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CEO Advice for Director and Management Candidates

The best advice for job hunters is to ask the professionals who have already made it what they did to stand out from the crowd. How did they get to the top? The answers will surprise you, especially as they go against what the typical job hunting blogs tell you to do.

In this article we took some advice from a CEO on how to land a job.

Follow Your Passion – Follow The Money

Don’t always follow your passion, and don’t chase dreams. They are not marketable assets. You may love working with people, but the Personnel manager is a mid level entry job with a very solid ceiling. If you want to make money then you need to learn how to manage money, and make money grow. The more you know about fiscal growth the less likely you will hit the ceiling.

As your career grows you will grow intellectually. Within 10 years the things you are most passionate about now will be boring.  As a young person your passions are emotion and peer based. This gives way to intellectual and self-satisfying passions.

A job isn’t meant to make you happy. Only you can make yourself happy. When you learn that you’ll be ready to take on any challenge the world has to throw at you.

Develop Yourself

We all know the phrase ‘self made professional.’ It takes a lot of effort turning yourself from a recruit into a solid management candidate. When friends are out partying you will be hitting the books, volunteering, working for mentors, and paying your dues. Step forward 20 years, and you will be in Maui for three weeks while those friends are struggling to make ends meet.

Don’t worry about how it will happen, or whether the right opportunities will come your way. Make it happen. The more you prepare for a job, the more often opportunities will present themselves. There is an old saying that states you may study hard to become a success and change your goals so that you never will become a success. But, if you don’t study then you have no choice – you never will become a success.

Document Your Accomplishments

Never let an accomplishment slip by. Document it. Create a report. Keep a portfolio of your achievements. How much did you earn? How much money did you save? Did you fix a problem, streamline a system, restructure a hierarchy? Did you build it?

Keep your intellectual property. Protect it. The system you use to help one business will be a launch pad to help another business succeed.

It doesn’t matter if you were asked to do the job, or not. Write a blueprint for an organizational structure, employee handbook, a marketing plan. Nothing is lost. Each of these managerial tools is something you can use in the future. They will also give you something tangible to put in the job interviewer’s hand.

Imagine you are hosting the job interview. Would you hire an general manager who walks in and tells you that they are great, or would you hire the general manager who comes in with a brief case, laptop, and portfolio of ‘proof’ they can do the job.

Be Vulnerable

There is nothing more annoying than a young candidate who spends all their time mirroring my body language, spouting off elevator messages, and is always trying to sell themselves. I gravitate to professionals who want to know what I have to say.

If you want to learn then don’t ask me questions at a trade show where I’m working. Don’t follow me to networking meetings where I’m working. I rarely turn down anyone who is willing to intern while they are unemployed.

Personal Branding

If you think politicians are under the microscope you’ve never been in the world of Investment Bankers. The more money you will be managing, the more your past will be under scrutiny. If your applying for a job over $100 000 a year, plus benefits and perks then be honest in the job interview about your past indiscretions. Odds are the company has already investigated you and the HR professional hosting the job interview already knows.

Whether you want to, or not, you are creating a personal brand from the moment you walk into college. Don’t wait until you are 5 years away from your first executive job to start thinking about personal branding. Executive career Management starts the moment you determine that you want to get to the top.

When working with a recruiter make sure they understand that you want to embark on the executive career path. Your image is a tool. It is your greatest asset. Middle managers apply for jobs. Executives market their ‘image’ and skillset to potential employers.

Don’t Think Too Small

Why do you want to become a manager? Why not become an executive? Why not become a General manager, Director, or Executive? There is a place for everyone. You are only limited by the amount of work you put into yourself.



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