One of the uniting factors of successful senior managers is ambition. The motivation to achieve more, to reach further, and to climb higher is an innate characteristic of the world’s most powerful leaders. And when it comes time to switch gears and start preparing for your next executive career step, the professional careerists know that sometimes they need the help of a professional career expert – just like Ms. Beata Staszkow. Staszkow is an experienced executive manager, with expertise in managing start-up professional service companies. She serves as the Managing Director of Mentor EU, a boutique career management and personal branding consultancy based in London. She shared some of her wisdom with Experteer Magazine, and we’re happy to pass this advice on to our readers. For those senior managers that are eager to kickstart their executive transition, read on and take these words to heart.
Insight #1: Consider a Career Abroad
It’s no secret that many companies value international candidates. With their diverse perspectives and multicultural backgrounds, senior managers with experience abroad are in high demand. As Staszkow puts it, “Expat experience could make your career bulletproof.” So as you begin searching for your next great career opportunity, try broadening your search to other cities, states, or even countries. There are many emerging markets now that present exciting, challenging careers for senior executives. According to Staszkow, “Sometimes executives waste time looking for a job in their own country where there is no demand for their skills.” Identify your goals, what you’d like to achieve and what type of position you’re looking for. Then you can determine which countries may be a good fit.
For more insights into the life of expat executives, check out InterNations’ guest post for the Experteer Magazine, where they explore the results of their recent study on senior professionals abroad.
Insight #2: Write Your CV as a Marketing Document
Most people make the mistake of using a CV to list every position they’ve ever held, every experience they’ve had. But these documents are precious real estate, better reserved to showcase your most impressive achievements. Staszkow recommends that executives should think of their CV as a “marketing document, [which] should market you effectively towards your target roles and industries.” Highlight your top accomplishments and your areas of expertise to make your CV stand out, rather than listing a lengthy description of your previous responsibilities.
The standard 1-page resume rule is mostly for entry-level and middle management candidates, but senior executives can usually include a bit more to reflect their most extraordinary achievements. Consider this senior management CV template when working to revise your resume.
Insight #3: Learn How to Sell Your Skills as An Individual
If you had to deliver the perfect elevator pitch right now, could you do it? What about an elevator pitch without naming any former employers or positions you’ve held?
“I think that executives should understand that each of us will have to become an entrepreneur one way or another,” says Staszkow. Regardless of your industry, this means knowing how to sell yourself as a talented senior professional when you try to break into a new sector, or meet a new potential employer.
As Staszkow explains, “Hiding behind company names and job titles is not going to guarantee you a job. What do I find if I google you?“ She stresses the importance of developing your own name, building up your own reputation for your skills and qualifications. By working to establish yourself as an expert and gaining credibility, you’ll improve your chances of finding – and securing – your next great position.
Furthermore, Staszkow mentioned a recent article on LinkedIn that claims that 92% of the top 25 Fortune 500 CEO’s have “awful” LinkedIn profiles. In a time when anyone and everyone can easily vet candidates with a simple online search, it’s very wise to reflect your professionalism in your online presence as well. Or as Staszkow puts it, “Managing your executive brand is pivotal for both your individual and business success.”
Insight #4: Never Stop Learning
“Having met so many executives in my life, I can say that those who succeed never stop learning; they are always read to question the existing status quo,” says Staszkow. Complacency is no friend to the senior executive. As the nature of the job requires lots of management and life experience, it’s understood that senior managers might be older than others within the company. But this perceived “advantage” can be dangerous, as many executives tend to sit back on their laurels, believing they already have the knowledge to stay on top. In fact, the opposite is true – senior managers need to stay up to date on all advancements in their industry, in cutting-edge technology, and in the current events affecting their company and its competitors.
Staszkow recommends resources like the Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloane Magazine or other university publishing resources, which often offer free access to great articles and insights. She also suggests connecting and networking with other CEO’s and executives, to share ideas and learn more from one another’s management experiences.
Insight #5: Be Open to Advice
Staszkow says that there is no such thing as an unsuccessful career transition. However, that doesn’t mean that every client has enjoyed equal accomplishments. The most frustrating part of her job is when senior executives, who have sought out her help and guidance, refuse to take her advice.
“As the English say, ‘You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink,'” says Staszkow, referring to her more stubborn past clients. Staszkow is an optimist, though, and she believes that no matter the outcome of a client’s journey, it’s always a learning experience – for both parties involved.
An executive transition can be difficult, sometimes lasting for months or even a year. It’s important to stay patient and open to advice and different opinions. We wish you the best of luck in your next career step!
About Beata Staszkow:
Beata is an accomplished MBA-calibre Global Careers Management Consultant and Executive Manager, with international and UK experience in managing professional services, higher education and membership organisations. As the founder and managing director for Mentor EU, she’s worked on multiple career transition and outplacement projects with Workstream Consulting, KGHM Ecoren, and Career Intelligence. Beata is a voracious reader and a classical music fan.