Thursday, March 19, 2009

Getting Traction in your Search

Ask the Coach: How To Get Traction with Your Job Search

Every week, NETSHARE hosts Ask the Coach, a phone-in coaching session with leading career management experts. Here is an excerpt from the most recent session with Peter Engler, president of the Engler Career Group.

What’s the best way to move your career to the next level? Peter offered this week’s Ask the Coach callers some very practical tips:

First, lead with a well-crafted executive bio, not a resume. A bio tells the other party you want to meet; you want an introduction rather than a job. It should include information to grab the other party’s attention and make them want to learn more. Check out your favorite corporate sites to get a feel for style and format.

Join groups that specialize in your areas of expertise. Consider the Marketing Executives Networking Forum (MENG), Finance Executives Networking Forum (FENG), or Finance Executives International (FEI). Industry associations, alumni groups, and other groups are excellent ways to network. Also join online groups on LinkedIn and NETSHARE. Become known!

Having worked with many executives, Peter cautions you not to send out more resumes than you can service. You can’t really talk intelligently about 500 companies – pick 20 to 25 that you can really target. Remember, just because the C Suite seems happy, the board of directors may think otherwise. Do your research! Find out who’s on the board and get to know them. To learn more about how to research companies, join Ross Macpherson to learn about “Properly Researching a Company,” this month’s Experts Connection teleseminar.

Remember your references are gold. Use them sparingly, and when you need them refresh their memory about the good things about your working relationship. Give them a heads up that they may be contacted. Ask them to contact you and share the questions they were asked, this will alert you to possible issues you can address with the recruiter or hiring manager. And when you land, let your references know you succeeded and thank them again.Ask the Coach: How To Get Traction with Your Job Search


Thoughts On Being 50-Plus in a Job Search

Thoughts on Being 50-Plus and Still Active

As an executive coach (ex-Right Management Sr. Executive Program Director), headhunter (seven years as a partner at LGES in San Francisco), and a twenty-five year plus career as a marketing executive at Citibank, Ampex, FCB and Saatchi (New York and San Francisco), the issue of age has always been of special interest to me. What I believe regarding being 50-plus and still "active in the market":

1. Do not hide the fact of your age; leverage it by seeking situations (full-time employment or consulting) that "reward" sagacity. Don?t pursue situations which appear to penalize age; there are many companies who need experience and realize it. Seek them out. (Recruiters will become much less useful in your post-50 career search; learn to target companies on our own through research and networking).

2. Do not lead with a resume; lead with a one-page biography. You are no longer a young, untested executive needing a resume to list your work history; you are an accomplished executive whose story should be very appealing to well-targeted recipients. Use a brief cover letter (why you are writing to them, three key aspects of your candidacy that you believe should be of value to them and their current business activities/goals, and a promise to follow up in the next week or so).

3. Target no more than 20 companies within a reasonable commute of your home and learn everything you can about them. Use that knowledge to gain entry to the target companies. Focus on key executives and members of the board (who may not receive many queries but actually run many aspects of the company).

4. Ensure that your references are willing to be called, fully informed of the specific search you are involved in, thoroughly versed on your background and achievements (people forget things), and are good on the telephone. Weak or unprofessional references can be disastrous to your candidacy.

5. In general, act like a grown-up and leverage your sagacity and years of valuable experience. Don't apologize, and don't work for less money. Finally, I believe that post-50 year olds should be looking for WORK, not a job. Ferret out companies who might need exactly what you can provide. Job postings are often very bland and unspecific. Companies need WORK done for them. Attempt to talk with companies about work you can do; it may well turn into a FT job or attractive consulting engagement.