Applying for jobs can be a challenge for anyone, but for those professionals looking for positions at an executive level or in upper management, the challenge becomes even greater. Your resume needs to be flawless, your cover letter needs to impress, and your interview skills are more important than ever.
You likely have the skills and experience to wow any hiring manager, but if you’re making the same mistakes over and over again, you could find yourself failing to make your mark. Here are five of the worst mistakes to make when applying for executive level jobs, and how you can avoid them.
1. The Inflated Ego
It’s no secret that executives and managers are an extremely important part of every company. It’s their expertise and experience that keeps an organization running smoothly, and in order to succeed at these positions, you’ll need to express confidence and self-assurance during the hiring stages in order to show that you can get the job done right.
For some professionals, however, the line between confidence and an inflated ego is often crossed. This can become particularly evident in the resume, when executive candidates think it’s necessary to use extravagant and unnecessary words to express their seniority and intelligence. In reality, a clear, concise resume can often do the job much more effectively. Employers will be looking for candidates who can express themselves in the most succinct and valuable way, so keeping your ego in check will ensure the right tone on your resume.
2. Keep It Concise
Applying for executive level jobs means that you’ve got a lot of experience. You’ve likely held many influential positions, met many important people, and have made a huge difference in your previous company’s bottom line. But when you’re writing your resume and cover letter, it’s nearly impossible to include every accomplishment.
In order to keep it concise, use more tailored language—and try to use numerical figures if you can. Instead of listing off all of the clients and partners you managed to acquire for your previous employer, express this accomplishment by saying how much you increased your company’s profits. This is much more likely to catch an employer’s attention, and you can save all of the lengthy explanations for the interview.
3. Not Having an Online Presence
Executives are leaders in their industry. They’re expected to have a wealth of knowledge in their area of expertise, and sharing this knowledge with others is a great way to get noticed by employers. Having an online presence means that you can establish yourself as a leader outside of the business world, building a reputation and generating important discussions.
At a basic level, executive hopefuls should have an active LinkedIn account, where they post articles and share information to get their name out into the world. When employers inevitably do an online pre-screening search, the most active candidates will shine brighter than those who don’t have an online presence.
4. Find Your Balance of Practical and Soft Skills
A lot of professionals looking for executive level jobs overlook their soft skills when undergoing the application process. Since they aren’t quantifiable, communication skills, teamwork abilities, and leadership experience are often secondary during the application process.
While they may not be as flashy as your practical skills, soft skills can be just as crucial in an executive candidate. Employers don’t want a robot in management—so emphasizing your positive personality traits can go a long way in balancing you out as the perfect candidate.
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