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How to Find an Executive Job – When No One is Hiring

Posted by Glasco, Christine at Tuesday, 12/04/2012 10:04 pm
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3.4 from 29 votes
Last week, I had coffee (and I admit it – I also had dessert) with a former client who has become a great friend. We were celebrating an incredible job offer that he recently received and accepted. Earlier this year, I wrote about the more sobering job market truths in The Employability Probability of Executives in Career Transition. The offer he received presents a nice counterpoint to this post.

During our celebration, I asked him to identify the top 5 or 6 strategies he used to successfully land a dream role.

He recommended:

1. Develop resilience to rejection – “Practice perseverance during the silence and find ways to reenergize yourself so that you can stay in the fray.”

2. Stop engaging in ‘quantity’ networking - “Instead, focus your efforts on individuals, groups or events that match the type of role you are seeking.”

3. Focus on LinkedIn - “Instead of spending time on a variety of job posting websites, maximize LinkedIn by making valuable long-term contacts; reaching out to others in your professional association, industry or role; connecting to search firm partners, etc.” Even when you feel like you have really worked on your job search because you daily post your resume for 4 – 5 jobs, you cut down on the time you have to develop strategy, increase your network, ‘get known’ in your field or industry, help others and communicate your value proposition.

4. Get to know the search firm partners who source candidates with your background. “If possible, find someone to provide a warm introduction for you. Help them source candidates for open requisitions. Invite them to join you for coffee, breakfast, etc. Through helping them, you allow them the opportunity to get to know you. Periodically, update your profile on the search firm website.” As a final note to self: the right time to develop relationships with search firm partners is before you are in transition.

5. Narrow your search and focus on one or two areas – “You should be able to precisely articulate your value proposition based on career specialty, industry or unique technical expertise.” Don’t chase everything; communicating your value, competencies and career story is easier if you have a focused brand platform.

6. Submit a one-page Bio instead of a Resume – “I never received a response after I submitted a resume. However, I received calls and emails requesting a resume after I responded to a job posting by sending a bio. I was able to have conversations with real people.”

In addition to implementing these recommendations, my friend developed a complementary ‘active’ transition’ strategy. I define active transition as not waiting for the telephone to ring, and having alternatives lined up (e.g. consulting, non-profit work, professional association leadership, business start-up, etc.) before the transition occurs.

During transition, my friend worked for a consulting company, conducted a business valuation, participated in an acquisition, helped search firms source candidates and helped disheartened executives in transition.

At the end of our coffee meeting, I asked him how he located his new role.

He told me that he responded to an advertisement on LinkedIn by submitting a one-page bio. The hiring manager called him to request a resume. That first conversation set the tone for a series of conversations that then led to a series of interviews at the company headquarters. My friend found an opportunity during the interviews to showcase his value proposition and problem solving capability by offering a solution to a major business problem – on the spot. They made him an offer before he left the facility.

By the way, the offer was: “What will it take to bring you on board?” Sweet!

Another way to think about any career transformation whether due to a voluntary or involuntary precipitating event:

Whether voluntary or involuntary, we will periodically find ourselves faced with the need to transform our careers. The length of time to move from where you were to where you want to go – doesn’t matter. What matters is having knowledge of the process, engaging your passion and landing the opportunity that best utilizes your skills, competencies and passions.

A question for you to consider:

* Are you in the middle of a career transformation or should you be in the middle of a career transformation? If your answer is yes, contact me to schedule a time to discuss your career:

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