How to Take Control of Your Executive Job Search in 3 Easy Steps

Do you want a simple yet powerful way to secure bigger job offers?

In searching for your ideal position, are you taking the “I’ll know it when I see it” route? Well, this kind of haphazard job search usually results in a lot of time spent searching the Internet and changing your resume in an attempt to make a match with all the various positions you are going after. What’s worse, you may soon find yourself wondering why your efforts aren’t paying off in job interviews.

When you start your job search without a clear focus, it’s difficult to leverage yourself in the market to the extent necessary to get results. You may be a very talented and deserving career professional, but if you are letting your job search “control” you, you’re probably not going to be happy with the results you get.

The good news is that getting focused is much easier than you might think. It’s also the most important step you will take in finding and getting the job you really want, because it’s what drives all your other activities.

Some of the benefits you will experience by developing your focus include:

  • A renewed positive energy and enthusiasm (which always happens when we have that “aha!” moment of knowing where we are going and are excited to get there)
  • A dramatically increased possibility of a much shorter job search
  • More productive interviews, and an easier time networking

There are two sets of criteria you will benefit from focusing on. One is what I call your “driving motivators,” and the second is the criteria that defines your dream job.

Step #1: Identify Your Driving Motivators

Think of these driving motivators as the top three things you must have in order for you to feel like your next move is one that meets your needs.

Sometimes your driving motivators will run counter to your dream job, and that is okay. Give yourself permission to define these because they will affect your job search.

Your driving motivators can include how much money you need, a city or state you need to stay in, or an industry you absolutely have to “get out of.”

Step #2: Identify Your Dream Job

Now you need to identify what you love to do most, what excites you, and what you are best at in your career; basically, all those things that make you want to jump out of bed and go to work each day. Let’s call this your dream job.

To identify your dream job, start with a list of things you love to do. Another way to look at it is to ask yourself what you are doing when you are at your best.

Step #3: Identify Particular Jobs and Industries

Go to any major online job board and type in the positions and the industries you are interested in.

When you find the job or jobs that really excite you, print them out, highlight the keywords and phrases that you are resonating with, and add them to your “dream job list.”

These techniques are subtle and refreshingly easy, but don’t underestimate them! You will be amazed at the powerful results they will produce for you.

With your driving motivators and your dream job lists side by side, you have two distinct areas of focus to build on. This is the first and most critical step to taking control of your job search so you can land the job you really want.

Using these simple techniques will help you keep an emphasis on your skills and abilities as they relate to the position you are interviewing for, and set the tone and pace for a bigger and better offer!

Mary Elizabeth Bradford is the Founder and Executive Director of and and a past executive recruiter. A thought leader in the career services industry for over 20 years, she holds 5 distinct advanced certifications for senior-level resume writing, online branding and executive-level job search coaching (CERM, CMRW, CARW, MCD, NCOPE). She has been seen and heard in major media including Forbes, Time, WSJ, Newsweek and NBC affiliate stations. She holds 2 CDI TORI awards and is a top tier judge for the elite CDI TORI awards for four consecutive years. Mary Elizabeth Bradford’s elite team of award-winning, certified, top executive resume writers, former top executive recruiters, and global HR executives help many of the world’s premier C-suite, board members and thought leaders secure the transitions and compensation packages they want. She works with clients all over the globe.

If you are a Director, VP, CxO, or Board Member interested in an executive resume package or working directly with Mary Elizabeth, click to schedule a complimentary 15-minute call.