On the positive side, there are so many job search tips available to you, both on my site and many others. However, sometimes, seeing yourself in the mirror of major barriers can help you more. So, in the spirit of helping you get a job you want even quicker, let’s hit the major mistakes head-on.
Executives, you have so many skills and experiences, you don’t need the fancy ego during your job search. Quite the opposite. You need humility, kindness, flexibility and an unrelenting focus on the customer: the hiring manager and hiring company.
Here are some examples of “the funny* things executives say or do” in their job search process: (* = egotistical)
- During an interview: “…I’ve got a good black book I will open up for you”
- To a network contact: “…I’ve never had to job search…jobs have just come my way.”
- In a cover letter: “Mr./Ms. Hiring Manager, you won’t find anybody more qualified and skilled in this field. I’m your guy.”
- A cover letter with 15 sentences with the word “I”. Out of 16 sentences.
- A 5 page resume, in 8 point font, filled with acronyms from their industry.
There are so many more examples, but more helpful might be to share the two main attributes of egotistical executives in the job search process:
- Entitled. I know you “deserve” that next career opportunity. And you have a huge base of skills, knowledge, expertise, education, experiences and so much more. But you can’t let that show! Your credentials, conversations, networking and social media presence (LinkedIn) will do that for you. Your role is to tell that story in a relevant way, one that is compelling to the hiring manager, to your network base and online. You need to bring all that pride and seniority to the job search process in a humble-yet-clear way.
- Stand-Offish. Better than others. Executives, your hiring managers, HR managers, recruiters and interviewers are most likely going to be younger than you. Do not EVER talk down to them, belittle, correct, or interrupt them. Your inside voice may be saying “they are my kid’s age”, “they won’t understand me”, or “they don’t know what they’re talking about.” But you now what? They are doing their job. They are doing their best job, just as you have done and will do in your next career move. Homework: write down all of your experiences in helping other employees, mentoring, training and making others succeed. Keep those stories for your interviews.
- Bragging. It is a well-known fact that bragging is a sign of insecurity. If you are truly confident (and you should be), you will be a great listener, unassuming, and eager to provide relevant and fact-based insights about your background, when appropriate.
Executives, Cut the Crap, Get a Job! You can do so much better and leave a much more lasting, memorable impression if you are genuine, likeable and humble. Have confidence in your skills, be sure your resume is well done and that your cover letter articulates the 3 main reasons why you have the best set of experiences to be the best candidate for the hiring manager. Good luck!