Seeking VP, Anything

Posted by Marc Cenedella

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April 21, 2014 @ 08:00 AM

In the job search, you must be precise and concrete about your value and career goals, and shape an elevator pitch that reflects them. 

"Oh, I'm looking for anything," you might tell well-meaning friends who ask.

It's a problem.

Because in today's economy, no employer is looking for a "VP, Anything", or a “Director of Whatever Needs to Be Done."  They're looking for an experienced professional who can solve specific problems.

When you're thinking about moving jobs, you need to have a brief, pithy assertion of who you are and what you're qualified to do.  It's important that you be able to explain to an old colleague, or a new connection, in 30 seconds or less, what it is that you're looking for.
 
That's called an "elevator pitch" - a concise statement of your abilities and goals that can be shared in the time it takes an elevator to go to the top floor.

Vague and general aren't helpful:
"I'm a saleswoman", or...
"I'm in logistics", or...
"I'm a finance guy", don't work because they don't explain succinctly what you need and how your audience can help.

No, in the 21st century you need to be more precise and more concrete. You need to describe what you've done and what you're looking to do... specifically.
So it's not "I'm a saleswoman" but rather...

"I'm a sales management professional looking to lead a 100+ person sales organization, and am particularly interested in opportunities leading sales teams going through the transactional-to-relationship-selling transition."

It's not "I'm in logistics" but rather...

"I'm a logistics team leader who specializes in driving efficiency improvements in established groups, bringing down the cost of production year after year."

And it's not "I'm a finance guy" but rather...
"I'm a finance guy who enjoys rationalizing finance teams in multi-unit businesses and creating metrics and operating procedures that partner with the business to drive understanding of the underlying levers of growth."  

You need to be specific and concise in your description of your ambitions, so that your network contacts, your future boss, or an HR recruiter can understand how and where you'll add value and improve the business.

So please, avoid the easy temptation to say that you're looking for anything, and be specific in your job search. It's the best way to let people know how to help you, and to let companies know how you'll help them. 

Click on the following links for more information on how to clarify your job goals and develop an elevator pitch.

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Marc Cenedella is the Chairman of TheLadders, the premier mobile and online job-matching service for career-driven professionals, which has transformed the way job candidates and employers connect online. Follow Marc on Twitter at @Cenedella.

Topics: Job Search, Personal Branding, Marc's Newsletter