Following M&A activity, I was lucky to have time to be selective when finding the next great thing in my career…but…I am a Leo and I don’t waste time waiting for things to happen.
I was looking for CMO/SVP Marketing roles; these are rare and hyper-competitive. I knew it’d take time…and it did…but I’ve accepted an ideal role for me, one that checks just about all of the boxes on my wish list.
While on my search, I experienced a lot of things…some good, some not so good…and learned great lessons along the way on conducting a search:
- Don’t have a checklist? Get one: Without defining your “ideal”, how do you know when to say yes or no to an opportunity?
- Play to win: This is the Super Bowl, but with hundreds, thousands of opponents on the field. Design a game plan to out-prepare, out-work, out-smart your opponents.
- Be unconventional: You’re launching your “product”. Think like a product marketer who uses multi-media, frequency and repetition to build awareness and message retention with a target audience. You can’t just blindly post for roles and hope.
- Rely on others: If you’ve treated people with authenticity throughout your career, you’ll build a strong pool of advocates. Ask them for help. You’ll find you have more people in your corner than you think (and less than you think; see bullet #7).
- But rely on yourself first: When in doubt, be your own best advocate and act with diplomatic assertiveness. You can’t assume others will be your publicity agent.
- Prepare for disappointment: You will be a perfect, undeniable fit for many roles but could light yourself on fire in front of hiring managers and still go unnoticed.
- Gratitude is a short-lived emotion: Don’t expect those you’ve mentored, championed, or boosted in their careers to reciprocate. Many go AWOL. If they do reach-out, that’s a bonus.
- Dazed and confused: You’ll see the same role posted and re-posted many times. Employers often don’t know what they want, routinely changing the spec, grade, income and/or reporting structure.
- Physician, heal thyself: Leaders of organizations have lamented to me about being ghosted by candidates, while they’re often guilty of the same thing. I’ve had many leaders go into the witness protection program after they’d made promises to me of a follow-up meeting or a forthcoming offer.
- Divide your time: You can’t spend all-day, every-day searching. Compartmentalize. Spend 1/3 of your day searching/networking, 1/3 being selfish and focusing on you, and 1/3 getting out, re-connecting with friends, staying engaged.
- Have fun: This is serious business and it can be stressful, sure, but have fun with the search, too.