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Here’s how a corporate recruiter would advise you to land a job as an executive in a public company:
Undersell your achievements. Corporations have become deadly serious about background checks, making their headhunters dig back decades into your records. Instead of putting an advantageous spin on your accomplishments, stay humble and you’ll always exceed expectations.
Work abroad. Being sent overseas doesn’t mean you’re banished to the hinterlands. It means you’ll learn how things really work for customers, vendors and frontline employees. When you’re done, you’ll be able to skip the lip service about the “global economy,” because you’ll get it.
Learn Sarbanes-Oxley. This federal accounting law is important to the health of every publicly owned organization. Take a course or two on “Sarbox” from your trade group, the American Management Association or a local college.
Catch your board’s attention. Work tightly with people generating business in other divisions. Once you become known outside your circle, you’ll be considered a rising star.
Lead. To earn your stripes, you’ll need your people behind you. That requires trust. If you play fair, call yourself out when you make a mistake, reward productivity and keep your promises, your people will follow you anywhere.
—Adapted from “Five Ways to Ignite Your Career,” Anne Fisher, Fortune.