The further careers advance the more difficult it seems to become to actually “look for a job”. Many of the great career opportunities are not just advertised in the common paper of your choice and many companies who want to fill high-level positions are very hesitant to just put them “out there”. Most of the everyday job-search and application how-to’s don’t apply to high-level positions. Obviously you have to do your homework and prep yourself for an interview but very often these steps are just “the usual”, what comes before is the difficult part. Where do you find the executive position – or where does it find you?
Keep your eyes (and your mind) open
It may sound rather obvious but it’s very helpful to stay open for opportunities. Because many times you will be approached by recruiters and offers that are just not right for you but instead of shutting down and avoiding all these approaches, try to see each one of them as a possibility to grow your network and eventually get to just the right place where you’ll find just the right position. Because you have to be visible, even if it’s not to the outside world but to the right network and the right people. After all, you can’t just go around and ask for a job, you and your opportunities have to find each other. So create opportunities and grow your network. And learn how to find the job without asking for it.
Use your recruiter
If you are dealing with a recruiter, which you will most certainly do for such a high-level position, work together with him to get the best result. The recruiter can act in both your interest and that of the employer. Use the fact that the recruiter wants you to stay in the job and perform well, just like you do. So find ways to highlight the right parts of your career, use him to understand what the employer is really looking for. And most importantly try to understand whether you are really right for the position or whether you’re trying to “make it fit”. If you’re approaching recruiters yourself, make sure they are at the top of their game and know your industry (just like we do).
Don’t underestimate the time factor
All the above has already highlighted that the executive job search is not exactly done on a whim. It needs time and effort, especially if you really want to make it fit and make it right. Plan with that! Be realistic about the hours you have to invest into networking, research and preparation. See what you can potentially outsource (maybe a professional CV writer or a top recruiter can be useful) and do some research on what’s going on in your industry, so you know about the positions that are never going to be advertised. If you know they are there, you just need that one contact to get you in. You can do a lot to make that happen.