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Is your New Year’s resolution to land your next great executive-level job? Do you have a comprehensive written plan and strategy to ensure your successful results—one that does not rely exclusively on job postings? An effective job search in 2019 requires a nontraditional combination, multi-pronged strategy—proactive outreach both in-person and online.

First, remember connections continue to be the key in how the most sought-after executive positions are filled. The growth of social networking, online dissemination of personal information and increased workforce mobility have made the importance of building and maintaining professional connections critical.

When it comes to executive positions, incoming job applications aren’t sought out by headhunters and corporate recruiters. They are searching online and calling their connections to identify the best possible candidates.

To land a top-level job, it must be easy for executive recruiters to find you. This starts by knowing your value, your focus and strengths; having a strong web presence and crafting a LinkedIn profile customized to showcase your unique value. To be a player in a dynamic executive job market means being visible and accessible—without jeopardizing your current position, if employed, of course. This includes sharing personal updates, industry news, and presenting yourself as a thought leader.job search strategy

After refreshing/updating your resume and writing a LinkedIn profile with your experience and accomplishments, start establishing yourself as an industry expert on LinkedIn. This will help you grow your network and illustrate that you are on the cutting-edge of industry trends. Share articles related to your industry, position or company and provide insights on other people’s posts.

In addition to maximizing your online presence, proactively manage your personal connections. Most importantly, reach beyond the people you interact with on a regular basis and identify and reach out to those whom you want to meet. They could include prospective hiring decision makers, business owners, investors, board members, and industry leaders among others.

Reach out. Be visible. Schedule phone calls, lunches, and brief meet ups with new contacts to catch up and learn what’s happening with the leadership at various companies. Be respectful of your contacts’ time by keeping the meeting short, getting to know your new contacts, asking questions to learn more about their industry or companies they are familiar with, describing your skills and how you can help companies prosper, and asking for introductions to other people. In addition, attend industry conferences, conventions, and meetings when possible, share information and participate in conversations. These conversations will help you stay in the loop with different companies and will provide additional networking opportunities.                                                              

Don’t rely on job postings or recruiters to find you a job. A job search is not a transactional process; it’s about building and maintaining relationships with people, including executive search consultants. Executive recruiters won’t meet with you if they do not have an existing opportunity match. Retained executive recruiters are focused on finding people with very specific qualifications for their clients. If your qualifications are not a fit for a current search, the executive recruiter has no need to meet with you now. However, reach out to them and build relationships for the longer term. Present yourself as a resource to them.

Finally, reconsider your options, job seekers tend to be very selective early in their search. If you’ve been searching for a while, it may be time to ask yourself whether you should broaden your geographic parameters or consider alternate titles or industries that interest you. Take a strategic approach to your search. Have a plan for every week, and every day and consistently work your network for new opportunities.

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