charge to a company’s profitability.
  • You’re a professional who is able to follow the beat of someone else’s drum–maybe for the first time in your professional career.

No matter whether you’re a mid-career professional or a true executive, you need to prove:

  • You are ready to give up the powerful independent life
  • You’re ready to throw your lot in with the rest of the professional world
  • You’re ready to work with others on teams
  • You’re ready to take direction from someone who might not have the same perspective—or experience—as you.

Need to create a powerful career-change strategy? Identify the steps you need to follow to be successful here.

The Answer

You need an entrepreneur resume. Resumes for entrepreneurs are substantively different from standard business resumes.

If you’re an entrepreneur, you’re probably smart, driven, customer-oriented, and proud of your ability to do whatever it is your company does. Educationally speaking, you might have an MBA or you might have just made it through high school. You might have been working for your own enterprise for 5 months, 5 years, or 25 years. In any case, you’re thinking it’s times to leave the business in someone else’s hands, or to close it altogether.

Probably, you have not written a resume before, because your company was flying high, and you loved the responsibility, pressure, and elation of success. But if you’re ready to take the plunge, your entrepreneur resume has to show some serious innovation and expertise. An expert entrepreneur such as yourself needs to have a resume that blows the competition away, competing with all other comers on their terms–which might be substantially different from the ones that have driven your success in the past.

5 Resume Techniques for Entrepreneurs Returning to the Corporate World

1. Highlight Your Accomplishments

Accomplishments in a resume for entrepreneurs are critical.  By showing what you have accomplished in the past on your entrepreneur resume, you will show a hiring manager that you can accomplish the same goals for his or her company. For example, demonstrate that you’re the right one for the job due to your incredible track record of high sales, decreased turnover, technical expertise, or human resources talent.

2. Talk about Teamwork

First, emphasize any team projects you’ve participated in within your business, whether inside your company with subordinates, with other industry players, or with clients. Ensure that your prospective hiring manager knows you’re a team player and you aren’t afraid to collaborate.

3. Show Increasing Levels of Responsibility

Even within your own organization, you probably started with smaller projects and worked your way to bigger ones. Great challenge-action-response CAR statements will show how you wrangled the most success from sticky situations that will resemble the kinds of problems hiring managers are desperate to solve.

4. Write for Your Audience

Demonstrate your growth with strong action words and as many quantitative and qualitative assessments as you can. Pick powerful language; don’t use boring text that doesn’t grab attention.

Don’t forget a great cover letter and professional biography for business owners. Your cover letter is the introduction to your resume. It has to be polished and professional. Don’t know how to begin? Call me at 801-810-JOBS.

5. Hire a Professional Resume Writing Service

When you were out pounding the pavement as the leader of your own company, you made sure that your clients knew they were hiring an expert. If you’re stuck about what to say in your resume, you, too, can hire an expert to help you get a job fast. A professional resume writer can help you with your professional resume. If you need an executive resume writing service, she can help you with that as well. She’ll have expert-validated knowledge and skill, and she’ll get you the resume that will get you the interview you need to jump start your new career.

New Resume Services for the Savvy Jobseeker and the Recruiters and Coaches Who Help Them Succeed

In case you haven’t visited Five Strength’s main site, I hope you’ll take a minute to look around now. We’ve revamped our service offerings to include a lot more than just cover letters and resumes. Learn more about our executive resume writing services, or message Amy L. Adler at aadler at