Are CEOs Born or Molded?

As an executive résumé writer and career coach who has long-worked with Fortune 50 executives, I've also long-noticed that CEOs—somewhere in their early careers—either founded a company and drove it to success, or in some other way faced a wall of professional accountability that might have crushed their peers. 

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More News for Humanities Graduates Exploring Tech

If you're a recent or about to graduate humanities student, read the whole article, top to bottom. Then, if you're interested, start doing the research and the networking to make it happen. The way you think is valuable. 

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Humanities Students & Graduates: You're Needed in Silicon Valley

"Liberal arts majors take on a wide range of roles." Of interest, fourth on the list is folks in project management. When I reflect on the swath of project management professionals with whom I work up and down the west coast, a lot of them have degrees in the humanities. 

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When an MBA Isn't Enough: Learning From the Masters

From Ben Horowitz' "the hard thing about hard things is that they don't have a formula" to Jason Fried's coauthored startup book, 'Rework.' (If you missed it, be sure to catch my recent mention of Jason Fried's not-to-be-missed December 2012 blog post about the role mistakes play in our lives.)

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Are You Half Extrovert, Half Introvert? You Might Be an Ambivert!

I first learned about the new "ambivert" designation over lunch this week from a fellow apparent ambivert. Janet and I concurred that we've never felt right about identifying exclusively as introverts or extroverts, although both concepts have been attached to both of us, individually, depending on the environment.

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Is a Movement Afoot to Eliminate the Performance Review?

Three days ago, I caught Liz Wright's less than subtle article: "Five Stupid Rules That Drive Great Employees Away." Rule #2 on Liz' list: insulting performance review processes. Follow Liz on Forbes or LinkedIn, if you don't already. Her ideas are worth consideration.

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New York Times Reports on LinkedIn Development for Tomorrow's Leaders

If eighty percent of jobs are found through one's network—and we recently saw that even board seats follow the same 80/20 rule—then it stands to reason that one should start thinking about networking early.

For tomorrow's leaders still in school, it's not too soon to build a great LinkedIn profile, and the July 31 New York Times article Finding a Career in LinkedIn Profiles is a good start.

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The Only Networking Question You May Ever Need to Break the Awkwardness

Okay, this one requires a thousand crying-laughing emojis. 

A résumé writer colleague, Irene Marshall, who has become a dear friend over the years, has a talent for meeting people. During a casual conversation last night, she shared a story that I believe contributes majorly to her success as an executive résumé writer and career coach.

When she finds herself in a first-time encounter, she finds a moment to ask: "So why did you become [insert job title].?" (Notice the "why," not the "how.")

The beauty of the question is in the answer. Isn't it always?

Irene says she's learned all sorts of things about people over the years. From the physical therapist who broke her back as a child after a diving accident and dedicated her life to healing others to the tutor who started his life with a learning disorder.  

But the story that takes the absolute cake is Irene's dermatologist.

Irene: "So why did you become a dermatologist?"

Dermatologist: "Well, I wanted a job in medicine where I could talk to my patients."

Irene (thinking:) "That makes sense, I'm sitting here talking to you."

Dermatologist: "But my husband is also a doctor and he wanted a job where he doesn't have to talk to patients.

Irene: "What does he do?"

Dermatologist: "He's an anesthesiologist."

I mean. For real?

Ah yes, friends. Tuck that question away for the next time you find yourself in a slightly (or entirely) awkward social situation. 

You might just end up splitting your pants with laughter! 

6 Career Positioning Metrics Every Management Professional Should Cite

I field two to four new business calls every day, mostly from executive to mid-career professionals looking to quietly work through what their futures might hold if they nosed around a bit.

In nearly every instance, they express embarrassment about their out-of-date résumés. Understandable, since they've been busy doing the work—not nursing a piece of paper.

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Spencer Stuart Dishes on "Making the Best [Career] Transition"

It's not rocket science, but it is a lot of intention, preparation, and cross-platform career messaging clarity. 

Here's a sneak peek from the search firm's August 2015 "Career Advice" column, demonstrating that good planning is particularly helpful for the stealth job seeker: 

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80/20 Rule Alive and Well for First-Time Tech Board Members: Korn Ferry Institute Report

Put another way: 80% of first-time tech board members who participated in Korn Ferry Institute's research landed a board seat via their networks.

Too many otherwise successful executives and senior professionals downplay or never think about the role of networking while job searching, let alone the task of securing a board seat. Does the 80/20 rule win again?

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New Data from Heidrick & Struggles for C-suite Members Considering a Fortune 500 Board Directorship

But the question is a good one, because every journey begins with a single step.

If you're thinking what a Fortune 500 board directorship might look like, Heidrick & Struggles yesterday released their Four Boardroom Trends to Watch. The downloadable publication presents an interesting breakdown including new seats filled, average age of directors, percentage of directors who are current or former CEOs and CFOs, and more.

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Want to Shape a Career Change? Speak to Your Sweet Spot

"Tailor your articles and presentations strategically, so you not only speak to the audience at hand, but so the article titles have a life beyond the moment. Then when you list them on your LinkedIn profile, in your executive bio, in your executive resume, etc., you have this clear specialization. In time, you'll open the door wider to being found as a passive candidate. And odds are higher that you'll be sought for just the right fit." 

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