Starting an Executive Job Search For the First Time in Years? Here’s What to Do

Haven’t job searched in some time? Get familiar with the new reality.

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Businessman in crisis facing different roads
If you’ve always been recruited, or jobs just “found” you in the past, you might find things have changed.
You’ll now face an increasingly competitive battlefield in the race for a new executive job – and here’s why.

After the economic ups and downs of the past 10+ years, many executives have gotten serious about job search, taking the time to market themselves with a carefully constructed brand message on social media. At the same time, they’ve become more aware of what works on a resume and what doesn’t, especially in a crowded market.

As a result, your executive job search now looks much different than 10 or even 5 years ago – and putting out a single-page resume or a weak LinkedIn Profile won’t suffice.

Read on for the new and upcoming reality of executive job search:

1 – Executive resumes now require a thorough exercise in personal branding.

Still adding new jobs to that old resume, pushing down older positions and making it longer? It’s time to upgrade. Executive resume trends have changed so much that you might not realize how to pull out all the stops to showcase your skills.

Powerful language, graphic elements, and concise success stories now take center stage (as you can see in this example of a Chief Revenue Officer resume), enabling you to  position yourself at an executive (not mid-career!) level.

Devote time to gathering achievements from past positions, adding metrics to frame your results. Note the budgets you’ve managed, initiatives you’ve led, and promotions earned, as well as the accolades behind them. You can even pull in “sound bite” quotes from your references to further emphasize your value proposition.

No matter what you’ve achieved, you must distill accomplishments into short, potent sentences – because recruiters aren’t willing to navigate 6+ pages in their quest for a leader.

2 – LinkedIn should be a strong tool in your job-hunting arsenal.

Ignoring LinkedIn because you don’t know how to use it? Barely filled in your Profile? Don’t wait any longer, because it’s one of the first places employers will be checking you out.

Get your LinkedIn Profile updated as soon as possible, adding achievements and career wins that represent your executive status. Write a powerful, relevant Headline and Summary to position yourself at the right level.

Learn how to join and use Groups, Status Updates, and other facets of the site, without waiting for the “right” time. (Hint: there is no right time.)

Accept connections from other LinkedIn users and issue a few of your own. Be careful not to show your frustration with social media during the learning curve, as this will brand you in a negative light.

3 – Recruiters can be helpful – but you’ll need to pay it forward.

If you haven’t taken a recruiter’s call in many years, it’s time to reconsider. There’s a continual need for talented leaders who can guide strategic decisions, take projects offshore, implement cutting-edge technology, transform sales organizations, and otherwise mentor the next generation of executives.

Picking up the phone and passing along credible names to a recruiter can be a good move, especially if you want to be among those courted for a new role. Staying on the headhunter’s radar might pay off in both the near and long-term future.

When you’re discussing opportunities with a recruiter, maintain your best professional demeanor; remember that they’re working for the client corporation, NOT you. While a recruiter can act as a job-search partner, they’ll also pass along any negative impressions of your communication style and flexibility as a candidate.

4 – Your executive network is more important than ever.

By staying active in your industry with highly visible positions on Boards and in professional associations, you’ll be more likely to become recommended to (or meet) a recruiter or business owner who needs your expertise. In fact, you’ll gain near-immediate credibility by volunteering for a position or speaking engagement within an industry association or group.

You can also elevate your reputation as a thought leader by publishing content or white papers for industry journals, or even on LinkedIn. You can gain blog or social media followers by promoting and commenting on similar articles, particularly those that align with your leadership brand.

5 – Accept changes in your industry – and in the job search.

Your line of work or industry may have undergone substantial changes in the past few years, making your desired role harder to find or difficult to sustain at the same salary level. Here’s where looking at tangent industries, transferable skills, and new professional contacts will serve you better than trying to re-create your job search of years past.

If you’re not sure why the phone fails to ring or recruiters seem to ignore your queries, spend time asking valued colleagues for feedback, or searching LinkedIn to gauge your ROI against the competition.

You might uncover alternatives to the roles you planned to pursue, or a slightly different industry in which to concentrate your efforts.

Continue to spread the word about your expertise through social media and by making high-value contacts, rather than limiting your activity to job posting responses.

In summary, it’s not your father’s job search anymore.

Your digital identity, reputation, adaptability, and networking efforts – not to mention your executive resume – have all taken on considerably more weight in the past few years. You’ll get better results by adapting your executive job search tactics accordingly.

Executive Resume Writer

Need a competitive edge in your job search? As an award-winning executive resume writer, I create branded, powerful resumes and LinkedIn Profiles that position you as the #1 candidate.

My clients win interviews and top C-suite, EVP, VP, and Director positions at Fortune 500 firms, niche companies, start-ups, and emerging industry leaders, enjoying the competitive advantage of powerhouse documents and executive job search techniques tailored to today’s job market.

Get in touch with me to experience the outstanding results I can bring to your transition.

– Laura Smith-Proulx, CCMC, CPRW, CPBA, TCCS, COPNS, CIC, CTTCC

 

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