Here are five tips we’ve picked up for making the job hunt more successful:
- Become a specialist. A first rule of marketing is stand out for doing one thing well. However, that’s not how most executives market themselves. Loaded with broad experience and fearful of missing out on any opportunity that might be suitable, job hunters become generalists. What they need to keep in mind is this: no client has ever asked us for someone who can do everything.
- Take stock of the expertise you take for granted. Here’s a simple pointer I overheard my business partner coaching someone on the other day: “people pay you for the no-brainers you take for granted.” Figuring out what your no-brainers are is a helpful way of defining what you’re good at.
- Get comfortable blowing your own horn. For whatever reason – culture, upbringing, corporate training – most people struggle to promote themselves. Conforming seems more important than standing out. As a result bios, CV’s and LinkedIn profiles all have the same look and feel – making it extremely difficult to stand out. Here’s the scary truth. Regardless of what we’ve done, so have millions of others – so being the best at telling your own story is vital.
- Write a functional CV. The problem with chronological CV’s is they are a lousy way to highlight functional expertise that is transferable across roles and industries. While it is true that most recruiters, corporate hiring managers and even on-line submission forms are still geared to viewing chronological CV’s, functional CV’s are a very effective way to get noticed.
- Take stock of your on-line persona. Whether it’s applying for a Board role or getting a gig as a management consultant, people will be checking you out on-line. Simply googling someone always brings up their LinkedIn profile. Hopefully there is one, and hopefully it isn’t just an afterthought. From there it’s easy to stand out by also having profiles on other social media like Twitter. What’s the message you send when you do that? “I’m current and relevant.”
As successful executives, it’s often difficult to understand how many other successful executives are also searching for similar roles. Simply breaking out from the patterns of others is an easy first step in differentiating our positioning in the job search market place.