10 Steps to Executive Job Search Success

by Meg Guiseppi on June 29, 2015

Many of the c-suite and senior-level executives I work with haven’t faced a job search in 5, 10 or even 15 years or more.

If they’ve changed jobs over that time, they were sought after by executive recruiters and managed to circumvent the job search process.

They’ve been fortunate.


As we all know, things can change in an instant. They can be let go without warning. Or they can suddenly find themselves living with the threat of a lay off.

And there are those who truly have job security, at least for the time being, but are dissatisfied with their job or their company. They’re anxious to move on, or at least see what else is out there.

All of them face the same dilemma. They have little to no experience with the new world of job search, so they often trip themselves up.

They rush to update their resumes . . . or write one for the first time, because they never needed one before . . . with no clear idea of where they want to go next.

They rush to post that new resume to every job opening on every job board that even remotely matches their qualifications and needs.

They get stuck using methods that have dismal success rates, despite every indication that these methods aren’t working. They’re getting zero results and unnecessarily prolonging their search.

As with many complicated issues in our lives, it’s always best to start with an understanding of the path ahead of us.

Here is the linear path to prepare for and navigate a successful executive job search, with links to articles I’ve written on these topics:

1. Identify Companies/Organizations to Target

Don’t even think about writing your executive resume before you first know who you’re writing it for. Determine what kind of work you want to do and which employers will provide that kind of work.

Related post:

Personal Branding, Resume or Job Search Targeting: Which Comes First?

2. Research Your Target Employers and Industry

With your target list of employers in hand, spend time researching each one’s current situation and needs that you’re uniquely qualified to help them meet. Researching for market intelligence about your industry and target employers also serves as your due diligence.

Related post:

Best Ways and Places to Research Your Target Employers

3. Define Your Personal Brand and ROI

Now that you know who you’re targeting and what their current needs are, determine what areas of expertise, driving strengths, passions, values, and personal traits you possess that make you a good fit for them.

Related Posts:

My 10-Step Executive Personal Branding Worksheet

Ignore the Hype! What Authentic Personal Branding Is and Is NOT

4. Write Your Personal Marketing Content – executive resume, biography, LinkedIn profile, Google+ profile, cover letters, etc.

Build personal brand content and messaging around the value you offer your target employers.

Related posts:

How to Build Personal Brand Content for Executive Job Search

Think Like an Executive Resume Branding Pro

How to Brand Your LinkedIn Summary Section

When Was the Last Time You Updated Your LinkedIn Profile?

How to Write and Use An Executive Brand Biography

Is Google Plus Useful for Personal Branding and Executive Job Search?

Do I Really Need a Cover Letter for My Executive Resume?

5. Build Your Online Presence

The vast majority of executive recruiters and employers search for and assess candidates by what they find about them online. Those with a dismal or non-existent online footprint are often overlooked for those who have a diverse, far-reaching online presence.

Related posts:

Social Proof: Where Online Presence Meets Personal Branding

10 Best Ways to Build Your Personal Brand Online

5 Key Elements of a Strong Online Personal Brand

6. Embrace Social Media

Go beyond creating social media profiles and take advantage of all that these platforms offer to demonstrate your subject matter expertise and thought leadership, and stay top-of-mind with your target employers.

Related posts:

Get the Most Out of LinkedIn

Twitter Personal Branding Time-Saving Tips

Personal Branding and the Email Signature Dilemma

7. Network into the Hidden Job Market

The perfect job for you may never be posted on a job board or anywhere else! It may only exist in the “hidden” job market. The idea is to circumvent the gatekeepers at your target companies and connect directly with key hiring decision makers where they hang out online and offline.

Build a networking strategy that includes in-person interactions (networking events, etc.), virtual communications (email), and social networking (LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, etc.)

Related posts:

Toxic Executive Job Search Beliefs: Hit the job boards hard

How Do I Find a Job in the “Hidden” Job Market?

How to Network Your Way Into a Great-Fit Executive Job

8. Cultivate Relationships with Executive Recruiters

Identify and stay top-of-mind with several recruiters in your niche.

Related post:

Working With Executive Recruiters

9. Prepare to Ace Job Interviews

Rely once again on your initial industry and company research to help you prepare to excel in job interviews.

Related post:

How to Brand Your Executive Job Interviews and Land the Gig

10. Monitor and Safeguard Your Online Reputation

Allot time, say, once a week in your executive job search efforts to self-Google. Digital dirt can surface at any time and sabotage your chances. You’ll need to take care of it as soon as possible.

Related post:

Why You Need to Self-Google Once a Week

graphic on Pixabay


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