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Launching your last executive job search before retiring.

Launching your last executive job search before retiring.

You’re less than five years from retirement. You’ve decided you don’t want to stay in your job any longer. It’s time to make a move.

But…the last time you looked for work, it was the 20th century.

Mack called me last week with this exact issue. She loved her job for 20+ years, but it was time to move on to something new; a stepping stone to a second career. However, she had few ideas of where and how to start or best practices to follow for a job search in 2024.

We talked about her goals and how best to begin. Here’s how I helped her get started.

  1. Pay attention to who is doing cool stuff. Who is working on projects you’d like to contribute to? Research companies you’re interested in. If you’re unsure where to start, begin by removing industries and companies where you know you’d never enjoy working. Afraid to rule out too many industries and companies? Don’t be because…
  2. Job search is hardest when you’re open to everything. Keep your list of ideal jobs small. Focus your research so you aren’t wasting time, energy and money on the wrong opportunities. Imagine wasting months on the wrong opportunity only to a) turn it down or b) have them screen you out because you don’t seem interested.
  3. Filter opportunities. When you’re feeling stuck before you’ve begun, here’s a simple way to weed out non-contenders. First, focus on industries you want to explore; then companies; and then roles. Take it one step further and research the leaders you might be working with.
  4. Create a list of tasks you like and tasks you don’t. You could do just about anything, but if you’re not clear about what you do best, you’re missing out on an opportunity to clearly define your next role and pack it full of tasks you enjoy. Does this mean you won’t ever have to do things you don’t want to, no, but if you’re upfront and direct at the beginning, chances are good they’ll task you with the things you’re good at before asking you to do things you’ve clearly stated are outside your wheelhouse!

Mack is in the initial stages of career transition. There’s lots for her to think about.

Where it can go wrong: Our networks are powerful. Often, what happens when they learn that we’re looking for opportunities, is they start offering to introduce us to people and/or send us job openings. This is great! It means our network is poised to help. Here’s where it can go wrong…Inadvertently, our network sends us down rabbit holes with opportunities that were never going to fit. They mean well, but it’s OUR JOB to ensure we communicate how they can best support us. We have to teach our network to hone in on the things we want to do, the people we want to meet and the jobs we truly want, to ensure they’re steering us in the right direction. When we’re unclear about our target, this makes their job nearly impossible AND wastes everyone’s time.

What she can do to make sure it goes well: Trust herself. When she knows what she wants, she can communicate that to her network and potential employers and herself. This prevents her from jumping at the first thing that looks like it ‘might’ be a fit.

Mack is in no hurry to move, but she’s also not sitting around waiting for the clock to run out at her current job. She’s taken an active role in doing the work needed to get a job that’s fulfilling, rewarding and where she feels valued.

Related Categories: Advice, Client Story, Featured, Job Search, Labour Market Information, Research

About The Author
Maureen McCann is an award-winning career coach, master resume writer, and master certified interview, employment, and career strategist whose clients include C-level executives, managers, and professionals in all industries including the Canadian banking, oil and gas, healthcare, IT, and government sectors.

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