A colleague recently suggested that we abandon the term “job search” because of the negative connotations it can have—such as desperately searching for something you don’t have and might find hard to get. In its place, he proposed the term “job-acquisition strategy.” Senior managers and executives certainly understand the concept of strategy—it’s practically part of their DNA!—so this makes perfect sense in many ways. Theoretically, anyway. But how does it play out in the real world?

Key differences between job searching and job-acquisition strategy might be, to some extent, mainly a matter of degree. After all, job seekers have long been advised to take a strategic approach to their search. For higher positions, in particular, that includes maximizing your executive-level network and engaging top-tier resources to act on your behalf when you’re seeking your next position. However, “acquisition strategy” suggests something broader and more far-reaching, something that is planned with both a short-term and a long-range focus.

Part of the process, then, should include developing a campaign that maps out a series of strategic career goals and identifies appropriate strategies and tactics to achieve them. It should also incorporate consideration of foreseeable obstacles that might get in the way and the steps you would need to take to overcome them.

Think of this as a high-level project—a hugely significant one, both personally and professionally. For such an important project, you don’t want to overlook any key elements. You do your best not to leave anything to chance and, at the same time, to identify alternative plans, in case events don’t proceed according to your original plan. You also make every effort to ensure that you recruit the highest-caliber players to your job-acquisition team, because you know you can’t succeed alone. And, yes, you reward those team members, in whatever way is most appropriate for the help they give, not only because they did their best for you but also because, as the saying goes, “what goes around, comes around.”

Finally, a job-acquisition strategy is not a quick-fix, use-it-and-forget-it approach to career management. It needs to become part of your ongoing outlook and view of your situation, both for the present and for the months and years ahead. To quote a gentleman named Miyamoto Musashi, “In strategy it is important to see distant things as if they were close and to take a distanced view of close things.” That applies quite well to creating and executing a successful executive job-acquisition strategy.

Georgia AdamsonThis article was written by Georgia Adamson, MRW / ACRW, of BlueSteps Executive Career Services (BECS), Blue Ribbon Resume and the blog A Successful Career (www.asuccessfulcareer.wordpress.com). Georgia has served senior executives globally since 1993. Through intensive one-on-one consultations, Georgia helps executives uncover their strengths and highlight their most meaningful career accomplishments to position them for their next executive opportunity.

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