The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects jobs for executives to increase only 5 percent through 2020. That’s significantly lower than the average growth rate of most positions. With fewer executive positions to compete for, you’ll need to have the right resume, the right image and the right answers for critical interview questions. Get yourself prepared with these suggestions to keep yourself in the game.
Think Like an Executive
The mindset of an executive is different than someone working in operations, says In Power Women. You need to “get out of the weeds” and start thinking strategically about the company. “How can we quickly deliver a customer order?” is a tactical question left to the logistics people in a company. “How can we break into the China marketplace?” is a strategic question. If you’ve been stuck in the weeds for a long time, you’ll need to start thinking differently.
You may need to do some homework to get up to speed. It may even require you to look at supplemental education, such as in economics, marketing or organizational leadership. Research sites such as CollegeOnline.org to find the right courses to take while you’re working and doing your executive search.
Communication Must Be Natural
What you say about yourself and the questions you ask must sound confident and come without effort. Companies look for people who can handle themselves under stressful levels of scrutiny, so calm responses to questions are important. A confident approach also indicates that you are really prepared for any situation.
Your elevator speech needs to roll off your tongue. In 30 seconds, you need to introduce yourself in a way that makes a good initial impression on a person and keeps your name in their mind. After listening to you, they need to understand your goals. Most important, they need to be interested enough in you to ask for more information.
In an interview, Forbes says that all of the questions boil down to three simple questions:
- Can you do this job?
- Will you love doing this job?
- Will we be able to work with you?
You will be asked these questions in a number of ways. Prepare your answers and practice responding various ways. Don’t hesitate because the recruiter may take that as you having second thoughts.
Don’t Skimp on the Basics
Too many candidates still submit resumes with typos on them, according to Examiner.com. You leave the recruiter thinking “How can a person who can’t spell run a department or company?” If writing is not your thing, then don’t hesitate to have your resume done by an executive search firm. They will make sure the content and format is perfect for the position you’re applying for.
Dress appropriately for the interview and any meetings with other managers, as well. If you’re not sure what that means, get the help of a professional again. These little things may seem insignificant to a high-level executive role, but they are actually crucial.
Be Your Own Brand
If you’ve been associated with a large company for some time, focus on creating your own personal brand. Design your own website and blog. Start posting on LinkedIn and become a guest blogger on other business sites. Build a reputation as an expert in some important topic. You’ll create an identity for yourself that’s separate from your previous company. Your ideas and opinions will also be associated with you and not your former employer.
About the Author: Mike Adams
Mike has started and sold two successful companies before retiring. When he’s not golfing and playing tennis he coaches new entrepreneurs on business best practices.