How to Secure a $50k to $350k+ Increase in Compensation and Land Your Executive-Level Dream Job

Many of my executive-level, 6-figure+ clients secure BIG salary and title increases. Although each executive job seeker’s situation is different, there are some strategies that seem to always be a part of an SVP’s or CXO’s successful career transition. They are as follows:

A clear focus of direction.

As a general rule, you want to play the best poker hand you can. Identify your driving motivators (what is most important to you: money, location, and industry), and check the economic strength of the industries you want to go into or remain in.

If they are strong, are they strong within your geographical parameters?

Do you know which industries are the strongest and fastest-growing in your target market?

Or are you isolating a niche market and your geographic preference is global?

All of these items must be defined. It is the foundation and core of your career transition, and without it you can’t create good marketing collateral or identify and initiate the right job search strategies.

A well-aligned and designed resume.

I can’t say enough about this point.

I just spoke with a wonderful executive today who had all the skills and expertise and P&L responsibility that a mid-size company in his industry could want—but his resume was laid out in such a way that it took an awful lot of reading time to figure that out.

That’s irritating to top recruiters and key decision makers.

You need to create a framework of perception that is satisfying—and takes only about 10 seconds.

You need to be clear on titles/industry/size/scope, and also offer—right at the top of page one—a strong snapshot argument for that target. An executive certified resume writer can help with this!

Other executive clients have five-page resumes because they have done it all. The missing piece here is that you need to write and design your resume TO what you want—not FROM where you have been.

A good design sets you apart from your competition and keeps the reader on the page longer. Psychologically, the reader thinks, “Wow! This looks a little different—the content must be unique as well.”

Demonstrate your understanding of the value of metric-driven accomplishments.

Intrigue is created by front loading your quantifiable achievements. So we say you drove bottom-line revenue by $410M in 24 months by doing XYZ. Not only is this the right thing to do (and it provides you with talking points for your interviews), but it demonstrates psychologically to the reader (or listener) that YOU understand your foundational leadership value and can communicate it fluently.

Create intrigue.

You want to draw opportunities to yourself. You want to create intrigue. Overexposure—and any communication that conveys any whiff of frustration, desperation, or passive receivership—can unnecessarily diminish your value.

Career transitions test your resolve and who you are as a person. By going in with your eyes wide open, with a plan, and with good marketing collateral and the right job search strategies, you retain your confidence—and that creates the right attraction. The right intrigue.

Demonstrate your leadership.

Leaders let their incoming calls go to voicemail.

Real executives use the highest-quality stationery.

Leaders don’t allow interviewers to fire questions at them as if it were an interrogation—and they ask their own questions in order to create dialogue.

Real executive leaders/mentors possess virtues that establish an interviewer’s confidence and trust in you. As an executive—and also as a human being. Virtues such as internal strength, kindness, wisdom, discernment, respectfulness, and true caring. Traits that, deep down, others want to emulate.

Everybody is different, but when you are going into a company at an executive level, remember … the air is thinner at the top—and you are being watched closely to see how you will “fit in” at the executive table. Get them excited about your foundational strengths—and show them you are a gracious leader with a solid personality who doesn’t get defensive when the hard questions are asked—and you will score a lot of points in a shorter period of time.

Don’t provide anyone with exact numbers regarding your salary if you can absolutely help it.

Recruiters will insist on it.

Key executives will ask about it.

Learn how to answer this question in a satisfying way by giving ranges and then asking if they have a budgeted range for the position.

Leaders don’t say they make $475k base and 30% bonus based on etc., etc … Why? because they are leaders, and they know their job is to steer that conversation back to reality—which is the VALUE you bring to the table. Real leaders demonstrate their leadership by graciously steering communication away from what they made or make somewhere else. Why? Because it has nothing to do with the meeting at hand. So they discourage creating this touchstone, which is likened to playing Russian roulette with the interview process.

Done in harmony with one another, these tips, along with strong marketing collateral and the right job search strategies, have proven to be some of the strongest foundational components associated with my most successful clients. I hope it helps you, too, rise to the fullness of your leadership potential.

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.