As an Executive Career Coach and Professional Resume Writer, I’ve seen these same four mistakes being made at every level, but it’s particularly damaging for those seeking C-Suite positions. In a highly competitive job market where you are competing with the very best, a careless error or misstep can cost you a career move or a dream job.
If you address these four common errors, you will protect yourself from being eliminated at the start and stand out as a polished candidate hiring influencers will want to interview!
- Social media blindness. Over and over, I see brilliant and accomplished engineers, bankers, and business leaders who are dedicated to producing the perfect resume and ignore their other professional documentation. These days, hiring influencers are searching LinkedIn and other social media for candidates: Your social media should match your seductive new resume! Ensure that your job titles, dates, skills lists, and education match exactly. Provide a polished, professional presentation on paper and online. While you’re focused on matching paperwork? Proofread! Your emails, cover letters, and thank-you notes should all be just as polished and professional as that shiny new resume.
- Not Recognizing Recruiter Value. Far too many job seekers, even at the executive level, fail to see the value in a long-term reciprocal relationship with great recruiters. You should have at least two Executive Recruiters in your professional network! They can be your golden ticket to C-Suite or Board level positons that aren’t announced as empty until after they’re filled. And recruiters are terribly busy, so you need to make an effort to stay in touch. Add value to the relationship by letting them know if you hear of an open position or introduce them to another great job candidate. That helps you stay top-of-mind when those unexpected opportunities appear!
- Relying on the Apply Now button. Job ads, boards, and apps are very unlikely sources of C-Suite or Board level positions, but everyone learns to use them at the beginning of their careers and they fail to recognize the need for change. Fill out job applications if you like, but your primary focus should be on networking and recruiters for finding executive level positions. A job seeker who skips networking events and connecting with recruiters in order to spend more time searching online for great jobs is going to miss out.
- Delegation. This may be the one that concerns me the most. You are in charge of managing your own career, and no one is more motivated to advance your career than you are. Don’t delegate career management to an employer, recruiter, or the whims of fate! Ensure that you are always prepared to take advantage of an unexpected opportunity by treating career management as a second job. Keep your resume current, your social media content fresh and relevant, make the first two items match, and grow your network every chance you get. Practice the soft skills that make hiring influencers sit up and take notice, because improving your communication and leadership can set you apart from the crowd. Put career management on your schedule and make it a priority.