Executive Job Search Tips: 3 Mistakes That Will Cost You Your Dream Job

When you think of the phrase “job search,” what words come to mind? Are they things like exciting, fulfilling, more money and more work-life balance? Or are they more like agonizing, frustrating, depressing and overwhelming?

If your thoughts immediately turn negative at the idea of looking for a job, how could that affect your demeanor and the way you come across to those you talk to in your job interviews?

You see, how you feel about your job search is intrinsically connected to its outcome. So it’s in your best interest to set up simple strategies that make your job transition easier, faster and more effective. Here are a few common mistakes executive job seekers make and how to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Hoping the Perfect Job Will Come to You

This is an easy – though fatal – mistake to make. Believing a job is going to just land in your lap will leave you helpless to do anything but sift through your emails and surf dozens of job boards hoping and waiting to see that dream job you are really excited about. When you finally find it (add insult to injury if you don’t really know what you dream job looks like but you will “know it when you see it”), you will invest a big wave of energy focusing on creating and sending off the perfect resume.

What you might not know is that by competing on job boards for positions, your unseen competition could be hundreds or thousands of applicants, many of which might be more qualified than you.

“Hoping” to find the perfect job is not a strategy. Successful people don’t reach their goals by waiting for things to materialize in front of them. So, brainstorm on what you are looking for and what motivates you, then write it all down! Get crystal clear and check to make sure it harmonizes with others in your life that your choices will affect.

Then learn job search strategies other than surfing job boards. Did you know that your success rate using job boards is somewhere between 1 and 3%? Those odds alone are enough to depress any job seeker and tempt them to believe they are as lackluster as their results are indicating.

Mistake #2: Wishing For Someone to “Place” You in a Job

This is the same line of thinking as Mistake #1, but with slightly different elements. I often hear executives say that they are hoping to find someone who will place them in a job. But let’s give this a little thought – do you really want to just be “placed”?

The bottom line is, you will never find any one single person who will bring you enough possible job openings (and then place you in one of them) to make you happy with their service. Why? Because no one knows what you are looking for like you do! Add to this the fact that even if such a person existed, the majority of us wouldn’t be able to afford them!

It’s good to have contacts in a few companies that can introduce you to key people. After all, most jobs are found through networking right? Well here is an inside tip: The best networking is not done through one or two people that can send your resume to an HR department with their endorsement; in fact that is what I would call a very poor networking experience with very little benefit to you!

No, good networking is when YOU take the initiative to go after what you want. Don’t be a “passive receiver” in your job search. When we think in terms of someone placing us, we are giving away our power. If that is your mindset in job search, you will undoubtedly set yourself up for disappointment.

The solution is to simply commit to taking action and initiative in your job search. Map out a plan to find and connect with your market(s) of choice. Give yourself a timeline that doesn’t put undue pressure on you. Learn proven marketing methods for getting a potential employer’s attention and talk with recruiters, resume writers and career coaches as needed. Know that your ultimate success (and satisfaction with the outcome) will come from your commitment to taking positive action.

Mistake #3: Not Asking for Help

The opposite of expecting someone else to manage your career transition for you is trying to do everything yourself. In my business there is much to do. As a business owner, I naturally want to control each and every component. But I know in order for my business to thrive, I must delegate tasks to others. I have to plan. If I don’t, I will quickly become overworked and stressed out, which does not honor or benefit my clients.

An executive job search is no different. If you are struggling or feeling stuck, consult an expert to help you so you can free yourself up to focus on your success. The alternative will likely be to avoid those strategies you don’t know how to do (which might otherwise work brilliantly for your situation!) or might just decide to give up. Neither are good options.

Most people will fall back on what they know when it seems too hard to try another way. Fortunately, these strategies are easy to learn and your choice of resources are abundant! What you will gain from investing in yourself and this job search will not only help you with your current career change (more interviews, better positions, more money, etc.), but will benefit you your entire professional life.

Don’t risk feeling depressed and anxious when you are worth so much more. By following these simple steps you will be on the right track to success!

Mary Elizabeth Bradford is the Founder and Executive Director of CEOresumewriter.com and Maryelizabethbradford.com 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.

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