The upside of a booming economy means hiring is stronger than ever. The downside? More folks are out there emboldened to test the job search waters.
The bottom line? The job market is growing increasingly saturated, and as an executive, you must do a lot more than speak with a handful of recruiters to land interviews that are a good match for your skillset.
To get a foot in the door and boost the number of interviews that come along, executive job seekers must be ready to invest in some upfront sweat equity that, in reality, is not all that different from the strategies they employ to be successful in their roles.
#1 Target & Research
Apply the same skills used to evaluate industry, customer and market competition to identify companies, organizations and people worth targeting.
Just as you evaluate customer needs as part of your research, identify company needs and how you may be a great fit to help solve them.
In my experience, the results of this exercise allow you to be crystal clear on the next role you want, why you want it and who to ask for help.
#2 Build Relationships with Purpose
To that end, expand your research to include people at your target companies and industry recruiters, and make a plan to get connected. Invites to coffee chats, LinkedIn invitations and good old-fashioned emails are great places to start!
Remember that people get busy, and don’t always remember to keep your name top of mind when an opportunity arises.
You can increase your chances, however, by staying in touch and offering anything that might help them in return (candidate/company leads?). In other words – strive to strike that delicate balance between persistence and nuisance.
#3 Understand Your Value
Just like you think about your accomplishments come annual review time, I recommend you reflect on past roles before making your job search public.
What is it about what you bring to the table that usually piques a company’s interest and/or landed you the job? What has been the outcome or impact of your efforts in these roles?
When crafted by blending hard skills that speak to your specialty expertise with soft ones about your values and character, your response allows you to communicate what you can do for a company, and why they should consider you as a candidate.
#4 Spell Out Your Value with Keywords and Key Phrases Across Your Career Marketing Documents
Most executives understand the value of making sure their efforts are impacting and influencing the right people – be it internal clients, external customers or key stakeholders.
I recommend identifying qualifications and expertise mentioned most often during your Step 1 research (HINT: Job postings from target companies are a great place to find this!)
By weaving details unique to you with key wording and key phrasing into your career marketing documents, you are accomplishing two critical things:
- Help readers connect the dots as to how you are ideally suited for the company and role.
- Increase your Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which will help your profile bubble to the top of decision maker searches on LinkedIn, and in the event you must upload your resume online to be scanned by Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software (more on ATS and the online job search later!)
#5 Maximize Your Job Search ROI
Executives understand the importance of focusing on key customers, key markets, key systems, products and services. Why? Because they yield the greatest return on investment – and offer the greatest chance for improved efficiency and profitability.
I recommend applying this mindset to your job search and devoting your efforts where they will yield the greatest ROI. While it’s true that some C-level and executive roles are available online, most are found through inside channels and networking.