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HomeHuman ResourcesCareersAspiring To Reach the Executive Level? How To Secure Your First Executive...

Aspiring To Reach the Executive Level? How To Secure Your First Executive Job

Secure Your First Executive Job
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko: pexels

Career progression is crucial to employers and employees regardless of which industry they work in. Whichever way you look at it, career progression helps with job satisfaction, and the retention of hard-working employees since doing the same tasks daily can soon cause employees to become disengaged. In contrast, being allowed to face new challenges and responsibilities is more likely to keep you engaged with your day-to-day work.

However, if the progression you seek comes in the form of a top executive-level job, this comes with much competition. Since finding open executive positions can be very few and far between, in most cases, outsiders with prior executive experience are often selected to fill these roles. Meaning even if you’re an experienced manager, you may find yourself sitting at the same desk, in the same position, for years while newcomers and fellow employees get their foot in the C-suite door.

Nevertheless, there are ways for managers to make their first step up to the executive level from the inside. So, what can you do to get there? By utilising social media, conducting company research, working on your personal brand, and building your CV by showing your commitment to upskilling through enrolling in an MBA essentials course, and much more. Below we share our top tips for moving from a managerial role to the executive level.

Use Social Media for Exposure

Our world is becoming increasingly reliant on digitalisation and the use of technology for fulfilling our personal or professional needs. As a result, more and more recruiters are taking advantage of our connected world to source and vet up-and-coming talent. With 91% of all employers using social media as a recruitment method, it is essential for those looking to secure their first executive job to use social media to their advantage and attract the attention of potential recruiters.

Having a solid online presence is essential in today’s business world. Through popular social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, individuals can soon amass a large following, share their knowledge about a specific subject, showcase their achievements, and much more. Executive recruiters will use the information across your socials to determine whether you are a viable candidate and if you’re worth interviewing.

Typically, they will do this by carrying out a Google search of your name and seeing what can be found by digging deep, advanced searches and going through the back end of search results. Ensure that you stand out to recruiters by regularly sharing your opinions online and demonstrating your knowledge of the industry topics, as this will help to establish trust and credibility among like-minded individuals.

In contrast, having little to no public record can lead to you never getting an interview or being entirely overlooked by executive recruiters. So, ensure that you religiously assess your social media profiles to double-check that they are gaining traction and see if there are any improvements that you could make.

Invest Time Into Your Personal Brand

As well as paying attention to your digital brand, investing time into your personal brand is equally important. In short, your personal brand reflects who you are and what you stand for. It showcases a mixture of your skills, values, and qualities that make you different from every other candidate looking to get a foot through the C-suite door.

A strong personal brand will make you stand out and more likely to attract the attention of well-known professionals in your industry as they’ll be more familiar with your name and expertise. As a result, your personal brand can help you stand out to executive recruiters since it proves you have built a good network and enables you to stand out from competitors thus increasing your chances of getting hired.

If you haven’t already, investing time into your personal brand can be achieved in many ways, from speaking at events and developing your communication skills to learning new skills through a management essentials course. The latter is especially useful for building a profile. Investing in your career development through self-learning attracts recruiters and demonstrates leadership qualities vital for an executive position.

Management courses like an MBA Essentials course are beneficial for teaching skills required in higher-management roles, potentially opening doors to executive careers further down the line. For more information about how to sign up for these courses, consider visiting providers’ websites like the London School of Economics and Political Science. They provide a range of online certificate courses relating to management and other business aspects. Look at their vast selection of courses and consider registering your interest today to see how they could help you move forward in your journey to securing your first executive job.

Conduct Company Research

One of the essential things you can do before submitting an application, going into an interview, or starting your executive search is to conduct company research. Especially if you’re applying for an executive-level role at a different organisation, researching your prospective employer can go a long way. It’s worthwhile skimming through live job listings on specialist job boards like to find a condensed jobs list that fits the area you’d like to work in. This saves you time and likely shows what is actually available in your area at present.

As well as demonstrating your enthusiasm for the role, conducting company research will help you formulate an idea of the company’s culture/values. This gives you more to discuss during the interview, helps you identify gaps where you could contribute and decide if the company is a good fit for you. To fill your knowledge gaps, conduct internet research and remember the following:

  • What does the company specialise in?
  • Where is it based?
  • What are the company’s history and most significant contributions?
  • Any big news articles that the company has featured in?
  • The markets it serves
  • Who is its target demographic?

Create a Professional Portfolio

Creating a professional resume is another critical step toward securing an executive-level job since it allows you to showcase your skills, qualifications, and abilities without having to utter a word. However, your resume is much more than a place to boast about your achievements respectfully; your resume is the number one tool potential employers will use to decide whether you’re a good candidate and if you’re worthy of an interview. 

Therefore, it is essential that you take the time to structure your resume and double-check whether you’ve included all the relevant information. Typically, a high-quality resume should include a heading, relevant work experience, top skills, education history, and a little about your interests outside of work. Once a potential employer has your resume, this will set the tone for subsequent steps like a formal interview, second interview, onboarding etc.

Fortunately, if you’re struggling to create a professional-looking resume, or you have an existing one that you’re attempting to update, there are a variety of online resources that can offer advice or templates to help you create a resume that will make a long-lasting impression on potential employers.

Ask for Recommendations

As with any senior position, it’s essential that you get as many letters of recommendation as you can since they demonstrate evidence of your skills and character based on the behaviours observed by your previous manager.

Having a letter of recommendation (or a couple) prove that you can do everything you outlined on your resume and confirm whether you are a good fit for the company or not. Gain these by reaching out to past or current employers and asking if they could recommend providing that they’re willing and have the time.

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