Assessing the Time it Takes to Find your New Executive Job
Obviously, no one can tell you reliably how long the specific search for your next executive opportunity will be. Nevertheless, the question is pretty much on everybody’s mind.
Particularly if you are in transition, you will want to know if your severance package will carry you long enough.
Your specific search time will be impacted by external economical as well as candidate internal factors.
I like to break this down into 3 categories: 1) factors you can’t really influence, 2) factors that you can influence to a certain degree, and 3) factors that are totally up to your efforts.
Now, let’s look at some core bullets of each category.
1) Economic and Industry Outlook
- Type of industry: declining, stagnating, or booming?
- Global climate impacting the industry
- Hiring and talent situation in your market
2) Reputation and Flexibility
- Your market reputation and relevant business network including leading executive recruiters
- Your industry and leadership longevity (general management background? Niche experience?)
- Flexibility in terms of target titles (e.g., CEO vs SVP) or location (available for relocation?)
- Educational background (e.g., Ivy League degree, Executive MBA, etc.)
3) Job Search Collateral, Commitment, & Effort
- Your job search and hidden job market strategy and game plan
- Quality of your career marketing documents (executive resume, cover letter, bios, etc.)
- Personal branding efforts (are you consistently marketing your core value?)
- Informal and formal interview performance
- Your tenacity and commitment in executing your job search game plan
Additional points to factor in are lengthy background checks, screenings, several rounds of interviews, and possibly, board approval.
Outlook and Takeaway
Going through these bullets and comparing these points to your specific situation should give a pretty good idea on identifying factors that could either shorten or prolong your search process.
While I am generally a strong optimistic thinking proponent, I recommend not coming up with an unrealistically short time as that will only put unnecessary pressure and stress on you; particularly if you are in between jobs.
Need help with the factors that you can influence?
Just send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Demystified: The CV and Resume Confusion between the US and Europe
Frequently, when communicating across the Atlantic between the US and Europe, confusion arises about what document is required to apply for a certain opportunity: a CV or a resume.
The general difference between CV and resume – in the US
When solely dealing with US application scenarios, the CV vs resume topic does not usually cause too much confusion.
CV is short for the Latin Curriculum Vitae, “Course of Life,” and is an extensive and complete record of your career evolution. No tweaking, summarizing, or rearranging. A full account of what you have done professionally; easily 10-pages long for a seasoned academic or medical professional. A full-blown CV is usually specifically requested in official job postings, e.g. from research hospitals, universities, and scientific institutions.
Corporate America, on the other hand, does not have time to sift through long and extensive career obituaries. Corporate America wants something “summarized.” And that’s where “résumé” the French word for summary, comes into play. A short, concise, and branded document that highlights a candidate’s value-add capabilities and achievements. Typically, 1 to 2 pages; possibly 3 pages for senior executives with more than 25+ years of executive leadership experience.
What about the Europeans?
One thing most cross-cultural leaders will notice when sourcing for talent is that Europeans seem to always refer to a CV. Hardly ever do I hear them use the term “resume.”
This regularly throws US leaders, candidates, and recruiters off.
Are there European counterparts really talking about an extensive, academic style, laundry list about all they have ever done for corporate executive leadership positions?
Of course not. Corporate Europe doesn’t have time to sift through extensive academic CV’s either. They also need a straight to the point and value-add document that allows them to quickly “scan” for a match potential.
The only catch here when communicating in English: Europeans tend to use the term CV interchangeably for an extensive academic long version as well as for the shorter and tweaked corporate version.
You will typically know from the context which one is required or sometimes an “academic CV” will be explicitly requested.
Europeans targeting the US for opportunities can follow the simple guideline CV = long and extensive, resume = short and concise. US candidates targeting European opportunities should, if in doubt, double-check before submitting their application.
One word of caution: Obviously, standards differ across Europe and there might be regions where people might actually refer to a resume rather than a CV.
If so, I have simply not come across this yet and would be grateful if you would let me know: email@example.com.
Special Report: Board of Director Resumes
Why Your Executive Resume does not automatically work for Board of Director Positions
You have climbed the corporate ladder all the way to the top and held C-level positions for the last 20+ years. Now it is time for something new, and you want to shift more towards fulfilling and quite lucrative Board of Director positions.
For making this transition, you need to pay attention to the specific requirements for conquering the highly competitive Board of Directors market.
Besides your targeted networking efforts, you will want to use the special board practices websites that the majority of the big executive search firms run.
And that is where your current executive resumes, no matter how well it has served you over the years, it will need refocusing. In other words, an employment history focused document will not cut it.
Your Executive Resume
Your executive resume is, ideally, full of laser-focused and specific achievements and branding elements that highlight your capabilities to turn around struggling companies and optimize day-to-day business challenges, etc.
It might contain a lot of subject matters specific leadership bullets, and your value-add signature skills are geared towards marketing your C-level competencies.
This special C-level focus will however not position you in the best possible way for targeting board opportunities.
It is simply a given that you are outstanding in your everyday leadership business and the skillset the board will be looking for is quite different. So, contrary to your corporate resume, you will have to “zoom out” to showcase big picture director thinking abilities.
As an experienced executive with decades of experience, you will most likely have this skillset as well. It is usually just not stressed in your executive resume.
The Board of Director Resume – Prior Board Experience
If you do have prior board experience, it will usually already be listed at the very bottom of your executive resume. For your “everyday” executive resume, you will not have dedicated too much whitespace to this section.
Obviously, you will want to move this section to a more prominent position on your resume. I typically include it after the Core Competency section before your “bread and butter” Career Experience section.
You could use a simple headline, e.g., “BOARD LEADERSHIP & ORGANIZATIONS.”
Now it is time to add some meat to this section. Some aspects you might want to elaborate and outline:
- How many people were on each board you served?
- Did you serve as a chair of a committee?
- Were you a member of the audit, compensation, or committee?
- Were you involved in selecting, appointing, and reviewing a Chief Executive Officer?
- Did you approve budgets and formulate policies?
- What mutually beneficial relationships were you able to bring to the board?
- Did you bring any special expertise to the board: social media, cybersecurity, diversity, or strategy and risk oversight?
If you don’t have prior Board of Directors Experience
If you don’t have prior profit or non-profit Board of Director experience, your task will be inevitably harder but not impossible. In this case, address some of the following points in your Career Experience section:
- Prior exposure to dealing with company boards?
- Were you appointed to any special committees (JVs, negotiation task forces, etc.)?
- Highlight any governance experience.
- Focus on achievements that were true team efforts (vs. focusing on your individual contribution in your corporate executive resume).
- Highlight interpersonal skills, particularly consensus building ability to stress your boardroom fit. Are you a coalition builder?
- Any special skills that the current board might be lacking (e.g., current hot-button topics social media and cybersecurity, and technology in general where a lot of boards lack expertise).
- Any experience in determining compensation for top management?
- Community leadership and awards? (this is another section that you simply had no whitespace for on your corporate executive resume, but this can be valuable for your board of director resume to demonstrate cultural fit).
Last, but not least, address any expertise in the following: strategy review, sourcing of capital, M&A and merger integration, and evaluating strategic alliances.
Additional Points for Getting Your Resume Board Ready
Additional points and aspects that can boost your board of director resumes are board relevant memberships, affiliations, and training.
List if you are a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors or have completed a special board of directors training (e.g., the OnBoard Bootcamp).
Implementing the measures mentioned above will help to transform your corporate executive resume into a true contender for board opportunities.
Any questions about creating your board resume? Feel free to call me today: 740-417-9438
Mastering the Executive Lunch Interview
So the initial phone or skype interviews went well, and you advanced to the next round of interviews.
In the following intensive first round in-person interview you were spot-on and convincing.
In the subsequent 2 round panel interview situation, you delivered a brilliantly outlined 30, 60, and 90-day action plan that convinced the executive level hiring authorities to shortlist you.
Now your target company has narrowed it down to 3 candidates, and the CEO or company board have invited you to a final lunch interview. Now, what to do? What else could they possibly ask you?
The intention of the Lunch Interview
Obviously, the lunch interview is supposed to reveal something about you beyond your actual subject matter expertise.
And no, contrary to the general interview advice out there it’s not primarily to test your eating manners (that is just a given). You are a seasoned executive, and you have been to more business lunches than you care to remember.
So please forget about the usual lunch advise on what to order and not order, or where to place your napkin.
What the company wants to see is your “real world” behavior in a supposedly more relaxed atmosphere compared to the sterile interview room with all sorts of canned interview talk.
Naturally, people are more inclined to “reveal their true colors” in a casual lunch atmosphere vs. the more “defensive” situation of being grilled by a 5 people panel. By that doesn’t mean it’s all cruise control from here on. You still have to outcompete 2 high-level competitors.
How to Prepare and Deliver
The lunch interview is really the scenario where you want to do your research on the people that are going to be present. Any shared interests, philanthropy, hobbies, common alumni, or industry networking groups? Make sure you know about it.
The lunch interview is a great opportunity to showcase that you are “the complete package” as you can demonstrate “great communication skills” and the “ability to connect with stakeholders at all levels” live and in action.
A natural flow to the conversation is a two way lane, so don’t just wait for questions. Look at the lunch interview as an opportunity to read between the lines and to determine actual cultural fit. You and your interviewers alike will want to gauge how well you might connect during everyday business.
Last but not least, do not forget to send a customized thank you note for the lunch invitation.
Interested in working with me to ensure executive career success? Let’s get on the phone and discuss how I can help.
Tim Windhof Earns Hidden Job Market Career Coaching Credential
Columbus, Ohio, 4/2/2018: Research shows that 80% of jobs are filled through networking, and that referred, qualified candidates, are 14 (!) times more likely to get the job.
With the majority of executive and C-level opportunities not advertised the traditional way, learning how to tap into the hidden job market and becoming the referred candidate is critical to achieving their goals.
Now, Tim Windhof of Windhof Communications – Career Services is better prepared than ever to provide international executives with a structured process for creating a job search strategy, networking measurably, overcoming job search fears, and taking steps to realize their career goals.
Tim Windhof has completed a demanding training program and earned the Certified Hidden Job Market Coach credential from Career Thought Leaders (CTL) – a certification that highlights understanding of coaching best practices and advanced job search strategies.
“My executive clients are facing tough competition in a global market and need strategies,” says Tim Windhof, and even after a number of years in the executive career field, I wanted to be sure that I was providing the best support during what is a complex job search process.
My recent training with Career Thought Leaders means that my clients can approach job search with confidence, knowing that they will have the structure, flexibility, and resources they need.”
Tim Windhof is an executive résumé writer and international career coach who specializes in international career advancement. You can read more about his services here.
This Week: National Resume Writers’ Association New Business Owners’ Call
In my function as New Business Owners Director of Industry, Eastern Region for the National Resume Writers’ Association, I will be co-hosting our first quarterly business call together with my esteemed colleague Kathi Fuller on Friday, March 30th, 2018.
Together we will share business strategies and best business practices to enable our colleagues to grow their resume writing businesses. You can find further information about the event on the NRWA calendar here.
We will also have special guest Teena Rose on the call. Teena has been a resume writer and career coach for the past 19+ years. She is the owner of the NRWA affiliated resource ResumeBiz.
Stay tuned for NRWA member access details later this week.