When it comes to managing your executive career, leaving things to the last minute doesn’t often lead to success. The same can be said for your executive job search. Before starting your search, it’s essential to do adequate preparation. This preparation time will allow you to decide exactly what you’re looking for in your next role and get the resources and materials ready to communicate this effectively to an executive search consultant or hiring manager.


Do you know what your long and short-term professional goals are? The purpose of conducting a self-review at the start of your job search is to identify these goals and the type of career move that will help you reach them.

Assessments are helpful tools for this kind of pre-job search exploration. Whether you’re in an active job search or preparing for a transition, consider taking a personality assessment. These can help you understand your personality and interests and how they fit in with your work style and career. If you are interested in changing career functions or industries, this information can be invaluable.

After you take a self-assessment, proceed towards figuring out what your stand-out traits are and how they relate to your career goals. You may find it helpful to speak with colleagues and friends to find out what they think your best qualities and skills are. In addition, review previous performance reviews and project feedback. All of this information will be useful as you continue to prepare for your job search, especially when deciding the “right fit” company and role, creating your brand message, and writing up your resume and career documents.

Personal Brand and Unique Value Proposition

Your personal brand represents the unique kinds of problems you solve. Your value proposition is about special skills and experiences you have that can solve these problems better than other executives. These both need to be communicated to executive search consultants, hiring managers, and your network. You communicate this through your resume and career documents, LinkedIn and social media profiles, interviews, and any other methods used to discuss your career. Developing your personal brand and unique value proposition will allow you to have a more effective job search and be able to express why a company should hire you.

Some questions you can ask yourself to get started include:

  • Is there anything you’re known for doing better than everyone else?
  • What makes you more valuable than other executives in your field and position?
  • What achievements have you had in your previous roles that make you stand out?

Research the “Right Fit”

Executives have differing styles and bring varying expertise, so it is unlikely that you will be the “right fit” for every company you come across in your job search. Identify companies you’d enjoy working for and whose mission and company culture reflects your values and personal brand through research. You can usually conduct this kind of research by looking through their website, Googling them, and speaking with employees who have worked at the company.

You should not only consider how you fit in to the company culture, but also how this new role fits into your career goals. Sometimes the reason for taking a new job is solely one of necessity, but if you have options, you should seek positions that are strategic rather than convenient. A career transition can be an opportunity to become more self-aware, allowing you to find a job that could be an essential part of a fulfilling career.

Get six more tips for your job search preparation and strategy: Download part two of The Ultimate Executive Career Guide.


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