Search Campaign Strategies
If a single word could be used to describe the successful executive search candidate, it would be “proactive.” Long gone are the days when one could peruse a few ads, get several interviews, and land a great new position. The successful candidate in the new millennium realizes that employment search is MARKETING. How many thriving businesses do you know of that derive all of their business from one advertising medium? The more aggressively and effectively you use creative marketing and merchandising strategies, concepts, and techniques, the shorter and more productive will be the search process.
This multi-faceted process begins with creation of high-impact advertising copy—your resume, cover letters, thank-you and follow-up letters, reference list, salary history. Once armed with these marketing tools, there are various avenues you will want to evaluate for promoting the product (you). Not all will be appropriate in every case, but you will want to make sure your search campaign is multi- rather than one-dimensional:
Networking—Online and Offline: By far your best source of leads and also the avenue through which the majority of positions in the marketplace are filled. Your previous bosses and co-workers, contacts with vendors and suppliers, previous clients and customers immediately come to mind. Professional and civic associations are a valuable networking resource. Not so obvious but surprisingly fruitful can be casual acquaintances and associates at social and sports clubs, your bank, even your barber or hairdresser. Make sure everyone you know has a copy of your resume! Investigate and join one or more networking associations (e.g., ExecuNet) and then aggressively utilize every resource they offer. Maintain a strong LinkedIn® profile, actively build your connections, follow companies of interest to you, and participate in/better yet, start online discussions.
Print and Online Newspaper Advertisements: Comb the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times, trade publications for your industry, etc. Look not only for companies specifically recruiting for your target position, but for companies highlighted in articles as growing/changing as well as those advertising to fill other positions. Compile a list of prospects for your direct mail campaign from these resources.
Targeted E-Mail and/or Direct Mail: Targeted mailing (not broadcast or mass mailing) has proven for many to be a powerful vehicle for identifying unadvertised opportunities. Well-planned, well-targeted, and well-executed campaigns do get results! You may wish to select companies in your preferred industry(s), executive recruiters who specialize in your industry or targeted position, or perhaps venture capitalists who invest in your industry and are looking for management teams to take the helm of their new acquisitions. Critical to a successful targeted e-mail or direct mail campaign are three elements: an up-to-date mailing list, specific contact information for the top executive at each company, and follow-up! Many individuals have been sorely disappointed after mailing hundreds of resumes to a poorly targeted and outdated list and then compounding their error by failing to follow up with each and every contact.
Posting Your Resume Online: Gain quick, low cost, exposure of your credentials to potential employers, executive recruiters, and venture capitalists. While fewer employers are using online resume databases to identify potential candidates, good jobs are still filled that way.
Maintaining High Visibility on LinkedIn: With nearly all recruiters sourcing or researching candidates here, you cannot afford to dismiss or neglect this networking site.
Online Executive Search Services: Join and utilize one or more executive job boards or e-mail notification services that provide access to positions in the $100K+ category (good examples are Netshare and ExecuNet). Make sure that the service or services you work with provide appropriate and up-to-date information. You can waste many hours wading through inappropriate or dated material on some sites.
Executive search candidates may not enjoy hearing it, but it is the truth: The casual search generally produces “casual” results. In many respects, the search process must be approached as a full-time job. However, through proactive and well-planned use of as many search tools as are appropriate to your situation, you can produce great results while minimizing your time investment. Work smarter, not harder! That, after all, is an area in which the high-caliber executive excels.