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careers – Eunice Azzani

“Jobs are given and jobs are taken away — often by forces you can’t control. But your career belongs to you.”

Title: Vice President
Company: Korn/Ferry International
Location: San Francisco
Age: 50

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Eunice Azzani is a farmer in a field of hunters — executive headhunters, that is. She’s a vice president and partner in the San Francisco office of Korn/Ferry International, the world’s top executive-search firm. Korn/Ferry has 71 offices in 41 countries, annual billings of $315 million, and access to the highest levels of the world’s biggest companies. Azzani finds executives for high-powered firms such as Deloitte & Touche LLP and Charles Schwab & Co.

But Azzani refuses to call herself a headhunter — a term, she says, that reflects an outdated business mentality (“you eat what you kill”). She prefers the term “head farmer”: someone who plants the seeds of long-term relationships, which later blossom into placements. Here is her guide to farming for a better career.

Résumés are mulch.

“Don’t let a piece of paper define who you are. Companies are looking for people to get things done, to communicate with other people — things that a résumé, no matter how impressive it is, doesn’t convey.”

Your job is not your career.

“Too often, we think of our jobs and our careers as being the same thing. They’re not. Jobs are given and jobs are taken away — often by forces you can’t control. But your career belongs to you. You get to decide everything about it: where you go, what you do, whom you work with. Don’t hesitate to spend real time — six months, a year — figuring out your career trajectory. It’s the best investment you’ll ever make.”

It’s always story time.

“Don’t take an interviewing course — take a storytelling course. Sit down and write your story. Write about the times when you’ve felt great about yourself, the times when you’ve made a difference. If you get in touch with what moves you, you’ll find a job that reinforces the good stuff about you.”

Bring your whole self to work.

“Not being who you are at work drains a lot of your energy. Never pretend to be someone you’re not. And whatever you do, don’t be a mystery to people.”

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Katharine Mieszkowski (katharinem@fastcompany.com) is a Fast Company senior writer based in San Francisco. Contact Eunice Azzani by email (azzanie@kornferry.com).

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