Executive Job Search Strategies for 2020

Posted on 12-19-2019
executive job search strategies for 2020

January is the busiest hiring month of the year, and now’s the time to get started on your job search strategies if you’ll be seeking a new position in 2020.

We’ve helped hundreds of executive job seekers land their dream jobs, and find that those who are most successful in their search have a clear set of job search strategies in place before they apply for their first position.

Job Search Strategies For Success

Ensure you’re clear on your ideal next position

The first step in any job search strategy should be to spend time reflecting on what you’re ultimately trying to accomplish in a new position.  Make sure you’re able to honestly answer to yourself why you are seeking a new position. Are you running from something or running to something? Are you seeking more money? Greater responsibilities? Less travel?  

Before starting the job search process, ensure you have a clear vision for what your next position needs to offer. Consider which aspects of your “wish list” you’re willing to compromise on if needed and those you need to stand firm on.

Deciding to take a new position can impact the entire family, particularly if relocation is involved, so it’s important to get their buy-in prior to starting your search.  We’ve seen many candidates start pursuing their dream jobs in a new city only to realize that their family isn’t on board with a move; take the time upfront to make sure everyone is on the same page as far as relocation.  Make sure you carefully consider the costs associated with a relocation as well.

Update your resume

When you’re updating your resume, make sure it’s an effective marketing piece for you by selecting a simple, easy-to-read design and ensuring the content focuses on the results you’ve achieved (rather than duties). At the executive level, candidates typically have greater success if they use more conservative resume formats and avoid trendy resume designs.

Create a networking and search plan

Having a well thought out plan for your job search will shorten your search duration.   Decide where you will regularly check for posted positions (industry websites, Indeed.com, etc.) and get in contact with a reputable search firm with expertise in your area.  Develop a plan for how you’ll tap into your network and reach out to your professional contacts. 

Clean up your social media profiles

Know that as you progress through the job search process, potential employers will most likely “Google” you and check out your social media profiles.  Make sure that everything is “professional” and that nothing on your LinkedIn profile contradicts the information on your resume.  Keep in mind that potential employers may go so far as checking out your spouse’s or kids’ social media profiles and make judgments (we’ve seen this happen!) so consider having your family members adjust their social media privacy settings if warranted.

Prepare your references

Ensure you’re ready when you’re inevitably asked for references.  It should go without saying, but give your references a heads up about your job search and ask for their permission before listing them as a reference.  Put together a list with your reference names, contact info, and relationship to you so you have it ready to go.

Practice your interviewing skills

Most interviewers use variations of common questions, so it’s a good idea to do some research and prepare ahead of time for the questions you’ll likely encounter.  

As a reminder, when interviewing keep your answers to a maximum of 90 seconds.  Failing to be concise in your answers can cost you the job. This is the second biggest reason, just behind lack of preparation, that hiring authorities cite for cutting candidates. 

Practice being interviewed for a position by someone who will give you objective feedback on the content and delivery of your responses. Employers are increasingly using video interviews as part of their process.  We conduct dozens of video interviews each week, and we’ve found that few job candidates excel at video interviewing.  Practice video interviewing so you’re comfortable and take the time to learn video interview best practices on everything from where to position yourself relative to the window and how to ensure your internet connection is fast enough. 

Perfect the PAR technique for answering behavioral interview questions

While there may not be a “right” answer for behavioral interview questions, one of the aspects your interviewer will evaluate is how well you structure your answer.

The PAR technique provides an easy structure for answering behavioral interview questions. PAR stands for Problem, Action, Result.

  • Start by describing the Problem or situation was that you had to handle.
  • Next, explain the Action you took to address the problem.
  • Finally, describe the Result of your actions and decisions. Make sure to quantify the results.
Ensure you have an impeccably fitting suit to wear

You’ll be judged by what you wear and your appearance when you’re interviewing. Always play it safe by wearing business professional clothing – a suit and tie for gentlemen and a business dress or suit for ladies. It’s always better to be overdressed than under-dressed. Make sure you have what you need when you’re kicking off your job search so you don’t have to scramble to find an appropriate outfit when you get your first interview.  Keep in mind that many major department stores have stylists to help you build your professional wardrobe.  If you have a suit sitting in the back of your closet try it on and consider taking it to the dry cleaner so it’s ready to go. 

Consider the total package when evaluating a job offer

We sometimes see candidates place too much emphasis on the compensation package.  While money is certainly important, we recommend that candidates consider job opportunities more holistically. When candidates take the time to carefully evaluate the position and offer details, we find they ultimately have increased job satisfaction and success.

In addition to considering the alignment of the new position with the criteria you identified as important at the start of your job search, we recommend you evaluate an offer on the following:

  • Compensation Package
  • Company Reputation
  • Corporate Culture
  • Team and Boss
  • Advancement Opportunity
Resign gracefully

Always remember your candidacy will be stronger if you are still working. We advise our candidates to wait until you have an offer letter in hand before resigning. Give sufficient notice, thank your employer for the opportunity and offer to help find a replacement. It’s always best to avoid burning your bridges if possible. After all, you never know when you might meet your former colleagues under other conditions — and then it’s better for everyone if there are no hard feelings.

Following these job search strategies will set you up for success.  If we can assist you in any way as you’re kicking off your job search, please contact us.  Our roster of open positions changes frequently so we encourage you to bookmark our searches page.

We also encourage you to submit a current resume so we can contact you when a position comes up that fits your background.   (Your resume is confidential and never leaves our office without your permission.)

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