Category: executive recruiters

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

 

Are You Making This Critical Mistake on LinkedIn?

LinkedIn MistakeDumping your resume content straight into each section of LinkedIn—and calling it done?

If you’re still assuming that your resume will stand in for your Profile, you’re doing yourself (and your job search) a disservice.

Here’s why: your resume might be well-written and contain solid achievements—but that doesn’t mean it was developed for online reading or recruiter searches.

Here are 3 compelling reasons that plopping your resume into LinkedIn is a significant mistake: Continue reading “Are You Making This Critical Mistake on LinkedIn?”

How to Find Recruiters For Your Job Search

executiverecruiterPerhaps you’ve decided to reach out to recruiters as a means of accessing potential opportunities at your leadership career level.

If so, how do you find the best executive recruiters for your situation? Many recruiters work nationally and globally, making it difficult to pinpoint the best resources.

You can get in touch with colleagues for a referral, as suggested by the NY Times in Recruiting a Recruiter for Your Next Job, which also outlines steps to take once you’ve found a good contact name.

(Of course, since executive recruiters are tasked with identifying optimum leadership candidates for their client companies, there will also be due diligence on their part to vet YOU.)

With a little resourcefulness, you can also perform online searches to find and build relationships with executive recruiters who are familiar with your field (and potentially, your target companies).

Try these 3 resources to identify potential recruiting agencies for your executive job search:

1 – Locate Recruiters Using LinkedIn.

Executive recruiters are easily findable on LinkedIn with a few simple search techniques. First of all, get familiar with the Advanced People Search function (which will make your life easier throughout your job search).

From any page in LinkedIn, you will see a  use the drop-down menu at the top right, which typically defaults to ”People.” Next to it, you’ll see Advanced – click on this word to access Advanced People Search. Continue reading “How to Find Recruiters For Your Job Search”

Are You Over-Sharing On LinkedIn?

LinkedIn—that all-purpose gathering place for professionals, recruiters, and employers—allows you to converse with like-minded experts in your field, learn about industry-specific topics and events, post resume information, and send private messages to employers in hopes of securing that perfect job.

However, if you’re divulging too-personal details, or letting others have uncomfortably close insight into your job search, it can take longer to find a suitable job – or you can be blacklisted entirely by recruiters.

If you’ve started to confuse LinkedIn connections for your Facebook friends, it’s time to take a step back and consider whether you’re harming your job search.

Here are some signs that you’re wading too deep into personal territory on LinkedIn:

1 – Posting negative comments about your job search in a LinkedIn Group.

While it’s perfectly normal to be frustrated with a job search that’s taking too long, LinkedIn is not the place to blow off steam about prospective employers, HR contacts, or recruiters.

Yet, you can peruse Groups forums and find this type of activity nearly every day, with disgruntled professionals posting information about negative exchanges with employers, and the occasional rant against a particular company or hiring manager. Continue reading “Are You Over-Sharing On LinkedIn?”

Who’s Viewed Your Profile on LinkedIn – And What Do They Want?

Scroll down the sidebar of your LinkedIn Home Page, and you’ll eventually notice the blurb that asks “Who’s Viewed Your Profile?”

If you click on it, you’ll see a page entitled Profile Stats, which is designed to show you other users that have looked at your information.

To get a glimpse of who is searching for you, you’ll want to leverage Profile Stats.

Start by changing LinkedIn Profile Settings (hover the mouse near your name at the top of the page to click on Settings).

Click on “Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile” and choose Your Name and Headline (recommended) to allow others to see YOUR information when you review THEIR profiles.

Now, on to the good stuff: there are common categories of users who are surfing your Profile (right now!). Go to Profile Stats to see the types of LinkedIn users who are looking for you – and why: Continue reading “Who’s Viewed Your Profile on LinkedIn – And What Do They Want?”

What You Should Know Before Contacting a Recruiter

Considering contacting a recruiter to find out about executive or leadership jobs in your field? Many job hunters assume that forging connections with recruiters will put them closer to lucrative, high-level positions that aren’t otherwise advertised.

However, a successful recruiter-job seeker relationship doesn’t just happen. It’s important to understand the relationship among all involved parties (the recruiter, company, and you), get your resume in top shape, and to be ready to deal with potential objections.

These tips will help you be ready to work effectively with a recruiter—with better results from the relationship and a faster outcome for your job search: Continue reading “What You Should Know Before Contacting a Recruiter”

Is Your Leadership Resume Ready for a Recruiter’s Call?

It’s happened! You received a call out of the blue from an executive recruiter who is searching for a great candidate, and he wants to see your leadership resume quickly.
However, you haven’t kept it up-to-date, and now panic mode is setting in.
What should you do?

First of all, consider asking for more time to pull things together. After all, the recruiter will be able to present you much more effectively if you can put your best foot forward on paper, and even a few extra days can make a big difference.
Now, on to your leadership resume update–a fitting subject, considering that it’s Update Your Resume Month.
Here are 3 tips to help you craft a compelling and masterpiece presentation (that looks like these resume samples), even if you’re short on time:
1 – Position yourself appropriately.
Nothing kicks an applicant out of the running faster than an unfocused resume. Therefore, you’ll need to decide on a career direction that represents your executive goal, and apply it to this version of your resume. You can always create a different leadership resume for use in pursuing another position type later.

Add a resume title, using as many specifics as possible that reflect your goal, such as CFO and Board Member, Vice President of Operations, IT Director, etc.

Next, you’ll need to write down ideas for a summary of your background and why you’re qualified for this particular position. The key to writing an effective summary is to tweak it and keep it flexible during the executive resume writing process, as different ideas will spring to mind that you can weave into this section.

In addition, your leadership resume summary needn’t be an actual paragraph. Some people find it easier to write short, brand-focused headlines instead.

Remember to review your summary after finishing your resume as well. You might find that you’ve uncovered more information to add—forming the basis for a well-rounded, powerful introduction to the rest of your executive credentials.

2 – Make a list of success stories to be listed as achievements.

Here is where you’ll need to spend the bulk of your time. Analyzing your contributions to each employer in each leadership role is critical!

Start by jotting down ideas and key points that you’d make in the interview, taking special note of the metrics behind each story and the impact of your work on the company.

Flesh each out to a small paragraph, cutting out extraneous details, until you have a sentence of 3 lines or less that describes your executive role, the context behind each accomplishment, and the results.

Repeat this process a minimum of 3-5 times for each job that you’ve held in the past 10 to 15 years to fill in your leadership resume, adding as many details as possible, while keeping your sentences brief.

Finally, add these stories in bullet-point form for each job, then finish by writing a basic job description that introduces each executive position—describing the number of employees you’ve supervised, budgets managed, business unit growth, and other contextual details.

3 – Get feedback on your leadership resume update.

This is an important step, but it’s one that many executives miss. Colleagues, spouses, bosses, and friends can help you to recall any important projects you might have omitted, or leadership qualities that you should demonstrate in order to be considered for the job.

You can also rely on others to help you proofread your new executive resume, as typos and other errors can escape even the best writer who is pressed for time.

You’ll want to go back over what you’ve written in detail, keeping what others have said as a guide, in order to emphasize some points about your leadership skill and bring in others.

That’s it! Now, take the time to compose a short note to the recruiter that points out your main qualifications and the reasons you’re interested in the job. Your new leadership resume can help do the rest of the talking.

Why “knowing” recruiters won’t help you in your search

I was recently asked by a prospective client if I “knew” any recruiters. Well, I do maintain strong relationships with recruiters in various fields, but there seemed to be a disconnect in the question.

You see, finding a recruiter is only part of the effort you’ll need to undertake in order to be successful. Recruiters find candidates, not jobs. Let me repeat that again – a recruiter will NOT set out to find you a job.

Recruiters are in the business of locating desirable candidates to fill requests by the client companies that pay their fees.

Therefore, they will have little reason to scour the corporate world to find new job openings for you, but they may be interested in your qualifications. The key word here is “may.”

If you offer a straightforward career trajectory with a wealth of industry experience, you may well be a sought-after candidate by recruiters.

However, if you plan to change careers, your work history is spotty, or you are currently unemployed, you may find that recruiters are not able to convince their clients of your value.

What does this mean for your search? You’ll need to spend time finding the right audience for your resume, rather than just shooting off a mass email to thousands of recruiters (or finding someone who “knows” a recruiter!).

And above all, remember to use the same level of professional courtesy that you’d deliver in the context of an interview. Recruiters are dealing with intensities of the job market just as you are, and will remember their interactions with you.

Why "knowing" recruiters won’t help you in your search

I was recently asked by a prospective client if I “knew” any recruiters. Well, I do maintain strong relationships with recruiters in various fields, but there seemed to be a disconnect in the question.

You see, finding a recruiter is only part of the effort you’ll need to undertake in order to be successful. Recruiters find candidates, not jobs. Let me repeat that again – a recruiter will NOT set out to find you a job.

Recruiters are in the business of locating desirable candidates to fill requests by the client companies that pay their fees.

Therefore, they will have little reason to scour the corporate world to find new job openings for you, but they may be interested in your qualifications. The key word here is “may.”

If you offer a straightforward career trajectory with a wealth of industry experience, you may well be a sought-after candidate by recruiters.

However, if you plan to change careers, your work history is spotty, or you are currently unemployed, you may find that recruiters are not able to convince their clients of your value.

What does this mean for your search? You’ll need to spend time finding the right audience for your resume, rather than just shooting off a mass email to thousands of recruiters (or finding someone who “knows” a recruiter!).

And above all, remember to use the same level of professional courtesy that you’d deliver in the context of an interview. Recruiters are dealing with intensities of the job market just as you are, and will remember their interactions with you.

Should you work with a recruiter?

Considering contacting a recruiter for your job search? You’ll need to first understand how this relationship works, then locate and nurture the best sources of recruiters for your field.

First of all, your best option is to contact more than one recruiter during a job search.

For jobseekers who don’t grasp the overall strategy of recruiting, this may seem confusing. Can’t the recruiter you called just find you a job?

Well, no. The companies that contact recruiters to fulfill their hiring needs are the recruiter’s true clients (not jobseekers).
Therefore, since recruiters work for (and are paid by) client companies, they do not have allegiance to any particular candidate and WILL NOT FIND JOBS FOR YOU—unless your expertise matches their client’s needs.
In addition, many recruiters now work globally to source the best candidates for their clients. Therefore, a recruiter based in Texas may recruit a Colorado candidate to fill an open slot in New York City. Given that recruiters are looking for that perfect match, it can be in your best interest to present your resume to more than one recruiter or recruiting firm.
Here are 3 ways to find and make the best use of recruiter contacts:

1 – Find recruiters that specialize in your area of expertise.
Google for recruiters that fit your skills and field, using search terms such as “recruiter IT” or “recruiter operations” to get lists of firms that source candidates for particular fields. Some websites, such The Riley Guide, also offer lists of recruiting firms by specialty.
Another option is to use a recruiter directory such as OnlineRecruitersDirectory.com or HeadHuntersDirectory.com. Here, you can specify either a location or a particular field in order to guide you to firms that fit your situation.
Yet another alternative is to send out a recruiter email distribution. While this is certainly NOT a guaranteed strategy, it can save you many hours of time (if you intend to spend those hours emailing your resume to recruiters).
Many firms offer resume distribution, with fees that vary from $50 to more than $300. The general feedback on these services is that you get what you pay for in terms of better quality contacts. Of course, using this method means that you will lose the personal touch associated with calling each agency.
Larger, well-known recruiting firms, such as Heidrick & Struggles and Korn Ferry also specialize in executive recruiting for varied skill sets.
2 – Adjust your resume style for a recruiter.
Recruiters often scan resumes very quickly for experience and education, and prefer straightforward, chronological resumes. They are usually looking for job histories that match specific criteria—meaning that they are not able to match candidates to jobs outside of their experience.
If you plan to change careers or industries, it is best to avoid contacting recruiters, as their client companies pay them to find seasoned candidates with specific experience in the desired field.
However, if you plan to stay in the same industry and have a solid career background, you will be an attractive candidate for recruiters. An impressive academic background is also desirable, as is the candidate who has held no more than 3 jobs in the past 10 years.
3 – Cultivate long-term recruiter relationships.
Keep in mind that many recruiters stay in touch with their clients on a regular basis, and are therefore a great source of information on the industry or a particular field of expertise.
It’s a good idea to stay in touch with a recruiter from time to time, as new job requirements can pop up even months after you’ve first contacted them. As many recruiters fill a multitude of job orders and talk with many candidates, they may not recall your area of expertise unless you stay on their radar.
Most importantly, treat the recruiter relationship as you would any business arrangement, with courtesy and attention to follow-up. Offer to pass along the recruiter’s contact information to other valuable candidates as well, as most recruiters will appreciate—and remember—your responsiveness and professionalism.