April 22, 2020
Starting A Job Search When You Want A Leadership Position
by Amy Stuntz
Are leaders born or made?
You don’t need to prolong your job search for the answer to this deep philosophical question. The fact is a lot of employers, particularly insurance companies and brokers, are desperate for leadership talent. Strong, diverse managers and people who possess executive maturity are a glaring weakness in their talent pool.
If your future is in management, then I think you have a great opportunity for a job search. That said, if this move is all about stepping into that role for the first time, the process can be both exciting and daunting. Your success moving forward to obtain a management job depends on how you frame conversations early in the process. Shape the narrative in a way that reveals your maturity, self-awareness, and discipline in a big new undertaking.
What are you doing in your current position to show you are ready for a leadership role?
Don’t kick off your job search too early. Take a step back and make sure you have clear goals for where you want your career to go. Once you have defined your goals and developed profound answers to the question, “What are you looking for in a leadership position?” it is time to show that you are ready for the next stage. Here are some ways to do that:
- Volunteer to take the lead on a project
- Make sure key decision makers know who you are
- Let your goals be known to management
- Look for opportunities to take on more
- Ask to fill in for any interim opportunities
REVAMP YOUR RESUME
The way recruiters or hiring managers look for a leadership candidate differs than the way they look non-management candidates. Before you start applying for jobs, adapt your resume using keywords that spell out the position you want.
- Use industry specific keywords unique to the role and company you are applying to.
- Describe the high points of your leadership experience in your summary. Including things like your management and communication style can be helpful as well as the largest team or project you’ve led.
- Make sure your resume tells the story of your career. Include a brief synopsis for each role you listed. If the position was a promotion or special project you were selected for, make that clear.
- Update any past or present volunteer leadership roles, educational credentials, or professional communities that you are a part of.
PREPARE FOR THE INTERVIEW
Interviews for management roles will focus on your leadership style, communication skills, and ability to navigate difficult situations. This interview will be as much about your background as it as about your ability to inspire a team.
- Be prepared for situational, hypothetical, and behavioral interview questions
- Have ready-to-share tangible examples of how you have demonstrated leadership
- How do you motivate a team?
- How have you helped someone advance in their own career?
- Even if you have not had a management title in previous roles, be able to demonstrate ways you have exercised leadership in other areas of your life
- Prove that you are committed to the management track. Express the steps that you have taken to sell that you are ready to step up to the plate. In the interview, show that you have done your homework and have taken the concrete steps to hit the ground running.