Undertaking an executive job search can be difficult, demanding and for the most part pretty stressful. Invariably it’s a marathon and not a sprint with multiple setbacks, disappointments and frustrations along the way until you find the role you want. You need to be well prepared, persistent and mentally strong. As an executive search specialist I understand the challenges executives face and whilst some aspects of the executive job search rely on sound organisation and technique, many are mental with a practical dimension.
Here are 10 P’s to consider in your executive job search;
1. Purpose – What is your why?
Your job search is likely to take time, potentially 6-9-12 months, and then some considerable investment in your new role and organisation environment once you have secured a position. For this reason you will want to be completely clear on, and inspired by, your purpose ‘why do you do what you do‘ and then be able to readily distill this purpose into achievable goals and targets.
2. Proposition – What solutions do you offer your future employer?
Most organisations hire executives to implement solutions that solve problems or capitalize on opportunities. Therefore you need to be able to provide a compelling and succinct proposition to a potential employer – one that closely meets their need. It’s not enough anymore (if it ever was) to be a capable, functional specialist without being able to provide an insight as to your true value.
3. Power – You no longer have the power of your position
If you are an executive seeking a new role when not currently employed, a special challenge is that you can feel distinctly vulnerable arising from a loss of identity. You no longer have the sense of power and definition that a job provides. This is the first of your mindset challenges and is why clearly defining your purpose helps restore your identity and direction.
4. Process – Make something good happen every day
Waiting for the phone to ring or an email to arrive so you can advance your job search is mentally difficult. Especially, if it doesn’t ring or arrive. You have lost control of your process and the uncertainty can create a roller coaster ride of emotion. A much better approach is to set yourself a daily target of making five job search phone calls and completing two relevant meetings. You have gained control of the process of making something happen each day and if the phone calls and emails do materialise then it’s a bonus.
5. Preparedness – Expect the unexpected
This is both mental and physical. Be prepared and organised with the right collateral and clothing, appropriate voicemail messages recorded and ensure that your referees are primed. However, mentally reframe the way you think about surprises and especially disappointments and delays. Learn to expect and accept the unexpected.
6. Perspective – Play the long game
As I mentioned above, an executive job search can take 6-9-12 months so it is important to learn not to be riding the daily rollercoaster ride of emotions, otherwise you will quickly become physically mentally and emotionally exhausted. Take a long-term perspective and stay sane!
7. Persistence – Don’t give up
Like points 4-5-6 this is mental. Every day, every setback, every disappointment, brings you closer to achieving your goal. Don’t give up. Using your longer term perspective reframe a setback as a learning opportunity and your next position as being one day nearer.
8. Performance – Display your energy
One attribute a leader requires is energy; the energy to influence and inspire yourself and those people around you. Without it many of your other strategies lose impact and so it is important that you bring this energy to the process every day or you won’t complete on your process for days on end and will give up easily when things don’t go your way. Display your energy every day in every way.
9. Positivity – Be positive
Switching your mind into a positive mental state and staying switched on with positive self talk and reflection creates inner self belief and confidence that you can win that job, you can be the person you want to be.
10. Pressure – Withstand the stress
You need to be mentally tough enough to withstand the pressure of the job search process and overcome the many obstacles, setbacks and failures to achieve your goals.