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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.

Editors Note: The following article is an excellent depiction of when top management become disconnected with their audience and the vision of their employees.

During the filming of A Separate Peace (1972), the cast and crew got together at the end of the day to have dinner, and the director, Larry Peerce, was at the head of the table. Every seat was taken, so when Larry’s mother appeared, a member of the crew got up, said he’d get himself a folding chair, and offered Mrs. Peerce his cushioned seat.

Larry leaped up, thrust out his arm in the young man’s direction, and commanded, “Sit down.” When the somewhat puzzled fellow was seated, Larry said, “Let her sit on the folding chair. She’s not comfortable unless she’s uncomfortable.”

Recently a BlueSteps senior executive asked how he could conduct an executive job search in the same way he would execute a successful business plan? The answer is to equip yourself with career management tools such as BlueSteps and Linkedin, and make sure you are documenting and tracking your executive job search like you would a business project.

Most executives like a good challenge, and I am no exception, but the executive job search process has certainly tested my resolve. At the end of last year, I became part of the unemployed population because I successfully helped sell a company to a public strategic buyer that did not need any corporate personnel. I knew at the outset of this transaction that I was putting myself out of a job, but I saw the sale through to closing in hopes that this experience would make me a more well-rounded and attractive senior executive.

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