Career Building Advice For High Potentials


From the employer’s perspective, perhaps the most desirable employees to have, but most challenging to retain, are those referred to as “high potentials” or sometimes “high potentials/high performers”.

Whether they are hired directly from top universities with stellar grades, or recruited from industry with big salaries, the corporation looks to develop them to be future executives. These bright, ambitious employees are accustomed to steep learning curves and a constant stream of new challenges or assignments as they move up the ladder. But if the next promotion seems a little too far off, they tend to head for the door. It’s easy for them to do so, since there is always a good job market for high potentials.

Does this profile fit you to some degree? If you fall into this high potential/high performer category, you may be tempted to change jobs whenever opportunity knocks. I have counseled some talented individuals whose job hopping became a real problem in their job search –no matter their impressive education, employer names and potential.

Before you launch an external job search, or consider taking a job for which you are being recruited, be sure to consider your options with your current employer. Sometimes a little patience pays off big. If your tenure with your current employer is short, you should have a really good reason to change jobs.

In the early years of your career, your employer may move you quickly through different positions, affording you excellent experience quickly. As you move into mid- to senior- level roles, however, try to stay long enough in a position to get substantive experience and generate verifiable results. Sometimes you learn the most from a job just after the learning curve has begun to flatten. You may think the job is done when you’ve made the obvious improvements, or solved key problems in your job.  However, sometimes solving the smaller problems, getting that next degree of improvement, or managing the aftermath of a transformation, provide equal management challenges.

Savvy employers can see through quick fixes –they want to know that the success you claim was also sustainable. It’s hard to show this if you have a history of moving on before the dust has settled.

About the Author

Ivy Exec Resume Writer, Laura Hill’s experience includes an 8-year stint in banking with JP Morgan, executive search with Korn/Ferry International and Redwood Partners, 10 years as a career/outplacement coach, and heading client services for the boutique outplacement firm, Crenshaw Associates.