Leader to Senior Leader: Making the Jump

Leader to Senior Leader: Making the Jump

Advancing from leader to senior leader can be frustratingly elusive. Many people reach a point in their careers where they see others seamlessly making the jump to top functional roles and wonder what they are doing wrong. While a certain level of self-analysis is beneficial, its escalation to self-doubt is counterproductive.

Sometimes, career advancement is a matter of gaining the right experience and knowledge and, other times, it’s a matter of building skills that can be difficult to define and harder yet to develop, such as executive presence, strategic agility and influencing decisions outside your sphere of authority.

Regardless of the precise formula, the road to senior leadership begins with taking ownership of your own development and engaging in high-value development activities that will put you on the right path.

In my latest article for Forbes—”Leader to Senior Leader: Making the Jump”—I provide a roadmap for achieving senior leadership at your current job through such activities as:

  • Asking for feedback
  • Stepping beyond your role
  • Focusing on the right things
  • Actively observing
  • Communicating your ambitions

If you’re at a point in your career where more senior opportunities are limited internally, and upward mobility is not in your foreseeable future, it may be time to explore your options externally.

How you position yourself for a step up from leader to senior leader is crucial to your job search success. Since your resume serves as a prospective employer’s first impression of you and reveals you how view your career, you want to be sure that it effectively transmits your fit for a more senior assignment. Simply put, your resume’s content should reflect the job you want, not the job you have.

Read more about making the jump from leader to senior leader at Forbes, or contact me to discuss your executive job search.

Are You Prepared for Your Executive Job Search?

your executive job searchFollowing are excerpts from a leadership article I recently penned for Forbes. To read the full article, visit Forbes.

Preparing for your executive job search by activating some powerful marketing strategies will equip you with the foundation you need to launch yourself into the contemporary job market.

But finding the time to pause, determine what you want, take stock of what you bring to the table, and create compelling  executive job search assets (such as your resume and LinkedIn profile) presents a challenge for many, regardless of level or industry.

Today’s job market can be extremely intimidating to those poised for an executive job search. I have found that the best approach is to treat your search with the same level of discipline that a marketer applies to the launch of a new brand. In fact, there are numerous parallels between “Marketing 101” and a job search, with you as the “brand” and your future employer as the “target audience.”

  • Know Your Objectives
  • Do Your Research
  • Perform a Personal Brand Audit
  • Build Your Team
  • Determine Your Positioning and Craft Your Messaging
  • Create Your Job-Search Assets
  • Reignite Relationships and Network

While it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly how long it will take to land your next job, one thing is certain — you need to be prepared before you actively engage in your executive job search.

If you are looking for a partner to help you prepare for your executive job search, contact me to learn more about how we can work together.

Executive Hiring Looks Promising in 2014

bigstock-Executive-search-concept-in-wo-38538091The executive hiring outlook for 2014 appears to be on an uptick as companies across the globe are preparing to develop and invest in their human capital. If you’ve been considering a career move, now may be an ideal time.

According to the quarterly Boyden Executive Outlook report published by the top-ranked search firm Boyden Global Executive Search, companies are once again investing in executive talent as economies have stabilized and to ensure they succeed in this intensely competitive global market.

“Until recently, companies were limiting hiring to C-level and critical senior roles and remained skittish making long-term plans to expand management teams due to economic uncertainties,” said Trina Gordon, President & CEO of Boyden World Corporation. She says companies particularly in the U.S. and Europe are focusing on their hiring efforts to gain a competitive edge in the market.

Growth forecasted in Consumer/Retail sector

Retailers are looking for leaders with broad experience, as the growth projections for e-commerce and mobile business sectors are significant. We’re also seeing a ‘health halo,’ where the focus on health and wellness is driving new product development and sales as well as hiring.

According to Doug Ehrenkranz, a Managing Partner at Boyden Houston, many consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies are developing innovative products for baby boomers focused on health and anti-aging, so they are looking for food technology and marketing executives with experience creating products for this group. The sporting goods, apparel and footwear industries are seeking leaders with blended finance, sales and marketing capabilities and experience working for larger companies earlier in their careers—especially those with backgrounds in data analytics, says Amanda Worthington, a Chicago-based Boyden principal.

Expect more senior HR roles, too

Lisa Gerhardt, Boyden Global HR Practice Leader, says we can expect growth in the human resources field in 2014 as well.

“Whenever there is change at the CEO level, we often see a change in the HR Director, as CEOs put a lot of emphasis on personal relationships and trust in that position,” she said. She mentioned that there’s a big need to consolidate and shift to a “shared services” or global business services model, and companies will want to bring people on board to help with the transition.

“CEOs and Boards across all industry sectors are looking for experienced and highly strategic HR leaders who can help transform their organizations into more flexible global enterprises and drive bottom-line results,” said Greg Coleman, a Managing Partner at Boyden New York. Coleman said these businesses are creating wellness programs and putting more emphasis on staff development programs—plus, they’re using online platforms to instruct employees across the world.

Chief Digital Officer role is on the rise

As technology and marketing roles increasingly overlap, we’re seeing a merging of CIO and CMO roles. In fact, you’ll start to see the merged role commonly referred to as Chief Digital Officer (CDO). Mobile technology and data analytics are reshaping the business landscape, making digital development a priority. Traditional organizations will need to rely on a transformational CDO to replace legacy systems and processes. According to research by Gartner, 25% of businesses will have a CDO by 2015.

It’s clear that we can expect hiring growth in 2014.Companies realize the importance of bringing on experienced leaders who are adept at managing and embracing change to capitalize on opportunities to remain globally competitive. Hiring strong talent will be a top priority—and necessity—for the long haul.

Do you plan on making a career move in 2014? If so, you’ll need a strong executive resume to set you apart from the competition. Contact me today to get started.

Executive Resume-Writing Mistake #1: Including Accomplishments but Skimping on Context

This is the first in a three-part series about common mistakes executives make when putting together their resumes. In it, I’ll share insights from my experience as an executive resume writer on effective ways to create a resume that conveys your personal brand and puts you at the top of every hiring executive’s list.

bigstock-Stress-13061297Executives often excel at achieving business objectives, but putting together a resume can be a bit of a struggle. I see a lot of executives pack their resumes with specific business results or other successes, but miss the mark in providing context for their accomplishments.

Results are great, but don’t forget the obstacles and actions
A successful executive resume puts things in context by noting the following: Challenges faced, actions taken and results achieved.

An executive is hired with a very specific challenge in mind. A company wants to improve something or fix an issue whether it’s raising revenue, cutting expenses, revitalizing operations or repositioning a brand. Therefore, it is important to show that you were up against similar situations in your past roles, how you’ve overcome the challenges and how you’ve delivered results. Without providing the resume reader with a before-and-after snapshot of the situation, though, the resume won’t show off your powerful accomplishments.

Take into consideration the state of the company when you came on board. What was unique about the operating environment, both internally and externally? What were the specific obstacles? How was the business trending? How effective was your organization? What can you say about how you enacted changes, advanced the business/organization and produced results? In doing so, you’ll paint a clearer picture of what you—as an individual—have to offer and prove that you can perform and deliver under similar circumstances for a new company.

I recently worked with a CMO client who stated in her resume that she “repositioned a major retail brand and championed its evolution, increasing sales by 12%,” but didn’t provide context for the results. We found she could go a lot further to demonstrate just how effective she was as a C-suite leader and revised the information in this bullet to read:

  • Created clear distinction from sister brand to avert growing cannibalization and reverse 2-year negative sales trend. Within 12-month period, achieved 12% comp increase through effective repositioning, refreshed creative, greater cross-channel synergy and targeted marketing of untapped petite/pant categories.

This really shows that this candidate can turn things around…and in a relatively short period. That is the kind of executive that companies want leading their organizations. The goal is to state the challenge, actions taken, and results achieved—and timeframe if it’s impressive.

Highlight intangible results, too
Remember, your results are not all about business metrics, though those help a resume stand out. It’s also about the way you transformed the organization starting with the people and processes, so be sure to mention those successes, too.

For instance, instead of noting that you “established a participative leadership team,” think about the state of the organization when you first joined and specify how you transformed it. In the aforementioned resume, I revised this statement to read:

  • Elevated marketing function, shifting from siloed, disenfranchised and unmotivated leadership team to one of full synergy, participation and drive.

This puts the executive’s actions into context, showing where the organization was and where it is today as a result of her leadership efforts. No numbers needed, but a significant accomplishment to note; it shows she is a hands-on leader and can engage her team…traits that hiring executives want to know.

Keep it light
It’s not necessary to write a ton of text to convey these specifics, either. You just have to know the message you want to send and do so in a concise, well-written way, without extraneous details that don’t add value. Hiring executives simply do not have the time to wade through and interpret dense resumes to find your true worth.

If you’re looking for a resume writer who can convey your strong executive track record and all you have to offer, contact me today for a free phone consultation.