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Debra_Feldman
Debra Feldman

Save Your Money: Market Yourself and Land a New Executive Position

Five tips show you how.

September 22, 2011
by Debra Feldman

Last week I addressed ad-hoc questions during a job-search webinar attended by almost 40 senior-level executives seeking new jobs. The expected inquiries came up about cover letters, résumés, external recruiters, the job market, employer preferences and career-marketing firms. The participants were a very well-educated group, all members of a senior executive-networking organization. While I would label this a sophisticated audience, few seemed to feel confident about their job-searching skills and blamed the current job market for their lengthy time in transition. Over and over again, I heard that traditional job searching (which had been always effective in the past,) was not producing results and running their campaigns as they had in the past relying on recruiters to call or résumé submissions to generate interviews was almost worthless. So what were they to do? How should they look for new executive jobs?

In the past, job searching best practices included mastering the art of preparing a strong, meticulously edited résumé and submitting it to employers properly, waiting to be called for an interview patiently and presuming that if there was a match, there would be an offer. It was just a matter of time or a numbers game before everything fell smoothly into place again.

New Rules

All that has changed and not just because of the Internet taking over the job market, but also the recession and demographics have had a profound impact and revolutionized job search best practices. If you are still relying on your résumé to open doors to new opportunities and that once you have landed, job searching is behind you, then you are sadly mistaken. Here are a few pointers to help you be a more enlightened (permanent) candidate.

  • Your connections, who you know and who know and remember you, are the most common way to find out about a potential position. Networking is the best job-search method. News that means a possible hiring situation travels privately by word-of-mouth before an official job advertisement or even a social media announcement. Keep your network up to date on your job-search interest, so that they recommend you and refer you first.
  • Don’t count on your résumé to initiate interest from employers. They are deluged with résumés and employment inquiries. With modern computerized résumé screening applications, only perfect matches are given any consideration. Even under the best circumstances, an employer may already have a candidate in mind through word-of-mouth before the job became official.
  • There is no quick or easy fix to find a job. Mail blasts, e-mail broadcasts, fax distributions rarely generate job leads. These job search methods have about the same success rate as any direct response mail, between one percent and three percent. Before making any investment in a mail or e-mail or fax campaign, it is best to look at the costs and benefits attached to determine whether the investment is worth it.
  • Assume everyone will search for “your name” online before asking or seeing your résumé. Google, Bing, Facebook, LinkedIn among other social media site’s search results create your first impression. Therefore, check your online persona. Clean up your digital image or create a positive footprint if correct data is not obvious on a quick name search. One of the simplest ways is to create a Google Profile. Career professionals also recommend a complete LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is becoming that important for some industries.
  • Your network, i.e. your contacts, are today’s “career insurance.” Whether you are an active job seeker or have no current thoughts of making any change or even if you just started a new job yesterday, everyone should be proactively managing their connections, in real life (face-to-face, industry events, telephone, instant messaging, e-mail and written correpondence, etc.) and in the virtual world (online group discussions, new media publications, profile updates among others). Your connections can both recommend you for positions as well as alert you to situations in which you can volunteer your help thereby keeping you on hiring managers’ radars.

Conclusion

While te chnically, people still “apply” for a job, more often than not, the job offer is extended first to someone who was recommended by an insider. Therefore, it is critical to develop and maintain connections. Think about this from the hiring decision-maker’s perspective: Wouldn’t you prefer to hire someone who comes recommended than to screen umpteem strangers, especially when you know that a résumé often is not an accurate representation of how the new person will adapt to and perform as a member of your team?

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Debra Feldman is the JobWhiz(TM), a nationally recognized expert who designs and personally implements swift, strategic and customized senior level executive job search campaigns, banishing barriers that prevent immediate success. Her gift for Networking Purposefully(TM) and expediting stalled job searches connects candidates directly to decision makers, not HR. Learn more about her groundbreaking techniques that compress job searches from months into weeks leveraging online visibility and maximizing traditional techniques.

© 2011, Debra Feldman.