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Executive Job Search

Nov 4, 2007
As a current or former executive, your job search may be somewhat more difficult than one an assistant or manager faces because your search will be complicated by the fact there are fewer executive level jobs. For that reason, it can take longer than you would like to find a new position, so get prepared to be patient and persistent. For you, the best resource you will have is your network of current and former colleagues and clients/customers. Executive recruiters will also form a solid foundation in the search process for you.

Let's assume, for a moment, that you have found yourself in the position of having left your current place of employment as a c-level executive and you are starting with a blank slate. The most important thing is not to be embarrassed that you are facing a job search, because many executives have been here before you. Whether their departure was voluntary or not, executives often feel un-tethered and adrift once they have left their organizations, and it can be a very depressing experience.

So, the first thing to do is keep your spirits up and look forward rather than back. Don't replay scenes or situations in your mind that may have contributed to or represented your actual departure. The opportunity to go back and change those circumstances has passed, and the best thing you can do for yourself is focus on a new career direction. Look at it as a chance to create the ideal job situation, from geography, to company philosophy, to matching your personal values and vision to a those of a new organization.

Executives do, however, have certain advantages over others in the job market. You have probably been using, for years, some of the critical skills and opportunities that will help you in your executive job search. Those skills include:

Critical thinking ... This is a core component of every executive's competencies.

Planning and assessment ... You are experienced in looking at the big picture thoroughly and insightfully and then assessing the results of the plan and formulating stay-the-course plans or course corrections.

Networking ... Doubtless you have been doing this actively for years and it will prove to be a very significant capability in your job search.

Outside positions ... Membership on a board of directors is an elite position and one which will bring you into contact with many opportunities to network and discover executive openings.

Here are some ideas to put those skills to work for you in your executive job search.

1. First, use your planning and assessment skills to outline an approach for your search. Identify organizations you feel match your professional values and whose missions you can see yourself supporting. Prioritize that list, and include in your assessment geographic location, whether you would be required to relocate, the viability and current market climate of the industries of those companies, and, of course, their financial positions (using 10-Ks, annual reports, stock position, press releases and articles).

2. Second, take a good look at where you are in your career now. Are you happy, feeling fulfilled by the work, and comfortable with the corporate environments in which you've found yourself? If not, it's a good idea to employ some critical thinking here, and take stock. Now is the ideal time to change your career direction if you feel something has been lacking.

3. Third, activate your network, including executive recruiters and board contacts. It's been reported that 80% of executives find new positions through professional contacts.

Many executives have taken a sharp right turn in their career paths following a departure from their last jobs. Look at this as an unexpected chance to decide again what you want in your personal and professional life and whether this could be the opportunity for which you have been waiting, but didn't realize until now you really wanted.
About the Author
Greg Heslin is a best selling career advice and "street smart" tips author on how to survive in the 21st Century workplace.To learn more about FREE cutting edge career tips and techniques, you can visit his web site at http://www.My-New-Career.com
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