If a single word could be used to describe the successful executive search candidate, it would be “proactive.” Long gone are the days when one could peruse a few newspaper ads (seen any of those lately?), get several interviews, and land a great new position.
The successful candidate in the 21st century realizes that employment search is MARKETING. How many thriving businesses do you know of that derive all of their business from one advertising medium?
The more aggressively and effectively you use creative marketing and merchandising strategies, concepts, and techniques, the shorter and more productive will be the job search process.
This multi-faceted process begins with creation of high-impact, branded advertising copy—your executive resume, LinkedIn profile, executive bio, cover letters, thank-you and follow-up letters, reference list, salary history.
Once armed with these marketing tools, there are various avenues you will want to evaluate for promoting the product (you). Not all will be appropriate in every case. For example, if your search needs to be concealed from a current employer, you’ll need to be careful about inadvertently letting the cat out of the bag.
1. Maintain High Visibility on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is so important I gave it its own section. With nearly all recruiters sourcing or researching candidates here, you cannot afford to dismiss or neglect this networking site through actively building your network, participating in groups and discussions, and leveraging the site’s job search tools. This cannot be overemphasized!
2. Network—Online & Offline
Online and offline networking are by far your best sources of leads and also the avenue through which the majority of positions in the marketplace are filled.
As mentioned above, maintain a strong LinkedIn profile, actively build your connections, follow companies of interest to you, and participate in/better yet, start online discussions.
In addition to LinkedIn, you’ll want to investigate and join one or more networking associations (for example, ExecuNet) and then aggressively utilize every resource they offer.
Potential networking targets include your previous bosses and co-workers, contacts you’ve built at vendors and suppliers, previous clients and customers. Professional and civic associations are a valuable networking resource.
Not so obvious but surprisingly fruitful can be casual acquaintances and associates at social and sports clubs, your bank, your pastor, even your barber or hairdresser. Make sure everyone you know has a copy of your resume (being careful, of course, if this is a confidential search).
3. Scan Print/Online Newspaper or Business Journal Ads & Articles
Look not only for companies specifically recruiting for your target position, but for companies highlighted in articles as growing/changing as well as those advertising to fill other positions. Compile a list of prospects for a direct mail or phone campaign from these resources.
4. Conduct Targeted E-Mail and/or Direct Mail Campaign(s)
Targeted mailing (not broadcast or mass mailing) has proven for many to be a powerful vehicle for identifying unadvertised opportunities. Well-planned, well-targeted, and well-executed campaigns do get results!
You may wish to select companies in your preferred industry(s), executive recruiters who specialize in your industry or targeted position, or perhaps venture capitalists who invest in your industry and are looking for management teams to take the helm of their new acquisitions.
Critical to a successful targeted e-mail or direct mail campaign are three elements:
- An up-to-date mailing list
- Specific contact information for the top executive at each company, and
Many candidates have been sorely disappointed after mailing hundreds of resumes to a poorly targeted and outdated list and then compounding their error by failing to follow up with their contacts.
5. Upload Your Resume to Online Databases
Gain quick, low cost, exposure of your credentials to potential employers, executive recruiters, and venture capitalists.
While fewer employers are using online resume databases to identify potential candidates, good jobs are still filled that way. Membership sites such as Bluesteps can pay great dividends as they provide exposure to thousands of recruiters or companies in one step (Bluesteps claims “Executive recruiters have viewed BlueSteps candidate profiles 1,151,493 times and counting.”)
For more places where you can upload your resume, see this list of Executive Job Search Resources.
6. Compile a Wish List
An important part of your executive job search campaign strategy is to compile a list of companies where you would like to work, and strive to develop contacts there.
While you are watching the news, perusing the latest business news either online or in print publications, or talking with colleagues or competitors, think about which companies are most attractive to you and jot them down.
Then research who it is important to know at these organizations, and get yourself on their radar through any of the resources and methods shown above. (It’s a good idea to keep a spreadsheet to track them.)
A Final Word: If you make sure your executive job search campaign is multi- rather than one-dimensional, you will be greatly increasing your odds of success in a shorter period of time.
Copyrighted — Laurie Smith. May not be used or reproduced without express permission.
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