Unless you’re extremely lucky and interviews are flooding in, you need to do a lot of work to position yourself to land good-fit job interviews.
The other day I was speaking with a CIO in healthcare who had been working with a few recruiters and networking a little over the past few months, but had only landed one or two interviews.
I took a look at his executive resume, LinkedIn profile and other personal marketing materials. It was no wonder he was getting such dismal results.
Like many executive job seekers, he didn’t have a handle on the strategies he needed to embrace to master the new world of executive job search . . . to get a foot in the door.
Follow these guidelines, to boost the number of job interviews you’ll get (pretty much in this order):
1. Do the Critical Initial Targeting and Research Work
You need to determine which companies and/or organizations you’re targeting, what current needs they have that you are qualified to help them problem-solve, and what makes you a best-fit to help them.
Without knowing those things, you can’t:
- Know which people are best to ask for help.
- Clearly communicate what specific kind of job you want, in which companies, so people can help you meet your career goals.
- Tell people specifically how you can help the companies you want to work for.
2. Identify the Right Relevant Keywords and Phrases
As you research your target companies, make note of the skills sets, areas of expertise and other qualifications that you find most frequently for each company.
These “keywords” will help you with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for any content about you that you put online. They need to be used throughout your personal marketing content (resume, biography, LinkedIn profile, etc.) to help you get found online and get your resume through the dreaded Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), if it lands there.
More about online presence coming up in #7.
3. Know Your Personal Brand
Based on your research of your target companies, you need to link your hard skills (functional areas of expertise or keywords) with “softer” skills (your key personal attributes, passions, values, and other character traits), to generate chemistry for you as a candidate and differentiate your ROI over your competitors for jobs.
In other words, when you’re networking, be prepared to communicate your unique value proposition and best-fit qualities for your target companies.
4. Make Your LinkedIn Profile SEO-friendly
Put your relevant keywords and phrases from #2 above into play throughout your LinkedIn profile (and other online profiles), but especially put the most important keywords in these sections:
- Your name (add relevant certifications, accreditations)
- Professional headline
- Summary section
- Job titles
When you’re writing your personal marketing materials, start with your LinkedIn profile, so you can get it working for you first.
5. Write a Highly Targeted Executive Resume
Your resume is the place to zero in on and customize the content for each specific company you’re targeting, if their needs and the value you offer them vary from one to the other.
6. Network with Purpose into the Hidden Job Market
Again, based on your initial company research, you should have identified key people at your target companies to directly network with, or network your way to.
Many companies have employee referral programs to reward internal people who bring in good hires. It’s in their best interest to introduce you to hiring decision makers at their company.
7. Be Visible Online
LinkedIn is the most important place for you to be found online and network, but don’t stop there.
Most recruiters and employers will Google “your name” before deciding whether or not to bring you in for an interview. They’re looking for diverse, accurate information about you and “social proof” online to back up the claims you’ve made in your personal marketing content.
A solid online footprint also demonstrates that you’re social media savvy and up to date with today’s technology, making you a more attractive candidate.
8. Self-Google to Monitor for Digital Dirt
Protect your online reputation by keeping an eye on what executive recruiters and employers will find when they Google your name. Do a search yourself on your name, say once a week or so.
If digital dirt arises, see if the content can be taken down. If not, work to build up positive search results to push down the negative ones.
9. Cultivate Relationships with Several Executive Recruiters in your Niche
Reach out to appropriate recruiters. LinkedIn and the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) are good places to start.
Stay in touch with them, offer them leads on companies and candidates, but don’t hound them, and don’t rely on them entirely. Put more effort into directly networking your way into your target companies.
10. Limit Your Time on Job Boards
Yes, some legitimate jobs do land on job boards but – especially at the c-suite and senior-executive level – most jobs by far are found through networking.
Even so, job boards and LinkedIn job postings can be very useful for your initial company research.
Whew! Have you done all of the above? Then you’re ready to prepare to brand and ace all the interviews you’ll be getting.