As you embark on your next executive job search, you will quickly realize the digital age has vastly altered the way in which a successful job search is conducted.
With social media and the ease of applying for jobs through the vast selection of job boards, you will need to execute a savvy job search in order to identify and ultimately land the right role.
Before you begin the job search process, there are a few “must do” items to get you started.
These include identifying your personal brand, modernizing your resume and career documents, maximizing your LinkedIn profile, and developing your job search strategy.
Many factors will affect your job search such as time of year, demand for your skills, and salary requirements.
An executive job search can take up to six months and maybe longer.
Stay organized during your job search by carving out a few hours a week for networking, researching companies and opportunities, and keeping track of companies, contacts, and connections made via an Excel spreadsheet.
1. Identify your brand
What differentiates you?
How do your colleagues and team members describe you?
What achievements have you had in your current and previous roles that make you stand out and make you marketable for the type of role you want to pursue?
If you haven’t already identified your personal brand, this is your opportunity to do some self-reflection.
Once you have identified this, design your career documents (Cover Letter, Biography, Accomplishments Summary, LinkedIn) to showcase your achievements and leadership differentiators.
You may want to enlist the help of a professional resume writer who is skilled in highlighting achievements in a compelling way utilizing a modern resume format.
2. Employment References
Reach out to your references before you start your job search.
Indicate that you will be launching a new job search and ask them if they are willing to speak on your behalf.
Be sure they are aware of your personal brand and what types of roles you will be pursuing.
Reach out to LinkedIn connections for written references, providing some insight into what you would like them to write.
LinkedIn recommendations can be instrumental in getting contacted by a recruiter that is sourcing candidates.
You should be actively networking in-person and online with former colleagues and industry partners.
By keeping active with your networking connections, they will be more invested in helping you identify potential job opportunities.
Let them know what type of role you are seeking and if they know of any opportunities, have contacts at your target company, or can refer you to another contact who may be able to assist you in your job search.
Focus on expanding your network.
Join local groups to network, volunteer your time as an industry board member, and attend seminars or other educational opportunities.
LinkedIn is the most powerful tool online for executive-level networking.
Build your network of executive recruiters and contacts at target companies and showcase your thought leadership and industry knowledge through daily updates.
Join professional groups and actively participate in professional discussions.
If you are not conducting a confidential job search, you can mention you are seeking your next opportunity in the summary section of your LinkedIn profile.
4. Search Firms
Search firms can help you tap into the “hidden job market” and confidentiality is of utmost importance to search firm recruiters, enabling you to discreetly source new opportunities.
Seek out reputable search firms that are enlisted by corporate leadership to perform a retained search for their executive openings. Identify executive search consultants in your industry, region, or function.
Visit aesc.org to identify the 350+ vetted firms by the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC).
When discussing your background and career interests with a search consultant, showcase the value you can also provide the recruiter.
Share your knowledge of market developments or referrals you may be able to make for their current searches.
You may or may not be a fit for their particular needs right now but your goal is to create an awareness of yourself, which will ensure you come to the top of their mind should an opportunity arise for which you may be well suited.
In some instances, if you share your knowledge, the search consultant may help you with suggestions or provide you with information that will assist you with your networking and career search.
Know the story you want to tell in an interview.
Practice your responses to behavioral and situational questions prior to the interview.
Responses should showcase specific achievements and business differentiators from your past experiences.