With many industries, the cliche holds true: it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Today, many recruiters and headhunters are more easily accessible to high quality candidates. So how can you, as a candidate, build relationships with executive recruiters? Our partner ExecutiveConnexions has some tips on how you can strengthen your network, and improve your chances of finding your next career opportunity.
Build your online presence
Do not underestimate the power of the internet. It’s a whirlpool of like-minded executives just waiting to pounce on that exclusive new career, so you need to make sure you are in the race. Online career networks, like Experteer, function as the web’s central hub for professionals and businesses to connect.
This makes it the perfect opportunity for you to showcase your skills, experience and knowledge in a well written, cohesive way. Recruiters will check your social profiles as soon as they’ve read your CV.
Make sure you do not just copy and paste chunks from your CV as this could make you look lazy and disinteresting. Build up your social media presence as much as possible, with avenues such as Twitter, SlideShare and publishing on LinkedIn to create your own personal brand that reflects your work standard and personality as much as you can.
Tailor your curriculum vitae
Now I know updating your CV can seem like a daunting task but trust me, it’s worth it; especially when it can be the difference between getting that important interview or being thrown into the pile and forgotten.
Most importantly – keep it brief. No recruiter – or employer for that matter – wants to sit and read about every report you’ve ever written, or every vacation you’ve taken. No. They want clear, concise and to the point, taking up somewhere between 2 and 4 pages of A4 paper. They want real accomplishments – things that have made you a more intellectual and enticing candidate for the job.
This is a senior level job you’re applying for, so make sure you sound the part. Read through the job description (more than once) and tailor each one of your skills and experiences to show how you will fit the job in hand. Use positive language and key words so when the recruiter is scanning your CV they will spot the words they want to read.
Be a well-prepared candidate
Even if you think you are prepared, your recruiter and potential employer might think differently. Recruiters often meet candidates who consider themselves to be well-prepared –and they disagree! It sounds simple but make sure you are ready and waiting for that call from a recruiter.
Know that you have researched relevant companies that you could be applying for or want to connect with. Research all the ins and outs of the executives that already work there; the skills they have, the qualifications and experience that helped get them the job. Find out the strengths and weaknesses of the businesses and make sure you understand the key competencies needed – you are the right executive for the job so prove it.
Have fundamental questions at the ready and have on hand the answers as to why the business would benefit from hiring you. And importantly, know yourself. Make an effort to become aware of your blind spots; your own strengths and weaknesses; and how other people see you.
Have business cards available
There’s a lot of career advice out there that tells senior executives to forget about swapping business cards because this isn’t enough to get you a job. Whilst we all know that this is true in part, many executives are overlooking the importance of using business cards in their job search altogether. However, this is all part of your personal branding; you may sound the part but you need to look the part too.
Using business cards as part of your consistent personal brand shows that you are professional and engaging, and a recruiter/potential employer will be more likely to remember you.
Make sure your business cards are very concise and to the point – cover the important areas such as your name, job area/personal brand, email, mobile number and LinkedIn/Twitter username (social media is becoming increasingly important in the job search).
Keep the font and style the same as your CV and other documents for a professional, sleek look. Remember less is more, so don’t go overboard with fancy colours or pictures – stick to elegant and modest.
Never say Never
You might feel settled in the job you’re in, but you never know what a recruiter might have to offer you. You can’t always count on your current employer to take an interest in your personal goals or developing your executive career, so you have to be ready to talk with a recruiter and develop that relationship for the benefit of your future job satisfaction.
You don’t know what could be on the other end of the phone, or how an interview could change your life for the better. Even if you don’t feel like the opportunity is quite right for you, have a chat about it; build relationships and you could be pleasantly surprised. Recruiters are an invaluable connection to employers. They know what’s happening in an industry before most and where the next vacancy will be.
So always welcome opportunities to speak with recruiters; keep an open mind and listen to what people have to say – you never know what could happen!