3’000 Senior Executives Reveal 6 Secrets To Success

CAUTION: I will reveal 6 secrets to success that may change your life and career forever. Read at your own risk.

I’m constantly taken aback by the diverse range of clients who come to ResumeWriter.SG for help. We’ve aided C-level executives from SGX listed companies, APAC Heads of Fortune 500 (and Fortune 50) MNCs and countless scores of mid-level managers from all industries.

It’s never a boring day at work!

Over the past decade, I’ve interviewed and worked with several thousand job seekers (both in my capacity as a headhunter and now, CV writer). I’d like to believe that I’ve seen enough of a sample size to notice some patterns to success.

Now in order to emulate success, one should study both causes of failure and common traits of success. You wouldn’t want any survivorship bias in your studies.

Unfortunately (or fortunately), I haven’t been exposed to enough failures to identify distinct patterns. What I do have though, is a lot of time spent with successful people. So instead, I’ll write about what I know.

Here’s a list of consistent list of character traits (aka 6 secrets to success) I’ve consistently observed from working with over 3’000 senior executives.

Preference For The Phone Over Email

All my senior clients always elect to call me back instead of emailing. (when I try calling them back, they’re often on another call!). In fact, I cannot think of a single senior client who ever wrote me a long email.

The modern workplace is addicted to email. No one picks up the phone anymore. It’s a shame because phone conversations are so much quicker. A 3 minute phone call is more effective than 10 back and forth emails. A good typist would type at 70 words per minute. The average individual though, speaks at 150 words per minute. That’s over twice as fast!

I’ve personally started using the phone more than the email as well. It’s allowed me to gain productivity and reduce the back and forth CV drafts between clients from an average of 6 to just 2. This of course also shortens the time to case completion. A win-win for both me and the client!

Quick To Research & Quick To Commit

Again on the topic of phone calls, my most senior clients always call us before making a decision. They’ll often call all the resume writing firms back to back. (there are only about 4 in Singapore) And depending on quality of the conversation on the call, they’ll select the best one to hire immediately.

Very often I get one call asking generic questions and then a second one 10 minutes later saying “I’ve spoken to your competitors and I feel you have a better package. I’d like to sign up with your firm immediately”

There’s no mulling around, emailing multiple parties to find the best deal. It’s very quick-fire, informed decision making.

They Take Expert Advice Seriously

Many junior executives spend too little time listening to the advice we have to offer during the phone interview. They often sound like a bullet train on the phone, spewing out information which often times, isn’t relevant to their CV. I often wonder, if they’re so sure of what they want, why did they hire us?

Senior executives take a much more measured approach. They wait for questions, ask my opinion on matters and then give their take. It’s a far more diplomatic process, with each party respecting the other’s opinion and perspective. It always results in a better CV at the end.

Strong Emphasis On Great Writing Skills

While they often don’t email, when they do, the language is always crisp and the emails are super effective. I’ve read many times about how good writing is a sign of clear, logical thinking.

Very Focused Job Search Strategy

Fresh graduates usually elect to keep their CV generic and broad. I don’t blame them. They’re still young and are unsure of their career path.

Senior executives are often razor focused on their niche. They’ll say things like “I’m looking for Sales Director positions within the industrial chemicals vertical. Specifically, I specialize in building high performance sales teams from scratch for new market entrants. Especially European and American MNCs who are targeting opening a sales office here in Asia”

Talk about knowing what you want! It’s the complete opposite of the spray and pray strategy most jobseekers use. As they’re aware of their competitive advantages, such senior executives also get a much higher job application to interview call win ratio. Being specific helps you stand out!

Early Risers

This one is a little controversial. I’ve read so many studies on the topic – some say early risers are smarter, some say night owls are more creative. I’ve given up at figuring out what should be the best way.

Regardless of their internal circadian rhythms, senior execs I’ve spoken to are very early risers. Many of them I spoke to are in the office and working at their desk by 7am. I’ve tried this several times but I can’t keep up. I’m exhausted by noon, craving for a nap!

As much as I want to be successful and emulate their best practices, there are some internal barriers which I just cannot overcome! I need my beauty sleep!!!

Success comes in many shapes and sizes. While I’m certain the above list is hardly comprehensive nor scientific, it’s a summary of the patterns I’ve personally noticed.

Try emulating these characteristics. Let me know if it helps you become more successful. Or better yet, email me your own productivity hacks!

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Russel Yee

Former Headhunter

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