Many seasoned professionals write their resumes and cover letters with as many skills and buzz words as possible, and list every area they ever worked in no matter how small or how long ago. While that may be helpful for computerized keyword selection, it is not an effective approach for executive level job search. Hiring managers rarely look for someone who can “do it all”. Instead they look for evidence of leadership and accomplishments.
Rather than trying to appear as if you can handle all tasks equally well, we recommend leveraging your strengths and accomplishments to differentiate yourself. Every study by major consulting firms shows most corporations lack the depth of leadership they need to reach their strategic goals. What are your strengths? Is leadership a major strength of yours?
Here are ten skill areas that are nearly universally in demand for executive level roles. Start by rating yourself in each area, low to high in these (for a strengths rating form that will give you a more detailed assessment in these areas, please email a request to firstname.lastname@example.org):
1. Fundamental skills and experience for your discipline (accounting, HR, etc.).
2. Strategy formation and execution.
3. Technology use and implementation.
4. Leadership of people and projects.
5. Communication skills.
6. Decision making.
7. Change management.
8. Customer focus and interaction.
9. Industry connections.
10. Global awareness.
Another, even more objective method of determining your strengths is to use the assessment tool that is part of the book Strengthsfinder 2.0 by Tom Rath.
Once you are confident about your true strengths, the next step is to tie those strengths to objective, quantifiable and significant career accomplishments. Then you have the building blocks for a resume, cover letter, elevator speech and interview content that are uniquely yours and will differentiate you in a very positive way.
Leverage your strengths in your job search and you are much more likely to find opportunities where you can truly make a difference.
To learn how to leverage your strengths, please contact us.
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Two weeks after the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Golden State Warriors for the 2016 NBA Championship, I still have that winning feeling. I’m certainly not alone. All around Cleveland I see people wearing commemorative T shirts and hats proclaiming their pride for the first major sports championship since 1964. Everywhere I go, everyone I talk with seems to have a big smile that can only come from a feeling that will never go away. Complete strangers will high-five and let out a loud “Go Cavs” with a mere mention of the win.
When I first moved to Cleveland in 1980 the ‘Curse” was already sixteen years long. Who knew it would last another thirty-six years? Growing up in Indiana, basketball was king. So when I moved here, I immediately became a Cavs fan and have watched some really good, and really bad seasons. I remember when the Cavs won the lottery for the pick that became LeBron James. Following a circuitous path, and a storybook ending, LeBron and team delivered what many thought might never come. A few days later 1.3 million adoring fans attended one of the largest celebrations in sports history. All the jokes and disrespectful comments about Cleveland seemed to disappear.
Wouldn’t it be cool to feel that way all the time? Is it possible for the rest of us to experience that championship feeling at work? I believe it is. How? Just like the Cavs, it includes outstanding leadership; unified behind a common purpose; with supporting talent who all contribute using their strengths. That’s a winning formula. But it’s easier said than done. There are lots of moving parts and challenges. Like attracting and retaining top talent and outstanding leaders. And finding and communicating a common purpose that everyone will rally around.
Difficult – but not impossible. And well worth the effort. While that championship feeling for most will not result in a parade with 1.3 million adoring fans, it will come with dramatically increased employee engagement as well as improved financial results. Done properly, that winning feeling also won’t take 52 years to bring about.
For help creating a winning culture and talent strategy for your organization, please contact us.
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