Opinions of contributing entrepreneurs are their own.
Finding an executive-level job can be a lengthy process. As you progress through your career, there are fewer and fewer opportunities that are likely to be a perfect fit for you, let alone a position that meets the requirements of your role, salary, and company culture. The current economic climate has also made competition fiercer.
As an executive search professional, I know from experience that such a job can take a year or more, and most attractive jobs are part of the “hidden job market” and rarely make it to job openings or boards.
Considering that approx 80% of jobs are found through networking, your best chances of success are through a referral, either a trusted colleague, friend or search professional who knows the hiring manager. I speak to multiple candidates looking for a job, and while I don’t get paid to connect with people looking to get hired (I get paid when my clients, the companies, hire me to find a candidate), I try to help and support as many people as possible.
Before targeting recruiters, one should understand the two main types of executive search firms and recruiters. There are retain And unpredictability companies and recruiters.
- Unpredictability recruiters are paid after the search process when the client decides to hire one of the candidates suggested by the recruiter.
- retain executive search firms charge a consulting fee — paid as a monthly advance or a percentage of the candidate’s salary.
I work with a permanent search agency and we are hired by companies, our clients, who pay us to find candidates. We don’t get paid by referring a candidate to a company that won’t hire us.
Below are nine tips for helping candidates get a job by connecting with an executive search consultant without paying anything.
1. Focus on your search agency’s consultant, but do your homework first
Understand the search agency you are targeting and what practice areas they are known for and specialize in. Then look for individuals within the company who specialize in areas in which you are an expert or interested. people who best match a query I’m working on.
If you’re focused on a general or functional area I work on, I will want to know more about you anyway. I always enjoy getting to know great people and that is why I will include your resume in our database. I also recommend attaching your resume Blue steps Database, the largest and most diverse global community providing C-suite executives with mentoring, resources, and visibility to top-retained search companies. You want to be visible to them. There are different membership levels for this, so the recommendation is optional.
2. Make sure your LinkedIn, biography and resume are up-to-date before going outreach
You have one chance to make a first impression to contact a recruiter, so make sure your resume, bio and Linkedin profile are fully updated. More than 75% of recruiters trust LinkedIn. Resumes fly by our desks all day long, and this is your first chance to get noticed. If your first outreach doesn’t appeal to a recruiter, your bio hasn’t been updated, or your social media profile casts a negative light, they probably won’t spend more time with you.
Related: Avoid These 8 Mistakes Leaders Make Every Day on LinkedIn
3. Get to work on your achievements right from the first outreach
A value I teach my children and colleagues is to “spread sunshine,” which means I always like to help others where I can. But keep in mind that I’ll probably only give your email 60 seconds, so start with your achievements from the beginning. Instead of starting with your biography, take me through a case history.
Help me understand how you have been a benefit to everyone you have worked with. The STAR method is a good start. This is the Situation, Task, Action and Result. For example, explain to me that the company’s numbers had fallen and they had to be restarted. They brought you on as Chief Marketing Officer, you rebuilt the team, put people in better roles, and after six months, the company’s numbers were up, or more specifically, the company was generating $20 million in revenue per month, a increase by an average of $14 million per month. I’m most interested in the results, and so are the companies you target.
In today’s business environment, soft and interpersonal skills are in high demand, especially at the C-suite level and in leadership positions. Recruiters and hiring managers are really interested in communication, leadership, teamwork, interpersonal skills and how you adapt.
At Boyden, we seek what we call People-oriented leadership – we want candidates and leaders to embrace flexibility, empathy and most importantly diversity and inclusion.
5. Be specific about your willingness to travel, work a hybrid model, or be in the office
More companies are looking for office-based or hybrid roles rather than strictly working from home. If you don’t live in the city where the companies you’re targeting are located, note that you’re willing to travel or want to move closer to corporate headquarters or satellite offices.
Related: Hybrid Work, Remote Work or Flexible Hours? Know your team and what motivates them
6. Increase your visibility
Not only increase your LinkedIn update, but also increase your visibility in audiences by searching for or sharing recent speaking opportunities, podcast appearances, published articles, or important awards and recognitions. Highlighting achievements increases your chances of getting noticed and keeps you in the loop with your target recruiters and companies.
If I see a candidate with a set of skills that match a query I’m working on, can get results, have excellent soft skills, and stay current, he’ll stand out.
7. Network, network, network!
But do it with intention and purpose. Networking doesn’t just mean talking to everyone you know and meeting as many people as possible. Rather connect with colleagues, classmates and friends who can help you get referred. Use Linkedin to your advantage by looking for mutual connections and people who can be a great introduction or point of reference. Start with the network you know and dig a little deeper into their networks to see where they might have opportunities.
Related: 8 tips introverts need to network effectively in 2023
8. Be specific and simple
When targeting recruiters and companies, keep the emails short and specifically explain what you do best and how you’ve excelled in your current and previous positions. Be simple (think the KISS philosophy) by listing your key value points, and do it quickly. When I read your email, I’ll give you 60 seconds to 2 minutes, so make sure you hit those points clearly and as concisely as possible.
9. Be professional and polite
It may sound obvious, but this is not the place or time for slang, social media acronyms, or bad grammar. As with any professional email, check for spelling, discrepancies, and syntax errors. Be sure to say “thank you” and most importantly, check the spelling of the name of the hiring manager you are contacting. I can’t tell you how many times my name has been messed up! While I forgive, the wrong name doesn’t leave the best impression.
Searching and finding a job that matches your skills, interests, salary requirements and location can be challenging. Trust that companies are hunting for top talent and that there are many vacancies. The key lies in your ability to know how to network, best present yourself and develop relationships. You can even frame your follow-up as networking. For example, mention a mutual connection with your target. I like relationships and contact with people, and if you mention a mutual contact we share, I’ll be more inclined to pick up the phone and ask my contact about you. Keep your optimism high while you’re looking for a job, be authentic and make yourself memorable without putting too much effort. With the help of these tips, you should be eye-catching.