How To Deal With Imposter Syndrome for Executives

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Journal open with a pen and marker resting on a page that reads "am I good enough" in hand written lettering by someone dealing with imposter syndrome

“Am I good enough?” I hear that question from highly successful and qualified executives more than you’d think.

Why?  Imposter syndrome.

In the grand theater of life, imposter syndrome is an uninvited guest that often sneaks into the front row, casting shadows on our achievements and robbing us of the applause we deserve. If you’ve ever doubted your own success, felt undeserving of your accomplishments, or lived in constant fear of being exposed as a fraud, then you’re not alone. I suffer from it sometimes as well.

In the high-stakes arena of trailblazing executives, imposter syndrome can loom even larger. As this is something we see more than you’d think, I’ll unravel the enigma of imposter syndrome, especially for those navigating the executive landscape. Without any further ado, let’s pull back the curtains and let the show begin. 

Understanding Imposter Syndrome

Before fully diving into tips on how to deal with imposter syndrome, let’s break down what it’s like to suffer from it. Imagine achieving monumental feats, only to hear a voice in your head whisper, “You don’t belong here.”

Welcome to the world of imposter syndrome.

This psychological phenomenon affects high-achievers, making them question their competence despite concrete evidence of success. It’s like having a persistent internal critic who scoffs at accomplishments, attributing them to luck rather than capability. This syndrome thrives on self-doubt, undermining confidence and shattering self-worth. 

For executives, imposter syndrome can be particularly insidious. It latches onto the immense responsibilities and expectations that come with executive roles, casting doubt on leadership capabilities and strategic decisions. Basically, high achievers are usually continually striving to learn and grow. Therefore, they are fully aware of what they don’t know. On the flip side, underachievers are less likely to suffer from imposter syndrome because they are content in their knowledge – they don’t know what they don’t know. 

Recognizing the Signs of Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome has a knack for masquerading as humility. Humility is good though, right? The difference between humility and imposter syndrome is: humility is based on an accurate assessment of one’s own incapabilities. Whereas imposter syndrome stems from a feeling of inadequacy in spite of proof otherwise. It thrives on self-effacement and can lead to self-sabotage. Signs can range from overworking to compensate for perceived inadequacies to downplaying accomplishments to colleagues, setting unrealistic goals, and even burnout. In the senior executive world, it might also manifest as a reluctance to step into leadership roles due to a nagging fear of not measuring up.

Strategies to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Does any of this sound familiar? Have you heard that nagging voice telling you that you’re not good enough and don’t belong? You’re certainly not alone. Let’s jump into some tips on what you can do to quiet that inner monologue. 

Cultivating Self-Awareness and Reflection

Peeling away the layers of imposter syndrome begins with self-awareness. It’s about acknowledging your feelings of self-doubt and scrutinizing their origins. An effective technique is journaling, where you chronicle your achievements (both professionally and personally), no matter how insignificant they might seem. Reflecting on your journey helps build a solid foundation of self-belief. This will also help you develop a positive mindset. Challenge negative self-talk by replacing it with positive affirmations. We all experience setbacks. Don’t let imposter syndrome tell you that yours proves your inadequacies. 

Embracing Achievements and Positive Feedback

Take a pause and bask in the glory of your accomplishments. Train yourself to accept compliments and positive feedback without brushing them aside. They’re not random nods; they’re testaments to your hard work and expertise. Owning your achievements is a giant stride towards silencing the imposter syndrome’s voice. It’s OK to be proud of yourself. It is your right. 

Setting Realistic Goals and Expectations

Executives often bear the weight of unattainable expectations, both real and perceived. By setting realistic, achievable goals, you can defuse the ticking bomb of self-doubt. Aim high, but don’t set yourself up for failure by pursuing perfection. 

Seeking Mentorship and Professional Support

Mentorship is a powerful antidote to imposter syndrome. Engage with mentors who have danced with self-doubt and emerged victorious. Their insights and guidance can provide much-needed perspective. They’ve navigated the treacherous waters of executive careers and can offer a reassuring hand.

Embracing Continuous Learning

Believe it or not, imposter syndrome thrives on stagnation. It says to you, “See? I told you that you weren’t [good, smart, skilled] enough for that promotion.” Combat that voice by embracing continuous learning and skill development. Stay updated with industry trends and advancements. By acquiring new skills, you not only enhance your expertise but also disrupt the imposter syndrome’s narrative.

Celebrating Progress and Success

Amidst the whirlwind of executive life, pause to acknowledge your journey! Celebrate your milestones, no matter how incremental. Each accomplishment is a brushstroke on your canvas of success. By celebrating progress, you silence the self-doubting whispers. So pop that champagne, have that nice dinner, or do whatever you do to treat yourself. You deserve it! 

Imposter syndrome might be a formidable opponent, but it’s not invincible. By understanding its mechanics, recognizing its signs, and employing proactive strategies, executives can vanquish its grip. If it all feels too overwhelming, please feel free to reach out. I’ve been there! But for now, remember this. Mastering imposter syndrome isn’t just about personal triumph – it’s about sculpting a confident, unapologetic professional executive identity. Through introspection, positivity, and professional support, you can stride into your executive role with head held high, leaving the shadows of self-doubt behind.


Mastering the Art of Executive Interviews

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Mastery Requires Next Level Preparation

Executive interviews require a different level of preparation and finesse compared to other job interviews.

Executives are expected to demonstrate their leadership abilities, strategic thinking, strong ROI, and ability to drive organizational success.

You know you can do everything the company is asking but how do relay those things in an interview?

We work with so many smart and accomplished executives who struggle with knowing what to focus on in the interview (or not).

Here are a few key things companies look for when interviewing executives:

Showcasing Leadership Skills:

  • Prepare examples that demonstrate your ability to lead teams, make tough decisions, and solve complex problems.**Have stories ready. People love stories and can relate to or visualize what happened.
  • Highlight your experience in driving strategic initiatives and achieving business objectives.
  • Emphasize your ability to inspire and motivate others, and your track record of building high-performing teams.

Executives are expected to demonstrate their leadership abilities, strategic thinking, strong ROI, and ability to drive organizational success.

Handling Tough Interview Questions:

    • Practice answering common executive-level interview questions, such as those related to leadership style, conflict resolution, and decision-making.
    • Be prepared to discuss challenging situations you have faced and how you effectively handled them.
    • Use the STAR or CAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure your responses and provide concrete examples.**We use the CAR method to gather information for resumes. They help build a story and provide deeper insight into the way YOU do things.

Researching the Company and Industry:

    • Thoroughly research the company, its mission, values, recent news, and industry trends.**Know the company. Know what they do/sell/build, etc. Know their financials. Know their pain points.
    • Understand the challenges and opportunities the company is facing, and how your skills and experience can contribute to its success.
    • Prepare thoughtful questions to ask during the interview that demonstrate your knowledge and interest in the organization.
    • Identify someone who works there on LinkedIn (having an ‘in’ helps) and after your intro, ask them if you can chat about the company.

Demonstrating Strategic Thinking:

    • Highlight your ability to think strategically and provide examples of how you have contributed to long-term organizational goals.
    • Showcase your understanding of market trends, competition, and industry challenges.
    • Discuss how you have developed and implemented strategic initiatives to drive business growth and profitability.**Give a detailed step-by-step if they are interested in one.

Communicating Your Leadership Style:

    • Clearly articulate your leadership philosophy and how it aligns with the organization’s values and culture. You know your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to leading.
    • Share stories that illustrate your leadership style and how it has positively influenced teams and achieved results.**Again, stories have amazing power.
    • Emphasize your ability to inspire, motivate, and empower others to excel.

Addressing Cultural Fit:

    • Research the company’s culture, values, and leadership style.**This is important and will give you an idea of the company and how they deal with each other.
    • Align your responses with the organization’s culture and demonstrate how you would be a good fit.
    • Discuss your experience in leading diverse teams and fostering an inclusive work environment.

You are already equipped with what they need. Practice with a colleague or friend. It will be easier than you think.


Do You Have the One Skill Every Executive Should Possess?

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Executives often have a similar skill set, background and education. So how can you set yourself apart from the rest? There are plenty of ways to do so, but there’s one overlooked skill you must possess: listening. In the world we live in today, too many people want to talk about themselves, which leads to one-sided conversations no one really listens to. Your executive resume biography is designed to talk about your achievements, but when you’re networking, let someone else do the talking while you listen attentively. Here’s why listening skills are so valuable for executives.

Build Your Personal Brand By Listening

The best resume writing service builds their reputation by listening to what their clients have to say and acting on what they’ve heard. On the same hand, you can build your personal brand by simply listening to others when they talk, asking questions in return and acting on anything you hear. Always be listening for things people say where you could fulfill their needs, or where they could fulfill your needs. In many situations, you will leave a conversation with people thinking highly of you even when you don’t say much.

Ask Insightful Questions

When writing resumes and cover letters, you have to ask yourself important questions about your past experiences in order to determine how well they fit with the company you’re interested in working for. When talking to someone, the only way to know whether your experiences are beneficial to them is by asking insightful questions. And the only way to know what questions to ask is by listening closely to what they are saying. When you ask the right questions, the other person will do most of the talking so all you have to do is listen.

Good Listeners Stand Out Among A Crowd

When you combine listening skills with asking insightful questions in return, people will take notice. You likely talk to many different people at networking events, but the ones who stand out most often are the ones who listen and respond accordingly. People are experts on themselves, so that’s usually what they talk about the most. Instead of returning the favor and talking about yourself, focus on the other person and you’ll earn a lot more respect in return.
Professional Resume Services has earned the reputation of being the best resume writing service, but we do much more than simply write resumes and cover letters. It’s easy to indicate on your resume that you’re a good listener, and it’s even better to put those skills into action. If you aren’t sure about what type of insightful questions you can ask or how to respond to people during networking events, feel free to contact us for tips and advice.

Money isn’t the Only Thing That Should Contribute to Happiness at Work

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Are you happy with your job? When people are asked this question, they often times aren’t sure how to answer it. They might be happy with the paycheck they receive every two weeks, but they might dread going into the office every day. Money is required to live the lifestyle you desire, and fair compensation should contribute to overall happiness. However, there are plenty of other factors that contribute to happiness at work, and these factors go well beyond what can be written in your executive bio.

Positive Relationships With Colleagues

If you’re like many people, you likely spend more time with your co-workers than you do your own family. Work can be a miserable place to go to every day if you don’t get along with the people there. Try to go out of your way a bit to form positive relationships with your colleagues. This can simply mean talking to them about their weekend, discussing a favorite sport or grabbing lunch together. These relationships can make you feel like you are part of a team and can lead to overall happiness on a daily basis.

Meaningful Opportunities

When you spend a lot of time writing resumes and cover letters to find a job, you likely want an opportunity for growth. It may take a while for you to advance, depending on your level of experience, but knowing the opportunities are available should be encouraging. Setting goals and working toward them can make your daily job worth the effort. Plus, you may eventually find yourself in a leadership role you never imagined, which will be a great addition to your executive bio.

Work-Life Balance

No one likes to work all the time. In fact, many people today say having a work-life balance is more important to them than the money they make. Having more time to do things outside of work can make you happier when you’re at work. Burnout is a real thing and can occur quickly when you work too many hours. The top resume writing services always suggest taking a close look at the work-life balance you desire before accepting any job.

Overall Company Culture

Finally, the overall culture of the company you work for should be a fit for you. If you never feel comfortable talking to someone, your manager is never accessible or if there’s simply a negative vibe in the office all the time, it will eventually wear on you. A company’s culture is important for employees today, and many of them will write about the culture they desire in their executive bio. Being comfortable, confident and happy are all signs you’re happy with the environment you work in.
Professional Resume Services is one of the top resume writing services for many reasons. While our expertise is in writing and revising resumes, cover letters and more, we also work with executives to help them discover the right workplace environments for them. Happiness is a choice, but it’s easier to choose to be happy when you work in the right environment. Never hesitate to contact us if you need to talk about your current or future career.

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Every aspect of a job search has to go perfectly in order to land the position you want sometimes. You may have crafted the perfect resumes and cover letters with the help of an executive resume service, but still can’t get a job for some reason. If you’re able to land an interview but can’t get past that point, you could be making a critical mistake many job seekers make: not writing a thank you note. Believe it or not, many employers indicate not receiving a thank you note can sometimes disqualify a candidate, especially if they are on the fence about hiring them. Here’s what to consider about thank you notes so you don’t run the risk of jeopardizing your job search.

When To Write A Thank You Note

The timing of your thank you note must be within 24 hours of the conclusion of the interview. It’s important for the interviewers to have you in mind throughout their interview process, and writing a quality thank you note is one way to do it. The company is likely interviewing many candidates to fill the position you desire, so setting yourself apart is essential. You may be the top of the top at your company, but it’s still a good idea to send a simple thank you.

Should Each Interviewer Get A Thank You Note?

Every executive resume service will suggest sending a thank you note to each person who interviewed you. Ask for their business card or their email address before you leave to ensure you have the right information. And if for some reason you realize you forgot to ask for it, reach out to your main point of contact and request the information. The hiring manager will likely ask each interviewer their opinion of you, so you want to shape their opinion to be as positive as possible.  

What To Include

Just like when writing an effective resume, the content you write in your thank you note must be unique. Personalize the note to each recipient, and bring up a point you may have connected with them on during the interview. Whether it’s a school affiliation, an upcoming vacation or any other point you related with them on, be sure to point out the connection in your thank you note.
You can also use your thank you note as an opportunity to clarify any points made in the interview. If there was an objection or if you didn’t seem qualified for a certain aspect of the job, you can reiterate why you think you will be able to overcome it.
Professional Resume Services is more than just an executive resume service. We want to help each of our clients throughout the job search process so they can land the job they desire. The importance of a thank you note is critical today, so contact us at any time for more advice on how to write one and what information you may consider including.

The Ultimate Ways to Relax Before An Executive Interview

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One of the first steps to getting the job you’ve always desired is finding a way to land an interview. But once you finally get the interview, it’s only natural to experience some nerves and anxiety before and during it. With all the time you spent writing resumes that get you hired, you can’t let a few nerves get in the way of completely dominating your interview. With that said, here are some proven ways to help you relax before you go into your executive interview.

Music Can Be Soothing

Even if you’re not a music lover, listening to the right type of music prior to your interview can help calm your mind a bit. Your heart rate is probably already elevated as you’re traveling to the interview, so avoid upbeat tunes. Instead, find some soothing music, like some classical music, to relax your mind and thoughts. You may be surprised at how relaxed you feel after just a few minutes.

Eat, But Don’t Overeat

When you’re preparing for your interview a few hours or minutes before it begins, it’s easy to forget about eating. The best professional resume writers will tell you to eat a small snack, like a granola bar, crackers, fruit or even as much as a sandwich. Walking into an interview on an empty stomach can make you jittery and cause you to not think straight at times. However, be careful with the amount you eat as well. Overeating can make you feel a little lethargic and cause you to not have as much energy as you need.

Work on Your Posture

Writing resumes that get you hired will only go so far. Your presentation during an interview is critical as well. Working on your posture also can help calm down some of your nerves and anxiety. When you’re sitting in the waiting area, be conscious about sitting up straight. And before that, practice standing straight up with your shoulders back. Simply incorporating good posture will increase your confidence levels and naturally decrease your nerves.

Be Confident in Your Preparation

You’ve visited an executive resume writing service, practiced interview questions and completed diligent research on the company you’re interviewing with. Confidence is one way to alleviate some anxiety, so trust that your preparation is good enough to do well in your interview. Thinking of yourself as an asset to the potential employer will also help you go in with the mindset of them needing you as much as you need them.
Professional Resume Services is an executive resume writing service, but we also help our clients throughout the job search process. Whether we can help you brush up your resume, social media accounts or provide advice on nailing an interview, we are always available to talk to you. Feel free to contact us at any time for more advice to help you feel more confident prior to your interview.

Details to Include in Your Executive Cover Letter

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You spend so much time writing the perfect resume, so why do you have to exhaust the same amount of time and effort on a cover letter? The little known fact about resumes and cover letters is they go hand-in-hand in most cases. Some recruiters will look at a cover letter first to determine whether they even want to bother reading a resume. Others will look at a resume first and decide at that point whether it’s worth reading the cover letter. Since you never truly know which is most important, it’s best to make sure your executive resume cover letter is in the best shape before sending it in. Here are some of the details you need to make sure you include in yours.


Find out the hiring manager’s name if you can, and address them in your cover letter accordingly. The top rated resume writing services suggest using personalization whenever it’s appropriate throughout your cover letter. This demonstrates you’ve done your homework and the reader will feel more of a personal attachment as well. If you need to, feel free to contact the employer and ask for the name of the hiring manager.

Perfect Grammar and Punctuation

Even a minor typographical error is magnified when it’s in your cover letter. It tells a hiring manager you’re not focused on details, and could be a big black eye when it comes to your chances of landing an interview. Utilize the top rated resume writing services available to you to proofread your cover letter to ensure you’ve incorporated perfect grammar and punctuation.

Your Own Contact Information

With all of the details, experiences and accomplishments you have to focus on in your cover letter, many executives neglect to include their own contact information. The basic contact information you need to include on your executive resume cover letter is your name, phone number and email address. You may also choose to include your LinkedIn profile to provide the hiring manager with an additional resource.

Include The Company Name

Hiring managers can easily spot a generic cover letter from a personal one. Get the full name of the company correct, and spell it correctly. If you use an existing cover letter as a template to write another one, be sure to change the company name appropriately so you’re referring to the right place.
Professional Resume Services provides services beyond just helping executives write resumes and cover letters. We want to help you throughout your job search process. When you visit us early on, we will provide helpful guidance along the way to ensure even the tiniest details don’t get overlooked. To learn more about how we can help you land your dream job, don’t hesitate to contact us at any time.

c-level personal branding

Every executive has heard and knows about the importance of c-level personal branding. With all else being equal when it comes to experience and expertise, it is a person’s personal brand that sets them apart from the rest. Whether you’re actively seeking a new job or if you’re interested in advancing even further in your career, using personal branding to your advantage can help you get there. Here are some tips on how personal branding for senior level managers can be used effectively.

Boost Your Reputation Within Your Industry

Every industry has a network, and people within the network have different impressions of people. So if you have a great personal brand and people recognize it, it won’t take long before your reputation gets a boost throughout your industry. You can use this reputation boost to your advantage by seeking leadership opportunities, speaking at engagements, hosting networking events or any other opportunities that arise. Once you’ve established quality c-level personal branding, your options for continuing to improve your reputation are unlimited.

c-level personal brandingMake Contacts Outside Your Current Professional Network

Your executive bio may indicate you’re an expert in a specific industry, but your personal brand can lead to professional connections outside of your network as well. This gives you the opportunity to broaden your views on business and many other aspects, and could give you more ideas for your own job. Plus, certain industries like to get advice from professionals in an unrelated industry just to see how operations work. The larger your network is outside of your own industry, the more opportunities you will have to grow your personal brand as large as you desire. You can never have too many connections across any industry, and the better your c-level personal branding is, the more naturally the connections will be made.

Use Self-Confidence to Your Advantage

If nothing else, personal branding for senior level managers can provide a major boost in self-confidence. Use this self-confidence to your advantage by standing by your decisions in any aspect of your career and becoming a resource for others within your industry. Complete self-confidence is rare, even among executives, so once you develop it, there are plenty of opportunities for you to boost your brand even more.
Professional Resume Services goes beyond simply writing a resume for professionals. It is a big part of what we do, but we also look at the big picture to help executives with their careers. Whether it’s boosting professional branding through networking or simply creating an executive bio anyone will be impressed with, we are here to help. Be sure to contact us at any time for more tips on how personal branding can be used to your advantage.