According to the second annual Job Preparedness Indicator research study, released today by the Career Advisory Board established by DeVry University, senior-level job seekers are the least prepared to fill available positions in today's market. One-in-five hiring managers say that few senior candidates have the right mix of skills and traits to serve their needs, and in particular are lacking in higher-order abilities such as strategic perspective, general business acumen, and global competence.
Developing these skills is a must, but tenured candidates can also modify their approach so that hiring managers see them as more markeable and capable of filling open jobs. Suggestions to this effect include:
- Look carefully at senior-level job descriptions and brainstorm specific examples of how you’ve performed at least 75 percent of the responsibilities in the past. Play up any experience you have liaising or working directly with international colleagues.
- Use LinkedIn actively. Don’t just slap up your profile and forget about it. Join groups for senior-level professionals in your field, and ask and answer member questions. Set a goal of meeting at least 5 new senior-level contacts a week, and engage them in high-level industry conversation.
- Take the spec approach. New consultants are sometimes asked to take on a project on spec, meaning they do the work gratis so the company can evaluate their worth as a paid asset. Even if you aren’t asked, proactively identify and solve a problem facing executive management and present your solution in interviews and other conversations.
- Raise your pay expectations: If you are satisfied with making a salary well below your true earning potential, you are literally underselling yourself. Use payscale.com and salary.com to research the incomes of people who do what you do with your amount of tenure, and when asked, confidently cite a number in the middle.
One final piece of advice: As a senior-level candidate, you cannot rest on your laurels simply because you've been in the workforce a while. Earn hiring managers' confidence and buy-in by demonstrating that you are invested in keeping your skills fresh and in learning and growing in a new position.