How to accelerate your C-suite candidacy?

Securing your first or second CEO candidacy can be accelerated by understanding how to market your profile that clearly & plainly communicates the value you carry & evaluating how the market responds to your profile. The following paragraphs will help you smoothen your next executive level transition.

  1. Bold career moves: Some people’s career take off smoothly & quickly while others take a little while or sometimes even stall. Common wisdom assumes that people with elite management degrees land up with high powered jobs at reputed firms/businesses climb ladder to top quickly. However this assumption is too good to be true. Sprinters do not accelerate in their career by having a pedigree but by taking bold career moves over their course of career that made them reach to the top. These bold & risk taking professionals build some specific behaviors that set them apart as success CEO(s)- reliability, flexibility, ability to engage or create an impact, decisiveness & get noticed for their success stories & achievements. Sometimes you have to think & act differently from the herd to achieve the unimaginable. Most successful CEO(s) started with some small roles in their company at some point in their career. They may have taken up something new in their company- launching a product/service or opening up a new market, moved to a comparatively small company to take on greater & pivotal responsibilities or even kickstarted their venture. They started something afresh & scaled up to leave a profound impact. Besides, a lot of them have taken giant leaps in the early stages of their career that helped them augment their learning curve. People who said yes to opportunities which were beyond anything they had done previously. It is not necessary that everyone will have such opportunities to fall in their lap but what matters is the attitude of chief executives. Seek out cross-functional projects that help you lay hands on various aspects of business, get involved in strategic projects, ask your boss for additional responsibilities & manage & lead tough & complex problems.
  2. Make yourself ready: As a stepping stone for getting interviewed for a chief executive role, it is implicit that you should make your executive resume, LinkedIn profile, cover letter & personal website) ready. In the executive career, change is the only constant. Board or group may offer you opportunities out of the blue since there are re-organisations & acquisitions. You should also be ready & open for interim, advisory roles or board nominations. This is the reason why most of the chief executives keep their executive resume ready that showcase their career portfolio. Your executive resume should communicate the following
  • Metrics are important: Your top achievements should indicate top 3 to 5 value points you offer( it can be mergers, growth strategy, digital transformation, diversification etc). Remember to pencil down all achievements in such a way that it begins with metrics.
  • Focus on specifics: The most challenging part while writing your executive resume is to know what to include & what to give it a miss since your career journey has been a roller coaster ride & you had so much during the last 2 to 3 decades. So the question arises how do you make your marketing document objective? The right approach is to find out some ideal positions online that match your competencies & interests. Highlight & select key points & use these points to write your resume.
  • Set up your story line: First few lines of your resume are most important. This is the space where you communicate to your readers where you want to go. Focus on including as many keywords as you can, industry, size of company( big , medium sized or start up), breath of oversight(national, local, global) & P&L you managed.
  • Support your story: Support your storyline by including information related to your career wins such as additional advanced degrees, certificates, authored books, white papers, awards, recognition & board nominations.
  • Populate your career narrative: Help the reader by populating your career narrative with information such as company name, period you worked there, geographies you have worked, a brief about the company in one sentence( this is equally important). Even if you are working with google or Microsoft, you should not assume that reader automatically knows how big or worth the company is
  • Sync between resume & LinkedIn profile: It is important that both resume & LinkedIn should complement each other. You should set the same expectations from all your career documents.
  • Make your resume as your career portfolio: Given the current trends, a lot of C-suites write resumes that indicate their interest in taking various roles such as C-suite, interim C-suite, board member, operating partner, consultant, advisor etc. Executive resumes can be categorized to demonstrate various interests by organizing information into sections that speak for each area of interest. Alternatively, the chief executive also makes separate resumes for each area of interest.
  • Create an online portfolio: If you do not have your personal website, you should consider making it now. A lot of companies ask executives if they have an online profile/career portfolio since it has a huge influence in their hiring decision. An online website gives an opportunity to your audience to know, like & trust you.
  1. Job search strategies: Executive headhunting firms reaching out to chief executives for potential/open CEO positions is one part of the story. Chief executives looking for the next wave of opportunities networking with contacts, headhunters & hiring managers, approaching companies directly or connecting with those working in the companies over LinkedIn to secure interviews. Those executives who are looking for management consulting role, or role involving turnaround of business or an opportunity to work with start up, connecting with VC & PE firms is considered to be a good bet.

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