Category: executive job search

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

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

 

Why You’ll Benefit From Using LinkedIn Publishing for Your Job Search

LinkedIn Publishing PlatformIf you haven’t tried LinkedIn’s Publishing platform for your job search, you’re missing a HUGE opportunity to promote your personal brand and leadership skills to employers.

There’s no limit to the topics or volume of posts allowed per user, and with an international recruiting audience ready at your virtual feet, there’s no reason to hold back!

Still hesitant? Consider these near-instant benefits to your job search from publishing: Continue reading “Why You’ll Benefit From Using LinkedIn Publishing for Your Job Search”

5 Ways to Crush the Competition in Your Executive Job Search

How to win executive job

Moving up to the corner office – or seeking a change in your executive role?

Start leveraging new practices and trends to outpace your job-seeking competition as soon as possible. 

A strong social media presence, keyword-rich executive resume, cutting-edge search methods, and intensive follow-up are now required to land a choice leadership position.

Here are 5-must-know executive job search, LinkedIn, and resume trends you’ll need to win your next leadership opportunity:

Continue reading “5 Ways to Crush the Competition in Your Executive Job Search”

How to Choose the Right LinkedIn Photo

LinkedIn HeadshotSo you’ve added a solid Summary, Headline, and Experience to your LinkedIn Profile. What’s next?

A great headshot that exudes leadership qualities, conveys confidence, and makes employers eager to meet you.

If you’re unsure how to select a photo for your LinkedIn Profile, you have plenty of company. Many job seekers pull in a hastily cropped family photograph or select a picture with a vacation scene, rather than taking the time to use the right LinkedIn headshot.

However, just like your best interview suit or a powerfully written Profile, a positive, personality-infused LinkedIn photo can make a great first impression. These tips will help you avoid a LinkedIn photo disaster (especially the kind that turns off potential employers): Continue reading “How to Choose the Right LinkedIn Photo”

What Does Your LinkedIn Photo Say About Your Executive Brand?

executive linkedin photoAfter seeing too many executive photos on LinkedIn that look like a hunting party or golf club outing, I have to ask:

What message are you trying to send with your headshot?

Omitting a LinkedIn photo isn’t a good idea, because many users prefer to connect with others who’ve provided an image.

However, if your headshot makes others reluctant to network with you or persuades recruiters to pass you by, it’s worth a second look. Ask yourself these questions to gauge the effectiveness of your Profile photo:

Continue reading “What Does Your LinkedIn Photo Say About Your Executive Brand?”

7 Phrases to Delete From Your LinkedIn Profile

Have you noticed? 

Phrases long considered taboo on resumes (like “self-motivated team player”) are making their way back into LinkedIn Profiles – and the outcome isn’t good.

Phrases to delete from your LinkedIn ProfileThese mundane phrases only make it more difficult for employers to see your ROI as a candidate! They have to look past these overused terms to even FIND your unique value proposition.

With a little ingenuity, however, you can pull the lackluster phrases out of your Profile and replace them with powerful writing attuned to your personal style and energy.

Here are some of the worst offenders lurking among LinkedIn Profiles, along with suggestions for alternative wording:

1 – Accomplished professional.

If this is really true, then show (don’t tell!) your readers about it. This phrase is likely to prompt more annoyance from employers than appreciation.

Instead, consider using a sentence or phrase that speaks specifically to your achievements and career stature, as shown here:

  • Sales rep distinguished by closing 153% of quota in 2017
  • IT Director heading millions in outsourcing contracts at global banks

In addition, you can add accomplishment data (right in the Summary) that cuts to the heart of what you do and why you’re good at it, with sentences such as these:

  • Sales manager honored for coaching 3 Top Producers
  • Operations manager promoted for increasing production line efficiency

2 – Results-driven.

Most companies plan on hiring someone who fits this description, and they weed out anyone who doesn’t perform to their expectations. It’s almost to your detriment to point this out in your Profile.

You might try adding information that actually PROVES your drive for results, with mention of how you’ve earned a promotion in just 6 months, or the ways in which your performance has outpaced that of your peers.

3 – Exceptional communicator.

The trouble with this phrase is that it’s not only tough to prove, but that the person using it often misspells one or more words (really).

Since your LinkedIn Profile gives you plenty of opportunity to demonstrate your writing skills, you’ll have the opportunity to convey complex concepts or perhaps distill a major project into a short description… both of which would speak louder about your communications skills than this phrase ever will.

4 – Proven success.

Well, employers would hope so. After all, why mention your success unless you have some proof to back it up?

Here’s where you’re better off noting some metrics, as in:

  • Exceeded quota for 7 out of past 8 years
  • Brought company to 87% market share
  • Met 100% of project budget constraints despite limited resources

These achievements can help online readers understand the scope of your work and the reasons behind your career progression.

5 – Experienced.

Ahem… of COURSE you are.

Even worse, successful experience is so redundant you’re wasting space and LinkedIn keyword optimization by even thinking of these phrases.

One way to replace this word is to simply specify the number of years you’ve worked in the industry.

However, be careful here:  16 years of experience in sales doesn’t quite have the same ring as Generated 27% average over-quota revenue throughout progressively challenging sales roles.

6 – Responsible for.

Just like a resume, there is no reason to clutter the landscape of your Profile with a phrase that is largely assumed.

Rather than use this phrase, you can just skip to the relevant facts (managed $4.2M budget, oversaw 12-state region, supervised staff of 35) and save everyone’s time.

7 – Microsoft Word skills.

Unless you’re targeting an entry-level or editing job, there’s no advantage to listing basic skills possessed by nearly all applicants. In fact, employers might be more surprised if you lack these capabilities.

Instead, research target jobs for desirable skills and keywords that can help pull in traffic from recruiters seeking specific competencies.

By taking a long look at your LinkedIn Profile, you should be able to see if you’re committing the SAME mistakes that have been appearing on resumes for years.

If so, it’s time to refresh your approach and provide specific details on the high points of your career—information that others can readily relate to (and even use to hire you) from your LinkedIn Profile.

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

How to Answer the ‘Tell Me About Yourself’ Interview Question

Tell Me About YourselfAmong the top interview questions you must be prepared to answer, “Tell me about yourself!” strikes dread in the hearts of most job seekers.

Whether you’ve been on a leadership job hunt for some time, or this is your first job search effort in years, this query can throw you for a loop while you try to figure out the best response.

If this question always catches you by surprise, consider preparing for your interview with 3 critical steps to increase your confidence and effectiveness: Continue reading “How to Answer the ‘Tell Me About Yourself’ Interview Question”

Is Your LinkedIn Photo a Joke?

LinkedIn Photo crazy

Wondering why everyone else is getting great results off LinkedIn – while you’re waiting for your turn?

I don’t know you, but I’ll take a guess – your photo is probably terrible.

How could I possibly know this? I’ve talked too often with the frustrated job seeker who, disenchanted with LinkedIn, says he or she believes “LinkedIn doesn’t work.”

This is nearly always the person with a major photo disadvantage.

So what’s the best way to figure out if you’re due for a photo upgrade? Read on for some common signs of a LinkedIn Photo mishap: Continue reading “Is Your LinkedIn Photo a Joke?”

Seeking the Best Resume Writer You Can Find?

resume_writer

Launching a job search? You’ve probably thought about hiring the best executive resume writer you can find.

There’s a plethora of resume writers advertising services online and through social media. 

But how do you know if an executive resume writer will market you effectively?

What if the final product doesn’t represent you or your field? What if you don’t understand the writer’s work?

What should you look for (and ask) when vetting the best executive resume writer for you?

I recommend setting out to qualify writers with these 7 questions, which will give you a good idea of the quality, responsiveness, and attention you’ll receive. After all, most executive resume writers represent a sizable investment (from $500 to more than $4,000). Continue reading “Seeking the Best Resume Writer You Can Find?”

Has LinkedIn Thrown a Wrench in Your Executive Job Search?

Executive Job Search LinkedInWorked for hours on your resume to add success stories and details, without so much as glancing at your LinkedIn Profile?

If you’re not getting results, then your resume might not be the problem.

It’s important in today’s digital sourcing world to pay as much (if not MORE) attention to your LinkedIn Profile than your executive resume.

Here’s why: according to this ERE.net survey, 94% of recruiters and HR professionals use LinkedIn to identify optimum candidates at professional and executive levels (and these numbers are actually increasing!).

By neglecting LinkedIn during your executive search, you’re making a significant mistake. If the following problems sound familiar to you, then take action with some quick fixes for better results: Continue reading “Has LinkedIn Thrown a Wrench in Your Executive Job Search?”