So, you’ve fallen off your horse. Well sitting there stinging, sulking, scared, even angry while contemplating life with that damn horse won’t do you any good! Get up, brush yourself off, and jump right back on ….
Falling off a horse is a popular metaphor for many executives who find themselves displaced and looking for their next job. It resonates because it asks not that you reconcile the mixed bag of emotions and confusion that accompanies job loss but rather that you just get busy and move. It is a call not for introspection but for action. So, you move. You quickly slap together a resume. You reason that the broader and more general the document, the more jobs you will be considered for. Having worked in a variety of roles, companies and even industries, you include them all as plausible possibilities going forward. As for functions, you’ve worked in product management, marketing and business development and any of those would be interesting. You’ve managed a P&L a couple times and a GM gig might be interesting so note that. And you are not overly picky about size of business. Large companies, mid sized and subsidiaries are all open for consideration. Hell, you’ve thought about start-ups a few times in your career so don’t forget to include those as well. For the right company and opportunity you are open to each and all. Let the market guide your decision-making. You’ll know the right situation when you see it.
Freshly minted resume in hand, you start by carpet-bombing the head-hunters making sure they all have a copy. You reach out to a number of them directly and set up courtesy meetings in order to make sure they know your story and be top of mind for relevant searches. You let them know that you are open to a wide variety of possibilities. You then reach out to your network, former colleagues, customers, competitors and friends. You scour advertisements on LinkedIn, Indeed, other aggregators and company sites. Speaking of LinkedIn, you update your profile and start connecting with new people who might be interested in your availability. You check off every box of activity. You cast the net wide and then wait.
Every week, without exception, we meet executives who have jumped back on their horses in this very manner and embraced a ‘spray and pray’ job search strategy. For some it may work like a charm but for the majority, dare I say the vast majority, it is the wrong approach. Not only are you less likely to find a job this way, but it will take longer, and the job you get is less likely to be the right job.
In our next post we will explain why:
Looking for your next role? Stop thinking about Horses…. (Continued)
About the Author
Robert Hebert is the founder and Managing Partner of StoneWood Group Inc., a leading executive search firm in Canada. Since 1981, he has helped firms across a wide range of sectors address their senior recruiting, assessment and leadership development requirements.