Many of the c-suite and senior-level executives I work with haven’t faced a job search in 5, 10 or even 15 years or more.
If they’ve changed jobs over that time, they were sought after by executive recruiters and managed to circumvent the job search process.
They’ve been fortunate.
As we all know, things can change in an instant. They can be let go without warning. Or they can suddenly find themselves living with the threat of a lay off.
And there are those who truly have job security, at least for the time being, but are dissatisfied with their job or their company. They’re anxious to move on, or at least see what else is out there.
All of them face the same dilemma. They have little to no experience with the new world of job search, so they often trip themselves up.
They rush to update their resumes . . . or write one for the first time, because they never needed one before . . . with no clear idea of where they want to go next.
They rush to post that new resume to every job opening on every job board that even remotely matches their qualifications and needs.
They get stuck using methods that have dismal success rates, despite every indication that these methods aren’t working. They’re getting zero results and unnecessarily prolonging their search.
As with many complicated issues in our lives, it’s always best to start with an understanding of the path ahead of us.
Here is the linear path to prepare for and navigate a successful executive job search, with links to articles I’ve written on these topics:
1. Identify Companies/Organizations to Target
Don’t even think about writing your executive resume before you first know who you’re writing it for. Determine what kind of work you want to do and which employers will provide that kind of work.
2. Research Your Target Employers and Industry
With your target list of employers in hand, spend time researching each one’s current situation and needs that you’re uniquely qualified to help them meet. Researching for market intelligence about your industry and target employers also serves as your due diligence.
3. Define Your Personal Brand and ROI
Now that you know who you’re targeting and what their current needs are, determine what areas of expertise, driving strengths, passions, values, and personal traits you possess that make you a good fit for them.
4. Write Your Personal Marketing Content – executive resume, biography, LinkedIn profile, Google+ profile, cover letters, etc.
Build personal brand content and messaging around the value you offer your target employers.
5. Build Your Online Presence
The vast majority of executive recruiters and employers search for and assess candidates by what they find about them online. Those with a dismal or non-existent online footprint are often overlooked for those who have a diverse, far-reaching online presence.
6. Embrace Social Media
Go beyond creating social media profiles and take advantage of all that these platforms offer to demonstrate your subject matter expertise and thought leadership, and stay top-of-mind with your target employers.
7. Network into the Hidden Job Market
The perfect job for you may never be posted on a job board or anywhere else! It may only exist in the “hidden” job market. The idea is to circumvent the gatekeepers at your target companies and connect directly with key hiring decision makers where they hang out online and offline.
Build a networking strategy that includes in-person interactions (networking events, etc.), virtual communications (email), and social networking (LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, etc.)
8. Cultivate Relationships with Executive Recruiters
Identify and stay top-of-mind with several recruiters in your niche.
9. Prepare to Ace Job Interviews
Rely once again on your initial industry and company research to help you prepare to excel in job interviews.
10. Monitor and Safeguard Your Online Reputation
Allot time, say, once a week in your executive job search efforts to self-Google. Digital dirt can surface at any time and sabotage your chances. You’ll need to take care of it as soon as possible.