- Do not rely on headhunters. This past week alone I had three coffees with people looking for opportunities, all telling me how many headhunters they were in touch with (never asked any of them what that made me..) but told them all to stop it. Headhunters won’t get them a job, it’s [mostly] a waste of time. And you know what? They all agreed! Go figure
- Write a CV that makes sense. Not too long, not too short, and succinct. No one reads it; they scan it. You do when you look at them, so put the shoe on the other foot when you’re looking at your own CV. It is a marketing tool, and can be an effective one, regardless of social media preening. Companies hire for what you can do, and what you’ve done. Be proud of it, put it into bite-sized measurements, and do not add to it like building a sundae. Every time you rewrite it, start from the end and work your way to the present. A healthy exercise.
- Get off your ass. Again, social media is great, perfect to research, but you have to get into the agora as often as possible, build your profile, and refine your pitch. Actors-and salespeople-say the same thing over again until it sounds natural. So can you.
- Be comfortable talking about yourself. Not obnoxiously-there are enough of those types. Be proud of what you’ve done and who you are; you have a good compelling story to tell. If you don’t toot your horn no one hears the music. It’s perfectly acceptable to politely and moderately boast.
- Map out your plan–for your eyes only. Never say “If you hear of something let me know.” Be targeted, be direct, know your audience before you meet, try to leave every conversation–real or virtual–with a lead or door opener. Make your spreadsheet of A, B and C targets, by company, by industry, and by contact. It is a living document, and changes daily–or should.
- Your best friends are not your best contacts. Contacts one or two degrees removed are, those who assess you on your skills, not your friendship. They’re the ones you need to grab.
- Build your own ‘advisory board’, a handful of people-ex bosses, ex-colleagues, ex-clients, all who know your character and strengths. Use them to lean on as a sounding board when needed. And you will. It all comes around anyhow, and they’ll rely on you for something at some point.
- Be grateful. My friend Mike reminded me of this recently. Mike is a very senior C level executive, and regularly writes for 5 minutes (writes–not thinks) a short list for what he is grateful for. Do it long enough and it becomes habit. If Mike can do it–and it helps him immeasurably–so can you.
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