Want to know what’s more frustrating than not drumming up enough opportunities during a job search? Being regularly approached by recruiters and hiring managers for the wrong type of jobs! This is a huge reason behind why executive jobseekers “on the hunt” will reach out to me for help — it’s frustrating to have to constantly be turning down employers because what they’re offering simply does not match up with your criteria for a successful outcome.
So let’s break out of this holding pattern and apply some proven strategies that will get the doorbell ringing with job opportunities you’ll be thrilled about. Ask yourself the following:
3 Questions to Assess Why You’re Being Approached for the Wrong Type of Jobs
1) Am I Coasting on an Outdated Professional Brand?
Look, that resume you thought was “good enough” to land a job five years ago, and which you’ve just been adding to ever since, might well be the #1 culprit behind this issue.
The higher your job target, the more important it is to reinvent your brand in a way that ALIGNS with that. Simply put, the kind of brand which works for an IT Director does not remotely work at the CIO or CTO levels, and will often sabotage your efforts before you’ve said word one.
Start by checking out the LinkedIn Profiles of competitors, people with roughly similar backgrounds to yourself who have the job(s) you’re targeting. How are they branding and positioning themselves? What are the recurring pain points they highlight, and what kind of accomplishments do they use as proof of their ability to solve it? What kind of KEYWORDS keep popping up over and over again? Use these insights to update your resume and LinkedIn Profile.
Remember: you want to hit the sweet spot between communicating UNIQUE VALUE and DRIFTING IN THE LANEWAY OF SUCCESS. Go too far in terms of the latter and you’ll come across as generic. Go too far in the opposite direction and employers will struggle to see the relevancy. I recently did a webinar presentation for Ivy Exec on How to Elevate Your Job Search & Career that delves into this in more detail. Watch it here: How to Elevate Your Job Search & Career Through Storytelling
2) Am I Sending out any Signs of Life?
Employers prefer to take on people with momentum- that’s why it’s much more difficult to secure offers for someone who’s been out of work for an extended period of time. Give them what they’re after by ENGAGING with your LinkedIn network and developing evergreen thought leadership assets. These can include, but aren’t limited to:
-Publishing a post on LinkedIn about a major area of concern in your industry, or emerging trend. Play to your strengths here, and be sure to talk to a BROAD AUDIENCE, not just insiders. Once you publish it, it will be shared with your immediate network (good for reactivating dormant connections), and it will attach itself to your actual profile as a credibility builder in the long-term (fantastic for impressing potential employers and being perceived in the correct light).
Also read: The New Rules of the Job Search
-Creating, and sticking to, a regular posting schedule for LinkedIn status updates (twice a day is ideal, but start with what’s comfortable for you). Again, think broad impact of what you do. Share articles, ask questions of your network, share a “quick take” on an issue, and use it as a way to have an extended conversation that sets you up as a go-to leader in your field.
You’ll notice that I’m not mentioning any other social media sites for the purposes of advancing your career. That’s because they’re all so far behind LinkedIn (used by 93% of recruiters and 92% of employers as a MAIN hiring channel) that they may as well not exist.
3) Are they Really the Wrong Type of Jobs?
This one’s the hardest question to look at, but may very well be the most important one. Are you passing on these jobs because they’re clearly and obviously not a fit…or because ego and personal preferences are ultimately calling the shots? Sit down and write out the pros and cons of taking these opportunities seriously. Can you possibly negotiate a top-range salary? Once you’re in the door at this level, can you advocate for yourself in a way that might result in a job title/comp upgrade? Attention from employers interested in bringing you aboard can be a valuable thing. Don’t jump to an automatic NO unless you’re absolutely sure it’s for the right reasons.