Finding a new job and moving into a new role requires a well thought out strategy. Learn about what you should do and how to go about your job search and career transition.
  1. Dismiss Age Discrimination Thoughts - Flip that mental age discrimination switch to the “off” position. Think age-neutral. Focus on “connecting” to the interviewer before any real questioning starts. Banish any thoughts that reflect “reverse age discrimination” where you believe a young person can’t possibly understand you – get them to understand your enthusiasm, skills, interests and ability to contribute.
  2. Emphasize Capabilities, Not Experience - We have learned to equate experience to depth and strength of capabilities – don’t do it. It generally serves to de-emphasize duration of experience. Focus on the capabilities acquired during your executive experience.

A colleague recently suggested that we abandon the term “job search” because of the negative connotations it can have—such as desperately searching for something you don’t have and might find hard to get. In its place, he proposed the term “job-acquisition strategy.” Senior managers and executives certainly understand the concept of strategy—it’s practically part of their DNA!—so this makes perfect sense in many ways. Theoretically, anyway. But how does it play out in the real world?

Your age can sometimes hinder a successful job search. Age is something you can’t control and learning how to maximize the most out of your experience and leadership can lead you on the path to success.

A job search is a process that can take time, ensuring you have made the right connections and are getting seen by the right people in addition to creating a professional resume, biography, cover letter and LinkedIn profile. Once all of this is done, you don’t want something like your age to obstruct your experience. There are several useful tools that you can use to highlight your suitability for the job rather than your age.

Has it been more than 10 years since you launched an executive job search campaign? If you are among the few fortunate executives who have enjoyed a long, consistent career with the same company, an unexpected thrust in unemployment or career transition can really turn your world upside down.

Even if you are Internet savvy, you can easily become overwhelmed by the growing maze of job search boards, company databases, and online recruiting networks unless you have a solid job search strategy plan. It is essential to understand that while it is critical to engage in online job search activities, it should only be a portion—not the entire component—of your job search strategy plan.

There is the adage that the average person will change careers several times in his or her lifetime. Depending on where you get your information, the actual number of changes fluctuates between as little as three and as many as ten, but the message is the same, people do change industries and they do it successfully. Here are three important steps to take when planning and executing a career transition:


In their new book, You Need a Leader - Now What?, James M. Citrin and Julie Hembrock Daum present key skills that hiring organizations need in order to fill leadership positions. Based on decades of experience at AESC member search firm Spencer Stuart, Citrin and Daum offer valuable advice to help organizations assess the benefits of experience versus potential, and also talent from within versus talent from outside, in choosing leaders, all within the context of critical pressures such as technology, diversity, and economic forces.

Being unemployed at the C-level can be the kiss of death. Of course, I have been accused of exaggeration and hyperbole, but not in this case nor by executives in that situation. They tend to confirm that finding a new similar position can be seemingly an insurmountable challenge.

I am not referring to the nose-bleed section of CEOs that collect a king's ransom in severance after they are let go such as the CEOs of HP, Burger King and New York's Bank Mellon. They can afford to retire or buy their own company. The early (50-something or younger) CEO or C-level executive is usually not in that position. The serial CEO, CIO, CMO needs the next opportunity as much as he or she wants it.  

With growth in the financial services sector expected to lag behind other industries, 2012 may be the ideal year to make an industry transition. There are a number of ways to clarify your career focus and create an effective strategy to achieve your goal:

Throughout January, we will be focusing on career transitions. BlueSteps members have access this month to exclusive new content regarding career transitions, and the January BlueSteps webinar, "Stay or Go? Transitioning out of Finance" on Wednesday, January 25th at 12:00 noon EST will offer valuable insight and tips for executives seeking to transition out of the financial sector.

I speak heresy here as "transferable skills" have been the mantra of career changers since Dick Bolles wrote What Color is You Parachute in 1972. But they just don't completely work anymore.

They are supposed to convince an employer that you can do his job though you have experience in a different function or a different industry or both. This has worked through at least three decades and three recessions up to the dot.com bust and 2001 recession. Then the game started changing.