As an executive, career planning is critical to your professional success, and a vital step for anyone seeking to expand their options, regardless of whether they intend to make a career move now or in the future. Planning your career transition in advance gives you the opportunity to understand and analyze a full range of options and adequately prepare ahead of time.

If you have been given notice of an imminent restructuring by your current employer, it is advisable to begin preparation immediately to make the best use of your time. Knowing how to begin your transition plan can be difficult which is why BlueSteps is providing step by step guide.

executive_job_search_transitionStep One: Prepare

To begin, it is vital that you spend time reviewing what being in transition entails. This means reviewing your executive career documents, preparing your finances, completing further education, and making a list of useful connections.

Some executive job searches can be lengthy (the average is around 6-12 months), so it is important to think about the long-term repercussions that you might face.

Step Two: Build Your Network

Building up an effect professional network takes time, so it is essential that all executives focus on this prior to any approaching transition period. You can build and strengthen your network by joining a professional or industry-related association, alumni group, and chamber of commerce committee. Identify and target those in your industry who you would like to meet and schedule informal meetings with them as soon as possible.

You can also use social media to great effect. Sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Meetup have become great places to engage and connect with other users in your industry and to build relationships with new people. To attract new contacts via social media, you can position yourself as an industry leader by writing articles, blogs, speaking at trade events and presenting webinars online.

It has been noted that many executives fail to utilize their network when in transition due to pride or a misplaced sense of shame. However, it is important to call on your professional network during this time as the majority of new opportunities are found via existing connections.

It is also advisable to ensure that, regardless of the circumstances that caused your period of transition, you leave on good terms with your former employers. Former colleagues will become a vital networking asset during your job searching period, so avoid burning bridges.


Step Three: Build Your Personal Brand

Before you begin your job search, make sure you have clearly defined your personal brand and unique selling point for potential employers and search consultants. You must be able to set yourself apart from the competition and articulate why they should hire you by highlighting your career achievements and potential.

Your personal brand can be developed in a range of ways. First of all, make sure that all your career documents are up to date and impactful. This includes your resume, cover letters, LinkedIn profile and other professional accoutrements.

If you have been in transition for an extended period of time and are concerned about a resume gap, consider using a hybrid resume. Hybrid resumes do not list achievements or job roles in chronological order, but instead list experiences by order of importance.

Step Four: Identify Target Positions

Before sending out a mass of applications, consider your next career move carefully and examine your next target. For some executives, being in transition is a great opportunity to move into a different field or industry. When working with search consultants, it is also important to use a targeted approach. Instead of sending emails to a large number of search consultants, take time to research which ones work in your target industry and make sure to personalize each email, as recruiters tend not to respond to emails that appear copy-and-pasted.

Step Five: Stay Positive

Executive career transition can be a challenging time for even the most experienced executive, but it can also be a way to discover new opportunities, re-evaluate your career goals and change path. Make sure that you mentally prepare for your transition and maintain a positive attitude, not only for your own wellbeing, but also because people respond better to those who convey a positive image and attitude.

Executives in transition should avoid speaking negatively about previous or current employers or experiences during the job search process, including when networking or interviewing.

Job searching can take time, so it is wise to reward yourself each time you get one step closer to landing a job.

Executives today must be prepared for the changing and challenging professional environments, and be able to adapt to the shifts and transitions that will inevitably come their way. Those who take the time to plan ahead, think about their career goals, network and brand themselves effectively will be rewarded when transition occurs.


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