Need some tips on getting the attention of, and building relationships with, executive recruiters?
According to a recent survey by ExecuNet, a private membership organization supporting senior-level executive job seekers with job opportunities, resources and job search help, top recruiters identified several clearcut do’s and don’ts:
1. Executive resumes need cover letters.
70% of recruiters said they pass over a resume sent without a cover letter. Because so many executive job seekers don’t take the time to include a targeted cover letter, those who do include one are more likely to stand out.
“The purpose of the cover letter is to quickly encapsulate why you are qualified for the role, and to get someone interested enough to read your resume,” says ExecuNet Editor-in-Chief Robyn Greenspan. “This research tells us that there are so many resumes vying for recruiters’ attention they are relying on a compelling cover letter to find great candidates.”
2. Limit career history on executive resumes.
The majority of recruiters want work experience on resumes limited to the most recent 15 to 20 years. Under certain circumstances, earlier work history may be relevant and should also be included, but following this rule of cutting off at about 20 years is an important one to follow.
Relevant skills and accomplishments from early in your career can be showcased in the “profile” or “executive summary” section at the very top of your resume.
3. Include a photo with your online profiles.
62% of recruiters say a professional headshot on online profiles is crucial. Although age discrimination can result, recruiters want to see what they’re getting. Because most recruiters will check out executive candidates online, be sure your headshot is current so that it’s a close match with who they’ll meet in person.
4. Be prepared to give a realistic expected salary range.
The recruiters surveyed advised against asking for more than you really want. Nearly half recommended giving a salary range. Others suggested deferring an answer until mutual interest is established, and asking what the range is for a high performer in the position. It’s never a good idea to bring up the salary issue first. When asked, let them know what you’re making now and say you need a competitive salary.
5. Bring information and leads, if you want to build relationships with recruiters.
Only 25% of recruiters said they’d network with executives who didn’t bring reciprocal value. They’re interested in executives who bring to the table information about industries, companies, referrals or connections to key decision-makers.