4 Executive Job Search First Steps, Before You Write Your Resume

by Meg Guiseppi on May 25, 2010

I can’t tell you how often job-seeking executives I consult with tell me they want to pursue several diverse kinds of positions.

The first time I spoke with one client, he said his focus was on Chief Operating Officer (COO) or maybe Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) or even VP of Sales and Marketing, in telecommunications or consumer goods, but he didn’t want to rule out manufacturing.

As he explained, “I’ve played so many different roles in different industries in my career and done it all well. I want to be sure my resume shows that I’m a good fit for several kinds of positions. I can contribute in many different ways.”

He and others too easily (and understandably) fall prey to one of the deadliest job search mistakes – trying to build a search campaign with no clear target, resulting in a generic marketing effort, trying to cover too many bases and not hitting home with any of them.

Recruiters and other hiring professionals sourcing and assessing candidates by what they find online or through digital/paper documents need to unmistakeably see that your qualifications align with requirements for that specific job they’re trying to fill.

They don’t have the time or inclination to sift through and ponder whether your unfocused mix of relevant and immaterial skills and contributions make you someone worth considering. Especially in a tight job market, they’re looking for (and getting) 100% perfect fits.

Target your search so you’ll know who your target audience is and who will be reading your personal brand communications.

Before creating (or updating) your executive resume or career biography or LinkedIn profile, or any of your career marketing communications, online and offline:

1.  Get clear on what you want to do next. Decide what kind of position(s) you’re seeking, in what industry.

2.  Compile a list of 15-20 companies or organizations that will meet your career needs. Determine their needs and how you might fit in.

3.  Identify the key decision makers (and those around them) within each company or organization on your list – your target audience.

4.  Set up Google Alerts for the following to help you with research, market intelligence, and due diligence:

  • Names of your target companies and/or those you want to be informed about
  • Names of key decision makers in your target companies
  • Key word phrases relevant to your niche and target job(s)
  • Names of your target companies’ relevant products or services
  • Job position(s) and industry you’re seeking.

Google will essentially become your job agent, sending you job alerts. For example, someone may set up an alert for “COO Telecommunications” and also spell it out in a second alert “Chief Operating Officer Telecommunications”.

Don’t expect these job position alerts to be a free ride to your next job. Don’t put all your job search efforts into passively waiting for job postings to come to you and respond to. These alerts will inform you about companies in active hiring mode and provide a wealth of information to use in your resume, bio, etc, but you’ll still need an active approach to land your next gig.

Also set up Alerts for:

  • Your name
  • Your blog and website names
  • Names of subject matter experts and thought leaders in your industry and niche
  • Names of any other people whose radar you want to get on.

Once you’re clear on your target audience and market, you’re ready to define your personal brand and value proposition, and express them through your resume, bio, online profiles, and other materials.

Now you know who will be reading your personal brand communications, so you’ll be able to create all your marketing materials around what will resonate with them. If you don’t know who they are and what their needs are, you won’t know how to write to attract them. Make sense?

Then work on positioning yourself in front of and getting on the radar of your target key decision makers through online and real-life networking. You have to brand and network to land.

Related posts:

10 Steps to an Authentic, Magnetic Personal Brand

How to Write An Irresistible C-level Executive Brand Resume in 10 Steps

How to Write a C-level Executive Career Brand Biography

How to Build a Powerful Executive Network

16 Deadly Executive Job Search Mistakes

Stalled Executive Job Search? Get Busy on LinkedIn and Twitter

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