Executive job search is the key to a great career. So be proactive and seize control of the process, says author Simon Gray
In the executive job market, standing out from the crowd is essential for success. With opportunities scarce and competition intense it’s never been more important to think and act differently from those around you – the people competing for the same opportunities.
The majority of jobseekers place far too much reliance on their CV. While a good CV is of course extremely important it’s only a small part of any executive job search campaign. Successful job search takes three steps back and starts with:
Understanding executive job search
How does the executive job market really work? Who are the key players, how do they make decisions and what motivates them?
Your own psychology
What you believe impacts how you think and ultimately the action you’re prepared to take. In my experience, executives are often held back by inaccurate beliefs that limit their ability to find and secure the job they really want.
Any executive job search is personal as it happens to you, not the organisation you work for, and is often a solo pursuit where disempowering self-talk and emotions can take a negative hold if left unchecked.
A plan of attack
In the business world we plan. To be successful we have to decide where we’re going and build a plan to deliver the desired outcome. The plan directs the activity we need to take and through careful monitoring and evaluation lets us know if we’re deviating off course.
However, when it comes to executive job search, many executives leave their success to chance. The majority rely solely on executive job boards and professional recruiters. While these activities should form part of your job search strategy they are reactive in nature.
Approaching an employer directly when they are in the early stages of planning their hiring decisions is more proactive and puts you in control.
Employers will often ask for a recommendation or referral before placing an advert or engaging the services of a search and selection firm. This is what I call the ‘hidden market’ – the place where a significant proportion of high-probability executive opportunities exist that most never see.
Social media, in particular LinkedIn, has changed the recruitment landscape forever. Employers can now directly access talent at the click of a mouse and recruiters use the platform as an additional database.
Groups bring together individuals with a common interest, industry sector or goal. They are among the most important places to be seen.
In summary, your executive job search you want should never be left to chance. Understanding the environment, what goes on inside your head and having a plan are the essential steps to taking proactive control of your career and your ultimate goal – to define, find and secure the executive job you really want, and not just the one you’ve seen advertised.
Simon Gray is a member of IoD East Midlands