Executive Career Search Coaching

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about CREATING yourself.”
– Unknown

Executive Career Search Coaching

The following outline presents a set of process steps for preparing an executive career transition plan to most effectively and efficiently obtain a new and satisfying position. Each step may be modified slightly to meet unique needs, but generally can be followed in the sequence presented.

  • Personal / Career Assessment
  • Campaign Communications Plan and Marketing Tools Development
  • Campaign Targeting
  • Interview Training
  • Campaign Strategies Development
  • Campaign Process Monitoring & Coaching
  • Negotiating Offers and Concluding the Campaign

PERSONAL / CAREER ASSESSMENT

Self-assessment is the first step in the process of developing a marketing plan, and includes consideration of . . .

Career-related Information – an inventory of work experiences and accomplishments, education, training, licenses, honors, awards, professional memberships, community involvements and other personal career-related information;

Work Value Preferences – an identification of likes and dislikes in previous work experiences and development of criteria for choosing future career directions;

Marketable Skills – an inventory of subject matter skills and expertise as well as performance skills which you are most motivated to use; also included is identification of personal qualities which are most characteristic of your style;

Career Interests – identification of possible career directions which lead to an intentional choice of career direction. This may include both “library research” and informational interviewing to explore occupational requirements, employment outlook and assessment of salary potential.

Work/Life Goals – an identification of life goals, anticipation of life events and exploration of implications for work is also part of this process.

Personal / career assessment surfaces and clarifies critical information about the specific skills you have to offer and how those skills have produced benefits of value for previous and current employers. Equally important, this assessment facilitates deliberate consideration of career options and the assessment of those options using your unique criteria for career decision-making.

NOTE: In addition to discussions around each of the above areas, we also can provide, for an additional fee, a variety of standardized assessments to assist with your career planning.

CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATIONS PLAN and MARKETING TOOLS DEVELOPMENT

Once at least a tentative career direction has been chosen, a set of marketing tools can be developed which will most effectively communicate the skills and benefits the individual can provide to potential employers.

Comparison of prospective employer requirements with your ability to meet them will result in a campaign communications plan which clearly identifies your strengths and accomplishments to be communicated. Weaknesses (liabilities) can also be identified and factored into the communications plan.

The Campaign Communications Plan can include identification of . . .

Action words and Marketing Phrases to be used to sell strengths;

Up to 15 Accomplishment Bullet Statements which identify your key skills (features) and accomplishments (benefits which resulted) which are the core marketing points to be communicated;

STAR Stories related to each Accomplishment Bullet Statement which can be related during the course of campaign meetings and interviews to build credibility and provide evidence of the types of benefits provided to past employers.

The Campaign Communications Plan may inform four marketing tools which will be developed:

Resume – based on the results of the personal / career assessment, a resume can be created which is focused on most effectively selling your skills and how they have been used to provide accomplishments most highly valued by prospective targeted employers;
Note: I will help you write your resume and provide feedback and critique to improve it or we can create a resume for you at a reasonable extra charge.

Networking Cards – a business card can be developed and provided to networking contacts, attached to thank you letters and notes, applications and used as needed throughout the campaign;

Letters – customized campaign letters (responses to ads; networking contacts; targeted referral; event; target company, recruiter and thank you letters) can be developed as templates to be used throughout your campaign.

Verbal Self-Presentation Scripting – brief infomercials, sometimes called “elevator speeches” can be developed to assist with networking and interviewing questions;

Additional topics to be discussed in the process of developing marketing tools include:

Professional References – identification and management of professional references to be used will be explored;

Professional Portfolio – development of a professional portfolio is an option that can be explored to assist with creating instant credibility during interviews.

CAMPAIGN TARGETING

This step of the marketing plan development process focuses the campaign on identification of potential employers who will most highly value the skills and abilities you have to offer. Campaign targets include identification of…

Targeted Geographical Area – the number of miles you wish to commute to the new job; potential target cities or metro areas as appropriate;

Targeted Industries – includes the identification of at least five specific industries or groups of companies which make up a market niche, key questions to be answered for each target industry will be identified; and research on industry outlook may be explored.

Targeted Companies – a list of companies and potential hiring authorities within those companies will be explored for follow-up networking;

Targeted Hiring Authorities – includes the identification of the name of the individuals who probably have the authority to make an employment offer.

INTERVIEW TRAINING

The key to campaign effectiveness is effectively meeting face-to-face with others who are in a position to offer employment or recommend the offer of employment. Everything else in the campaign is designed to lead to obtaining and effectively managing these types of meetings. Topics to be included in this training include ..

Interview Preparation – what to do prior to campaign meetings;

Managing Interviews – how to meet and greet people, questions to ask, how to respond to various questions, how to sell abilities; how to surface and overcome various objections; how to close the meeting;

Follow-up After Interviews – follow up letters, next steps, timing; how to negotiate expectations and compensation;

Practice Interviews – role play practice interviews provide an opportunity to go beyond talking about interviews and actually practice using the communication plan in a safe setting.

These skills for effectively and confidently conducting meetings with others and communicating abilities will be useful in both formal selection interviews as well as less formal networking meetings.

CAMPAIGN STRATEGIES DEVELOPMENT

This part of the marketing plan focuses on developing and implementing a variety of specific and effective techniques to contact and schedule meetings with prospective hiring executives.

Proactive Campaign Action Planning – proactive goal setting; monitoring progress; campaign success strategies and traps to avoid;

Internet Job Search – how to use the web productively and not fall into a low return “time sink” or “activity trap” in your campaign; exploration of useful websites for your search will be discussed;

Identifying & Responding to Advertised Employment Leads – where to find advertised openings for executives and how to respond to stand out from the crowd;

Professional Networking – specific techniques for targeted professional networking; identification and utilization of a full range of contacts which will help develop referrals into targeted companies;

Working with Third Party Employment Firms – help identifying when this tactic will be helpful for you; the different types of employment firms: retained, contingency and executive interim or temporary employment firms; how to contact and work with recruiters.

Spotting Opportunities – techniques for identifying potential opportunities, making contacts and exploring the possibility of creating a new position will be explored.

As each tactic is explored and skills are developed, you will be expected to immediately put the coaching into practice as part of a proactive job search campaign. In addition to the above, additional tactics from participating in job fairs, direct contact with employers, using telemarketing and use of “visibility” tactics will be explored.

CAMPAIGN PROCESS MONITORING & COACHING

A common failure with job search campaigns is an unwillingness (lack of motivation) to follow through. Job search, like golf, is a mental game. Having a strong marketing plan and learning the techniques which generate face-to-face meetings with hiring authorities is necessary, but not sufficient, to accomplish campaign goals. Motivation and commitment to a proactive job search campaign is a critical requirement.

One of the most effective ways to keep on track with the hard work of daily campaign activities is to write a brief weekly listing of accomplishments and develop search goals and plans for the next week. Additional tactics that supplement the actual job search activities including discussion, coaching and journaling around the emotional intelligence of career transition. This helps maintain personal motivation, expand thinking about career possibilities and surface and explore assumptions related to career and life management as part of a holistic approach to Executive Career Transition Services.

Regular weekly coaching sessions either face-to-face or via telephone help maintain forward momentum, ensure progress and maintenance of a positive, “can-do” attitude.

NEGOTIATING OFFERS & CONCLUDING THE CAMPAIGN

An effective proactive career search leads inevitably toward receipt of offers of employment which usually commences the process of negotiating the offer, and with success, concluding the campaign.

Employment Offer Negotiations – coaching through the process of receiving employment offers, including negotiating both position expectations and compensation and benefits that lead to a win/win solution for both you and the employer set the stage for satisfying working situation. Referral can be made to employment attorneys who specialize in the review of employment contracts from the perspective of the individual employee.

Concluding a campaign once a job offer has been accepted

Preparing the After Campaign Thank You Letter to all networking contacts and others who helped throughout the campaign. Having worked hard to cultivate a professional network, it is extremely important to maintain and continue to build your network upon conclusion of your active search campaign.

A letter to your coach expressing thoughts about particularly helpful things the coach did to facilitate your search would certainly be appreciated.

Planning ways to make the best start on the new job including how to learn about the new boss, peers and subordinates, to best “fit in” with the culture of the organization (or how to effectively “shake it up”). This discussion provides a natural segue into the On Boarding Coaching services which can be provided to ensure effective and successful movement into the organization.

It is important to schedule a campaign conclusion meeting with your coach to summarize learning from the process and discuss next or final steps in the process.

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Executive Career Transition Campaign