Four Steps to Executive-Level Satisfaction

Publication: Yahoo! hotjobs

Section: Career Articles

May 2007

Rachelle J. Canter, Ph.D.

Time is an especially rare commodity for busy executives, who often face rigorous professional demands. Like all well-intentioned professionals, they also want satisfaction in their work. What follows is a four-step, fast-track curriculum to ensure that executives can have it all: a great job and a career they love.

Step 1: Define personal career satisfaction.

An extraordinary career by my definition requires not just doing well in the external world but also doing work you love. Differentiating career success from satisfaction is often a challenge for many successful executives.

Here are four simple questions to determine the major sources of personal career satisfaction:

  1. What are your greatest and most enjoyable skills?
  2. What work interests you most and makes best use of your skills?
  3. What kinds of rewards or results are most meaningful to you?
  4. What work roles do you enjoy most?

Use these questions to help you determine your best career direction.

Step 2: Create a simple career plan.

Say the word "plan" to an executive, and it instantly conjures up reams of information and analysis, pages of documentation, and months of effort. The instinctive reaction is, "I don't have time for this!"

The career plan proposed here can be as simple as a one-page document that records your long-term career goal and how you plan to build your skills and experience to make yourself more employable in the next year, next three years, and over your career. Even a quick 4-7 sentences scrawled on a piece of paper can provide the needed focus to guide career choices and moves strategically. A thoughtful and strategic career plan does not require lengthy and intensive preparation.

Step 3: Write an accomplishment-focused resume.

Not only are there important reasons to have a strong resume at all times, such as board opportunities or sudden corporate restructuring, but there is a specific kind of resume to have. A resume focused on achievements and results in quantified form is the best way to showcase your value. An accomplishment-oriented resume defines your particular brand of executive or professional in terms of concrete results. It's not job titles or responsibilities that matter most but what you accomplished in those jobs.

The best predictor of future performance is past performance so put your emphasis there, since that is of greatest interest to prospective employers.

Step 4: Define your competitive advantages.

Identifying your competitive advantages further bolsters your case (established in your resume) by providing a macro view of your brand that can be customized to a particular opportunity.

For example, competing successfully for a desired promotion to SVP of Marketing requires more than declaring your marketing and communications skills and a strong track record. What builds a for more memorable case are competitive advantages that highlight broad experience in all areas of the marketing function, including communications, market segmentation, branding, and market research; creation of five successful marketing programs that increased market share a collective 20% over the past six years; leadership of a highly successful rebranding initiative at the company; and five prior years with the industry leader.

You can have it all by following this four-step strategy for career management. Get into action today to have your dream career.

Career coach Rachelle J. Canter is the author of "Make the right career move: 28 critical insights and strategies to land your dream job."

Canter, Rachelle J.
Four Steps to Executive-Level Satisfaction,
YahooHotJobs , May 2007