The decision to make a career change while in an executive leadership role can be a difficult decision to make. Job searches are universally difficult, and the executive job search process can be even more uncomfortable with even higher stakes.

While your experience at the top of the corporate ladder has equipped you to handle challenges specific to your line of work, there are a number of challenges that even the most experienced executives struggle with when considering a move to a new role.

Challenge #1: Understanding that an executive job search is required.

Thinking, “I’ll be recruited, like always. I’ve never had to actually look for a position,” is hurting you. In today’s economy, the competition is fierce and this thinking no longer applies.

If you assume this is more applicable to lower-level positions, consider that Steward, Cooper & Coon found that a CFO opening received over 225 applications from well-qualified candidates. From those, they conducted 50 initial telephone screenings, 10 final phone screenings, and 2 final face-to-face finalists were flown to their corporate headquarters.

Regardless of your qualifications, executives still need to be proactive about their search.

Challenge #2: Being selective when crafting your resume.

The longer your career, the more selective you will need to be when determining what to include on a resume for any specific position.

Your resume, in addition to being ATS-friendly, should highlight specific achievements and qualifications that show you are the perfect candidate for the job. “If it doesn’t contribute to convincing the hiring manager to talk to you, then take it out,” says Jane Heifetz, a professional resume expert, to Harvard Business Review.

Challenge #3: Getting your resume seen by a human.

75% of recruiters and hiring professionals use a recruiting or applicant tracking system. (Source: Capterra) An applicant tracking system is a human resources software that acts as a database for job applicants.

Companies of all sizes use an ATS to organize, search, and communicate with large groups of applicants. Your resume will be parsed and stored by this software in ways that make candidates easy to filter and search by keyword.

Your resume must be created to match the keywords and other criteria the system uses to determine a “right fit” candidate. Otherwise, a human may never see your resume, and your chances of getting an interview are gone.

Challenge #4: Finding the right position.

Smart executives manage their careers; the rest accept an offer and take a job. The truth is this: there is a big difference between finding a job and securing the right position.

If you’re already busy, how much time will you have to devote to your search? A recent study by The Wall Street Journal found that only one out of five people who want to find new jobs manage to complete the entire process within six months. That means if you don’t start now, you may not get started at all!

Seeking help really is okay. In fact, at the executive level, finding the right career-enhancing move often requires professional assistance from an Executive Career Coach. If you need help, we should talk. Click the button below to schedule a time.

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