Okay, not all the CEOs in the 2014 September CEO Report at Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. are going out the door because they are being booted out, but the report does highlight a rise in the planned CEO departures for September. The 124 CEOs who left their positions represent an increase of 4.2% over the 119 leaving in August.
Looking at this report, it is striking to see how many CEO changes there have been in the first nine months of 2014 — 1,009 turnovers were tracked, most of them in the health care industry. What does this mean for executives who hope to move into C-level positions?
Be Ready To Move When The Door Opens
If you are serious about being considered for a position like President, CEO, CIO, CFO, and all the rest of the senior/C-level jobs, you need to also be serious about your resume, your executive branding, and every detail that you are presenting to the world. It isn’t enough to collect the experiences that qualify you for the job, those experiences have to be presented convincingly to persuade people that you are the best candidate for that job.
Monitor your online presence and deal with unprofessional lapses now.
Look over your resume and make sure it is updated regularly.
Consider your current level of expertise and actively seek to hone those skills.
Present yourself in a competent, professional manner worthy of the level you seek to attain.
Consider your current job an opportunity to show what you can do by doing it with excellence.
Research and learn what will be needed to move into that new opening when it comes.
Many of the CEOs in the Challenger study were actively grooming their replacement. That means someone was getting ready to step into their shoes as soon as the position opened up. Other C-level openings were vacant while the company scrambled to find the replacement. Whether you do the groundwork yourself, or get professional services to help you, the best way to move up the executive ladder is by being prepared to act when the door opens.
Writing an executive resume has become an extremely complex art. Executive resumes generally are far more detailed than regular resumes. To compete for the high paying, high powered positions, you need to create a resume that doesn’t just inform, but excites, entices and extends the invitation to learn more about your skills, competencies and all the right reasons why you should be the next CEO, CFO or President.
Begin by remembering that very few of the executives in charge of hiring will actually read your resume in full. These days, with the high level of competition and well qualified applicants, even executive resumes need a special polish to attract those hiring. The idea is that this will lead you to the interview, where your other skills will then be examined. To get that interview, your resume needs to be sharp, direct, and catch the eyes of those in charge early.
You want to come across as a well-rounded, exceptionally professional and highly skilled applicant who is the best choice for the job. Don’t be afraid to outline all the skills and experiences that make you so desirable. Still, keep the summary brief, concise and up front, but allow for more details of some of the more important skills and experiences that will prove you are the best.
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of your executive resume is establishing your value. Since the corporation or company will be paying you top dollar, you need to prove that you are of the greatest worth and unique attributes that are rare and can only be found in you (sell yourself!). Your specific talents for solving complex problems can be outlined, but describing the challenges you faced and the actions you took to solve the problems as well as the results of those actions will convey your worth in clear and undeniable ways.
Your focus needs to very targeted and clear. As an executive–a leader— you need to show the reader what you’ve done and what you can do for them. I have my clients get very detailed and accomplishment-focused. It may take some time to gather all the facts of what you’ve done, but it is ‘homework’ worth doing. Nothing says, ‘I’m hesitant about my skills’ like a vague, unfocused resume. These kinds of details will show them you didn’t just step off the truck, but that in fact you have been building your skills all along. Examine all your experiences carefully and pick the ones that best show the timeline of how you learned what you learned that will make you the best choice for this job.
Be very thoughtful about what personal information you include. While board memberships and professional associations might be relevant, certain religious or free time activities might not be pertinent (i.e. less is more). Some personal information can be used as an ice breaker (rock climbing as a hobby?), but be aware that some personal information may work against you and be used to screen you out of the running.