Don Straits

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Entries in Don Straits (9)

The Parallel Between CEO's And Football Quarterbacks: An Evolutionary Model Comparing "Field Generals" To "Boardroom Generals"

I just read a great blog post by Scott Landstrom on his Driving Accelerated Growth Blog. It discusses the parallels between leading championship football teams and leading corporate organizations. Since we all just finished the Super Bowl, I thought you would really like this article. It has some great insights.

The Parallel Between CEO's And Football Quarterbacks: An Evolutionary Model Comparing "Field Generals" To "Boardroom Generals" [Click to View]

New Book by Jim Stroud, Authority on Recruiter Development and Executive Search Strategies

Jim Stroud has recently published a new book titled Resume Forensics.  It is primarily targeted to recruiters, but in reality, it possesses outstanding insights for job seekers on how recruiters identify and select candidates for opportunities.....admittedly a mystery for centuries.  :-)

Click to read more ...

Blogging Tips To Drive Your Executive Search

In a recent video, we examined why executives should be blogging to drive their career.  I recommend you watch that video as well, as it provides great insight into Blogging for Executives as a Game Changer.  A link to the video is provided on the screen.
I confess, one of the biggest hurdles I face is to educate executives on the power of putting their strategic thinking and vision into writing.  The most common concern is that blogging will be too time consuming.   In fact, once the blogging infrastructure has been put into place, it should only require about one hour a week to keep it current.  But the impact a thought leadership blog can have on driving your search for a new opportunity is extraordinary.


Here are just a few tips and tricks on how to leverage blogging to drive your search.


1. Create a design that is contemporary with a title and subtitle that reflects your expertise and focus for your blog.  Don't be afraid to have a provocative or "catchy" title that will stimulate people to read your blog.
2. Ramp up quickly by posting at least three posts per week for the first two weeks, then two posts per week for the next two weeks, then at least one post every week thereafter.  As soon as you have at least six posts on your blog, you are ready to make blogging the game changer.
3. Every time you apply for a job, always reference and include a link to your blog within your email or cover letter.  You will be amazed at how many recruiters and decision makers indicate they reviewed your blog and that it was a key factor in selecting you for an interview.
4. Always include a link to your blog in your email signature file, for both new and reply emails.  You want people to have easy access to your blog.
5. Include a link to your blog within your Linkedin profile and include all new blog posts in your Linkedin Updates.
6.  On occasion, include a video blog post (Vlog) on your blog.  Google algorithms loves videos. All you need is a flat wall with a lamp, plant or picture and you are in business.  If you don't know how to do it, get the 16 year old kid who lives next door to help out.  They get it.
7. Develop an outstanding email database and send your database an email for every new blog post.  Include industry influencers in your database such as corporate presidents and editors of industry publications.
8. Did you know you can export your LinkedIn contacts into an Excel file and segment as necessary.  This is a great way to manage and leverage your LI connections and directly send them an email for each new blog post.
9. Write compelling posts for your blog.  Take a position and defend it.  Be provocative.  Encourage discussion and comments with opposing view points.  Do you want to be a Dilbert Clone or do you want to stand out and stand for something.  Leaders are risk takers.  Leaders are sought out by growth organizations.
10. Cross Post.  Essentially, you will invite other industry influencers to post to your blog and vice versa. 
11. Invite decision makers you interview with to post in your blog.  This can be a grand-slam home run, but it also has its problems.  If we work with you on our blog, we can guide you on how to do this tactfully.  We can also guide you in developing short posts of one or two sentences and effective long posts.
12. Interview Industry Influencers for articles in your blog.  It enhances your own credibility and helps drive Search Engine Optimization SEO.
13. Speaking of SEO, as part of your long term strategy, you will want to make effective use of key words and tags to help drive traffic and build community for your blog.
14. Once you land a new position, do not stop blogging.  I cannot emphasize this point enough.  It will have a long-term profound impact on your career.


Now I could go on and on. I have just scratched the surface. But if you follow these blogging tips, they will be a game changer in driving your career.
If we can be of help in driving your search, we would enjoy talking with you.  Thank you in advance, and we wish you the best of success in finding a new opportunity.


"I've Never Had To Look For A Job Before" The Challenge for Executives

For decades, many senior executives easily drove their career through advancement and opportunities that were presented to them. Or their network was always able to provide connections. More than ever before executives are finding themselves struggling to secure their next assignment. The “Ole Boy's Network” just isn't what it used to be. Almost a day doesn't go bye that an executive doesn't say to me, “I've never had to look for a job before.” Many executives don't know where to begin and end up making classic mistakes. Here are some guidelines to help executives drive their search.  

Career Management Scams

Unfortunately, there are a number of career management companies and career service organizations that will take advantage of executives seeking new opportunities.  The industry is rife with con artists and scams.  This post will examine various career service options and provide some guidelines on how to select a legitimate service that can be a real asset in driving your search.


1.  Career Management Companies (CMCs):  In the interest of full disclosure, I am one of these companies.  For some reason, which escapes me, the overwhelming number of  CMCs are just plain crooks.  If they would just put in half as much effort in helping execs as they do in trying to scam them, then they could provide a valuable service.  I can probably count on one hand the legitimate CMC's that provide a valuable service.  CMCs charge several thousand dollars, so if you are considering a CMC, be certain to do your due diligence.  Some firms have an exceptional value proposition and can open up many doors of opportunity.  But research these firms carefully to avoid the scams.  Here are some tips in selecting a CMC. 

  • Conduct a Google search on the company, the sales person, and the person that would be your coach.  Be certain to do all three.  Many scam CMCs have multiple company names with common terms in order to hide their presence on the Net.   You will frequently find rip off reports and blogs that talk about these scams.  The sales person and particularly your potential coach should have outstanding credibility on the Net with dozens, if not hundreds, of positive Google hits including articles, awards, videos, press interviews, and other accolades.  If they don't have this credibility, then how could they do a good job of driving your search and leveraging social media?

  • Ask for client references.  If they refuse, then don't walk away, RUN.  Many CMCs will refuse references with the excuse that they are protecting the confidentiality of their clients.  Ask yourself this question:   If a CMC did a good job for you, wouldn't you be willing to provide a reference?  

  • Ask for recruiter references.  If a CMC is going to represent you in your search, then they should have several recruiters they work with.  If they can't produce them, then RUN.

  • Review examples of the resumes they develop.  Again, if the refuse, then run away.  You need to understand what your marketing materials will look like, how they will differentiate you in the marketplace, and how they establish your value proposition.


2.  Job Boards.  Caution.  Many of the job boards over promise and under deliver.  Again, do a Google search on these job boards and look for scam reports and blog posts on their services.  Are the jobs they list current?  Are they exclusive?   Are they legitimately at the compensation level that was promised?   The cost is usually nominal, but the jobs they post can generate thousands of responses.  So you are like a needle in a haystack.  Many of these firms are now  offering resume writing services as well.  Here is another red flag.  The sales person is paid on commission, so regardless of how good your resume is, he/she will find something wrong with it As a heads up, one of the most popular job boards,  The Ladders, was sued for misrepresentation and fraud on March 11, 2013


3.  Outplacement Firms.  While the majority of these firms are honest, their focus is usually on support for the job seeker, rather than as a marketing service.  They provide search strategies, career advice, and resume guidance.  In only rare circumstances will they actually write your resume for you.  Don't rely on them to find you a job, but they can provide valuable resources.


4.  Resume Writers.   An invaluable service as long as you find the right one.  So many executives, even those who are good writers, often cannot adequately develop their own credentials.  I actually have a name for the inability of executives to define or articulate their own experiences.  I call it the "Leadership Performance Syndrome".  In some ways the syndrome is analogous to the saying:  "He who serves as their own attorney has a fool for a client."  When evaluating a resume writing service, insist on seeing samples.  You should also ask if the writer is certified by a recognized industry trade association.  The certification is not a guarantee, but it should be one of several criteria in your evaluation.  Also do a Google search on the writer.  If they do not have a strong presence on the Net, then you should be very cautious


5.  Career Counselors and/or Coaches.  Typically they charge by the hour with a focus on helping executives select the right industry, or perhaps, transition to a new industry or functional area.  They often make extensive use of testing.  In some cases they also serve as resume writers.  They will provide strategy in areas including search techniques, networking, interviewing, and salary negotiations.  Once again, as with all of the above services, if you find the right person, the service can be invaluable.  Always due your due diligence.


6.  Executive Recruiters:  Contingency and Retained.  A recruiter never charges a fee to the job seeker.  If someone represents that they are a recruiter and wants to charge you a fee, then they are misrepresenting themselves. You should run away as fast as you can.  A contingency recruiter is only paid by the organization when they make the placement.  A retained recruiter is paid in advance by the organization to exclusively conduct the search.  On a rare occasion, a recruiter might help market an executive if they believe the candidate is unique and might help them secure a contingency fee.  If a recruiter indicates they will help you drive your search, don't sit back and wait for the calls to come in.  They are simply saying that if they secure an opportunity that matches your background, then they will contact you.  I know countless stories of recruiters who get "hate mail" from job seekers because the recruiter didn't find a job for them.  Recruiters are engaged by companies, not by job seekers.


Finding a new opportunity in today's marketplace is an extraordinary challenge.  Using a career service can be a valuable tool in your search, but like any other business service, you should always do your due diligence.  


I would love to hear your stories or comments on your experience with any of the above career service options.