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I have seen many discussions and articles published recently that debate whether organizations prefer to hire internal or external executive job candidates. From my reading, I have found that many senior executives believe there is an overwhelming preference for the external candidate. Although the question of preference varies across geographical, organizational and individual circumstances - to offer a generalized answer would avoid the complexity involved in every hire - I would like to offer some hope to any senior executive who feels they cannot progress internally.

Internal Hiring Happens All the Time

Having survived four major recessions in my international career including the regional crisis in Asia during the SARS epidemic, the currency collapse in Argentina, significant subsidy reductions in the Indian Ocean Islands and now the latest recession gripping the US in 2008-2009 there remains one common thread across them all – the critical need to ensure corporate alignment from top to bottom through these economic tough times.

Communication Strategies

As companies head into recessionary periods the same type of corporate behavior typically takes place:
Looking over the landscape of opportunity now, as compared to ten years ago, we begin to realize the level of evolution that has occurred within the technology that manages our day to day life.

Looking back ten years, concepts such as Wikipedia, Google Maps, or iPods did not exist, but now they are all common words we speak or refer to daily.

Whether we are talking about going back to school or a looking for a new executive job, the question is, “should you always go for the highest ranking university or the most prestigious corporation?” Back in my parents’ day in China, all high school students took countrywide exams, the results of which determined university admissions. The higher one’s score, the more prestigious the school one attended. The ranking of each university as well as the scores of every student were known and matched so that the best performers went to the best schools.

I recently came across a great interview by Computer Weekly with Cathy Holley, a partner at AESC member retained executive search firm, Boyden. In this video interview, Holley outlines what clients are looking for when recruiting top senior executives for CIO positions.
Although the economy is still in the early stage of recovery, the return to improved levels of employment is at a snail's pace. Unemployment is more than 10% in the US and rising in nations around the world. Many of these executives in transition could use a helping hand from those luckily enough to not have been effected by the recession. This phenomena or moral obligation is what I call "Pay it Back" and "Pay it Forward."

Finding a new executive job at the senior level can be a challenge. Making yourself visible to executive search firms and executive recruiters is a positive way to advance your career to the next level.

GETTING NOTICED

Your executive resume or CV is an integral part of your career management and executive job search strategy, and often helps a search consultant, executive recruiter or hiring manager form their first impression of you. We asked researchers at AESC member executive search firms to explain the process they go through when reviewing resumes/CVs, the questions they ask executives after reviewing these documents, and what creates a red flag when sourcing candidates.

Learning the tricks of searching for an executive job is not difficult; it just takes some common sense, discipline and a positive upbeat attitude. Most people learn the basic techniques as they begin a search but here are some additional tips that will help make a search successful.

Set Daily Goals – One approach that has served me well was to set goals for myself. I try and make at least 10 connections a day. A connection does not mean that someone has to respond but it is a note, phone call or a face to face meeting with someone. There are days when I exceed it and there are days when I don’t hit my goal, but the goal pushes me to find ways to connect with as many people as I can.

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