Opportunities seldom show up repeatedly. The beginning of the year is always the best time to set your goals and priorities in the right order and surge ahead in your career. Do not miss exclusive insights from Tony Restell, Founder of Social-Hire on Vantage Point today. From job boards to headhunters to social media, Tony goes through an extensive list of tools and platforms that you can use to create something special in your career this year. And now over to Tony for the simple guide to securing your next executive job…
Tony Restell’s Simple Guide To Securing Your Next Executive Job
The challenge though is that the ways you might seek out your next role have ballooned considerably. So where might you choose to invest your time? Mainstream job boards, specialist job boards, job aggregators, social networking sites, recruitment agencies, social media – where should you focus?
To help you get started, here’s our run-down of the various options to explore. Which are right for you will depend on both your industry and how well suited you are personally to exploiting each of them to the full. Here’s what you need to know:
Job Boards and Aggregators
Backtrack just a few years and job boards were the single most important place for uncovering job openings in your industry. Companies, trying to recruit direct, would often comprehensively advertise their vacancies in this way. Today companies have lots of options to find and approach candidates direct, which means that far fewer of their vacancies are being advertised on job boards. The upside of this is that the roles being advertised are often ones they have struggled to hire for, so if you do see an opening that’s a good match there’s a heightened chance of your application being progressed.
Niche Job Boards
Mainstream job boards have a couple of big disadvantages. They tend to sign major contracts with companies that then encompass them having the ability to post jobs to the site in sizeable volumes. The problem with this is twofold. Firstly, you don’t know whether the jobs listed are there because they are urgent hiring requirements or have just been posted to use up job board inventory that’s been purchased.
That’s a recipe for potentially wasting your time. Secondly, you’ll often find recruiters posting jobs to multiple categories to maximise their reach. But in the process this results in lots of roles being posted to categories where they don’t really belong – and that can make for a frustrating experience for executive job seekers.
By contrast, niche job boards (for example Experteer for senior level positions) and executive sites tend to be used by employers sporadically – when they have specific roles they are struggling with. They also tend to be much more expensive to advertise on. Taken in combination, this means that the caliber of job posting you’re likely to find is higher and more worth you investing your time in exploring.
What’s a job aggregator? Job aggregators are relatively new on the scene but they bring some great benefits to your job search. They are essentially search engines for jobs.
Simply type your specific search into a job aggregator and it will trawl through thousands of job boards, newspaper websites and recruitment career sites and reveal the most relevant jobs for you. Sites such as Indeed, Jobrapido and CareerJet are ones to look at. Their primary use is to help you uncover roles advertised on sites that might otherwise not have been on your job search radar.
Social Business Networking Sites
Your social networking profiles are arguably your biggest branding asset in your executive job search. Most corporates have now established teams to directly hunt for the talent they need for their open positions. This means that far fewer roles are now being advertised – and a growing proportion are being filled through the “hidden jobs market”. If your profiles aren’t appearing as a match when a recruiter does a search, then you’ll simply never be considered for many of the prime opportunities you’d aspire to securing.
There are a number of things to focus on doing here. Firstly, you want to keyword optimize your profile. What’s important here is to ensure that all the keywords a recruiter is likely to be searching for are included somewhere in your profiles.
This is in fact true of any online profiles including your social media profiles. To do this, reverse engineer the keywords a recruiter is likely to be hunting for by looking at relevant job adverts and extracting them from the “must have” or “desired candidate profile” section. For a fuller explanation see this post on writing a keyword optimized LinkedIn profile.
Once you’ve done this, it’s important to then ensure that your profiles do as powerful a job as possible of selling you as a strong candidate. Focus on quantifiable achievements, verifiable facts, statements that help the recruiter perceive you as a candidate who is a high achiever. “Consistently ranked among the top 10% of business development executives in the company” is a far more powerful statement than saying you have “Proven business development skills”. Orient your whole profile in this way so that a recruiter alighting on it is struck with the impression that they’ve found themselves a really strong candidate.
Lastly, be sure to check that your profiles mirror your CV / Resume closely. Discrepancies between what you say you’ve done publicly and what you claim on a private resume can cause alarm bells to go off. Be thorough in ensuring the two dovetail with each other very closely.
Previously companies had to pay to advertise their hiring alerts to an audience of candidates. Today they are publishers themselves, with their own audiences built up via their social media accounts. If you’re not following the companies you’d like to join, chances are you’re missing out on openings they’re looking to fill.
Most major corporates have built up sizable followings on their social media accounts. Many have even set up distinct accounts just for people who are interested in knowing about career opportunities within their business. That’s why it’s important for you to be identifying and following the accounts of companies of interest to you. At the very least you’ll gain insights about the company that’ll be useful when it comes to interviewing with them. But you may well also learn of openings that they haven’t advertised elsewhere.
Recruitment Agencies or Headhunters
Recruitment agencies and headhunters still play a very important role in your job search. It is a recruitment consultant’s job to understand the market, liaise with clients, and find the right candidates for their roles. They often network with the top companies in your industry who are looking for new talent, they know the current market rate and they can get you what you want.
What’s more, they’ll often be working on assignments that are sensitive and so aren’t being filled via job board adverts or direct approaches to candidates. Like them or loathe them, recruitment consultants are an integral part of the job searching process – find the right ones and your job search prospects will be enhanced considerably.
I’ve written extensively on leveraging recruitment agencies in your job search, so for a greater understanding of this do refer to Recruitment Agencies Are Not Dead! and also 7 Tips For Getting On a Headhunter’s Radar.
What you’re hopefully taking away from this piece is the fact that there are a lot of new ways employers are going about making their executive hires. Just going about your job search the way you did five years ago will leave you short-changed. Understand how the market has evolved and adjust your job search efforts accordingly.
The last piece of advice I’d leave you with is to keep track of every job you have applied for and to follow up a few days later. Don’t hide behind your computer screen, the best thing you can do is pick up the phone and speak to people. Good luck.
Thank you Tony for your detailed and thorough insights as usual. We hope all our readers get inspired and are able to choose the right platforms for their job search!
About Tony Restell and Social-Hire:
Tony Restell is the Founder of Social-Hire.com and helps candidates and recruiters leverage social media. Having spent the last 15 years serving the recruitment industry, Tony is a frequent guest speaker on the ever-changing jobs market and how both candidates and recruiters must adapt in order to thrive. A published author and Cambridge graduate, you’re welcome to reach out to Tony on @tonyrestell.