In my 15+ years recruiting, I’ve had the opportunity to work with the best of the best. I’ve recruited top talent as a head hunter, lead North American G&A Recruiting at Bain & Company (Global Management Consulting Firm) and ran the Recruiting function at The Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams). Throughout those experiences I often found myself coaching employees on how to transition to their next big opportunity. You may be surprised to know that future leaders with the most potential often found themselves stumped on how to get there.
So You Made It to the Big Leagues — Now What?
Here is a common situation I have seen — you’re the top 1% of the 1%. You have an Ivy League education. You are ambitious, aggressive (the good kind), competitive, fearless, analytical and ready for the next step. But what is it? Do you want to be a General Manager? A Vice President of Strategic Development? The next CEO? You know you have the skill set, but why aren’t you there? Maybe you have never owned a P&L or have never been given full responsibility and ownership of the end result on projects you have consulted on. Maybe your resume is lacking specific skills and titles. Client confidentiality could also be a significant roadblock. So what’s the solution?
It’s Time to Get Creative and Own Your Brand
One size does not fit all! You should have multiple versions of your resume — THIS IS YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO SELL YOUR BRAND. Read job descriptions and structure your bullets to the job to which you are applying. Dig deep and find relevant examples that you can highlight and speak to with confidence. Keep in mind that recruiters and hiring managers are going to look for the buzz words that apply to them the most. Tell your story – you are more than standard bullet points on your resume.
Have Realistic Expectations
Don’t turn down an opportunity simply because it is not the exact position you are seeking. Never settle but learn to recognize what positions will help you attain your ultimate goal. Always be thinking about the next position you want and what steps you need to take to get there. If you do not have the skills required for the role you want, use the skills you possess and leverage them. For example, if you want to be the GM but have never owned a P&L — focus on that Sr. Director Role which will give you exposure to P&L ownership.
Leverage Your Network
Statistics still say that ‘Referrals’ are the number one source of hire. The issue is that there are more networking tools today than can be counted. Use them wisely! Tap into your personal networks, alumni groups, LinkedIn groups and so forth. Expose yourself to influential people in the role and industry that can help get you where you want to be.
It Takes Work!
Remember, there is a reason head hunters have a job. It takes time to market and brand yourself the right way. It can feel like a full-time job. Commit to yourself and do the work. These simple tips give some of the most sought after top talent perspective on how to take the next step in their already successful career. However, they can be applied to anyone wanting to advance in their profession. You do not need to be Ivy League to live out your dream of an illustrious career. It is a matter of taking the time to brand yourself. The work will pay off. You will be prepared for your interview and you will have taken the right steps to separate yourself from your competition.