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Successful Executive Job Hunting

Executive Job Seekers need to be proactive and brand themselves in a way that will set them apart from the competition. Here are 10 suggestions:

1.  Define a clear career path:

  • Pick a specific area/field where your strengths lie.  Focusing on one area allows you to clearly define your accomplishments and expertise so Recruiters are able to determine where you best fit in their organization. Avoid being a “jack of all trades, but an expert in none.”
  • Make a list of companies in which you would like to work and in which you share the same values.
 
2.  Set and understand short and long-term goals:
  • Define your short term goals – understand your financial and geographical limitations and define the timeframe within which you want to accomplish your career objectives.
  •  Understand your long term goals. Do they coincide with your short term goals?
  • Know how the job in which you are applying to fits into your long-term goals and be prepared to discuss this during the interview.
 
3.  Write a compelling resume that succinctly communicates:
  • The areas in which you have expertise
  • The job titles you are seeking
  • Your specific, measurable skills and achievements which demonstrate your focus on improving the efficiency, profitability and technological advancement of the company
  • The key areas of your responsibilities/accomplishments at each job (going back 10 – 15 years)
 
4.  Develop an effective customized cover letter to “sell” yourself to potential employers:
  • The first paragraph should include a catchy opening, identifying the title of the position and where you learned of the opportunity.
  • The second paragraph should define how your skills, knowledge and experience fit the position.  Offer suggestions as to how you will help accomplish company goals.
  • The third paragraph might briefly describe one or two accomplishments that relate to the position, and note how you and the company are a good fit.
  • Close with how you will be connecting with the employer when it comes time for a follow-up.

 

5.  Develop a strong network of individuals that can aide in your job search and placement:

  • Establish relationships throughout your career; not just when you need assistance.  Try to stay in touch as much as possible.
  • Being part of a network includes giving back to those in your network to assist others when you can.
  • Networking does not stop with social media sites like LinkedIn. Join professional associations and attend community and industry events.
 
6.  Maintain an up-to-date list of references who will vouch for your expertise and leadership abilities:
  • Be sure that the contact information listed for references is up to date. Don’t list a phone number for someone unless you are sure they are still associated with that number.
  • Be sure that the individuals on your list are aware that you are using them as a reference. Prep them in advance so that they know what position you are seeking, so that they can provide appropriate information to the employer if and when he or she calls.
 
7.  Become an expert at social networking:
  • Utilize social networking sites to connect and communicate with other industry professionals.
  • Share articles to facilitate a positive exchange of ideas.
  • Use Social Media to Connect with Other Professionals
  • Make sure your profile on LinkedIn is professional and succintly describes your skills, knowlege and accomplishments. Linkedin enables you to see profiles of others on LinkedIn, and gives you ways to connect to them. If there is a specific company in which you are interested, you can search that company and identify professional who are connected to other people you know. Then, you can ask your personal contact(s) to connect you. 
  • Maintain a professional tone and content in your posts on Facebook. Do not vent or take a stand on a topic that may be perceived as being inflammatory, biased or emotional.
  • Create a separate Twitter account for your professional brand.
     
8.  Have a thorough understanding of the company and prepare for tough interview questions:
  • Research the company. Know the specifics of the job you are applying for and understand the company’s corporate culture, financials, and competitors.
  • Think about what questions the employer may ask during the interview and prepare responses to these questions.
 
9.  Maintain professionalism throughout the application and interview process:
  •  Pre-interview: When applying to the job, address the employer with formal salutations and closings, and use appropriate punctuation, and proper spelling and grammar.
  • At the interview: Dress professionally, offer a firm handshake and ask questions. Use the interview as an opportunity to learn about the company. Know the salary you desire when you go into the interview. If the position is offered, but the salary is not what you expected, try to politely delay your acceptance, to give yourself leverage to negotiate.
  • Post-Interview: Send a thank you note to the interviewers, and remind them why you are a good fit for the job!
 
10.  If offered the job, know how to negotiate your comp and benefits package:
  • Consider the benefits package, including health and life insurance, bonuses, and vacation time.
  • Determine what you are worth. Go to salary sites to determine what the average salary for that type of position is in that geographical location. Consider if the compensation package being offered is relative to your experience level, size of company, title, and geographical area. Also consider your impact and role in the company.
  • If you decide the salary they are offering is not enough, you might utilize these negotiating tactics:   
  1. The Pause: After hearing an offer, taking a breath and remaining silence for a few seconds will communicate that you are disappointed with the offer, and the recruiter may offer you higher salary
  2. Guarantee acceptance if given a higher pay: Negotiating a salary means the human resources team will need to do more work to get your offer approved, which can be an inconvenience if they are not sure you will take the job. Let them know that if they increase the pay by x-amount of dollars, you will take the offer and offer to start work on a specific date.
  3. Use competition to your advantage: If you are interviewing or have interviewed for other jobs, indicate that you are very interested in the opportunity but are expecting to receive another offer soon. If the company knows they are competing for you, they may raise the salary.
  4. Consider other benefits besides salary: You may also want to negotiate an extra week of vacation, a more flexible schedule, the ability to occasionally work from home, a car allowance, company cell phone, etc.
  5. Ask for an early review: Most companies offer a performance review after 3 or 6-months and on your 1-year anniversary. However, you may ask them to consider a merit increase at the 3-month review if you have exceeded all established short-term goals.
 
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