How to Kick Your Executive Career in the Butt

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How to Gain Executive Job Search Momentum

I don’t know about you, but I often need a kick in the butt to get myself going–whether it be a new lifestyle and fitness routine, the start of a complex, multi-phase writing project, or something as major as planning a relocation of my life and home. The idea of getting started and all the different, impending phases of implementation, overwhelm.

However, once I’m started with the first step, the process and momentum spur endorphins that fuel me to keep going. Within a few minutes, an hour or so, I’m starting to gain confidence and the pain of gearing up wanes. One task at a time, the process moves ahead, each task, compelling me forward to the next step, and then the next.

Reframing the Process to Disarm Overwhelm

Similarly, when conducting an executive job search, you may feel overwhelmed at the idea of it. And rightly so; it is no small endeavor. The challenge that paralyzes many is that they think it’s something that has a start line and finish line–something that you begin, cover several miles of resume building, researching executive search sites, and interviewing and voila, you are at the job-offer finish line, a couple of months later.

It generally doesn’t work that way. It’s feasible you could begin receiving calls within a few days or weeks of using a newly written executive resume or having put out the word to your network that you are looking. However, the likelihood that the marriage of two people–you and the hiring decision-maker–will happen so quickly is quite low.

Moving several steps forward in your executive job search, only to find yourself stalling or moving two steps back is a truism for executive career search. That doesn’t mean you should stop, stall or get profoundly discouraged when you find yourself regressing. As with so many complexities of life, it just means you should keep at it. And, if something you’re doing seems to be futile, then examine whether it’s energy you should continue expending or whether you should go a different direction.

In some instances, it’s a little of both. For example, if you are targeting your search toward specific companies and decision-makers whom you have researched, be patient. Just because you are interested in them ‘right now,’ doesn’t mean the timing is right for them. If you are lucky enough to commit them to a conversation with you in short order, great. But patience, grasshopper, if the decision to bring you on board doesn’t materialize within the time frame you envisioned.

Consider the Conversation as Planting Seeds, and Move Ahead to the Next Initiative

As well, blend your career search with other meaningful career initiatives that will incrementally move your career visibility forward. For example, what initiatives might you take to become more digitally visible on platforms such as LinkedIn or even Twitter or Instagram?

If you are uncomfortable sharing certain details about your company or career on these channels, then offer industry-level or subject-matter expertise and intel that extends outside your company and encourages and edifies others in your network. Consider strategic relationships you may want to cultivate between and among other LinkedIn members, and begin acting upon those.

Look outside the typical social networking channels to industry or other non-profit associations and become a subject matter expert within a group, either publicly or privately. Expand your visibility in a way that is comfortable for you. Facebook has a number of groups that you can join to demonstrate your leadership and technical expertise while also accruing a reputation for providing value.

While you may have begun the executive resume and job search journey with a specific plan of action in mind, you likely will find that your plan will stretch, alter and grow as you move forward. As you open up new doors or discover new insights about yourself or the industry you are targeting, you will need to adjust your sails.

As well, you may find yourself offered an interview before your resume is ready, or preparing for a networking conversation before you’ve focused in on the vision for your next job. That’s okay. Things don’t have to be perfect to accept opportunities around career discussions.

Invest in Executive Career Goals — In Yourself

Just keep moving forward, gathering information, doing your homework and unearthing resources to bolster your efforts. Hire people or invest in tools that will buoy your efforts; oftentimes, your job search, your current work commitments and your personal life collide, so bringing in outside resources to help is an investment versus a cost. This is especially true if by doing so you reduce your time to hire by several months and/or increase your compensation level (or both). Investing a couple thousand dollars for a return that may be $10K, $20K, or even a $50K uptick in your future earnings seems feasible.

The point is, keep at it and don’t get locked into rigid rules or job search formulas or time-frame expectations. I tell my executive resume clients that building their storied portfolio (executive resume, LinkedIn, cover letters and messaging, elevator pitch, executive summary, executive biography, etc.), will take longer than they originally had thought.

However, from the moment they begin the process, they are propelling forward. They gain executive job search momentum through introspection, articulating actionable stories of value they offer, researching target opportunities, reflecting and putting a magnifying glass on their leadership skills. Concurrently, they are working their search, talking with people, feeling out opportunities. The work we are doing is equipping them with words to use for networking and for the deeper, more intellectual job interviews. It elevates their confidence and increases their rate of success.

It Just Takes the One Right Fit Opportunity

Whether the executive job search process takes one month, six months or a year or more, it doesn’t matter. And there is no one right way. Ultimately, it just takes that one right fit – like with finding your marriage partner – and then, you have arrived, and completed a chapter of your executive career search journey.

We all know that, especially in today’s economy, job search and executive careers always are evolving. That said, we intermittently strike up employment relationships that give us the security to settle down and dig in for the long haul.

But you have to get started in order to make it to that next mile marker of your journey.

What’s stopping you?

Need a little push to help you gain executive job search momentum? Email me at today. Read how I’ve helped other senior executives along their career journey at

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