Executive Job Search Strategies

10 Ways You Could Be Committing Career Suicide

Are YOU Committing Career Suicide? Many Professionals Are.


Executive Career ManagementHalt! Please stop surfing and read this article because you could unknowingly be on your way to committing career suicide!

A cautionary tale: I’ve witnessed many job seekers, including high-ranking executives, arrive at the shocking realization that they’ve progressively carved an unfavorable, seemingly intractable career path. Why? Because they NEVER anticipated needing to launch a job-search campaign again, especially after a long tenure in which they were convinced was a ‘stable’ and ‘reliable’ career track. Fortunately, CareerSteering.com is here to warn and advise you!


How to Recognize a Career Suicide Trail and Derail it Midway


Sign #1: You worked for your current employer for many years and haven’t tracked your accolades. If when asked about your key accomplishments you can’t think of any outside of your present job function, you have not been paying enough attention to your career progression.

Prevention:  Journal.  Yes, begin a career journal. Document your accomplishments. This is a great way to keep track of how you have delivered, played a role in, or influenced an amazing result for your current employer. Yes, you can and should promote an accomplishment that was a group effort or an opportunity you created, even if you were not part of the execution team or if the fruits of your labor have yet to materialize (players have been positioned and roadmaps crafted).

Sign #2: You don’t know a thing about current opportunities present in today’s job market. You’ve worked in the same position or with the same company 10 + years and don’t have a clue what skills are considered as essential and therefore required of someone in your line of business who works for other leading companies.

Prevention:  Visit sites like Monster.com, Indeed.com and top executive job search firms such as: Korn Ferry International, Boyden, and Spencer Stuart. Peruse job ads and read career-focused blogs to remain abreast of the job search market.

Sign #3: You have ignored recruiters when they contact you for opportunities because you were happy with your employer.

Prevention: Entertain calls from recruiters. Implore them to keep your interaction confidential. Use this opportunity to gauge what skills they deem desirable and necessary in a new candidate—even if you decide to remain with your current employer.  Take descriptive notes, compile a list of recruiting firms, and revisit it every few months. Stay mindful of the fact that you may need this relationship someday. Be courteous and friendly. Use these interactions as a way to evaluate your feasibility as a possible future candidate.

Sign #4: You have no social media presence because, according to you, “you don’t have time for social media.”

Prevention: Create your LinkedIn profile ASAP. LinkedIn is the #1 online presence utilized by all savvy professionals. Be strategic and protect yourself if you are still employed; develop your profile as if you are intending to use it to network as a ‘company ambassador.’

Sign #5: You have not continued education past college or even high school.

Prevention: Enroll in a few college courses or webinars pertaining to topics in your industry. At the very least, make sure you undertake some independent studies (books, magazines, conferences) to demonstrate you are a knowledge-seeking leader.

Sign #6:  You have not updated your professional attire in many years because you’ve been “way too busy.”

Prevention:  Hire an image consultant. These professionals will help you ensure that you are projecting the right professional image. They will assist you in finding a fit that feels right to you. Always keep in mind that you want to be seen as ‘ready for that next big step’ at work. How you are perceived by others is decided by many things, and your attire is definitely one.

Sign #7: You have not joined associations or participated in activities relevant to your industry, other than those offered within your work environment. Thought leaders and trendsetters are needed in this new age of work!

Prevention:  Find a trade association and join. Get out there. See and be seen!

Sign #8: You don’t know what personal branding is or won’t ‘buy’ into personal branding.  In today’s ever evolving job search market, job seekers must go beyond qualifications. In the past, it was enough to list your credentials on a resume but nowadays you must surpass the required competencies by outdistancing others through a unique value offer.

Prevention: Work with a professional on defining your personal brand. Or undergo a self-administered assessment where you discover your brand and what you have to offer employers that is unique.

Sign #9: No marketing materials. A resume should be a ‘living and breathing’ document. It is your responsibility to keep it updated every few years. I can’t tell you how many times someone has called me needing a resume ASAP. Ideally, you should never be in a position where the resume couldn’t be emailed to a contact after just a few tweaks.

Prevention: Get help with your resume right away. The best time to pay for this service and invest the right time is while you are still employed. Not only will you have the funds to invest in resume branding, but you will have access to any company data asked of you. At the very least, you should have your executive biography prepared since it is a marketing dossier that will require fewer updates.

Sign #10: No credible references. When was the last time you asked someone to serve as your reference? If you were fired tomorrow who would serve as your reference? Would the same reference that served you last time help you today? Would that reference even be relevant? Have you kept in contact with him/her? Would they even remember you?

Prevention: Choose your references carefully. Keep periodic contact with your references. Network and ensure you have someone who values your work (and you trust explicitly) be willing to write you a letter of recommendation. Also, keep your references informed. Share your career goals, the skills you want to promote, and which companies may be calling. No one likes to be caught off guard –not even your references!


What other ways have you seen job seekers commit career suicide? What cautionary tale can you share with our readers?


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