Quickest Executive Job Search Strategy

Thursday, June 27th, 2013 - Executive Job Search

Audit first; Goal second; Communicate third

Quickest Executive Job Search Strategy

We purposefully position ourselves as a CV Writing company. Because, where does almost every job seeker, from the CEO downwards, start their job search?

But actually, the last thing you want to do if you want the quickest and most fulfilling executive job search strategy is to start your job search with a CV.

This post is about explaining why that is not the quickest way to a successful Executive Job, but why most Executive Job Seekers make the same mistake as all other job seekers

Action is salvation, and hence employment

Have you ever been unemployed? I have never yet met an executive who wants to return to the work environment and admits to having been unemployed.

A major part of that is the stigma that we as a society associate with the word unemployed. It is all about the associated failure and rejection, at almost every level: professional; network; social. So most take rest periods, or career breaks, or ANYTHING (I hate writing in CAPS/bold, but on occasions it does communicative massive emphasis…) but unemployment.

The resultant social isolation factors associated with unemployment are why when we are dealing with many blue collar to professional workers, that unawareness, self depreciation and often clinical depression become issues that we as CV Writers have to deal with. Let me assure you that if those are problems that you find yourself dealing with now and not talking about to even the most close and intimate people in your life, then rest assured that we have dealt with them successfully before and will be today. According to Department of Health and Department of Employment statistics, after 90days of job searching 10% of job seekers at all levels are depressed, rising to 35% after three months.

Hence the first 100days of job search are the most critical of all, which is why most job seekers, desperate to avoid the social exclusion tag which is unemployment, believe that there is employment salvation in taking action. Let me assure you here that there is, but only if you take the right action.

I relay a story early on in our Executive CV Writing Service these days about a typical job seeker going down to the pub or the clubhouse of their local golf course, and finding that a friend has just got  a new job out of the blue, which is paying them 20% more. Yet when they go back and undertake their own job search, they find themselves unsuccessful and still not employed three months later. Why?

Some times, some people can just be lucky in job search, but most often its down to good strategy and specifically positioning.

More haste, less speed

The quickest route is most often referred to as direct from A to B. So if I say to someone you need to do this first before you get to the journey from A to B, then they conclude that I am delaying them in their job search.

Job search, and specifically Executive job search, is a case in point of more haste creating less speed. In fact the way I think about it these days, and explain it to our clients, is like Abraham Lincoln:

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe

Simply, if you don’t do the preparation work, then you will spend a large amount of unproductive and frustrating time applying for jobs in which others will outpace you, and resultantly spend longer in job search.

So what is the quickest executive job search strategy?

Step1: Audit

As part of our free CV Review Service, in the executive sector I will always pick up the phone and ask “What do you want to do next?” I will then get a series of words, which mostly indicate to me as a Recruiter that they have a good idea, but not one clear enough yet to communicate why an employer should engage them – we come to how to clear that up next.

However, I then do what every good interviewer does, and chat them back through their existing Executive CV, and understand what they did and achieved. Now often people leave out key issues – some times whole positions – for very good reasons. But the situation which most regularly is that I will ask a question, and a whole set of skills and most importantly accomplishments will suddenly fall out of their memory. These newly found skills and accomplishments are also those which are most relevant to the newly defined position that they want to fulfil.

A good career and skills audit, which I have never known take more than three days maximum, tells you two things:

  1. The Skills, Qualifications and Experiences that you applied to get the now fully supported Business Results that you claim and employers want
  2. The social and business situations in which you best deliver, ie: team size, business challenge, etc

The third output of a good career and skills audit is more clarity in that “what next” position. Which is why we then come to…

Step2: Goal

The second step is about your Goal, made up of two parts:

  1. What do you want to do next?
  2. Who is hiring?

In modern business terms, you can call this stage active market positioning: if you know what you want to do, and you know people need that service or will buy that result; then simply communicating it (Step3) must result in employment. But, with others I have communicated this step in a different way, using the classic words of the Chinese warrior-strategist Sun Tzu:

Victorious warriors win first and then go to war,

while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.

I don’t mind which works for you, but understand that knowing yourself and what the market wants, and then putting the two together, results in quicker employment. Often, people think that this takes “an age”, but it doesn’t and all of the work is then recycled into Step3…

Step3: CV and media – communication

I often get dragged into debates about the CV these days, whether in the age of the internet a CV is at all relevant, let alone required?

My answer is always yes, but how it is communicated to any potential employer is a choice of medium. Hence for me the debate is not whether a CV is required (a CV is a factually-based persons sales communication against that specific job), but whether it is communicated by paper, an online MSWord or pdf document, a video, a changed LinkedIn profile or any other media that the job seeker chooses.

Hence, a good modern and hence effective Executive CV is not about the quality of the paper, but a combination of the chosen personal position and the communications mediums chosen for it.

Executive summary

  • Most people consider the personal tag of unemployment socially undesirable
  • Hence when in job seeking mode, they consider that taking action is salvation, and hence will lead to employment
  • However, although this action may result in employment, it will take longer to find a new executive position
  • A simple three step strategic process will save you both time and effort, and deliver a more fulling final result
  • Step1: Audit
  • Step2: Goal, through active market positioning
  • Step3: CV and media, or communication

Good Luck!


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