The job search game has changed......and it's brutal at times.
You may have been made redundant, successfully exited, relocated, been blindsided or totally outmanoeuvred by that sociopath politician in the office.
Either way it's all pretty rough and takes its toll on you, your family and your confidence - no matter how tough or resilient you believed you were.
Many of the guys I work with feel dethroned.
Or unable to get clarity grappling with what they really want next in their careers.
The mental fog is really challenging. It works almost like grief in that you can think you are okay one minute but then suddenly out of nowhere a wave of bad feeling overcomes you.
By way of further example as to the severity of this problem the research suggests those involved in redundancy are six times more likely to require medication for their mental health.
It's serious stuff.
To further compound this, the other potentially worrying news is, as an available leader on the job market you are going to realise quickly that things are more complicated than they used to be.
Many leaders are not up to date or educated on social media.
Some have (for the first time in their career) outgrown their network and find that most of their contacts are of a similar level to themselves and so unable to help.
Plenty will face new assessments or be confronted with AI during applications.
And most get underwhelmed by the initial response from headhunters.
In founding Executive Career Jump I have made it my personal mission to make sure that people are able to navigate the job search chaos and perform at their best during the big moments.
Based on 15 years’ worth of experience and significant research what I am sharing below are the 9 essential skills you need to master if you are an executive who finds themselves on the job market:
This is the big one.
A complete mindset shift for many job seekers.
Way too many normally action-orientated leaders go passive when they become unemployed and find themselves sat on the bench. The best way to progress your job search is to own it, plan it and use your business skills to run it like a project.
This will make you more productive and maintain your self-worth and identity.
So get it mapped out, schedule your diary, set yourself targets and incentives based on quality outcomes and get executing at pace.
Job searching causes the ego to spike – it can get ugly.
That (inaccurate) feeling of a loss of identity and status can play havoc and cause you to get in your own way, not ask for help or live in denial that you are on the job market at all. The first battle you need to win is with yourself.
There is amazing amount of reciprocity that can be uncovered if you approach meetings and networking with a view as to how you can add value to the other person rather than spray them your CV or beg for a job.
So go around adding as much value as you can and you will be amazed what might come back through in terms of opportunities.
Hires at your level can require meeting bosses, boards, investors, HR and team members.
You better practice and get really good at presenting, telling your story, knowing your numbers and asking questions that allow you to uncover what each stakeholder is looking for and needs.
LinkedIn is an unbelievable free resource.
Produce content, expand your network, showcase your knowledge, serve others and apply for roles.
Getting active (not lost!) on LinkedIn is a great skill to master for your job searching activity.
Get this right and you will build a personal brand that you take with you into role whilst generating opportunities.
Prior to setting up Executive Career Jump I ran executive search businesses all over the world.
The difference in candidates who worked well with us verses those who resented us and didn’t engage well was staggering.
I fully understand having to go through an intermediary can be frustrating – particularly when the communication drops off.
However, Headhunters can, for free help you attract opportunity and they will be better placed and more likely to sell you well if they buy in to you as a person and feel respected.
So engage with them effectively and work out how you can add value to them and they just might be the conduit to your next opportunity.
Being on the job market is not a time to kid yourself. You need to show extreme self-awareness in terms of what you should do next.
If you were great at sales but have now failed twice in leadership then take the hint, if you are not willing to comply and borderline unemployable then set up your own business and if you were stressed and miserable in your previous role then dig deep to find out why and don’t repeat it.
The most keen and desperate leaders rarely get picked. They come across as inauthentic and lacking gravitas.
So make sure you interview the company as much as they do you. They will judge you as much on the questions you ask as they do the answers you give.
Take time to spend time with family get fit or learn that language that you have all fancied learning.
Your time out is precious.
You and I both know once you throw yourself into a new challenge that you will find yourself time poor again pretty quickly!
Author Andrew MacAskill's online and in-person services at Executive Career jump give you the tactics and insights to take back control of your search and execute all the above at pace. Click here to learn more.