We originally wrote and posted this article on LinkedIn. However, not everyone strays onto our LinkedIn – and we think what’s here is kind of helpful so we’re reposting it here.

Goal: to shorten the executive job search cycle

When executives lose their jobs there are common patterns we observe them going through over the duration of their job search. Perhaps by pointing out these patterns we can help shorten the job search cycle.

Early Stage Executive Job Seeker Patterns – 1 to 4 months

These are the patterns we see from early stage executive job hunters.

  • Range of emotions around loss of previous role – from shock to relief
  • Range of emotions around transition – from fear to anticipation
  • Experimenting with upbeat ways of telling their job loss stories
  • Recognition that this might be the time to explore job alternatives
  • Overly optimistic about length of transition
  • Lots of faith in personal skills required for successful transition
  • Lots of faith in power of current network to support/help
  • Lots of faith in power of head hunters, transition agencies to help
  • High energy around transition activities
  • Reluctance to invest personal $ in transition – “won’t be necessary”; “past employer is looking after it”; “I need to be VERY frugal”

Early Mid-Stage Executive Job Seeker Patterns – 4 –7 months

These patterns occur after the initial buzz has worn off.

  • Budding recognition that this could take longer than expected
  • Increasing angst around being in transition, loss of identity, lack of success
  • Decreasing outreach from personal network
  • Frustration and surprise around the precision, competition involved in corporate recruiting
  • Renewed urgency around search activities – reaching out to network, recruiters; honing CV, LinkedIn profiles
  • Begin to explore other income alternatives – consulting, interim management
  • Heightened reluctance to invest personal $ in job search – “I REALLY do need to be frugal”

Late Mid-Stage Executive Job Seeker Patterns – 8 – 12 months

These patterns occur as the transition ‘wears on’.

  • Angst around being in transition settles into family
  • Attempts to finesse the situation cease – “I need a job.”
  • Loss of identity, focus on job search activities, quieting of network becomes very unsettling – there is a significant loss of mojo
  • Rapidly declining belief that personal skills are enough for a successful job search
  • Begin seriously exploring other job alternatives, other sources of transition help
  • Fairly complete openness to new ideas, skills, approaches that may help
  • Suddenly wide open to investing personal $ on transition assistance

Late Stage Executive Job Seeker Patterns – 12 months+

  • Sticking to job search activities – even if they involve a new direction – starts to pay off in hearing about new opportunities and offers
  • Increasing anticipation, faith that it might work
  • Return of mojo
  • Elation at finally making a successful transition!

Some other, more general observations about executive job seekers:

  1. At the executive level, job transition is taking over a year – sometimes well over.
  2. For executives in transition, personal networks age rapidly (in the first three months) and require significant effort to maintain.
  3. Women have more confidence than men in their networks that they can do critical marketing activities – CV’s, LinkedIn, Social Media – themselves. Although they clearly have the networks and the skills, we’ve observed that women struggle just as much as men to continue to doing the right things over a long period of time.
  4. Very few job seekers stand out because their CV’s, profiles, and descriptions of what they do is too high level (eg, “great strategist”), too common, (eg, “turnaround expert”), and too similar in format to everyone else.

Bottom line, we’ve observed that everyone who sticks to their job search goals is ultimately successful. That’s good news! However, going it alone for a long time is very taxing. Investing in help early can significantly ease the frustration and pain that the executive job search process entails.

The original article is posted on LinkedIn.