Here are some great tips to help you ramp up your executive job search in 2016.
15 Tips to a Successful Job Search
1. Get focused on the type of executive job you’re seeking.
2. Create a new resume or update/edit a pre-existing resume to match your current executive job search campaign.
I’m firm believer in multiple versions of your resume, with a different one to serve each of the various executive job opportunities you’re considering. Create a customized resume to focus on the skill sets specifically listed in each executive job listing you’re applying for. Also, when it comes to the length of your resume, less is better for your initial submissions. Try to keep it to two pages. You can take the longer version (two to three pages) to the actual interview.
3. Create a list of target companies/industries you would like to work for.
I suggest you start with 20 companies in your “A” list and then add 100 to 200 more along with all their contact information to your “B” and “C” lists.
Gather all the appropriate contact information you will need to follow up on during your executive job search campaign. I advise creating this information in Microsoft Excel if you are familiar with that software. Set up different spreadsheets for various industries. I have designed for you a suggested Excel template to use. You will find this template as reader Bonus Material at the end of this chapter (Chapter 1) for you to access and use throughout your executive job search process.
4. Send your resume to the appropriate contact person on your list.
When in doubt, my suggestion is to send it to the president of the organization. From there, it should get passed down to the appropriate department. By taking such an approach, you’ll also have the added benefit of the president being aware of your paperwork internally.
Given the high number of people who are currently looking for a job in today’s highly competitive executive job market, I recommend mailing or faxing your resume. Doing so will give your paperwork more visibility. Arrange it so that your cover letter and resume arrive on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday for the simple fact that people tend to have more time in the middle of the week to devote to reading all their correspondence.
5. Work on your “Visual Brand.”
When interviewing, make sure you have a professional business suit that fits you. Now is the time to make sure you have your corporate attire in order. I suggest you try everything on in advance to make sure it fits properly and still works for you.
This may sound like an obvious thing, but since the current corporate climate tends to be “business casual,” most people’s professional business attire has been sitting in the back of their closet for quite some time. As a result, it may not currently fit the way it did when they originally purchased it.
If you have gained some weight you’ve been meaning to get rid of, now would be a good time to lose a couple of pounds and start working out. (Check with your doctor prior to undertaking any new intense exercise program.)
6. Make sure your business portfolio is complete and up to date.
I always suggest taking your professional portfolio to the first interview in case it is requested. However, it is more traditional to present your portfolio on the second or third interview. Then it’s expected that it will be shared and time is allotted for the presentation of it during the executive job search interviewing process.
7. Apply for executive jobs on the internet that interest you and that are fairly realistic in their qualifications relative to your professional executive background.
Save copies of which executive jobs you have submitted a resume to online. Document which organizations you have applied to as well as appropriate contact information for follow-up on your Excel spreadsheet.
My suggestion is to respond to executive job postings about two to three days after the initial posting. At this point, H.R. and the executive recruiters will still be interviewing for the executive position and your resume will get noticed more. Understand that most executive job postings, particularly in this tight labor market, will easily receive about 350 resume responses.
8. Create a list for executive recruiters who specialize in your area of expertise.
Create an Excel spreadsheet that contains executive recruiters’ contact information. See “myResumeAgent” on the www.TheJobSearchExperts.com website (www.thejobsearchexperts.com/my-resume-agent/). This tool, which comes from Kennedy Publishers of the Directory of Executive Recruiters, will assist you in emailing your resume to recruiters. This tool has six job function areas and six industries to pick from.
9. Send your executive resume to executive recruiters as an email attachment.
That way they are able to scan the executive resume into their database.
10. Approximately seven days after your initial submission, start following up by phone with both the executive recruiters and the executive company contacts regarding the executive resumes you mailed.
11. Continue following up about every 30 days to check on the status of the executive job posting or with executive recruiters who may have new clients.
12. When you get your first interview, be it via phone or face-to-face, make sure you do your homework about the executive position, hiring authority, company, competitors, and ranking in the marketplace.
From a professional standpoint, I consider the primary goal of a phone interview to be getting asked in for a face-to-face interview. Once you’ve scored an interview, the process really starts.
13. Always remember, to follow up all interviews with an emailed or traditionally mailed thank-you letter.
14. When you receive an offer in hand, make sure you get it in writing.
Also be sure to request the same amount of vacation time and other benefits you have with your current employer or recent employer.
15. If a bonus is part of the executive compensation package, make sure you clarify it by asking, “What is the realistic executive bonus I can expect?”
Lately, many companies have not been paying bonuses like they did in the past. With any luck, the economy is turning around and you will soon begin to see some type of executive bonus associated with your new job.
The traditional rule of thumb used to be to expect an offer equal to your most recent executive salary. Unfortunately, this labor market is different from all other labor markets I have seen professionally over the past 23 years. In some ways, therefore, all bets are off. Welcome to “The New Economy.”
Nowadays, a better mantra is: “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” In other words, if you like the job, you are going to be gainfully employed, and the commute is reasonable, take the job. If the executive compensation is not really what you want, so be it. In this tight labor market, it is better to be employed executive than an unemployed executive.
Given this current labor market, it is not uncommon for people to not have seen any raises for three to four years, to be unemployed for 12 to 18 months, or to be willing to take 50% pay cuts to get back in the game. You need to be practical for the sake of both your career and your family.
Once you’ve accepted the executive position, if possible stay with it for a year. Then take time to re-evaluate the situation. As the economy improves, some companies may reward those executive employees who were realistic about the down business climate.
The labor market is improving. And along with it, national compensation levels will re-stabilize eventually. That will most likely take three to four years until we regain the market levels we saw prior to this deep recession that we’re slowly pulling out of.
CONCLUSION: If armed with the right executive job search strategy for their situation, I genuinely believe everyone can find a executive job. Perseverance, hard work, doing your homework, and great follow- up really makes the difference! Congratulations on a successful executive job search and getting closer to your new executive job!
*** The above material is an excerpt from my newest executive job search book, The NEW Rules of Job Search â€“ How to Land an Executive Job in the New Economy, pages 15-19.
Have a great 2015 landing that next great executive job!
I look forward to helping you land that next great job!
Eleanor Anne Sweet
Executive Job Search Expert CoachÂ tm
TODAYâ€S Executive Job Search Action Plan:
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