Let me present you with one of the deadliest and yet often most easily neglected mistakes you can make as an executive in career transition: Having a big ego. Let me show you three examples and the negative consequences of having a big ego for job search success.
Mistake Number 1: “I can do it.”
Your resume says who you are. Simply put, you are what you write on your resume, and not what you think you are. An executive may be a worldwide SVP of Sales, but the resume presents you as a middle manager. You may be an industry-agnostic General Manager, but your resume says you an automotive industry expert. You may rank high in an investment bank, but you fail to communicate your responsibility and the 100 staffers under you.
When it comes to resumes, most executives cling to their resume as if it were their baby. They feel compelled to take action themselves. They also strongly believe that with their ivy league MBA and big corporate background, they have all it takes to write an impeccable resume. But, embarrassing mistakes such as “I have “in-debt know-how” versus “in-depths know-how” even happen to the very best of us.
When you have a legal problem, you pass it to a lawyer. When you have a dental problem, you go to the dentist. When your water pipe is leaking, you turn to a plumber. When your car needs maintenance, you go to an auto mechanic.
Conclusion: You say you can, but you CAN NOT. The resume you present is your best possible attempt and might be the very proof you are underperforming. Powerful C-suite resumes and career marketing collateral are sophisticated documents requiring expertise you might not have. Why not give your resume to an expert to refine? Your Ego is not your Amigo.
Mistake Number 2: “I will try first on my own.”
Many executives brand themselves as commodities. Rather than expressing their unique value, personality and leadership, they start selling their brand to their potential employers. In my interview-coaching conversations, I emphasize that job search is about YOU, not your company’s brand.
I challenge them: Who are you? In other words, do you lack the self-awareness and marketing know-how about the very individual you are trying to sell: The brand called YOU?
I tend to give some executives a second and third chance to see whether they are able to do it themselves. I wonder how much dynamite it takes to breakthrough his/her egos. And then, something happens that does not make sense. Even after viewing the evidence, repeatedly, that their career-marketing and interview- performance is miles away from even making the cut for the first round of screening, and showing them mistakes they tend to repeat, again and again. They are proud to persevere nonetheless. “Well, let me try first on my own.”
“I want to give it a shot first and see how it goes,” is their surprising answer.
Conclusion: Albert Einstein has been credited with saying: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Would you do it with a new, untested Intel processor, an unknown make of car, a new Apple flagship product that hasn’t been tested, a new Amazon web service that doesn’t have good reviews or a new Nestle beverage drink that others don’t like? No! Why bother! Listen to a known career advisor and international job search expert instead who will help you to get the results you desire. Just remember, your Ego is not your Amigo.
Mistake Number 3: “I’m Okay. I am doing fine.”
Most executives massively overrate the quality of their resumes, interview skills, and job search performance. Let me ask you: Why does your company have a Marketing Department, a Product Marketing Director and a PR & MARCOM Director? To get your communication right and across the first time, that’s why!
What about you? “I’m Okay. I am doing fine.” says the same executive, that on the first day told his marketing director that the new brand concept sucks, that two days ago told his PR&MARCOM Director that the corporate homepage would need urgent redesign and that three days ago gave his approval for hiring the best marketing experts for the company’s marketing department. Are you really doing fine?
Conclusion: Why bother and team up with someone who will help you get where you want to be in the shortest period of time? Your Ego is not your Amigo…
It is time to rise and shine by overcoming your own comfort zone. Marshall Goldsmith is pointing out: “What got you here, will not get you there.”.
I help global leaders overcome their limiting beliefs and behavior so that they attain a higher level of success in their career transition. I fondly hope that you and your executive fellows in career transition come to realize that job search success may be at risk, not because of lack of opportunities, not because of lazy executive recruiters, not because of unfair interview assessment, but because of one of your greatest hidden enemies: You yourself. At least by now, you know better: Your Ego is not your Amigo.
About Rainer Morita:
Rainer Morita is an International Job Search Coach and Hidden Job Market Expert who helps executives find their perfect job – anywhere – based on the Morita Method.