Over the past 15 years, I've coached thousands of people on their careers. One thing I've noticed is that executive-level professionals tend to make three mistakes in their job search that can be quite costly. In fact, they do these blunders more than regular professionals because they mistakenly assume their higher level of employment means they should adopt certain rules and styles. Unfortunately, this is outdated thinking. Often, the very things they're doing make them look old-school, narcissistic, and even desperate. Here's what to avoid:

1. Writing your LinkedIn profile in the third person.

On social media, your account is yours. You should always write in the first-person. Writing in the third-person makes you appear detached and stuffy. Better still, learn to optimize your profile with skills-driven keywords that help the right people find your profile.

2. Creating an epic novel resume.

Recruiters don't read your resume, they skim it, looking for key skill sets to ensure you are a match for the role. Only then does your resume travel to the executive team for review. Today, the trend is toward simplified resumes with lots of white space. The idea being you should give them a taste of your experience, and get them to want to call you to learn more. 

3. Pitching yourself too hard and too soon in the cover letter/ introduction email.

Just because you have a lot of experience doesn't mean you know exactly what this potential employer needs you to do. Creating a bulleted list of your accomplishments and traits can backfire. What if they don't need those skill sets? It's sales 101: don't sell your features until you know what benefits the customer is looking for. Instead, learning how to write a disruptive cover letter showcasing your connection to their mission and business plan is a better option.

Job search at the executive level is a high-stakes game. Staying on top of the latest trends and knowing how to leverage them is a sign of your ability to be agile and up-to-date with the times -- two things that are pretty important to display in the business world today.

Published on: Nov 8, 2018