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Your Inside Connection to Your Next Executive Job

Your Inside Connection to Your Next Executive Job

What do you think the key to savvy executive job search is? Could it be your resume, your interview, or your LinkedIn profile? The answer might surprise you. The key to your executive job search is your recommendation by a current employee of the company you are targeting.

Connections Inside the Company Give You the Advantage

Ask an influential current employee of your target company to recommend you to the hiring executive.

Ask an influential current employee of your target company to recommend you to the hiring executive.

The inside connection will make or break your executive job search. In fact, if you do not have an advocate from inside the company, you might as well not apply for the position at all, said leading recruiting expert Gerry Crispin, at Career Thought Leaders Conference 2014. Crispin suggested that the resume gets you only so far in the applicant tracking system, because hiring executives do not want to make choices among the hundreds to thousands of resumes they receive for each open role

How the Referral Process Works

Let us examine Crispin’s scenario, in which he used some realistic figures. Let us say that a position is posted, and the applicant tracking system, or web application site, receives 150 resumes. Automatically, we can assume that half of those are not qualified for the role.

As an aside, recruiters regularly lament the fact that they receive resumes all the time from candidates who match only some of the qualifications. The moral of this story is that executives need to read the job description carefully to make sure they fit all of the qualifications and requirements for the role. Remember, the interview is about fit, not about qualifications, so do not be lulled into a false sense of security by the idea that you are smart (you are), experienced (you have years), and a quick learner (that is not a qualification for anything). You need to demonstrate right from the start that you have experience in all facets of the role.

So of our 150 applicants, 75 are not qualified, and 75 are. At the same time that resumes are rolling in through the online application system, five smart executives have been making connections within the company, and they each have been speaking to influential employees. These five current employees have passed these five resumes to the executive decision maker. Now, all bets are off for the 75, because the same half of these recommended candidates are also employed (let us say 2 of the 5).

The applicant tracking system and the internal recruiter choose the top several of the resumes that come through the online job site; however, the executive receiving referrals from trusted employees pushes the two resumes he or she received to the top of the list. Thus, the former five top resumes that came in through the system are now three, because the two from referrals edged out the bottom two from the original list.

Why Recommendations Matter for Your Executive Job Search and What You Need to Do

There is no question but that referrals and recommendations from existing employees truly count. Those qualified candidates from the list of referrals now have a 20% chance of receiving an offer, which far outpaces the 1 in 75 of fundamentally qualified candidates. The math prevails, and referrals now truly count.

You can become one of the top five by engaging in a concentrated networking strategy that makes you into a name with a face, qualifications, personality, and experience. By creating trustworthy connections within your targeted company list, you can increase your chances of being selected for an executive role from 1/150 to 1/5.

Image courtesy of franky242 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Five People You Need to Know on LinkedIn for Your Executive Job Search

The Five People You Need to Know on LinkedIn for Your Executive Job Search

There are five people you need to know on LinkedIn to advance your executive job search. These are the people whose insights you will find helpful when you are in the process of exploring new roles, interviewing, and evaluating job offers–but they are not who you think.

1. A Peer in another Industry

Connect with these five people on LinkedIn for your executive job search.

Connect with these five people on LinkedIn for your executive job search.

So often, we connect on LinkedIn with our colleagues in our own company or in companies similar to ours. LinkedIn loves that we are part of a peer group, and the platform judges our relevance by the company we keep. However, as you search for a new role, you should consider exploring outside your company and your industry to learn what others at your level do and believe. At a minimum, you’ll uncover the parallels between your job and your peer’s job. More likely, you will discover the gaps between what you currently do in your job function and what a day in another industry might look like for exactly the job function. This sort of analysis will help you evaluate your own skill set and perhaps help you set your job search strategy if you do not necessarily want to stay in your current industry.

2. A Superior in another Industry

If you have ever wished you had a “fairy godmother” who could advise you on something sensitive yet specifically related to your career, this is your opportunity to find that mentor or trusted advisor. Perhaps an executive in another industry will not know exactly how your particular company or division works, but this person, a trusted expert in his or her own industry, is likely to have some insight into the way things generally work. As you will make it eminently clear in your request for ten minutes of this person’s valuable time that you are not trying to take advantage of their position to get yourself a job in their company. Then, with this ethical approach in mind, you can use this ten minutes of their time to ask the questions that are important to you about your career advancement strategy and get the advice from an impartial observer.

3. A Recruiter Specializing in Your Industry

Although your LinkedIn profile might not advertise that you are seeking a new executive role, perhaps to protect the position you currently have, you might want to connect with a specialized recruiter or two before you go into job search mode fully. First, do some research to identify which recruiters regularly place candidates in your industry and in your job function. Remember, the recruiters who place candidates in your company likely will not try to place you in another company, as this is a breach of ethics. Instead, with some discreet inquiries or even a quick Google search, find the right recruiting firm and the right recruiter within that firm. Then send a brief, polite invitation via LinkedIn to connect with these one or two individuals. Remember, however, that recruiters do not work with you–they work for the companies that pay them their fees for placing executives like yourself with unique and rare skill sets, so you might want to mention in your introductory note exactly what your unique selling proposition is.

4. An Peer in a Company that Interests You

Your first thought in connecting with someone in a company that you are targeting might be the hiring executive himself/herself. Rather than initiating a relationship with a company with an implied request for a position, start by connecting with people at your level. They might have some unique insights into the way the company works, and it is likely easier to make a friend with someone at your own level than with someone who sits at a level far above yours. Down the road, this person might be willing to advocate for you with his or her own manager or the manager of another department simply on the basis of the good relationship you have built over time.

5. The “Connector” in Any Industry

It might help you to get to know with and connect with on LinkedIn a few LinkedIn LIONs, or “connectors.” These are people who seem to know everyone and have connections across industries and companies. They tend to be outgoing and willing to make introductions. It might be wise to set up a few minutes to talk to someone with these qualities, once you have made that connection on LinkedIn, to ask whether this connector knows someone who can help you (you specify the criteria) and would be willing to make an introduction, on LinkedIn, via email, or in person.

Conclusion

Remember, LinkedIn is only the tool. Set up the relationships on LinkedIn long before you need them for your particular executive job search. When you are ready to start looking for a new job actively, these credible connections that you have already established will be extremely helpful and valuable to you.

Image courtesy of freeimages.com / svilen001

What to Do about Your Executive Job Search if You Have Been Fired (or Consciously Uncoupled) from Your Company

What to Do about Your Executive Job Search if You Have Been Fired (or Consciously Uncoupled) from Your Company

Fired from your job? Follow these 5 steps to start your executive job search.

Fired from your job? Follow these 5 steps to start your executive job search.

Let’s face it–there is very little that is good about being fired. Executives experiencing this type of crisis often believe that the best thing for them to do is to get right back in the saddle and go search for a new job. Instead of forcing yourself into a job search situation for which you are not fully prepared and to which you are not fully committed, take a step back and follow these five steps to preparing to start an executive job search.

1. Take time to heal from the job loss.

It has been said that job loss and the ensuing loss of income is one of life’s biggest stressors. If you recently lost your job, you should take the time you need to process what happened without the compounding pressure of engaging in job search. You need to clear your head, read a dime store novel, and spend time with your family–to the extent that the financial pressures bearing down on you are not dire.

2. Evaluate your position in your industry.

If you have been terminated from a position, either terminated for cause or let go as part of a reduction in force, take some time to rethink your career trajectory. Consider the following questions:

  • Is this industry expanding or contracting?
  • Does your function within your industry have future viability?
  • Do you like your work well enough to return to something just like it in another organization?

If you are not entirely sure that the industry from which you came is the one you want to continue in, then perhaps this is a time to make a radical change in career direction.

3. Re-engage your network.

Once you have taken time to heal and evaluate your situation, start to talk to people inside and outside of your industry. Be a great conversationalist by being a great listener, and learn what drives them, professionally speaking. Do not go casting about asking anyone who crosses your path for a job–that is not networking. Rather, advance your knowledge of others’ careers and industries. You might learn something valuable to add to your own executive job search strategy.

4. Write your resume.

By this time, you will have had time to recover from your job loss plus taken the time to discover what is really important to your executive career strategy. Use this information to craft a resume directed toward a particular role in a particular industry. If you are unable to pull this information out on your own, do not hesitate to ask for help; there are career experts who walk this path every day. In any case, make sure that you include your current volunteer work or education as a current role, so that future hiring executives know that you are keeping your industry skills sharp.

5. Start applying for positions–via your network

You have developed quite a lot of information about the direction you want your career to go, and you have validated this information with your network. Now continue to work within your network and those your first-degree connections (think: LinkedIn) suggest you should meet to become top of mind before positions are posted publicly. You will find this to be a much stronger strategy than scouring the job boards for open positions and posting into the void. If you must use job boards, set up alerts to email you with appropriately filtered lists, so that you can review them quickly and decide to apply through the job board or approach the company from a networking connection.

Image courtesy of Freeimages.com / marzie

Not Getting Interviews? Apply for Only 6 Jobs in Your Executive Job Search

“Why am I not getting interviews?” you’re wondering? “I’m sending out dozens of resumes, but the calls aren’t coming in.”

Not Getting Interviews? Hint: There are only 6 executive jobs that are right for you.

When job search candidates tell me that they have applied for hundreds of positions and received no interviews, they usually sound panicked and angry. After all, with all that effort they are putting into their job searches, why aren’t they getting any interviews? They are baffled, frustrated, and worried about their chances for success. They don’t see that there are only perhaps six jobs that are right for them.

The first thing I advise these frustrated executive job search candidates is to stop applying right away. Clearly, the strategy they have chosen is not working–they’re not getting positive responses to their resumes, and they are not getting interviews that match their expertise. There is something very wrong with their approach, and doing more of it will result only in more frustration and fewer calls for interviews.Not getting interviews? Narrow your career focus, and you'll get calls for interviews for the right jobs.

Now I’m Wondering, “Why Are there only 6 Jobs in My Executive job Search?”

Then, I ask what positions they are targeting. The wide range of responses is staggering. And there is the problem. There are no “hundreds of positions” that are right for any one person–no wonder there are no calls for interviews. I would posit that there are only 6 (or thereabouts) positions that are right for any single executive. So when executives are frustrated because they are not getting interviews, I tell them it’s because they’re casting a net that is by far too wide.

By eliminating all positions and companies that are not directly in the bulls-eye of your job search, paradoxically your job search will become more fruitful. You’ll target your entire job search process to this set of positions, which you have taken time to identify, focus on, and target your messaging toward. Yes, it might feel like you’re eliminating hundreds of possibilities, but instead your message is becoming more authentic and more believable to your hiring entity. You’ll start to sound like the executive they have been looking for all along.

So how do you focus on your 6 ideal jobs? You leave out everything not in your ideal executive job search zone. If the executive job is not targeting

  • Your values
  • Your corporate culture
  • Your function
  • Your growth
  • Your aptitude
  • Your skill set

Then do not apply, and have zero regrets about leaving it off your list.

Updated January 2017.

3 Career Change Strategies for Former Entrepreneurs

3 Career Change Strategies for Former Entrepreneurs

As the economy fluctuates, many entrepreneurs consider their long careers and successes in the companies they built. We hear of high-tech leaders who built companies from their basements, and we hear of manufacturing leaders who built product suites appealing to the mass market. If you are an entrepreneur with a company that has potentially maxed it out its life cycle or that is about to be sold, you might be considering entering the paid workforce as an employee in another company. Read on for three career advancement strategies for former entrepreneurs that you can use right now to build a smart plan for your career transition.

1. Define your network.

Of course, as an entrepreneur, you know lots of people. You meet them in business meetings, in your Chamber of Commerce, through friends, and through friends of friends. However, have you ever approach any of them with critical business questions? It is even less likely that you have approached this network with questions about your own career advancement. Now is the time to revive old relationships. Building out the number of people on whom you can call to ask about opportunities in other industries or other companies is going to be an essential if difficult part of this process.

2. Assess your own skill set.

As an entrepreneur, you likely wear many hats. Depending on the type of fire you are putting out, you might be CFO, CEO, or CIO on any given day. You might also be sales executive, human resources executive, or the guy who has to run to the hardware store to pick up a new light switch. Other entrepreneurs would sympathize with how thinly you have been stretched. They would also understand that you might find it hard to identify the skills you want to build on in a new role. Thus, it would be wise for you to take an hour or two and inventory what you love about your job, what you hate about it, and where your skills fit in to what you want to be doing next. If you have no idea where your assets might be of value in a corporate environment, now is the time to speak with an expert, such as an executive career consultant, who can help you make that determination.

3. Prepare your resume and career portfolio.

If you know exactly what you want to be doing in a new company, now is the time to have your executive resume prepared. (If you are still in decision-making mode, go back to number 2 on this list. Preparing yourself for a new career but taking the steps out of order will result only in your mounting frustration.) If you have done the research, then you know what goes into writing a resume for a former entrepreneur that resonates with hiring executives in the current market. You’ll know how to enhance your marketability to somebody who is scanning your document in perhaps 20 seconds or less. You can find many resources in the library or on the Internet that will explain how to write, organize, and design the modern executive resume. At the same time, do not neglect to prepare an effective LinkedIn profile that will get you found by the hiring executives and recruiters who are looking for experts like yourself. For certain, if you find the resume and career portfolio writing process daunting, as many executives in your situation do, then engaging a career management consultant who knows how to do this might be a wise choice for you.

5 People You Can Trust to Help Your Executive Career Change

5 People You Can Trust to Help Your Executive Career Change

As you consider your executive career transition, you’re going to find that there are lots of resources available to move it forward. How do you know whom you can trust throughout this process? How do you know who has your best interests at heart? Read on to learn how to identify those who can help you most effectively.

1. Friends and Family

You may consider asking your spouse, your friend, or even your parent for advice about your executive career transition. Generally, these individuals in your close circle of trust will have your best interests at heart, but they tend to be among the least objective about what will work for you. Certainly they will know you well and have a good sense of what your strengths and salient characteristics are, but their own self-interest or personal interest in your well-being might interfere with your ability to seek out and obtain a position that satisfies all of your professional requirements.

2. Your Coworkers or Executive Manager

Among those who might offer you a solid career advice are your professional peers or executive leader. However, do know that as much as they have your best interests in mind, they also have agendas. They might be competitive with you or they might ask you to take on more than your fair share. Certainly, as you work your way up through the executive tier in a company, you need to pay attention to the needs and wishes and wants of your colleagues and superiors, but they might not provide the best advice for you if they do not understand your specific aspirations, particularly if they fall outside of your current company.

3. A Mentor

You are certainly among the privileged if you can find and secure a mentor who can stand apart from you and provide you with rock-solid career advice. Finding a mentor can be challenging, but it can be extraordinarily rewarding as well if the mentor truly has a vested interest in your success. The best way to find a mentor, according to leading career experts, is to identify the best-in-class for your industry or role, but not somebody in whose company you wish to work. That in and of itself presents a particular challenge, as you will need to do some serious research to identify that person and then pitch your wish to be his or her protégé. Nevertheless, a good mentor who fulfills the role successfully is an incomparable asset to your career advancement, as he or she can give you an insider’s view to an industry or role while remaining completely objective.

4. A Recruiter

If you know a recruiter from having worked with him or her to fill roles in your organization, you might find this person is a tremendous asset to your own executive career transition. The recruiter might be seeking someone just like you, or that person might know somebody who is. To that end, the ability to create a powerful recruiter network can help you advance your own career transition. The pitfalls of working with the recruiter however, are several. First, you have to trust that the recruiter will keep your aspirations and drive to leave a particular company under wraps. Also, know that the value of this relationship flows according to the money. The recruiter doesn’t work for you if you are a job seeker. In fact, the recruiter works for the individual or company who is paying him or her, leaving candidates such as you in the category of “talent” rather than “particular person I want to help.” Thus, you can trust the recruiter to recommend you for positions for which you are eminently qualified and write for, but apart from that, do not expect much in the way of hands-on treatment from a recruiter who has perhaps dozens of roles to fill and hundreds of candidates to review daily.

5. An Executive Career Coach and Executive Resume Writer

A career coach is a professional dedicated to the career transition success of others. This career coach works directly for the executive and delivers world-class advice, coaching, and sometimes explicit consultation to individuals requiring a partner in the executive career transition process. Often, the career coach and resume writer has credentials from national or international career management organizations that validate his or her training in the field, and he or she also might have won some major global awards in the field. Executive career coaches and executive resume writers report on the exponential success their clients achieve with the type of support they offer, but you need to decide if, as an executive on the cusp of career transition, you are ready to put in the work required to make your own career announcement a successful one. You are welcome to contact me if you would like to know more about the type of work required to make an executive career transition into a successful endeavor. Primarily, it involves a willingness to reach out to new people, except a great deal of direction, and a drive to be the best in your position and your field. Are you ready to make that choice?

Lead Your Executive Career Transition–Just the Way You Lead Your Company

Lead Your Executive Career Transition–Just the Way You Lead Your Company

Of the many similarities among those who seek me out is that they all are deeply committed to making their companies as successful as possible. They strategize and plan and execute, all with amazing results. What strikes me is that many of these often did not do the same with their careers. They worked hard, got promoted, got recruited, and got hired. However, now the employment economy is quite different, and they must plan to be successful, just the way they plan for their companies to succeed.

Nothing Purposeful Happens on Its Own

Even though serendipity is great, the employment marketplace for executive leaders shares only passing similarity to that of other economic eras. Thus, executives need to focus on making purposeful change, which, itself, only comes out of purposeful decision making. So ask yourself these questions:

  • What choices can I make today to improve my access to the right positions?
  • With whom do I need to speak to get my career change on track?
  • What are the resources I need to enact a positive career change?

These are the same types of questions you might ask your own corporate team about their decision-making processes.

Examine All of the “Departments” in Your Executive Career Change “Company”

Now break you answers down further into their essential parts, perhaps by business department:

  • Strategy (what is next for me?)
  • Finance (what are my financial goals?)
  • Accounting (what happens if I quit today?)
  • Business development (whom do I need to meet?)
  • Marketing (how I am going to promote myself? what is my messaging?)
  • Advertising and public relations (what documents do I need to promote my marketing message?)
  • Operations (how will I keep track of my progress?)

Hire the Right Help

As you think about the choices you need to make, perhaps you need to think about the resources that can create the greatest degree of success in the shortest amount of time. For example, your business might require a marketing leader with expertise outside of your team’s core competencies to attack a new market. Or it might need a new financial strategist to build a well-researched acquisition plan. Certainly, if your company needed this expertise, you would source it. Wouldn’t you do the same for your own career? There are resources that can move your career forward as well. Ask me about them.

Sign up for my weekly emails on executive resume writing and career coaching here.

About Amy Adler

Amy L. Adler, MBA, MA, CARW, CEIC, is the founder and CEO of Five Strengths Career Transition Experts, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. Five Strengths is a premier executive resume writing and career coaching company. Amy recently was nominated for Best Executive Resume and Best Career Re-Entry Resume in the 2013 global Toast of the Resume Industry (TORI) Awards. Amy won first place for Best Executive Resume in the 2012 TORI Award competition.

Measure Your Executive Career Success by the Number of Job Offers You Reject

Measure Your Executive Career Success by the Number of Job Offers You Reject

If you’re challenging yourself to find the right new executive opportunity, you’re hoping the next application you submit will result in a job offer. Then you can get out of the job you’re in and into something new. Something different, something…better?

Will any position do? “Yes,” you are thinking right now. “I’ll do anything, as long as it’s not what I’ve been doing.” If this is your thought process, borne of desperation, I challenge you to change it right now.

Recently, I wrote about how to run toward the perfect executive position, not away from it. I received a lot of comments from executives who all reported that they needed to get away from what they were doing. Up until that moment, they were willing to take almost any position, as long as it was with some other company.

Running toward the right position never actually struck them as a strategy, given the high level of stress and frustration they were trying to get away from every single day. They were taking interviews and would take offers from all comers. In fact, they might even have measured their success by the number of interview offers they received.

Can you imagine how these executives might feel in a year or two if they chose one of those offers, just because the offer came from a different company? Probably, they’d feel the same level of frustration and disillusionment they were experiencing in their former role. Wouldn’t you feel the same if you took a new role, only to find out in a year that it was a terrible fit for you?

Your Metric for Executive Career Search Success: The Number of Job Offers You Turn Down

Today I want you to look at your own pattern of executive career search. Count up the number of interviews you’ve received. How many of those would you have taken if you had received job offers from 100% of those interviews?

Now think about your experiences critically. Do you truly believe that each of those roles was right for you? Why or why not? How many of those interviews or job offers would you have consciously chosen to reject? Perhaps you never thought about it that way, and this is exactly my point. You should be even more particular about choosing not to accept an interview than you should be about choosing to participate in an interview. If you know from the start that a company or role would never meet your needs, however you define them, then you probably shouldn’t waste your time or that of the interviewer.

What, then, does the number of offers for interviews or jobs that you reject tell you about your strategy? Why is this metric critical to your overall success? This number tells you that you are evaluating future roles on their own merits, not based on the simple fact that the prospective position is not your current one.

How to Save Time and Energy in Your Executive Career Change: Hard Work

How to Save Time and Energy in Your Executive Career Change: Hard Work

Allow me to take you through a common scenario. An executive is thinking about changing jobs, perhaps changing careers. He calls me up, believing the first thing he needs to do is acquire “a resume.” Of course, executive resume writing is what I do, so the conversation interests me. However, upon digging a bit deeper, I learned that the executive has so many questions about his or her career path that writing the resume now might actually delay the process. If you are reading this, you might also be thinking about having your executive resume professionally written. But will having your executive resume professionally written right now save you time and energy in your executive career change?

There Is No Easy Path to Growth

It has been said that there is no royal road to learning. In the same way, there is no royal road to executive job search success. Regardless of who you are, what your executive role is, and what your accomplishments have been over the last decade or more, job search is going to be hard. Few individual mechanisms on their own will guarantee that you save time in your job search. In fact, starting with a resume probably is not going to serve you.

The Best Way to Make Your Job Search Faster– Hard Work

Now, don’t get me wrong, I truly wish that the executive resume well-prepared, targeted, and replete with great accomplishments would solve all the job search questions that executives face. Usually, however, the question is much larger. The soul-searching that executives like yourself must go through to establish a direction that make sense, tap into a new network to identify the types of missions that are available, build the marketing program, and execute a successful job search– these all take time and a healthy dose of hard work. If you are looking for a quick fix, you are likely not to find one; if you talk to somebody who promises a quick fix, you might want to dig a little deeper both inside yourself and inside what you are being offered to determine if such a panacea is possible.

The Pareto Chart of Career Success Strategy

What does this type of hard work look like? What will get you the biggest bang for your strategic buck? Certainly, the resume is important, but it doesn’t usually make sense to create one until about midway through the process. Start by writing down what you believe to be the hardest part of creating a job search strategy. I would be willing to place money on a bet that you have chosen one of the following:Pareto Chart: Learn How to Choose a Time-Saving Path to Executive Career Change Success

  • Building a network
  • Figuring out what to say to your network
  • Identifying the right role for you
  • Describing the kind of company in which you want to work
  • For the most confused among you, figuring out the right industry for your new career path

As you can see, all of these questions need to be answered before you can embark on the resume writing process. Because a resume is a document with direction, you can be sure that if you don’t know where you are going, you absolutely will never get there–unless you have the right level of support and help.

As part of our executive career success strategy, we take a hard look at the most difficult aspects of the process, and we help you design a path to resolving the biggest questions first, Pareto chart-like style.

If you happen to believe that the hardest part of your executive career transition strategy is organizing your thoughts around what to do next, what to tackle first, or when you should engage an executive resume writer, don’t hesitate to call me. I am happy to help.

Cut the Mental Clutter: Believe in Your Executive Career Success

Cut the Mental Clutter: Believe in Your Executive Career Success

We all get bogged down by the daily demands of our jobs–so when busy executives need to add job search to their list of things to do, no wonder they can get frustrated or overwhelmed. I wanted to take a moment to remind you to celebrate the things that you do succeed in, knowing that your faith in yourself might be all it takes to actualize success.

Visualize Your Success

Even if on the face of it this sounds a bit corny, visualizing your own success can change your mindset. I’m not a believer in the idea that if you simply will something to happen, then you control the outcome. But I am a great believer in de-cluttering your mental cache of musts and have-tos, so that you have the bandwidth to create your success. From an executive job search perspective, this might take the form of identifying ways to delegate to free up a few minutes at the beginning or end of your day, so you can make that phone call to a connection who just might be the right one to help you. For others, going for a run or taking the dog on a long walk to nowhere, just to clear your head and give yourself a bit of a mental vacation, might be just the thing to recharge your mind.

Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative

One of the hardest mental hurdles to overcome is not letting the one rotten thing that happened in a day or week crowd out the dozens of other situations in which you saved the day, made someone else’s job easier, brightened someone’s morning with a kind word, and so on. We all seem to have a terrible tendency to let the one mishap of the week destroy our self-confidence, if not our self-image. Don’t let the ever-present devil perched on your shoulder tell you how to think about yourself. Remember the good that you do and the successes you create personally and professionally–make a written list and post it on your monitor if you have to.

Recognize Where You Fall Short–But Create Action Plans to Build Yourself Up

Nobody’s perfect, and sometimes you will fall short of your goals. Maybe you feel like you didn’t quite get through to a networking contact. Perhaps you didn’t apply for a choice position before the deadline. Maybe you let your executive job search go for a week or two while you handled some pressing issues that simply couldn’t wait. These things happen, but do not beat yourself up over them. Instead, try to do a 10-second gap analysis between what you did do and what you, with 20/20 hindsight, wish you had done. Maybe you need to refine your marketing message or elevator pitch, so that you come across with more power and precision when you next reach out to a connection about your executive job search. Perhaps you need to put all of your job search deadlines in a private calendar on your phone, complete with 24-hour reminders to keep you on task. It could be that you have to put some “give” in your schedule, because your career is demanding, and you can’t possibly be in two places at once every day of your week.

Conclusion: Allow Yourself Some Breathing Room

If you’ve read this far, you probably could use some time and space to regroup, get your calendar in order, and create a plan that you feel good about. The first item on your list should always be permission to forgive yourself if you’re not speeding through an executive job search. The remainder of your list should focus on the ways you can build yourself up by creating achievable, short-term action items. In this way, you’ll find that a number of small, achievable tasks that push you through your executive job search ultimately will propel you into the executive career satisfaction you need. Always know that you have a job search partner if you need one. Call me at 801-810-5627; I’m happy to be your sounding board.