We are at the stage of the economic recovery where many executives are considering changing jobs either within their own firm or by going to a new organization. Before you send a resume or schedule an interview, there are two critical areas to think about.
Your RESUME: The tone and mindset of your resume may need to change if you are looking for a leadership position.
- Don’t just dust off the resume that got you your current job and add your latest responsibilities while deleting the oldest one. Think Leadership, not Management Mindset (see page 12 in “LEADERSHIP CONVERSATIONS”).
- Change from the “I” to the “We” as you show your ability to connect, align and inspire teams – both hierarchical and matrix ones.
- Show more elements of vision, people leadership, thought leadership and cooperation and fewer elements of reaching objectives, using best practices, proven processes and competition with peers.
- Be able to make the case in a cover letter and then again in the interview that you can perform the requirements of the new position, not just that you were a superstar in the old one. This is especially important for those moving from the management ranks into leadership.
The INTERVIEWS: Make the interview a conversation of two peers. If you let the interviewer be in a power position over you, then you will not be exhibiting your leadership skills. Find the balance.
- Have realistic expectations – the purpose of the first interview is not to get the job; it is to get the second interview.
- Be on an equal footing – the interviewer and the applicant should both be evaluating whether there is a fit on both the culture and the job requirements.
- You are not looking for a job. In one form or another you want to take all of your experience, networking, thought leadership and vision to pursue a new challenge.
- At the management level, you are competing with others in your firm for the next promotion. In leadership positions you get the next promotion because of the way you positively interact with your peers. Show how you can bring a contribution to your new boss’s entire leadership team.
Finally, make sure you are running toward a great opportunity, not just trying to escape a bad job.
On the other hand, if you are the one doing the hiring for a leadership position, look for a person who “gets” the leadership mindset, not one who only exhibits the management mindset. No matter how great their technical skills, they might be command-and-control folks who will cause conflict and dissention. In leadership IQ, EQ and passion are all equally important attributes to look for.
Happy hunting and hiring to all!