As an executive, you possess impressive skills and have a record of business-transforming achievements. Therefore, your job search experience is vastly different than less experienced professionals who’ve had to proactively seek out their next opportunity. In fact, many executives have never needed a resume to land jobs or haven’t had the challenge of searching for a job in many years. Even executives who have managed their own job search in the past, may not be prepared for the new world of executive job search, which has been deeply altered by the digital age and is constantly evolving as technology gets more sophisticated.
In order to conduct a successful job search, you must be prepared, proactive, and focused. There are critical mistakes you can make along the way that may delay or bring your search to a halt. Here are six key mistakes executives make when launching a job search and tips on how to avoid these costly mistakes.
Not Defining Your Job Target
It’s surprising how often executive job seekers have no specific role, industry, or career goal in mind when starting a job search. The first step in preparing for a new opportunity is to identify what kinds of jobs you’re interested in and what kind of company you want to work for, such as, a start-up, Fortune 500, or non-profit. Do some research to determine which companies or organizations interest you and from there, you can customize your resume and other career documents to align with your target. You can also utilize your time much more effectively by targeting roles and companies that match your current skills and meet your career goals.
Not Determining Your Personal Brand
Quite often, executives forget the importance of demonstrating his/her value. To be selected as the candidate of choice you have to demonstrate your skills, achievements, and what differentiates you from your competitors. A generic resume and social media presence that tries to cover too many bases will not work. Are you a revenue generator, a turnaround expert, a global expansion strategist? Determine your brand and then focus your career documents and online presence on quantifiable achievements that back up your brand.
Not Maximizing Your Online Presence
Unfortunately, gone are the days of total privacy, your online presence will play a critical part in your job search. When was the last time you googled your name? Remember, recruiters and hiring leaders will source and contact candidates based on what they find, or don’t find, about them online. Make sure your online presence is consistent with your personal brand and target position and your professional online profiles are up-to-date. This means cleaning up your social media profiles and ensuring your LinkedIn profile is current. You can expand your brand online a number of ways including, writing online articles,commenting on well-known blogs, and maximizing your activity on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Not Consistently Networking
In the busy life of an executive, it’s easy to neglect your existing network. Remember, your business contacts can be very valuable in your job search. Re-connect and engage your neglected network while simultaneously reaching out to new industry contacts. Networking is a powerful tool in getting job leads, especially hidden jobs. Combining online and in-person networking is key. In addition to sending emails and communications via LinkedIn, reach out via phone and find networking events you can attend in person. Meet people, engage, and connect to generate your own opportunities.
Relying on Job Boards
Approximately 10% or fewer jobs at the executive level are landed through job boards with up to 80-90% of opportunities coming through networking. Jobs posted on job boards and elsewhere are immediately visible to a large number of people and may be pursued by a large population of well-qualified executives. It’s likely that the job you want can’t be found while you’re sitting at your computer so don’t rely on this as your primary method of sourcing new opportunities.
Not Engaging Assistance
In today’s complex job market, the job search strategy is complicated and you may not know enough about how it works to do it well. You can benefit from the knowledge of a career professional. Seek the assistance of a Certified Resume Writer, a Career Coach, and/or an Executive Recruiter who can guide you, represent you, motivate, and encourage you.
Remember, an executive search can take several months, maybe even a year. Be patient, don’t get discouraged and revisit your strategy if you find yourself hitting a rut in your search.
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