Stop applying online for jobs (and what to do instead).

The more senior you get, the fewer relevant roles will be advertised. Instead, confidential executive searches will be happening. Head-hunters don’t advertise the assignments they work on.

They are paid to be discreet. To have knowledge and experience of their markets and to know who’s who; the high performers, the rising stars; the safe pairs of hands.

They are paid to map the market – to find out, if they don’t already know – who holds the relevant roles in competitor organisations or other sectors that could be relevant. They are constantly having conversations about who they should know. They ‘source’ candidates by asking for recommendations from senior people they trust.

They approach the individuals they think would be best for their client, regardless of whether they are actively looking for a new role or not.

This is how many executive and many leadership positions are filled.

Some job opportunities, however, never get as far as an executive search firm. It is a very costly process and in many cases organisations first look at their internal succession for roles, then they look at external individuals already on their radar who they could consider. This may include individuals who:

●  Interviewed for a different position, was a great culture fit, but wasn’t quite right for that role.
●  A hiring manager worked with in a former organisation that they would love to work with again because they rate and trust them.
●  Was recommended to them by one of their colleagues.
●  They met at an industry event, connected with and have been keeping their eye on.
●  They saw speaking on a panel at a conference.
●  They know from their life outside work – let’s be honest. It happens.

Many roles are filled through networks.

So, what does this mean for you if you are looking for your next role?

Don’t rely on applying for adverts as your job search strategy. I would go so far as to say, treat job adverts as a last resort.
Ensure your online presence is compelling and you can be found by recruiters. (My earlier blog How can LinkedIn help me when I am looking for a new job has some pointers).
Make sure your professional (and personal) contacts know what you are looking for and would recommend you if they hear of anything relevant. If they get a ‘source’ call, they will mention you.
Be visible. Your dream job is highly unlikely to be advertised. You need to get on their radar proactively, not wait to be found. Whether in person or online (ideally both) get in front of the key people at your target company.
 Build long term relationships with head-hunters. If you don’t yet have those relationships, talk to trusted peers and those more senior than you, especially those who have recently made a job move and ask them which search firms and consultants they recommend. Ask them to make an introduction for you. You are more likely to get an initial meeting with them than if you contact them cold.

Step away from the job boards! Get your LinkedIn profile working for you, and get out there talking to people.

Head to the resources page to find the Recruitment Coach LinkedIn Guide and CV Guide which you might find helpful.

Photo by Dell on Unsplash

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