If you’re a successful executive, you aren’t built for boredom. By nature you’re competitive, strategic and you thrive on challenges. Your skills and talents are transferable and you don’t want to box yourself into one type of career. The vibrancy of the Australian job market across many industries means that there are plenty of opportunities for executives out there.

When career transition is necessary

Apart from the thrill of the chase, there are other factors that may trigger a career transition for an executive. Some triggers may be voluntary, others not. Here are the most common:


  1. Your contract is terminated
    Business is tough. C-level executives are let go for all kinds of reasons: internal conflict, mismatches in vision, poor company performance – the list is long and complex. These days getting fired or made redundant carries little stigma. Even Steve Jobs was fired. The critical thing is what an executive does after an involuntary departure.
  2. No way up
    Sometimes the company you work for does not meet your needs. There may be no room for growth or you may be frustrated with the internal politics. When there’s no way for you to professionally develop, why bide your time? Leaving may be the smartest option.
  3. Opportunity beckons
    With considerable turnover at the c-suite level throughout Australian companies and corporations, some tempting opportunities certainly exist. Be open to a new undertaking.

Hunt and be hunted

Regardless of the reason for an executive career transition, you’ll want to know how to best position and present yourself in the world of executive search. Being headhunted is nice but the offers you receive might not align with your professional career goals. If you hunt, whilst simultaneously making yourself visible to hunters, you'll have greater control over your career. Specialised executive search assistance can help you with this.

Executive search differs from other types of recruitment, in that they typically work on an exclusive mandate and the assignments themselves may not be advertised. They are in search of the best candidate for a very specific role. They won’t waste their time, or your time, if you don’t fit the bill. It’s important to be visible to be on the executive search radar.

The best way to be on an executive search radar is to be visibly successful. You will command attention and be recognised as an industry leader if you speak at business events and conferences, become mentioned in industry publications or in the wider press, publish articles. This is about building your professional profile.

Know what your professional achievements are and make sure other people know about them too. Be able to readily give examples of your leadership, team-building and decision-making abilities. These are much sought after skills.

Never underestimate the value of networking during all stages of your career. As a professional, you need to build connections with people in your business sphere as well as within your peer group. Keep in contact with respected colleagues, they’ll probably see their own career paths take surprising turns. Make sure you do this both in person, but also through professional networking sites such as LinkedIn, and through relevant professional associations.

Networking should be an ongoing process, building connections with individuals, that will hopefully in time be mutually beneficial.

Change is inevitable in all industries.

Executives are better placed to respond positively to new challenges because their ability to handle new situations is just one of the reasons they made it to a top position in the first place. By drawing on their strengths, highlighting their talents and tapping into their connections, executives can make very successful and satisfying career transitions.

If not now, when?