With years of experience and a record of providing quality leadership while inspiring innovation, executives are in high demand worldwide. However, the competitive and sometimes sensitive nature of executive job search requires a strategy, careful planning and research to determine the next organization that you will invest your time and talent in.
For some executives with a long tenure with one organization, being unemployed can seem like a detriment to job search. There are always concerns about misconceptions about being unemployed, particularly when you have held a director, CIO or other senior role. With the fast-changing business world it is not uncommon for organizations to change leadership, as they move into different directions and wish to try new management approaches.
Your experience is valuable, and highly sought after both domestically, and globally. And talented executive leaders are in short supply in most international markets.
At reesmarx, we have been connecting high-growth corporations to talented executive leaders for over twenty years. Your experience is valuable, and highly sought after both domestically, and globally. And because talented executive leaders are in short supply in most international markets, you can create an effective strategy to create a new and exciting professional opportunity.
The next question is “how do I get started?”. Our global recruiters work with corporate clients every day, and we would like to share some advice to help you advance your career, with the right organization.
1. Volunteer or Engage in Contract Work or Consulting
Many of the most lucrative opportunities for executives, are never advertised. As a management professional, you have spent years building your business network and honing the skills to drive success and results.
While you are engaged in a job search (or up to a year beforehand) you can consider activating your networking skills by volunteering. High-profile volunteer work that is enjoyable and meaningful, is not only personally rewarding, but it can expose you to other executives and renew contact and relationships with former colleagues. It is a valuable networking opportunity that puts your skills and expertise back on ‘the radar’ within industry circles.
Don’t underestimate the value of consulting as a contractor, while you are unemployed or underemployed. Be selective regarding the projects and organizations you work with. Choose projects that have clear measurables that can be used to build your portfolio. If you are planning a career change into a new industry, contracting or consulting is a great way to learn the unique culture and challenges of the role. That learning compliments your prior leadership experience and demonstrates to prospective employers that you are committed to continuous education to improve your skills and authority in your industry.
2. Optimize Your Profile and Job Search Documents
Updating your CV to indicate your new career objectives is very important. For this stage, hire a professional consultant or career coach to distill the unique strengths and experiences you offer. The assistance of a professional career coach will also help identify the core requisites for the industry or role you wish to have with the next organization. Your CV should be written to address each one of the KPI’s that are expected for the position and highlight what makes your experience and management skills different than other candidates.
Make sure your CV is selling those valuable differences. When it comes to executive leadership, organizations are seeking talent that goes well beyond the functional management capabilities. A career coach can also help you evaluate your most competitive talents and present them in your job search documentation to get results. And as many first reviews of candidate CV’s are now conducted by software, ensure that you are incorporating the right keywords to avoid being filtered out.
Write several versions of a cover letter, until you find one or two that provide a strong and professional introduction and value proposition. When you are naming your documents (cover letter and CV) do not submit a generic title, i.e., “Alexandra Smith CV – 2019”. Assume that most major corporations will be using dedicated recruiters; make it easy for them to visually see your name, the position you are applying for, and the date of your inquiry. For example, “Alexandra Smith – Director of Marketing - Microsoft (London)”.
One final consideration about job search documentation and making the right first impression; your email address. While you may have a Gmail account for private use, i.e., Businessmaven@gmail.com, that is not an appropriate email to correspond with recruiters or hiring managers. Create a new email address that is professional, such as AlexandraSmith@Gmail.com.
It may seem like a small and innocuous thing, but it makes a difference when hiring managers are reviewing emails by the hundreds (or thousands) for one executive position. It will also help interviewers find your email and documentation more quickly with keyword search by your first or surname.
3. Attend Conferences and Job Fairs
You may be thinking that job fairs do not recruit senior management or executive leadership roles. And is true, however the hiring managers for leading organizations in your niche sector will be there, scouting for top talent. And a job fair is one of the best places to expand your network, and you can ask questions about the goals and culture of an organization and gather literature and other information to help you research whether the company would be a good fit for you.
Don’t forget the business cards. You can also place your CV and cover letter on an inexpensive thumb drive, and provide it with your card to some of the top tier organizations that you are most interested in. Samples of your work, campaigns and non-confidential summaries of the results you have achieved with other teams, can help hiring managers evaluate and even refer you to other opportunities.
4. Create a Portfolio Website
Many executives have a portfolio website that has professional recommendations, a downloadable CV and some even choose to blog or podcast about their industry. If you have a personally branded site, include that and your pertinent contact information on your card, and leave hiring managers with something to think about, should you fit an upcoming need that may not be advertised yet.
Freelance help is affordable, and in a matter of days you can have a professionally branded website live and showing up in search. Again, focus on creating content that demonstrates your skills, experience, interests and leadership style. Get some help to identify the keywords most commonly used by recruiters in your niche and industry and incorporate them on your website. Make it easy for top level hiring managers to find you online.
5. Start Writing on LinkedIn Pulse
If you have never created an article and published it on LinkedIn Pulse, it’s a perfect time to start elevating your profile on the world’s largest business network. Did you know that when a LinkedIn member publishes a blog post on their profile, LinkedIn Pulse incorporates that article into a circulated news feed?
Start by writing one article a week and sharing your leadership insights. What is changing in the industry? What challenges are corporations facing, and how can executive leaders help manage digital and cultural transformation? Demonstrate your thought leadership and increase your profile views.
The articles also reflect very well, when your LinkedIn profile is viewed by recruiters and human resource professionals. It shows you are constantly learning, evaluating and growing within your sector as an accomplished business leader.
In 2018, reesmarx introduced a new career coaching service. Executives who are planning to make a career change or move to another organization, can benefit from the assistance of one of our qualified career experts.
As you begin to formulate your strategy and organize personal branding assets while evaluating the potential to upgrade your skills with continuing education, our career coaches can help you create a step-by-step plan that can help you improve your competitive candidacy.
Start today by visiting our website to learn more about the executive coaching services we offer and contact us to schedule a meeting to discuss your goals.