Working up to a leadership or executive role is the ultimate career goal for many accomplished professionals. You have been working in a specific field for years building your management and soft skills to further develop your career and thrive in the role of an executive or director. But how do you go about finding and landing the perfect C-level job?
Here are some top tips to help you bag your dream job:
1. Retirement Announcements
Most organisations only have so many positions, many of which remain filled throughout your time at the company. Options can be limited if you’re interested in moving up, but want to stay at the same corporation. In some cases, you may catch whiff of a potential opening if you know that a CEO or director will be retiring or handing in their resignation. If you have the skills to fill their shoes, make your interest known to the key decision makers. You could also have a chat with the person that is leaving to ensure they give you their personal recommendation when they are looking for a replacement.
2. LinkedIn Search
LinkedIn is one of the most effective ways to job search in the online world. The popular job search and networking site carries about “90,000 recruiter profiles” which allows you to easily connect with other professionals that can help you in your job search. When you are searching for such an important role you must update your LinkedIn presence. Ted Chan, founder and CEO of CareDash said that "he secured his latest CEO position when he hired an executive coach who had him delete roles from his CV and online profiles to make it more focused."
3. Online Job Search
One of the most traditional ways to job search is by looking at open position on job boards such as Indeed and Riley. Newspaper sites like the Guardian and Telegraph also have their own sections for executive job search. An online job search will be more successful for people looking for a non-executive role, but it is worth looking at open positions on job boards as it can also help you brush up on the most recent skills demanded in your industry so you better prepare for an interview.
Colin Moore, career advisor said: “About 60% to 70% of most executive jobs are won with some element of networking.” It’s even more important in C-level positions because these kind of roles aren’t advertised. You’re most likely to hear about suitable roles through connections and recommendations. When you are searching for a position, it’s important to look at your current network and reconnect with old contacts such as old employees, board members and people in your community.
5. Contact Recruiters
If you are looking for an executive position but don’t want your current employers to find out, you could hire a headhunter to do the search for you, and help you to reach a new network. When hiring a recruiter it’s important to build a good relationship with them. They work for the clients (the company that will potentially hire you), so you need to remain on their radar every time a fitting job opportunity comes about.
6. Offer Vision and Strategy
Whatever industry you are tapping into you need to ensure you offer vision and strategy. You need to be developing new ideas and up to date with the latest trends. If you are working in retail you need to find other ways to bring the brand to life; take Kanye West’s Season 5 show, for example, he pushed boundaries by having his model appear in a holographic turning image projected on a curtain, before walking the runway together. This is what you should be doing with your suggestions, stepping out from the norm and offer current concepts.
7. Business News
It’s important to read business news as recruiters and executives are often mentioned in the press. There are news stories that announce changes within upper management of a company and talk about the search to find a replacement.
8. Social Media
Keeping active on social media is vital, even before you begin your job search looking for your next role. Through sites like Twitter and Facebook, you can publish examples of your work showcasing your experience, accomplishment and skills. It’s important that all your social media profiles match and look professional to boost your online presence. A common rule to follow is that you shouldn’t post that you are seeking work, especially if you've been fired. Allowing people to see how long your job search takes is also not a good idea - it devalues your professional brand.
9. Informal Interviews
An informal interview is a great way to learn more about a certain industry or company from an experienced professional. These type of meetings can be set up after meeting at a networking event, or through a referral. It’s a chance for you to assess whether an establishment is one that you would want to work for and if the opening fits your skills and experience.
Employers often admit that referrals have the highest hire rate, particularly when the employee is well-respected by the person that referred them. They save the company time and money in the long run as the new employee is usually familiar with the company’s current practices and knows what to expect. Executive Connections reported that “43% of candidates believed their next role would come from an advertised position and 37% thought it would come from an unadvertised hidden jobs market… Yet, an astonishing 70% of senior executive roles are never advertised.” If you’re an executive in need of a quick job transition, you’ll be glad that you prepared ahead of time by building up your network while you were happily employed and can now reach out to your connections for possible opportunities.
11. Company Targeting
You really want to work for a specific company but know they don’t have any vacancies at the moment. So what do you do? You contact them anyway! Let them know your interests and your skillset, and if they like your CV they will definitely keep you in mind next time a suitable role arises.
12. Direct Mail
This strategy may be a long-shot, however, by embracing the lost art of the written word can work in your favour. Sending an actual hand-written letter on high-quality paper can position you favourably in your job search because very few people bother to use this method.
By identifying your key strengths and skills and using the above methods you should be on the road to success in no time.
Are you currently job searching for an executive role or have recently bagged one? If so join in on the discussion in the section below…