Envision a job search world where you know where to go for support, what resources to tap for ideas, and who to contact to advance your search with ease. Imagine what it would be like to show up to networking events and know exactly what you need to do. Often, executive positions slip through candidates’ fingers because they weren’t prepared to answer a question on the spot or they forgot who they met at a networking event. With the following tools and resources, you’ll be able to avoid such faux pas, advance your search faster, and improve your chances of landing an executive position:
1. Draft a 30-, 60-, and 90-day plan template for your target role.
As an executive searching for that perfect position, sometimes opportunity strikes when you least expect it, and you find yourself being interviewed on the spot by people you meet at events. This is a great opportunity to express your leadership skills, show that you can think on your feet, and tell them why you’re the right person for the job.
This is where your 30-, 60-, and 90-day plan template comes in. Chances are that you already know what kind of a job you’re going after. Your level of experience also gives you a good idea of what to expect and how you can help. Write all of this down in an organized fashion so when someone asks you “What can you do for our company?” you’ll know how to answer with universal answers and thought-provoking questions that will leave the audience impressed with your curiosity and wanting to chat more.
2. Rehearse your elevator pitch. Craft three to five statements that outline your most impressive achievements.
As you progress in your career, what you have accomplished in your positions is the name of the game. However, people often fumble when asked for relevant achievements pertaining to their target role. Do not let this question catch you off guard.
Draft an elevator pitch. While some may argue the elevator pitch is going out of style, the truth remains that this is an easy and effective way to let someone know who you are and what you do. Additionally, prepare yourself by outlining your experience in three to five achievement statements. You’ll also want to write a couple of bullet points on why this experience makes you the right person for the open position.
If you need a little extra help remembering your outline, put it in as a note in your phone for easy access. With time, you’ll have it memorized and will be able to confidently answer any experience-related questions.
This also is a nice thing to have on hand if you do get the job. You’ll be able to hit the ground running!
3. Join small networking groups in your local area.
Small networking groups are popping up all over thanks to sites such as MeetUp and Eventbrite. Rather than going to huge networking events that could cost you hundreds for a plate of food and a presentation, consider finding smaller groups of local professionals. They are usually much less formal, and the intimate environment allows for great connections.
If you can’t find the kind of group you’re looking for, you can always start one yourself. All it takes is gathering some colleagues at a coffee shop to create a mastermind group. You also can research college alumni groups, professional groups, and industry groups.
You also may want to plan how to engage in a conversation with the person you will be meeting. The book, “The Art of Small Talk,” by Debra Fine can be a great resource to get you over these conversational hurdles and social hesitations.
4. Use LinkedIn’s advanced search feature to build leads of all kinds.
LinkedIn is also a great resource for leads of all kinds, including customers, vendors, consultants, and suppliers. With the advanced search function you can conduct extremely targeted searches to find exactly who you need.
For instance, let’s say the company is looking to expand its mobile and tech presence by developing an app for its product or service and it doesn’t have an in-house software developer. LinkedIn’s advanced search function allows you to find and compare developers the company would be able to use.
The same concept can be applied to anything you can think of. Did one of your vendors just disappear? Find a new one on LinkedIn. Need to rev up some sales? LinkedIn can help with that, too.
5. Increase your LinkedIn connections and assemble a running list of referrals and contacts.
When it comes to landing a job, especially high-level jobs, sometimes it’s not what you know but who you know. It’s in your best interest to keep a running list of referrals and people you know within companies. You can use a spreadsheet or take advantage of LinkedIn’s tagging feature to organize your contacts. Make sure to update this list whenever you go to networking events or meet someone new.
Never get caught off guard again by having these executive job search tools in your arsenal.
Posting August 27, Lisa Rangel’s next article for www.trainingmag.com will focus on the “Secret to Conquering Ageism in Your Job Search.”
Lisa Rangel, the managing director of Chameleon Resumes, is a former search firm recruiter, paid LinkedIn contributor, certified professional resume writer, and holder of seven additional career certifications. As a former recruitment professional for more than 13 years, Rangel knows first-hand what resumes get a response from reviewing thousands of resumes and identifying high-caliber talent for premier organizations. She is the author of the books, 99 Job Search Tips from An Executive Recruiter, The Do-It-Yourself Branded Resume Kit and Interview Confidently, Get Hired and Don’t Sell Out.