Because today’s executive job search doesn’t look or work the way it did even 5 or so years ago, I advise executive job seekers to first learn about the new executive job search landscape, before diving in.
To help you, I’ve compiled some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) from my executive job seeking clients, along with winning strategies I offered them to deal with the various challenges and issues they faced.
Catch up with the FAQs I’ve already covered, in these 4 posts:
Personal Branding FAQs
Online Reputation Management FAQs
Executive Resume FAQs
3 Hot Button FAQs About Executive Job Search Strategy
1. I’m on the job boards almost every day and send my resume to every job posting possible, but it’s been months, and very little is happening. What am I doing wrong?
Many job seekers assume that successful job hunting in the digital age means using job boards as the main strategy to land a job.
But job boards aren’t very good at helping people land good-fit jobs for several reasons, including:
- Jobs posted may not be legitimate openings.
- Job descriptions may not truly represent the job.
- Jobs may have already been filled, but still linger on job boards.
- You may not be able to delete your resume from their database once you land a job, making you forever appear as an active job-hunter and jeopardizing future jobs.
And then, there’s the nearly inevitable black hole waiting to consume your resume. When you send your resume in response to job listings, or to human resources at a particular company, it lands in a database with an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) that matches jobs to candidates based on specific keywords they search your resume for.
Human eyes won’t review it, unless and until it manages to get called up in response to a specific job opening. Then, your resume must contain enough of the keywords they’ve deemed important.
If your resume isn’t re-tooled – each time you apply for a job online – to contain the right keywords for each particular job posting, you probably won’t make the cut. This severely limits the chances your resume will be seen, and that you’ll land a job through all that time spent on job boards.
But the main reason job boards don’t work well is that, by far, most jobs – especially c-suite and very senior-level jobs – come through proactive networking into the goldmine of “hidden” jobs.
These job openings NEVER land on job boards. They’re not posted anywhere.
So you can see, it’s best to avoid spending hours responding to job postings on the various job boards.
Instead, put together a solid list of companies or organizations to target, and network your way into them.
But don’t give up entirely on job boards. They can be very helpful for company and industry research. Find job descriptions that look like a mutual good fit in terms of qualifications – whether or not the location or the actual company itself is a good fit.
2. I know I need to target specific companies. How do I find the right ones?
This is a dilemma some of my clients face.
Your game plan – Target employers or organizations that will be a mutual good fit, and then deeply research them to uncover their current pressing needs and determine how you will help them overcome these challenges.
Depending upon your target industry(s) and other variables, compiling your list of target companies may be a cinch, or a headache.
More tips in my post 7 Tips to Build Your Executive Job Search Target Companies List.
3. I’ve never been a good networker. Where do I start?
Start with the solid foundation of targeting, research and defining your personal brand. Before reaching out to people, you’ll need to be prepared to speak intelligently about yourself and your value to the companies you’re targeting. If you can’t specifically tell people what you’re looking for, they won’t know how to help you.
Next, connect more deeply with the people you already know — friends, colleagues, current and former customers/clients, vendors, professional associations, etc.
Then, cast a far-reaching net to build out your existing network (online and off-line) with fresh faces, including executive recruiters and people working at your target companies.
If you have a hard time making new connections, follow my tips in How to Connect on LinkedIn with People You Don’t Know . . . and Get Action.
For details on how to network, and keep your network engaged and happy with you, see my post How to Network Your Way Into a Great-Fit Executive Job.
Finally, keep making the right connections and stay top-of-mind with them, on a regular basis.
For details on all of the above, see my post How Do I Rebuild My Network for Executive Job Search?