Surfing is one of the most frustrating experiences I’ve ever had. Call me a landlubber if you want, but trying to stay on top of a solid board amidst constantly shifting water is a stark reminder of just how rigid we can be. However, as a life lesson, few are more on point.
When you find a comfort zone, it’s tempting to simply keep repeating it over and over again. It’s true in life, and it’s true in careers. But top-level SVPs and CXOs know better. They are always attempting to disrupt the familiar, because they understand that this is the quickest way to achieve progress. They approach an executive search with this mentality.
You are riding a wave, and staying on top means constantly adapting strategies and tactics to deliver the results you’re after. Refusing to do this means getting thrown off the board and into the drink.
Here are the strategies my executive clients use to secure MAJOR salary and title increases:
1. A Clear Sense Of Direction
Searching for a new opportunity is a game of shadowboxing, and the more precisely you can place your punches the better the odds of a successful outcome.
First, identify the main driving force behind this change. Is it to feel more fulfilled and essential at work? Is it to provide a higher standard of living for your family? Is it to position yourself for an even higher-level position down the line? Seriously consider this question. Your answer will inform your search efforts and help to accurately assess new opportunities.
Next, evaluate the potential industries you can participate in. What are their relative strengths economically? If they’re strong, are they strong within the regions in which you’ll be searching? Or are you going for a niche market with a geographic preference that’s global? Both approaches have their pluses and minuses, but one thing’s for certain: you can’t develop outstanding marketing collateral and create a customized search strategy by trying to have it both ways.
2. A Resume That’s Precisely Targeted
Simply put: if you’re relying on an employer to scan your resume and “fill in the blanks” you have a bad resume.
I recently worked with a senior executive who had all of the skills and qualifications to pursue opportunities in large companies in his industry- except for the fact that his resume read like an unfocused laundry list of dozens of different abilities. This is a common mistake made by professionals with a lengthy work history. It’s not about encapsulating everything you’ve done, but emphasizing only those elements which establish credibility and highlight expertise for the type of job you want now.
Fold the first page of your resume in half. Now inspect the top half. Does it identify the pain points of the employers you’re targeting, and demonstrate how you can address them? If not, it’s time for a rewrite.
3. Value-Driven Accomplishments
“Show, don’t tell” is the key to making your candidacy stand out amongst the competition. This means including key metrics for a minimum of the last 2-3 positions you’ve held that demonstrate your ability to surpass expectations and move the ball forward.
Front-loading quantifiable achievements is the most effective way to garner attention at companies and establish yourself as a leader. It also creates natural talking points during an interview.
A technique I use is to highlight the benefit first (ex. Increased North America revenues by $350M in 18 months…) followed by a description of how it was achieved.
4. A Clearly Structured Work Experience
The STAR (Situation, Tasks, Action, Results) method is a great way to bring the most important facets of your background to the forefront. For every major position you’ve held, consider the following questions:
What was the Situation that resulted in your being hired?
In other words, what was the mission critical challenge that you had to solve, or objective you had to complete?
What were the Tasks you were assigned?
Don’t list anything obvious or low-level here.
What Actions did you take to complete these tasks?
Give a little insight into your thinking and how you lead.
What were the Results of your actions?
5. Confidence Throughout The Hiring Process
The hiring process is a negotiation between employer and candidate. Executives understand this, and never comply with a request without getting something in return.
Questionnaire? Either skip it and request to present in person, or only answer those questions which establish your value.
Third interview? Get an exact read on how close they are to selecting a candidate, and how this interview will help achieve that. If they can’t give you an answer, then the issue is probably with “buy-in” of you as their choice- sit it out.
Salary details at your last job? Counter with a request for the budgeted range for the position you’re interviewing for instead, and then steer the conversation back to the VALUE you can provide.
Above all, remember that people like to work with others who share their values. Internal strength, respect for others, and boldness of vision- these are the distinguishing characteristics of great executives and great human beings.
It’s your life and your untapped potential. Seize it!
About the author
Anish Majumdar, CEO of ResumeOrbit.com is an executive resume writer, LinkedIn expert, and interview coach. He has helped thousands of job seekers land 6 and 7-figure positions through strong career platforms and breakthrough search strategies. His articles have appeared in leading industry publications and some of the most influential career advice websites today.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.
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