Are You Ready to Apply For an Executive Role?
August 28, 2013
Topicsexecutive recruitment, interview, personal branding
Considering we live in an age that has been increasingly defined by a heightened sense of competition and specialisation, it is no wonder that acquiring an executive position has become so coveted in the employment market. An executive role allows further room for upward mobility, a greater control over internal decisions and even the possibility to shape a company's direction and vision. However, taking the leap into this field is not as simple as submitting a resume and waiting for a reply. Rather, a certain approach needs to be taken and a unique mindset is absolutely necessary. So, it proves wise to briefly examine some sure-fire methods for you to secure a rewarding executive position.
A Solid Foundation is Tantamount to Success
Let us first assume that you’ve never applied for an executive position before but offer all of the relevant technical skills needed. What, then, separates you from the perhaps three or four others applying for the same role? The key here is to be fully prepared for the engagement process during the interview. It has been shown that when all other things are equal, the candidate that has the psychological preparation will most likely be the one chosen for the position.
This "softer" side of the process involves presenting the appropriate attire, allowing the process to be a "two way street" as opposed to dominating a conversation by recounting various achievements and having discreet facts at-hand. For example, instead of simply stating that you helped increase the sales pipeline at your last position, be ready with specific facts and figures. These will lend credibility to your position and demonstrate a working knowledge of operational duties. Bland and spurious statements will lead to a lukewarm response.
Focus on a Specific Position
It is common in the executive search industry for an individual to lack a clear vision of what position he or she desires. Thus, a more generalised approach may be taken and by doing so, a lack of focus may result. As an executive role is generally defined as possessing a number of valuable skill sets, it is easy to fall into the trap of applying to dozens of companies at once in hopes of landing one interview. A great deal of energy can be wasted in doing so. Rather, focusing on only two or three positions can help you target the most personally satisfying positions while not wasting time with potential "filler" roles where a change of venue may be desired further down the line.
Utilise All Resources Available
Whereas a flashy resume and a power tie may have been some of the only tools available in the past, the internet age can allow us to connect with employers across the globe. Therefore, it is essential to take advantage of such a robust platform. Avoid social networking sites as they lend little credibility as references. Instead, headhunting sites such as LinkedIn are excellent in providing a "virtual resume" and it has been shown that many employers will proactively seek new executives through such sites. Also, a standalone webpage is another viable means to promote oneself and will help give a company an idea if a certain skill set is what they desire. These platforms take little time to set up but can go a long way in communicating expertise to the right companies.
Combine Physical and Digital Means
While the importance of the internet cannot be overstated, it must be remembered that the "old guard" is still in place within many organisations. Therefore, always have a handful of personalised business cards at hand. Upon arriving to an interview, bring an extra copy of a resume, as the interviewer may have simply taken notes from what he or she saw online. Offering these physical links will impress industry executives and moreover, display that tradition and integrity are important aspects. Also, it must be remembered that during "power lunches" and other such meetings, it is quite awkward to reach across a table and hand a prospective employer a bundle of paper. A business card is an excellent way to break the ice and end the meeting on a memorable note.
These are but a handful of methods to prepare for what may very well be an entry into a very lucrative and rewarding position. By creating a knowledgeable and professional impression, that perfect role may only be an interview away.
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Georgina, thanks for the great first post and welcome to Lead Change! This is a great list of the beginning steps to apply for that first executive role. When you get a chance, I’d appreciate knowing more about what personal characteristics you think are required for executive leadership. I look forward to your future posts and participation in the group. Mike…
[…] Georgina Stamp shares, regarding job interviews, “It has been shown that when all other things are equal, the candidate that has the psychological preparation will most likely be the one chosen for the position. […]