I recently got this question….
”I want to change functions and am interested in a different area. But I am already at the Director level of my career and wonder if I have a chance for an executive career transition without the expertise the job description is looking for?”
This is often where I share the Apples vs. Oranges concept.
When a job is posted, it states what they are looking for in that “apple.” The apples have specific characteristics and skills needed for the job. The description is communicated in “apple language”.
We can look at this and often think, “I only have 2 of these 10 skills…I don’t stand a chance”.
This is when we need to move to “orange strategy”.
What do you have vs. what don’t you have?
Likely you have a dozen capabilities not even listed for the “job function” but could be the right behaviors needed for leadership –needed no matter what “content” expertise is needed.
Focus on describing your traits, your passion for the job and organization and the value you can drive as a leader in your company. (content can be learned, and you will likely have other experts on your team).
If you look at a first time CEO…he/she has never done all the things in a company that the CEO will “lead and manage”. They typically came up through a function or a business unit before getting the top job. They lean on their smarts, decision making, ability to inspire and lead others and know how to tap into the various experts or SME’s.
So have courage and go for the executive career transition you’re dreaming of.
Lean on your orange assets. Besides…you bring something else to the table…a fresh perspective and “outside-in” approach to find new and innovative ways to make improvement for the role.
About the Author
Carol Seymour: Global Executive, Speaker, Author and Founder of Signature Leaders
Carol Seymour is a sought-after business leader and seasoned global executive of large and mid-cap size companies and private-equity backed turnarounds. She founded Signature Leaders in 2013 which focuses on accelerating women into next level leadership and helping leaders create greater impact and influence. Signature Leaders was recognized last year as one of Inc. 5000 “Fastest Growing Private Companies”.
The Signature series of leadership offerings support the growth of women from Manager level up to and including C-suite executives. Today, more than 3000 global leaders across 6 continents have experienced a Signature program. Signature Leaders partners with more than 140 market-leading companies for their selective investments.
Carol is also a Founding Member of Paradigm for Parity and named one of the Top 40 Women Keynote Speakers for 2020 by RealLeaders Magazine.
Carol resides in Cashiers, NC. She has two married children, three granddaughters, and a grandson.