Reinvent The Way You Approach Executive Job Searches

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On February 10th, I got a promotion to father. 

My son Noah Christopher entered the world. My beautiful wife, Mary—well, what can I say? My jaw remains agape at the raw God moment that we experienced. Her front-and-center role in creating a new life is a blessed miracle. My heart is full of gratitude.

As many of you will attest—I did what any well-intentioned corporate try hard would during paternity leave. I read four books—and closed two negotiations. 

Of course, these books centered around negotiation, psychology, executive communication, and leadership. I bled two highlighters dry. 

There is unsensible neurosis that steers unhealthy workaholics like me to focus on areas of comfortable expertise when presented with life’s unknowns. Maybe you’ve felt that way too. 

As a result, I’m thinking even more profoundly about job search and negotiation—and starting to uplevel and reframe initial concepts I’ve held. 

The Growing Number of Executives In Transition

You’ll notice that job search numbers are rising. As I speak with career transition groups at Pavilion, Chief, and CMO Huddles, it’s clear that the registration numbers are piling up. 

Many executives need help, but most career support caters to junior and mid-level professionals. You’ve ticked those boxes already. Unfortunately, if you follow that trendy support, you’ll blend into the growing sea of sameness and competition flooding an already saturated market. 

Today, I offer a few tips to reframe your transition and breathe fresh ideas into your search perspective. A reframe may be the spark you need to reinvigorate your search. Let’s dive in.

Reframe Your Job Search 

Sometimes a simple reframe is helpful. Try this.

Most executives generally know how business works. A business produces a product of value and sells the product to a customer for profit. 

And yes, executives eating crayons and slumming around at over-inflated VC startups that have never made a profit generally SHOULD know how this works too. 

In a raw form, a job search is akin to bringing a product into the world. 

You are the product. 

The employer is the customer. 

Rather than consuming yourself in job search land… 

You know, by twiddling with resume tweaks, LinkedIn edits, cover letter templates, and the best practices for reaching out cold to other leaders—it can be helpful to strip the complexity. 

Enter the reframe. 

What if you were a product? Not Jacob, the complex buzzword-laden human marketer? 

  • What value do you provide as a product?
  • What does the right customer need?
  • Where do you find the right customer?
  • How do you best present yourself as the solution? 

Instead of learning about the same old career tricks everyone else uses, try a reframe. 

  • It’s not your job search; it’s you bringing a product to market. 
  • It’s not your job search; it’s you communicating value and alignment.
  • It’s not your job search; it’s you persuading someone to pay you!

In this context, you can shift away from the same tired career advice touted by the same tired coaches—and learn from new sources of intel. Just don’t leave Execs and the City—share it instead, you intellectually savvy and aesthetically appealing reader you…

A reframing of your job search means you look to derive new value from other sources, such as business growth tactics, psychology, communication, etc. Then, apply these new learnings to differentiate yourself.  

These are often areas where you already have above-average knowledge. 

For example, YOU, a mature business leader, wouldn’t get emotional about a lack of finding customers—just as it would serve you better to lessen the emotional toll a job search can play on finding your next ‘customer.’

Easier said than done, I recognize. 

Instead, a business would assess the problem and experiment with research groups, lead generation, channel marketing, or other customer acquisition strategies. You get the gist.

  • Where do you run your job search research?
  • Where do you generate your leads?
  • What channels do you use to attract prospects?
  • How do you win the deal? 

What I find most interesting about this is, great executives typically aren’t great at finding a job because they haven’t needed to. They’ve been good at their job or in their role for a long tenure. 

When a job search triggers, they’re thrown into a new arena—an area where they are likely not top dog or competent.

A reframe allows you to shift your mindset to a tangential area of expertise where you are more qualified and confident. 

That fresh perspective is sometimes enough to inspire even the most fish-out-of-water job seekers. So lean into your strengths and create a frame where you thrive.

Reframe Your Interview

My favorite way to reframe interviewing is to recognize that it’s simply sales. It’s a communication process where both parties work to find alignment. 

Being the most impressive candidate isn’t important—being the candidate best aligned with the solution is most important.

For example, let’s say you’re shopping for a minivan. Three sales reps greet you with a car key. 

One says, “I have a sports car that will go 180mph. Your kids will love getting to soccer an hour before the game.” 

Another says, “We have the seating capacity for your needs—and we’ll go offroad and tow 5th wheels. Your kids will love to get to the soccer game on top of a mountain.” 

Finally, the last rep says, “I’d like to talk about minivans. We have three options to consider. What do you think will work best for your kids?”

Who wins?

Probably the sports car, but we’re all prone to bad decisions.

Instead of studying interview preparation strategies, why not try sales processes, psychology, and persuasion? 

There is untapped gold in those hills, I assure you. 

Next week I’ll share what fewer than 1% do so you can think miles ahead of your executive competition using a new framework I’ve cooked up. My new framework is designed to reframe how you think about negotiation.

Spoiler, negotiation is not an event; it’s a process of predictable principles.

Now I’m off to find some sleep before Noah has other ideas.

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