This morning I heard these inspirational insights from someone who had just landed an executive-level position after a six-month search. With his permission, here are his lessons/suggestions:
- Get a support group. You need a team outside your family to bolster your search, provide candid feedback, and hold you accountable for your weekly activities. If you don’t have such a group, find or start one.
- For VP and above jobs, leads come from networking and retained recruiters, not the job boards. In other words, if you’re sitting around waiting for a VP-level job to be posted, prepare to stay in situ for a long time.
- Use deep networking with a wide approach. In other words, create, build and use your network to build a broad base from which to mine opportunities. Then dig deeply within the target companies you select. He spent 4 months researching and drilling down and interviewing with the company that just hired him.
- Find a brand and sell it. He took the elevator pitch to a new level by branding himself in a few simple, cogent, pithy words: Influence. Insight. Innovation. He’d then expound as requested.
- The best prepared win. He spent 10 to 50 hours preparing for each interview, including a PowerPoint presentation on what he’d do when hired. When interviewed, he would lead with behavioral interview questions and provide the answers. He developed metrics that would measure his impact on the company if asked—and he was.
Finally but most importantly, he viewed his job search as his most important life lesson ever. “I learned that life is built on relationships in this order: God, my wife, my children, my family, my friends, my network connections, and then business.”
All this was driven home when his interviewing process was stopped by the HR director in the middle of what appeared to be a winning campaign. “Rather than be depressed, I concluded that God was God and I was not. So I let it be. Then my wife wrote me a letter (yikes!) saying ‘I’m lonely and don’t feel connected with you.’ Fortunately, she proposed a solution: ‘Let’s watch the movie FIREPROOF and take the love there.’ I did, we did and now our good marriage is great.”
He repaired relationships with an estranged daughter of 14 years from his first marriage; he’s now driving her to her dorm for her freshman year in college. For his other 4-year old daughter, he vowed never to turn down a chance to dance with her…which they did recently in a taco cabana restaurant at her request. His “miracle” 1-year-old baby boy required surgery to repair his lung; the surgery scar binds them together.
He also renewed friendship with a long-time buddy, networked his way into a great stream of relationships, and plans to keep all them current while in his new position.
His conclusion: “I’m grateful I lost my job. It brought me closer to those who mean the world to me, and showed me that work, while important, is not the measure of a man.”
His search took six months. But the process was priceless. It takes time in these times to undertake a journey and arrive whole at your destination. Live the process with complete presence to claim the destiny you deserve.
All the best, Stan