Category: 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.

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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”

3 Ways You’re Turning Off Recruiters on LinkedIn

Ready to make LinkedIn work harder for you… but unsure how to generate activity from the site?

Confused as to why your Profile viewers never get in touch with you?

LinkedIn will have a tremendous impact on your job search – generating new Connections, recruiter calls, and networking opportunities – but this only happens when you actively cultivate your Profile as a keyword-rich, career-specific presentation that wows employers.

Here’s a list of ways you might be dissuading hiring authorities from reaching out to you online: Continue reading “3 Ways You’re Turning Off Recruiters 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?”

Working With Recruiters, Part II: Getting Up to Speed

Today’s job hunter faces an increasingly confusing myriad of choices about how to find that next opportunity, from where to search for job openings, to how to create an effective résumé or even where to use it. However, there’s one mainstay of the job market that can pay off in huge dividends for both employers and job seekers: using a recruiter.

While most professionals are aware that recruiters work to fill openings from their client companies, few fully understand exactly how the process works.

Professionals who want to use recruiters as part of their job search strategy should understand a few key points, according to Audrey Spencer of ACBS Resource Management, Inc. A recruiter who specializes in locating candidates suitable for overseas positions, Spencer notes that one of the biggest point of confusion centers around the recruiter’s loyalty to the client company over that of the candidate.

“People often think a recruiter is working for them, and will say ‘That recruiter didn’t do anything for me.’ That’s when I ask – what did YOU pay the recruiter?” Spencer says. A core fact of the relationship, she notes, is that the recruiter is directly fulfilling the needs of the client company—which is also the organization that pays the recruiter’s fees.

For this reason, she says, you will find some recruiters may not respond unless a résumé is a good fit for the job orders on that recruiter’s desk. Her recommendation? Remember that you are your own headhunter and should always put down as much information about your skills as possible. Have a friend or spouse read your résumé to see if they can then describe to what you do in detail.

In addition, she notes, recruiters often look for very specific skills per client request. As an example, Spencer points to her client’s strict requirements for junior-level accountants who are finishing CPA certifications, willing to make a two-year commitment for placement in Bermuda, and meet immigration requirements, with an added plus for those with Sarbanes-Oxley experience.

Spencer offered additional tips on recruiter interaction for job seekers, including:

Remember professional courtesy. When you work with a recruiter, be responsive, returning phone calls in a timely manner, even if it’s only to state that you’re not interested in the position.

Spencer says that you may run across situations where the same recruiter will have a plum job that fits your qualifications in a matter of months—and they will remember your professionalism when it comes to approaching you again. “Recruiters have very long memories,” she says.

In addition, staying in touch over time, perhaps sending a brief communication every few months, can let the recruiter know that you are still in the game while maintaining your network. Don’t forget to ask the recruiter if you can pass along his or her name to other qualified candidates.

Know the difference between retained search and contingency recruiting. Retained search arrangements are established so that the recruiter can work exclusively on that search for the client, where a contingency recruiter is not exclusive to a search, and the client can be working with more than one recruiter. Contingency recruiters, she says, tend to have a higher volume of job orders as well.

Retained recruiters make an estimate of the fee, and bill for a portion of the fee to initiate the engagement from the client. Typically, Spencer says, companies that are looking for very senior–level executives will use retained search consultants or recruiters.

Remember, too, that when it comes to fees for either contingency or retained searches, neither recruiters nor consultants will accept fees from individuals that are looking for jobs.

Target your résumé to the job opening. A general resume, she says, doesn’t tell the recruiter enough about you for them to see a match between your background and the client company’s needs.

“If a recruiter asks you to add some information to your résumé, listen well,” Spencer says, clarifying that there are often years of perspective behind this advice, and recruiters tend to know what employers are looking for.

Remember that what you say online can travel—and fast. Be careful how your opinions are presented, both online and off. Spencer says she has seen blog postings where currently employed professionals ask how to find a contact inside another company.

Don’t assume your employer isn’t reading what you post, she cautions, and be aware of who might be reading the blog, as it is open to many people. She notes that recruiters, in particular, tend to keep in touch with each other and compare notes frequently.

Not all recruiters have access to all jobs. “Just because a company in your area has a job opening doesn’t mean that all recruiters are working with them,” Spencer says. Clients often have a preference for recruiters that they may have worked with in the past.

In other words, contact other recruiters as needed who source candidates in your field. This can expand your network, and help you to spread the word about your search.

Next week: Working With Recruiters, Part III: Finding and Approaching Contacts

Working With Recruiters, Part 1: Your Resume

With so many professionals questioning how recruiters work, this topic comes up frequently, and for good reason: numerous myths abound about what recruiters really want to see on your résumé, what to avoid, and what is sure to get a response.

As a former recruiter, I often saw great candidates undersell themselves by a mile, while not-so-skilled professionals could get their foot in the door just through a well-written document. (I’ve seen it happen! Check out the chapter excerpt to my book for an enlightening story).

One thing is for sure: then and now, recruiters need basic information that gives them an accurate picture of your fitness for their client needs.

In a nutshell, this is the plea I’ve heard most frequently from the hiring side of the table:

Explain your value proposition.
Improving your chances, according to a technical recruiter, involves taking a “short snapshot of wins, achievements and results” that shows your impact to revenue and costs.

In other words, if you’re going to be evaluated just on your résumé, ensure that your value leaps out, makes sense, and is summarized for easy reading.

Don’t make me hunt for the good stuff.
If there are key points among your major qualifications, say so UPFRONT.

I’m reading several dozen résumés right along with yours, and I might miss out on your new MBA, or the fact that you offer a background in logistics along with purchasing experience.

The technical recruiter, for example, recommends putting that “snapshot” squarely on the top portion of your résumé.

Explain your gaps.
Life happens, and it’s possible to have been unemployed while looking for work, or while raising a family.

As I’ve noted before, giving your gap a name means that I don’t have to guess what’s been going on in your life, or toss your résumé before finding out.

Don’t use the cover letter to rehash.
Some recruiters love the cover letter, while others ignore it. It’s safe to say that I’ll at least glance at it, and there’s where your problems can start.

Avoid repeating or lifting résumé information. Instead, tell me why you want to work at this particular job, and what connection your skills have to my client’s needs.

Give me bullet points… and save some trees.
If you’ve written a masterfully crafted, five-page résumé, it will hit the trash without a second look.

Why? Because I need your information to be concise, and I can already tell that you don’t know how to convey your point.

There’s nothing harder on the eyes than a résumé full of long paragraphs. Remember—my email is full of documents from well-qualified job hunters, and I will be skimming – NOT reading – yours.

Proofread, and then proofread some more.
As one recruiter puts it, “One spelling mistake, and you’re out.”

Echoes a hiring manager at a technology corporation, “These are the days of MS Word! It still amazes me to see résumés that have so many typos.”

Seeking stability…
One trait shared by numerous recruiters is avoiding job hoppers. As many recruiters have noted bluntly, I’m on the lookout for longer tenures.

“A habit of job-hopping assures the resume will not be read,” notes one executive recruiter.

If this applies to you, remember that recruiter criteria CAN be subjective… and you may need to expand your search techniques to cast that wider net.

Skip the font and presentation circus.
I can have a tough time reading what you’re really all about through the fancy fonts, borders, and other frivolities stuffed into some résumés.

“I look first for presentation, meaning the résumé must be well-organized, logical, and easy to read,” notes a nonprofit hiring manager.

In fact, notes an accounting hiring manager, “I’d err away from the art project,” noting that a clean look and use of different sizes or bold in the same font are preferred choices for easy reading.

A good résumé response, says a corporate hiring authority, can definitely be compounded by an “unconventional” design.

Remember that I might simply not have the need…
So don’t take it personally! My client companies have very specific requirements as to length of tenure, keywords or skills, and location.

Yet, many résumés will cross my desk, and they might not fit my criteria. For example, it’s a fact of recruiting life that many of us look only for passive candidates (meaning the ones that aren’t looking at the moment).

And while I might be excited about your background, there are times I just can’t sell my clients on it.

But remember: today’s hiring situation can change within minutes. As one recruiter told me, “Stay in touch. Things can change very quickly, and you never know what opportunities I might try to fill tomorrow.”

Next week: Working With Recruiters Part II: Getting Up to Speed