Marketable or Makeover (Part One): Square Peg / Round Hole

Square Peg / Round Hole – 

Hundreds of executives come to us for help each month. Most cannot honestly or accurately answer this marketability question often because they lack perspective. The majority of people change jobs infrequently. We can fill this gap because we help executives obtain their ideal positions every day and we’ve been doing it for more than three decades.

Our clients generally avoid several common pitfalls that other executives stumble over as they bring themselves to market. This series will examine five common obstacles as executives determine “Are you Marvelously Marketable or in Need of a Major Makeover?”:

  • Square Peg / Round Hole
  • Perfecting Your Packaging
  • Perceiving the Invisible Market
  • The Perils of Inadequate Preparation
  • Failing at the Finish Line

Let us begin with the question of having the right target for your career search. We find that executives suffer from a number of common issues in this area.

Square Peg / Round Hole

A) Some execs have not considered their target at all and simply want “a job”

A sense of desperation is only natural if you are made suddenly redundant and have inadequate reserves, so we truly understand this panicky feeling. Sometimes we help clients find a stepping-stone job, a temporary assignment, or contract role first before seeking that longer term position. This takes some of the heat off financially and allows a cooler, more sober reflection on where you might wish to end up in the long run.

But having no target at all is likely to lengthen your search and increase your frustration, so let’s agree on where you are going before you get started.

B) Other executives seem to be wearing blinders

Just because you have been a stock broker, an accountant, a marketing exec… does not mean that you are stuck in that role.

First, everyone has transferable skills. For example, we helped one stock broker apply his pattern recognition experience to big data. Another case involved a dental surgeon who could no longer perform surgery due to a physical accident. We helped him find a rewarding opportunity at an insurer where he could apply his deep knowledge without wielding a knife.

To better understand your own transferable skills, please review “Do you have tremendous transferability?” Scheduling a discussion with one of our senior career consultants can also help illuminate opportunities to change career tracks.

Second, think of the penguin who simply wants to get back to the iceberg he grew up on only to find that it has melted and disappeared… Many industries are shrinking and changing. Others are growing, evolving, and new ones are appearing. So we always ask, are you sure you are targeting the right industry? Just to underline the point, here is a comparison drawn from some of our latest Industry Updates:

TBG-Executives Changing Industries - Square Peg Round Hole

Beyond the simple, historical change year-on-year statistics, our Industry Updates also highlight total openings (for example, in total 470,000 executive positions changed hands in the most recent period) and the forward-looking hiring demand for each industry. We also examine developments geographically in these Updates, but of course, the best way to access our enormous data resources is to become a client.

Third, you are more than just a set of skills. You have a personality and personal needs. That is where our Clarity Program© comes in. It is the first step in our five-step career change program, the all-important targeting step, during which our clients engage in some deep reflection on their personalities, their current situations, and where they might like to be in a few years. Here’s how one landed client described his Clarity Program© experience:

“I enjoyed the Clarity Program [.…] It clarified a lot of things for me – what I wanted to do, what I didn’t want to do, as well as my long-term objectives. It gave me the structure I needed to get a complete picture of what I wanted from life personally and professionally.” Most important, Clarity helped Arturo realize that what he wanted most from a job was to feel appreciated. “I achieved a lot at my company, but I didn’t feel recognized for my work. I wanted to find an organization that showed appreciation for its employees.” [Arturo Núñez, Read more]

C) Are you more valuable in another role?

Feeling comfortable in your position has to be paramount, of course, but then there is always the question of remuneration. Are you adequately compensated for the work you do, or could you earn substantially more doing something else?

Unquestionably, executives who change jobs judiciously (we do not mean job-hoppers) earn more money over time. [Read more.] And if you add on the Barrett Group effect during the offer negotiation stage, you can achieve significant increases in your next role. [Read more.] This is because we simply have a lot of experience—more than any one candidate can collect in a lifetime. Over three decades we have amassed a list of more than 100 compensation elements including numerous justifications to increase base pay, bonus options, benefits worth exploring, relocation, continuing education, and even stock options or equity. In general, we can virtually always add $10,000, $20,000, $30,000 or more in total compensation to the offer once you receive it.

So before you settle for being a square peg in a round hole, you might want to explore alternatives and spare yourself some stress by benefitting from all the career change experience the Barrett Group can place at your disposal—ideally before you enter the market.

Peter Irish, CEO
The Barrett Group

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