How Can I Re-enter the C-suite Without Letting My Employment Gap Be an Issue?

I have been out of the workforce for several years. What’s your advice on the best way to smoothly re-enter the C-suite without letting my employment gap be an issue?

Ann-Z-newPeople leave full-time employment for many reasons. Perhaps they make an empowering life choice, such as choosing to care for a loved one, or perhaps traveling the world with an elderly loved one, whose time is short. Or maybe they fall ill, or win the lottery! There are countless reasons why people leave and just as many reasons why many people actively choose to re-enter the workforce.

There is never a better time to consider re-entering the workforce. With unemployment low, if you are itching to get back into the game, now could be the optimal time.

Invest in a professional resume writer, focusing on job accomplishments as opposed to the job description. You only have one shot at a first impression, so it is money well spent when investing in having your resume make the biggest impact possible. Give some thought as to what the company wants in an employee, including specific traits, skills or experience, and then be sure to include how your background matches up to what they want and need. Pay special attention to focusing on your VALUE PROPOSITION, highlighting how your background positions you to meet and exceed their current objectives. This will go a long ways in getting the hiring managers attention. Understanding and being able to put into words exactly what your value proposition is, is the biggest challenge for most job seekers, so be sure to ask your professional resume writer or career coach for assistance with that area in particular.

Put considerable effort into creating your LinkedIn profile. These days recruiters spend more time on LI than on job boards looking for candidates, so be sure to have your LI profile as slick as possible. Rather than copying and pasting your resume into the fields, pay attention to the different areas and expand upon them, because LinkedIn requires a different presentation style. Use a professional picture, with a the title and keywords that match your skill set in the very top section under your name. this ensures that your profile is coming up when hiring managers are searching for people like you.

Spend time on LinkedIn joining Groups within your area of focus and reach out to connect with hiring managers within your area of discipline. Make a point to “like” and comment on their posts, contributing meaningful information.

Spend time looking a companies you would be interested in joining, and sign up for job alerts. You can also set up Google alerts, as well as alerts on each company’s individual website that you are targeting, so that you are alerted when potential job matches become available.

Attend ExecuNet networking meetings! You should be doing this even when you are not engaged in actively searching for your next job, because these days executives should always be in search mode! These meetings all around the country are a fantastic way to meet other like-minded executives and make great contacts. Everyone goes to these meetings for the sole purpose of making executive-level contacts and to help other people, and the really smart ones keep going even after they have a job – those are the people who make the most meaningful contacts.

It’s all about the networking at the executive level! Reach out to everyone who you can think of who knows of your skills and past accomplishments, expressing your desire for a new career challenge and ask for help in getting introduced to decision makers who may have need of someone of your caliber, including both former colleagues and prior supervisors. Usually, this is a good starting point, but you cannot expect your network to do your research for you. You’ll meet with the most success when you identify specific people or companies you’d like to get introduced to. Telling your network, “Let me know if you hear of anything for me” is too broad. Telling your network, “I need an introduction into ABC Corp” will meet with better results.

Job Listings: At the executive level ads are invaluable when used for research purposes, showing you which keywords are being associated with your role these days. Pay attention and then incorporate those key word phrases into your resume.


Ask Ann,

Have a question you’d like a recruiter to answer? Write to me at AskAnn@execunet.com



Ann Zaslow-Rethaber

Ann Zaslow-Rethaber

A recruiter since 1996, Ann Zaslow-Rethaber is the president of International Search Consultants, a global executive recruiting firm launched in 1999.

ISC has become one of the country’s most reputable search firms, earning more recommendations on Linked In than any other 3rd party recruiting agency in the entire country. With a team of 15 talented recruiters, utilizing the very best high- tech tools available, ISC can produce highly qualified candidates for companies with hi-volume recruiting needs.

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