Most executives that are conducting a job search diligently start to pull together a resume that lists all their accomplishments and they start networking. The pitch they make to employers usually starts with a reference to the number of years of experience doing a certain role. But this is completely wrong. Job seekers need to think like marketers. The most important thing to do is to ensure that you have a value proposition for the future employer and can tell the hiring manager which of his or her problems you are going to help with. And make sure you have the experiences and track record to back up that value proposition.
I had one executive job seeker tell me “I solve complex problems” which was an interesting value proposition. I told him that I had a client that had an SAP implementation that was going horrendously wrong and it was a complex problem. The executive confessed that problem was far beyond his scope and capabilities. So, we were back to the challenge of really defining which problems he solved and how he solved those problems. We were able to create a much more focused value proposition for his situation.
Equally important any job seeker has to define a target market. Narrowing down the industry that you are interested in and the type and size of company in which you would like to pursue your career, will make your job search easier. The world is looking for specialists now not generalists. A very capable executive informed me that he was a turnaround specialist which was great, but he also told me that he could turnaround any business between $10M and $500M regardless of industry.
In truth, he had led turnarounds in consumer distribution and technology and all the businesses were well under $100M in revenue. Given his preferences for the fast-paced world of technology it made sense for him to talk to the venture capital investors in his region about some of their portfolio companies that needed a restart. With a renewed focus on his job search he was able to quickly identify his target market and his value proposition that will allow him to something that was defined and easy to accomplish.
With a cogent value proposition and a focused target market, any executive looking for his or her next career step can effectively start a job search that will yield the an appropriate next career stop.
About the Author
Paul Hudson has been helping companies attract and select senior executives for over 20 years. Even he can’t believe that he has been doing executive search that long.