Landing a C-suite position is no easy feat. It takes a strategic perspective, a global outlook, impeccable integrity and sharper-than-ever business acumen to get you there.
After you secure a position you’ll need to excel at making decisions about your business and its direction versus mastering it in any single functional specialty.
If that’s just a little frightening, it should be – but in a positive, adrenaline-rush kind of way.
Get Out of the Weeds
To secure an executive position, you must broaden your perspective, act strategically and think globally.
- Be good enough – and then some. Accept that you’re good at your functional skill set, then actively expand your perspective, exposure to and knowledge of your business. As an executive, your scope of responsibility will be so broad that you can’t possibly know every detail – and you won’t have to. You’ll be getting paid to have good people working for you, just like you do now. Detach yourself from the details and take on the challenge of managing more external power.
- Get educated in new areas. Start working on projects and initiatives outside your area of expertise. Vie for positions on task forces, committees and teams where you collaborate with colleagues from other areas.
- Ask questions. To become an executive, you have to interview like an executive. To interview like an executive, you have to be noticed by the executives. To be noticed, you have to think like they do. Ask yourself why they do what they do. If you aren’t 100 percent sure, then ask them. This shows that you want to continuously learn and grow. Most of the time, they’ll be glad to tell you.
- Listen to their answers. Take in all the information you can, so that next time, you can form your own hypothesis. When that time comes, tell them your reasoning and see how close you are to their solution. This is a bold and fruitful way to establish relationships with key decision makers.
Engage Your Network
Online and in person, your network of professional contacts is your key to the executive job market. In addition to courting the leaders within your own organization, widen your net. Create a spreadsheet of all your connections and their potential value to your job-search goals.
- It’s a socially connected world. Start with LinkedIn. It’s self-managed by participants, so your network maintains its own contact information, work history, news and groups. This makes it very easy to reach out and connect or reconnect with potential job leads. Optimize your profile by using powerful, search-engine-friendly keywords. Link your profile to your email signature.
- Connect face to face. Along with online networking, this remains one of the best ways to land your ideal position. Even when you’re not job hunting, don’t neglect your network. If necessary, you can leverage the Internet portal Job-Hunt.org to reconnect through professional organizations, company, military or government alumni groups, and networking and job search groups.
Tap Into the Hidden Job Market
Do targeted industry research and track down leads at organizations that most interest you. Start with company websites and expand your reach to sites like Hoovers Online, Forbes lists and Dun & Bradstreet for a wealth of in-depth data.
- Circumvent gatekeepers. Connect directly with top decision makers via LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms.
- Your research also arms you with market intelligence, serves as your due diligence in learning about potential employers and positions you as an informed, engaged candidate.
Perhaps the best way to take your career to the executive level is partnering with a professional recruiter who specializes in your chosen industry. To learn more, read our related posts or contact the executive recruitment experts at BrainWorks today.