It’s no surprise that many an economic pundit have labeled 2017 the year of uncertainty, with the world still reeling from possibly the biggest political upset in recent history.
And yet, the need for high-performing executives remains constant.
If you hold an executive-level position from director through C-suite (namely CEO, CFO, COO, CMO, CTO, VP, Managing Director / Director,) executive search firms are the ones you want to target to take your career to the next level.
For the past two years, I have been working with BlueSteps, the career management arm of the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC) based in the US.
BlueSteps connects executive-level candidates with some of the world’s top executive search firms including Spencer Stuart, Heidrick & Struggles and Korn Ferry, who in turn hire for brand name clients across diverse industries such as IT, banking, manufacturing, O&G and many more.
These search firms recruit for over 90,000 senior management positions each year globally, with USD250K being the average BlueSteps member salary. In other words, resources like BlueSteps help members get better job leads.
Members also get a personalised BlueSteps review of their resumes / CVs by a handpicked team of Executive Resume Writers and Career Coaches, including myself.
Many have found this to be a valuable benefit—while most of them are at the top of their game, many find it a challenge to market themselves on paper. The BlueSteps review helps point out blind spots and common resume errors, including these:
Emphasizing the wrong areas
This is most commonly seen in top performers whose early success have propelled them into their current roles. Understandably, it takes time to deliver results, but by neglecting to explain what you were hired to do in a way that demonstrates your level of responsibility and strategic role within the organisational strategy—yet dedicating chunks of space to work done 20 years ago—you inadvertently start your resume on a weaker note.
Not giving business background
Context helps frame your achievements in a way that helps readers appreciate the value of your work even more. Stating “Sold 20% above revenue targets despite being a new player in a competitive market.” carries a lot more weight than “Sold 20% above revenue targets.”
Not communicating soft skills
One of the best, but most overlooked, ways to market yourself is to talk about the obstacle / problems faced at work—be it a technical or personal challenge. For example, was there organisational resistance to an innovative idea you had or disharmony among different units, and how did you overcome these? Ditch the cliched keywords “problem-solving,” “strong team player,” and “strategic leadership;” instead, employ these mini-narratives to communicate the leadership capability, vision and energy firms are looking for.
I take a one-on-one approach, working closely with members to rectify these mistakes and develop a suite of distinctive, high-impact career communications, including resumes / CVs, cover letters and LinkedIn profiles.
Enrolment to BlueSteps also comes with a lifetime membership that gets you access to webinars featuring career smarts including executive interviews and compensation negotiation as well as networking with recruiters.
With its many resources, coaching and network of executive search firms, the membership is a highly recommended investment for those who want to be intentional about pursuing their highest potential.
Contact me or visit the BlueSteps website to learn how it can optimize career development for C-suite leaders and aspiring executives. Mention my exclusive promo code Yong20 for a 20% discount on a lifetime membership.
Full disclosure: This post is not paid for by BlueSteps, although as mentioned, I am on BlueStep’s team of executive resume writers and have thoroughly enjoyed working with its members and clients for the past two years.