The Executive Job Search In Today\’s Economy

Yesterday you were on top of your game, today you are looking for a job. What happened? Where do I go from here? There some basic rules that can help a displaced executive come out from this trying time, better than ever.

In today’s business climate of corporate downsizing, restructuring, and slashed budgets highly placed executives often get caught in the corporate cross hairs and find themselves out of a job.

The term “unemployed executive” is becoming the new normal. These words are increasingly being spoken in the same sentence. In today’s business climate, rampant with corporate buyouts, restructuring, slashed budgets, and rapidly changing initiatives, highly placed executives often get caught in the corporate cross hairs and find themselves out of a job.

Unemployed executives face unique challenges because they are highly skilled specialists with high price tags. The perfect job doesn’t come along very often, so their job searches can be long, emotionally demanding, and financially difficult.

But the resilient, the executive with a solid core of self-confidence and who have the ability to follow a few simple rules, emerge from their job search stronger, and better employed or self employed.

Here are some basic rules that the job-searching executive should keep in mind as they navigate through their jobless period.

Believe in yourself and your abilities; have faith that this too shall pass

If you were previously well employed, you will be again. It just takes time to find another great job. You need to trust in your abilities and remain focused on your life goals.

A grueling job search takes a toll on an executive’s self-confidence, particularly for those who have never had to seek work. Dig deep inside yourself to find the strength to control the terror and wait the process out.

Be flexible and bold

Don’t be afraid to knock on every door, call and email every friend you have in the business world, and send your resume everywhere. Send out “a million” copies of your CV, make as many contacts as you can, and keep on smiling. Although the millions of resumes may not get you the perfect job directly, but they will put your name out in the market so when the right job comes along, your name is already on everyone’s minds. Once you sent out a million, work on the next million. 

Don’t be afraid to consider other industries or locations. You never know what might be perfect for you until you try. Inflexible people get hurt. Flexible people are ready for challenge and growth.

Create a personal brand

Throughout your career, you became an extension of your former employer. That became your personal brand. Your clients and business associates knew your company because they knew you, but the line was blured. Now it’s time to capture that brand and make it about you. Your name, reputation and knowledge are the foundation for your brand. Create a logo. It doesn’t need to be difficult and fancy, a simple design or monogram will suffice. Use this logo everywhere. Print business cards, with your logo, of course. Create a website to boast of your accomplishments, show that you are human and promote your brand. Write a blog. Throughout your career you obviously had many good things to say, write about these experiences, write about current events or write about particulars in your industry. If you not the writing type comment on other blogs, the important thing is to get your name out.

Stick with the winners- Ignore the others

Ignore those executive recruiters who tell you there is no longer a place for you in the market. Resist these statements that are too often uttered by executive recruiters:

“You probably flew too high in your last job. Your chances of getting a job like that again are slim to none.” NO! You worked hard and smart!

“Your skills are not in demand.” Yes the are!

“You are too old.” UGH!!

Don’t forget executive recruiters only get paid for placement, so they often focus their time on the quicker/easier placements. But don’t dismiss the importance of executive recruiters; meet with as many of them as you can as they do have their fingertips on the pulse of the job hiring front.

Be financially prepared for a long job search

Be ready at all times to live without a paycheck for up to a year. You don’t want to be forced to accept an inappropriate job to pay your bills if your dream position doesn’t materialize quickly. Be prepared to finance your job search appropriately, so that you have the time to do it right.

Treat your job search as a full time job

Wake up in the morning, have a cup, dress for work, and get to work finding a job. Whether it is surfing the internet, sending out resumes, researching interesting companies or new directions, following up on leads, scheduling lunches and informational interviews, or calling on friends and acquaintances, be prepared to put in the time looking for work every day of the work week. Oh by the way, take the weekends off, you deserve the rest.

Consider all alternatives

This may be the perfect time to consider a change in employment status, consider starting your own business.  If you had a successful career, you more than likely made a lot of money for the owners of your former company. Why them and not you? The only thing differentiating you from them is the ownership of the organization. This may be the perfect opportunity for you to invest in yourself and start your own business. Evaluate your choices, your risk tolerances, and your finances to see if this is the time to tackle “the risk” of starting your own business, head on.  Just There is never be a “perfect time” so, now may be as good time as any. Consider consulting in your existing field, or look to purchasing an existing business or investing in a franchise business.

Investing in a franchise is often a good consideration as it allows you to start your own business but does not put you in business alone. You have the advantage of a tested business model, the support of a franchisor, and the experiences of other franchisees before you. The odds of success of franchise business are significantly higher than that of a new start up business.

Change how the story ends

Ignore how you got here but take this opportunity to improve your life. Sure your first instinct is to throw up hands and say, “I’m done, I’ll work on my golf game”. But take this opportunity to make a turn for the best. I’m a true believer that everything happens for a reason, as such, this break in your career progression may be exactly what you need to change how the story ends. Good thing come to those who wait and those that work hard.


About the author

Steve Picarillo is an internationally recognized financial executive, corporate analyst and author. Steve has spent most of his career on “Wall Street” as a lead analyst covering the world’s largest financial institutions. Mr. Picarillo’s rapidly expanding global consulting businesses focuses on helping individuals and companies achieve their financial and business goals.  Steve is also a franchise broker, branding expert, motivational speaker, cost savings expert and an expert on the global economic environment.

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