Common sense is your most valuable “sense” when you’re seriously on the hunt for an executive assignment. So, with that in mind, use these five “common senses”:
Touch: Know your limitations. Know what you can reasonably handle. If you’re not VP material, don’t apply for VP-level positions. And don’t stalk and beg when you don’t get the feedback you think you deserve. Play in the end of the pool where your talents reasonably belong.
See: Don’t sex-up your resume with fluff or special effects. It should be clean and readable — pleasing to the eye: An executive presentation of your credentials. Even if you aren’t an executive yet. If it takes too long for a Hiring Manager or Recruiter to read down to your experience, then you’ve over-produced it. Simple. Clean. Readable. (PS: And for the love of God…… spell and grammar check the thing!!)
Hear: Don’t restate your resume in your cover letter and don’t re-interview in your post-game thank you note. Let the Hiring Manager hear something short and sweet from you. You had your chance to “speak” with your interview and resume. Let your presentations stand on their own. Now it’s time to listen. Less is more!
Smell. Desperation stinks far worse than you imagine – and it is a turn-off from a mile away. Be gracious, impressive and professional – but don’t be pathetic. It will ruin your chances at the job – and your professional image with the recruiter and the executives that interviewed you.
Taste: Don’t get greedy. If you’re making $120,000, don’t expect a company to pay you $200,000 to be in a similar COL market. There’s a reason why you’re at $120,000 now, and you need to have a healthy and common sense appetite for what your next salary should be. In this setting, greed kills (Sorry Gordo).
BONUS – If you’ve been out of work for a while, start an LLC or SP – and consult within your industry. Land an actual paying client (All you need is ONE!!) to give credibility to your consulting gig – and unless you plan on it being your job for the next 5-10 years, don’t name the company after yourself. That just looks like fluff.
Only five, but they’re all common sense.
Bruce Martin is the President of Broad & Pattison, Inc., the leading management recruiting and executive search firm serving the U.S. automotive industry. His career includes executive assignments with DaimlerChrysler, GE Capital and Adecco, NA.