First and foremost, realise now, more than ever, we have the tools at our disposal to get proactive, take control, “know more people” and open that hidden door to the next role.
1. If you haven’t already done so, read Richard Triggs Book, “Uncover the Hidden Job Market, How to find and win your next Senior Executive role.”
2. When you apply to a job advertisement, it’s probably already too late.
Candidates need to appreciate how fruitless the online job application process will most likely turn out for them. If we are working on a General Manager/ Executive C-suite role and the client would like the role advertised, then we can guarantee at least 150+ applicants – all accomplished business leaders. Being the ‘first choice’ in that environment is extremely difficult to achieve, particularly when the employer, or indeed a third-party recruiter, may have an established relationship with a candidate whom they already know is a good operator. Thus, don’t rely on job boards to bring you your next role.
3. Change your mindset – target the employers ahead of the jobs.
This is where an executive job seeker needs to focus on the ‘long game’ – establishing the relationships BEFORE a job is advertised. Instead of chasing a job opening and playing it reactive, you get on the front foot and connect with those who work for your employers of choice.
We have the tools at our disposal with LinkedIn and the internet to identify key decision makers in those companies where we see ourselves adding value. This means you need to map your employers of choice and connect with them on LinkedIn and start the conversation.
4. Identify, research, and engage
You know you’re a good candidate, you know you can add value to an organisation, but which one? Do some research. Get a list of 15-20 companies who you feel align with your experience, culture, and aspirations. Understand what makes them tick, their performance, their value proposition. Then, find out who an employee at your level would report to, or who makes their hiring decisions. Then, engage. Open the dialogue, set up some coffee meetings, ask questions and for advice and build some rapport. You want to ensure that when that opportunity arises you are the person that first comes to mind. You want them to know your skills and value.
5. Be persistent, proactive, and patient
This is key. People are busy. It might take a few weeks to get a coffee meeting or even have a phone discussion. This is why it’s important for you to have done your extensive research and have a good list of people to contact.
It may not happen in a week. In fact, there’s a very good chance it won’t. So be patient and don’t get disheartened.
6. Have your personal brand in order
Perception is everything and the first impression you make in engaging with these people is important. It’s likely your contact will lead them to check out your LinkedIn profile or doing some Google searches on you. Make sure you stand out in the right way! Ensure your LinkedIn profile positions you well – your key strengths, experience and the achievements that you are proud of. Sell yourself. In the new world of social media, in many ways your LinkedIn Profile is more important than your resume, so don’t underestimate it’s importance.