Stephan B. Breitfeld

By Stephan B. Breitfeld
Jan. 23, 2018

Through the years I have worked in executive search dealing with candidates looking for jobs at a very high level, I have made some observations. One is that there is no generally applicable strategy for how to look for an executive job - there is not a one size fits all formula. Second, is that a lot of the guidelines for a job search should be common sense and known to literally everyone. Finally, it is the realization that executive search never starts with the actual search, but way before that.

Know The Answer To: What Can I Do For You?

I can’t recount the number of times I have been surprised by the approach of executive candidates. It may sound obvious but you need to know what you want. Not only knowing that you want an executive job, but knowing exactly which job and why. Be very precise about your options and targeting – I can’t stress this point enough.

Bring together your vision (What precisely do you want to achieve? How precisely do you want to develop skills? What new task are you looking for?), your expertise (What do you contribute to the new company? How can you outline and prove you expertise?) and your assets (What can you use to get there? What is your strategy?).

All of this requires a thorough amount of preparation before you get your job search under wa, and it will help you take the right steps. For example, not to ask people for things like: “When you hear something, let me know” but to ask for specific actions.

At The Heart Of Your Search Is … Not You

Let’s be honest, executives need a good amount of self-esteem, given the position they are in. They need that to succeed – absolutely. BUT in the context of executive search this sometimes has a side effect that can damage the result. Executive candidates tend to see themselves as the most important factor in the game. They concentrate on their skills, their expertise and their stellar track record and tend to forget the other side of the coin. The future position should be the center. The strategy in looking for an executive job should always aim at the future job. What do they need? What do they do? How do they connect? Get to know it all, get the picture of who is connected to whom and what is going on in your future company.

Reflect On Yourself

I would recommend you seek out reflection from others to get a better look at yourself. Ask a coach or any sort of close source to give you honest feedback. This way you can also prepare for the challenging times that might face you in a job search and moving into a new career environment.

Ask For A Job Without Asking For A Job

You always hear and read that "networking is everything". Yes, executive level positions tend to get filled that way - but networking is not just talking to a lot of people, passing your card around and calling all headhunters. The secret to networking is about the quality of human interaction, how you follow up on leads, how you manage to instantly encourage commitment by asking for very specific things and using references at just the right time. Don’t ask for the job but put yourself in the right place for it.

This article originally appeared on Industry In Motion.

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