The #1 Reason Executive Candidates Fail At Job Search

Ascend to the c-suite. And beyond.


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Last updated: March 20th, 2024

Fail at job search

Last updated: March 20th, 2024

Reading Time: 4 minutes

You want to rise to the top of an organisation, drive strategy, lead a high-performance team, be respected, and make a hefty amount of money along the way.

You know you have the goods.

Yet, you often get overlooked for internal promotions to top leadership roles. And when you apply externally, you get the dreaded “thanks, but no thanks” from executive recruiters and hiring managers.

What’s going on? How can you sell yourself more effectively?

(Related: Is An MBA Worth It?)

Why Executives Fail During Job Search.

I meet a lot of experienced senior business leaders who find themselves in this situation.

Despite their enviable track records of success and strong communication skills, they fail to successfully compete for top jobs because they can’t effectively articulate their commercial value to potential employers and recruiters.

When asked to pitch themselves – via their executive resume, their LinkedIn profile, during a job interview, or even over a coffee – they sell themselves short.

They lack the ability to sell and market themselves.

To be more specific, they don’t clearly understand what their value is – which means they can’t pitch themselves with impact and explain their career story in an engaging way.

This is unfortunate, because great roles get filled by candidates who are not necessarily the best leaders, but who have the most polished resume, LinkedIn profile and interview skills.

(Related: Bespoke Outplacement Services For C-Suite Executives).

How To Sell Yourself.

The key to fixing this issue lays in reducing or eliminating what I call the Success Gap.

Let me explain.

Your Success Gap is the difference between your actual commercial value and the value you’re able to articulate, define, communicate and own when you’re pitching yourself to potential employers.

reach career success

The Success Gap is one of the main reasons why you — and other perfectly qualified candidates – get overlooked, while less-than-stellar people make it into the top ranks.

The Success Gap represents scads of untapped potential and missed opportunities.

How To Eliminate Your Success Gap.

Eliminating your success gap is a matter of knowing how to create a value proposition that connects the disparate threads of your career into a cohesive narrative that resonates with the needs of your target market.

An effective value proposition should:

  • Position you as a clear answer to a specific set of commercial challenges.
  • Establish your unique point of difference.
  • Weave a clear narrative through your career history, positioning each career move as strategically relevant to your intended direction.

This value proposition then needs to be intentionally disseminated across every touchpoint of your personal brand. Specifically, your:

  • Executive resume.
  • LinkedIn profile.
  • Business headshot.
  • Interview answers.
  • Thought leadership pieces, websites, evidence of speaking engagements and mentions in the media.

5 Steps To Executive Job Search Success.

Follow these steps to start winning the right executive positions faster:

  • Take an honest look at your resume. Does it do justice to your career, or does it sell you short? Does it tell your career story? If not, read our resume writing guides for CEOs, CFOs, COOs, CIOs and CMOs – or hire us to do it for you.
  • Examine your online presence. Does it support the idea that you’re an authority, an expert and a forward-looking thinker? If not, write a few thought leadership pieces, get interviewed by the media, start a blog – or hire us to do it for you.
  • Audit your LinkedIn profile. Does it grab the reader by the eyeballs? Does it tell your career story in a compelling manner, in a way that showcases your value and demonstrates your intended direction? If not, rewrite it – or hire us to do it for you.
  • Speaking of LinkedIn, how is your profile headshot? Is it sharp, professional and interesting?
  • Get honest about your interview skills. There’s no point in undoing everything you’ve worked so hard for by not being able to communicate your value in person. Are you prepared for tricky behavioural questions? Are you able to explain how the value you’ve delivered in your past roles will help you succeed in the next one? If not, learn to improve your job interview skills or hire us to help you with it.

Right about now, you’re likely feeling a bit overwhelmed. But fear not.

Don’t Get Passed Up For Executive Roles You Really Want.

Would you like to be able to confidently communicate your unique value to potential employers? Would job search be easier if your Success Gap was reduced to zero, like this?

reach career success

Eliminating the Success Gap in careers of senior business leaders is the reason we go to work.

Contact us to learn how we can help you land your next senior leadership role and shave months from your job search. In the next few weeks, your ability to market and sell yourself can increase by a large margin.

I’d like to leave you with a quote from Rod Stryker:

“Your long-term happiness and fulfilment depend on your ability to fulfil your soul’s unique purpose and to fill the place in the world that only you can fill, making the contribution that only you can make.”

It’s your life. Let’s do this thing.

– Irene

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