Five Tips to Get Your Career in Gear

All year long executives come to us complaining about their careers. Especially in the first quarter. They complain that their achievements are overlooked. They are underpaid. Executives feel they deserve better. They’re bored. Their industry is fading… The list goes on. Frankly, we welcome their complaints because acknowledging dissatisfaction is the first step toward addressing it.

And that is what the Barrett Group does. We help executives migrate from dissatisfaction to success. Here are a few tips we can share up front based on our 32 years of experience guiding executive careers.

Tip #1: Look for the rising tide

Suppose you are an IT executive and you have a choice of industries for your next career stage. Recently we have been comparing for example the Oil and Energy (O&E) executive market to the Renewables and Environment (R&E) market for executives. Both of these sectors are in the energy business fundamentally, but in the O&E market the IT executive population grew by just +1% while in the R&E area the segment expanded by +7.5%.

So look for the industry segments that are growing faster. That’s where the demand will be and the chances of an appropriate opportunity are greater.

Tip #2: Gravitate toward joy

If you need to make a change anyway, why not do something you enjoy? Too many executives feel they are trapped in a professional niche because they cannot conceive of how their experience could be relevant elsewhere. We look at it quite differently and find transferable skills and experience virtually everywhere—if you filter and present them appropriately for the opportunity at hand.

So take a moment to really explore what you would like to be doing and steer in that direction. You will come across as much more genuine and authentic in your interviews, and probably be happier and even healthier, too, once you land.

Tip #3: Navigate your network

You know people, right? And they know people, correct? Your second degree network numbers probably in the tens of thousands… or more. So why not use it?

No, you don’t want to simply beg your friends and acquaintances for a job. Remember, givers gain. You want to reach out genuinely, share ideas, investigate their own challenges, offer possible solutions, and gently promote awareness in your network that you might just be the person who solves someone’s organizational dilemma.

You might be surprised what this simple outreach can accomplish.

Tip #4: Discover uncharted territory

Your comfort zone is a constraint on your personal and professional growth. Step outside it. Whether that means considering new industries, participating in events, joining new groups and interacting with strangers… so be it.

Private equity portfolio companies, for example, have proven an excellent landing pad for many of our clients in the past year or two as literally trillions of dollars have flowed into their coffers. Despite macroeconomic clouds on the horizon, this sector looks set to continue its growth in the new year.

Tip #5: Accept your inexperience

All too often executives come to us and think they know everything there is to know about finding an executive position. “Just introduce me to hiring managers and I’ll do the rest,” they often say. Well, first, that’s not how we work, and second, that kind of single-minded self-promotion is a huge turn-off for most hiring executives.

We have helped literally thousands of executives clarify their holistic career targets, package themselves for their chosen career path, access the executive markets, prevail in interview processes, add significantly to first offer compensation, and on-board with optimum success.

Accept the fact that you probably are not very experienced in navigating the executive opportunity market, and, where appropriate, seek help.

Well, there you have it.

If you are simply sending the same resume to multiple internet job postings or haranguing executive recruiters with your purported skills and experience, you may eventually find a job, but it probably won’t be the one you really want.

Try our tips to open new doors, or, better yet, contact us for some professional guidance.

Whatever you do, all of us here at the Barrett Group wish you great success in your career search in the new year.

Peter Irish, CEO
The Barrett Group

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