luck is not an executive job search techniqueI’ve been an executive talent agent for nearly 20 years. I have hands-on consulting experience in the executive job market including client projects spanning practically every functional discipline and conceivable industry sector.  These are the facts about executive job searching today. Consider yourself at a competitive advantage when you can check any on this list.

  • Routine living expenses accumulate every day during unemployment. It takes money to make money. Expect to invest in yourself to find a job. For example, be prepared to support the costs of having polished, compelling, errorless marketing collaterals including a resume and LinkedIn profile that highlight your achievements with a wow factor that is remarkable and memorable. If you don’t have an appropriate head-to-toe interview outfit, go get one and style your hair and groom your fingernails. If talking to strangers and answering interview questions makes you uncomfortable, hire a qualified coach. Don’t have time to research contact data? You can buy that too. It is not being lazy to outsource tasks to have more time available for job search tasks you must do for yourself. Don’t be pennywise and pound foolish.
  • Establish the right positioning to grab attention from hiring decision makers and open doors to meaningful discussions about new career opportunities, unearth new job leads in the hidden job market, gather valuable insights about unadvertised opportunities, build a strong, relevant referral network and ultimately land a great new role.
  • Recognize that networking is job searching and every job is temporary. Therefore, you continuously need connections. So do your contacts. It’s give and take. Don’t skimp on being generous. Look for ways to volunteer help before being asked.
  • Establish priorities, know what you want and what is reasonable. Focus your job searching on connecting with individuals who can appreciate you and  are affiliated with a target employer that interests you. Target contacts are current employees, former employees, consultants who have relationships with people affiliated with target companies, vendors who serve target companies, authors who write about target companies, and others with personal or professional ties to target companies especially with the ability to communicate with hiring decision makers for the role you want.
  • Investing in job search support is designed to reduce the number of days spent in transition. There is a cost, i.e., “deficit spending” associated with unemployment. Limiting the length of time spent without a salary and quicker return to work offsets the investment to turn your career around.
  • If you develop a Network Purposefully™, not only do you shorten the time spent unemployed by eliminating competition in the job market by focusing your search on unadvertised roles in the hidden job market,  but also you acquire new and necessary career management skills to prevent a repeat experience.
  • Prior to the Great Recession, resumes ruled the recruiting world and responding to job ads and submitting applications were a reliable entrée to interviews for an authentic opening. Currently, in 2019 and the foreseeable future, career success relies on who you know and who knows you, as much as or usually more than, an individual’s qualifications.
  • If social media is neglected, that lack of visibility online is damaging to one’s reputation and limits access to opportunities.  For career changers and industry switchers personal recommendations are not optional, they are mandatory to get a hat in the ring.
  • Sadly, unemployment has its own negative effects on job search progress. To overcome any single or multiple barriers an individual encounters in today’s environment, it is not sufficient to merely penetrate roadblocks, threats have to be eliminated. This means removing obstacles by getting certified (even if you have done the job without the credentials,) addressing the elephant in the room to avoid surprises, addressing relocation, etc.
  • External and most internal recruiters have limited influence; their part in the hiring process has drastically changed in the past decade and still their logo is, “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.” Always remember that friendly HR representatives and headhunters work for the employers who pay them to come up with a perfect solution to an often-impossible problem. They will only share your background with their client IF it will serve to fulfill their assignment. Exceptions exist but they are rare
  • In today’s environment, no job is secure. You must constantly strive to have access to new job leads through personal connections. If you don’t have the right contacts, you must dedicate yourself to forming mutually rewarding relationships and commit resources to maintain your network. It’s like maintaining professional licensure or credentials: you are less competitive and less attractive to employers when you don’t satisfy standard expectations such as being a friend of a friend who is less likely to be a hiring risk in an employer’s estimation.
  • If you continue to rely on the same job search components (historical positioning, stale communications, traditional channels, outdated networking techniques, etc.,) you cannot expect different results.
  • If you generate attractive leads, then ask yourself if you can convert leads into offers. In total, all the job searching pieces must be aligned for a campaign to complete the job of getting a new job. The implementation or day to day job search tasks and activities are, in my opinion, less than half of what makes a job search successful; the right go- to- market strategy driving the campaign process  has an enormous impact on a candidate’s ability to stand out and get the brass ring.
  • Having dependable contacts willing to champion your strengths and vouch for credibility is priceless.  
  • Getting lucky in the job market happens but it isn’t reliable.

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