Category: networking

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.

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Why Your Job Application Didn’t Get a Response (And What You Can Do About It)

Eagerly sending your resume to the perfect job posting or trying to contact executive recruiters – but not getting a response?

If you thought your executive resume was strong, and your LinkedIn Profile was ready for prime time, it might seem that your application traveled into a black hole! 

Many executives report similar experiences, with reactions ranging from despair to frustration with employers. Can’t they at least acknowledge your message?

Why don’t recruiters take the time to call you back? What can you do to avoid wondering where you stand?

Before reading too much into the lack of responses, take a look at these common reasons for employer and recruiter silence – along with ways to circumvent the black hole: Continue reading “Why Your Job Application Didn’t Get a Response (And What You Can Do About It)”

Does Your LinkedIn Photo Look Like You Just Don’t Care?

You’ve already been told how important your photograph is to your social media identity – and you certainly understand that other LinkedIn users will be more likely to network with you when they can see your face.

Even so, you may not have the time or inclination to suit up for a professional headshot on your LinkedIn Profile.

However, if you substituted any of these “convenient” pictures of yourself (all found as actual pictures on LinkedIn) for an online photo, your professional credibility can be called into question:

1 – Gazing off into the distance.

Most people build trust by looking directly at the camera—which makes the reader (probably a prospective employer!) believe you’re sincerely interested in their needs.

2 – Cropped out of a family photo.

If you’re so reluctant to have a photo taken by yourself that you’ll resort to having your spouse’s shoulder included on LinkedIn, recruiters might wonder if he or she will need to accompany you to the interview.

3 – Glancing over your shoulder in the car.

Seriously, that headrest in the photo isn’t the nice touch you thought it might be.

4 – Showing some serious skin.

You look wonderful at the beach, but while everyone wants to see you more often, they probably don’t want to see more of you.

5 – Looking much too stern.

A smile goes a long way toward helping your target audience feel comfortable reaching out to you. (Conversely, that “mug shot” look doesn’t quite build rapport in the same manner.)

All joking aside, if you’re intent on using LinkedIn to move ahead in your career (and who isn’t?), you’ll receive a more positive reception by looking the part of the role you hope to gain.

All it takes is your best suit, the nearest person handy with a digital camera (even your teenager), and a quick upload to your Profile to make a much better impression.

Networking for an Executive Career? Take Your Search Offline

One of my favorite job-search strategies is talking about WHERE you can find networking leads. Sure, everyone knows they should be networking… but if you’ve neglected to keep your circle “warm,” then what should you do?

Professional associations and user conferences are a great place to start, since you’ll be tapping into others whose industry interests match yours, plus most people you meet there will likely be employed.

If you’ve been to a job search networking event and felt dragged down by all the unemployment stories, you know what I mean: this is a huge plus. Of course, it goes without saying that people who are working now are more likely to refer you for a new job at their company–rather than compete with you for that perfect position.

Remember to hang out where your target audience does… meaning that trade shows or industry events can be a good source of leads.

To meet someone who is hiring at your level, think like they do. What do they read? What interests them? For an aspiring IT Director, for example, this might be trade events that attract CIOs. For a technical sales executive, this could be a vendor conference.

These strategies can help spark ideas on where to network… and what kind of resources you can tap for a leadership job hunt.

If You’re Not Already on LinkedIn, Here’s Some Good Reasons to Start

And if you are already linked, you know that I wholeheartedly endorse creating a branded profile to accelerate your job search results.

LinkedIn, as you may be aware, has become a hub for professionals engaged in all kinds of business activities, including job searching.

Now, as they’ve added more features to support collaboration and connection activities, there’s even more reasons to polish up your LI profile and use it as a major portion of your job hunt.

Check out this New York Times Article on the new LI capabilities.

How Creating Your Own Network Can Accelerate Your Job Hunt

For job searching in today’s hotly competitive market, nothing tops networking to build your reputation and expand your centers of influence. Studies have shown that finding job leads through others outranks nearly all other methods, far outperforming the practice of responding to online job ads.

However, the term “networking” throws off many good intentions by job seekers, as they have been led to believe that it is tantamount to asking others for a job. Truly skilled networking, though, is simply a matter of spreading the word about what you do, and asking others if you can be of assistance to them as well.

Think of if as part of your own personal PR campaign to get hired!

 But, you might ask, how can I get started cultivating the network itself? What if I didn’t stay in touch with colleagues throughout the years, or I’m uncomfortable approaching others during my search?

Here are some ways to address the question of where to start with your personal network, and ways to build a strong presence (online and offline) that can facilitate a successful job hunt:

1 – Join professional associations in your chosen field.
If you didn’t maintain membership in industry organizations throughout your career, now’s the time to start. Find organizations that cater to professionals in your field by using a web search with your industry name and the word “association” behind it.

For example, “IT association” turns up scores of membership-based groups that are frequented by and also run by industry leaders. A bonus when using Google is that a master indexed list of ALL associations in your field can also pop up in the search results.

What’s great about associations is that corporate members often like to recruit from the membership ranks, as this represents a solid knowledge base and skilled talent pool from which to source candidates. An added feature is that many will publish job listings—for free—on their websites.

In other words, select some groups that fit your personal career goals, and get your membership up and running.

2 – Take advantage of in-person opportunities where possible.
In-person networking meetings can be a boon to job hunters. When you’re trying to find the best venue for presenting your skills, don’t limit yourself to job support groups, as you may find they’re populated only by those searching for work.

Chamber of Commerce meetings, executive networking forums, and yes, professional association chapter meetings can all be a wealth of new contacts. The best part? You can often connect directly with the recruiters who might be in attendance.

Here is where a quick introduction of your credentials (not just your job title!), followed by a query to others about THEIR activities will serve to ease you into true networking mode, and help others retain key points about your background.

3 – Don’t forget about your alumni association and other sources of connections.
Staying in touch or looking up old colleagues can prove valuable for creating (or re-creating) your network. This is also a great source for building your insider knowledge of a particular industry or company.

Throwing out that alumni association newsletter? Don’t! It may contain data on newly employed contacts, including those making a transferr or promotion to a new leadership role—all hot information for expanding your repertoire of job leads. Call your university to get a database of this information.

You’ll also find that company alumni groups represent one of the hottest trends in online social networking. Go to sites such as LinkedIn to see groups formed around ex-employees of just about every major corporation—and don’t be afraid to create one if it doesn’t already exist.

Remember to carefully word your online networking profile so others can find you AND your expertise. This is one of the best free resources available to job hunters, so make the most of it.

In summary, remember to think of networking as a means by which to spread the word about your stellar qualifications, leadership style, and strengths—instead of just a job searching activity—and you’ll soon be on the insider track to find more career opportunities.