“Winning game-plan for CEOs embarking on a job search”

Yes…after coaching organizations and candidates for 30 years here is my bullet-proof plan for senior executives to conduct a job search.


Not the easiest plan…but IT IS the most effective.  Each step is worthy of its own article, and I have spent a career coaching executives as I work with organizations to recruit, screen, and hire their key executive-team members.   Here is how I suggest CEOs conduct their job change:

1)  Know what you want in your life, career, and job.

Write down what is on your mind.  Complete a Career Inventory.  Take an assessment.  Get professional help.  Read, research, and talk it through with your family, mentors, and advisors.  Have a written, comprehensive Career Plan.

2)  Set your evaluation parameters…how will you know if this is the right job?

Document what you want in the areas of Trust, Credibility, Industry, Environment, Relationships, Functions, Learnings, Travel, Compensation, and Lifestyle. Document what you do want.  Know when to say “NO!” to options that you don’t want. This is critical for next steps.

3)  Identify your desired career targets. 

Pinpoint your favored industries, companies, people, and jobs. Fill in what you know, and save spaces for what you need to research.  Create what I call demographics trigger points for: Location, Compensation, Travel, and Lifestyle.

4)  List your strengths and characteristics that make you marketable to these targets.

Ask yourself: Why would they be interested in me? What can I do for them? Why am I the best person for this targeted career opportunity?  What have I done for my past employers?  Be prepared to sell.

5)  Write your resume and cover letter

The purpose of a resume is to get you an audience with your targeted opportunity.  Write your biography another day. Keep this one short and to the point.  Have detailed resumes available as resources for yourself and others for when you meet them in person or as follow up conversations.  Have your reference list prepared and references contacted ahead of time.  (Don’t give out references too soon.)

6)  Recruit your Posse…this is your army of helpers in your job search.

Work with your mentors, advisors, and friends.  Deputize them to assist you in your hunt (recruit calls, pep talks, lunches, etc.) and arm them to assist you with tools (resumes, cover letters, sample job titles, examples of targets, etc.).  Connect with them on LinkedIn (you will be more easily found, and they can more easily share your profile, contact you, etc.).  Update your profile on LinkedIn such that the “create a resume” tool produces a decent looking and effective resume on you.  Ask them to make introductions for you.

7) WORK:  Plow fields, sow seeds, hoe weeds, and water sprouts in search of your harvest

Contact people capable of getting you hired into your desired job/career.   Educate them on your search. Find ways to help them.  Send follow up notes.  Read…learn…listen…grow.  Stretch and shine.  Expand yourself.  Call them back on a regular basis.  Use software tools as appropriate.  Treat this like a critical project to manage…IT IS!

8)  Help as many people as you can while you are asking for help.

This is your best time to make karma deposits…to offset the withdrawals you seek…remember, like you, everyone is looking for something they want more of or less of. Build your network…and learn what your network needs. Always be on the lookout for how you can help others in your network.

9)  Commit to your next career adventure. 

Find an opportunity that fits your decision parameters (Trust, Credibility, Industry, Environment, Relationships, Functions, Learnings, Travel, Compensation, and Lifestyle.) Commit wholeheartedly. Make a professional transition, using your best manners and judgment to change over.

10)  Be appreciative…

Say thank you and remember to help your network to meet their career needs on an ongoing basis. Prepare to repeat this process without warning.

Paul Herrerias is the San Francisco Managing Director of Stanton Chase International, a global retained executive search firm operating in 43 countries.  Mr. Herrerias has approached building businesses both technically, first as a CPA, and socially, earning a master’s degree in Organization Development, HR, and Change Management.  He has conducted over 400 executive search projects for organizations across the United States and internationally.   He can be reached at  P.Herrerias@stantonchase.com.

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