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How to Land an Executive Position With Expert Wendy Enelow

Written by Jessie Liu

Wendy Enelow is an expert on finding, and keeping, a job. Whether she's showing us how to get the perfect resume at Resume Writing Academy or leading thinkers on the cutting edge of recruiting and hiring at Career Thought Leaders, you won't find anyone who's more focused on careers. Wendy talked with us about finding an executive role in the modern day.

When someone is looking to step into an executive role, what's the first thing they should do?

Determine whether or not they have the requisite skills, qualifications and credentials for the positions they are targeting. If not, they should determine the best place to acquire those skills - either through employment or an educational program. No need to apply if you're not yet qualified. Equally important is finding an executive mentor or sponsor who can work with you to promote your candidacy to the company and/or position that you're targeting.

How does finding an executive role differ from finding another job?

Savvy executives who are seeking new opportunities should engage in high-level job search activities, including online networking, in-person networking, blogging, target company outreach, recruiter outreach and direct mail/email. They might also respond to specific online job postings, although that should not be the crux of their search campaign, as it's the least effective way to find a new position. Most other job seekers should engage in as many of these activities as are relevant to their career objectives. Perhaps the most significant difference is that executive job searches generally take longer since there are less positions available, the competition can be fierce and the hiring process itself takes a great deal of time.

If an employer needs to fill an executive position, where should they start looking?

Some employers will reach out to executive recruiters to handle the task of recruiting new management and leadership. Although the price tag is high, recruiters will find the candidates of choice and present them to the company. Alternative strategies, which can be just as effective and much less costly, include using LinkedIn to identify and connect with qualified candidates, searching groups of interest to the company's industry or profession to find group members with the qualifications the hiring company is seeking, creating a Facebook page and Twitter account to attract quality candidates to the company, and networking with company personnel, suppliers, business partners and others who know the people that they may want to hire.

How important is the resume to finding an executive position, and why?

The resume is any professional's "calling card," giving enough important information and sharing the "right" achievements and success stories to entice the hiring company to invite the candidate for an interview. Just as important in today's world of online job search is the LinkedIn profile. In fact, LinkedIn can be more important when a company is doing their initial sourcing; then, the resume comes into play after the candidate has been identified on LinkedIn, which is the primary social media platform for executives.

What do you wish everyone knew about writing a resume?

The most important thing to know about resume writing is that you're writing to the future...to the position and industry that you're targeting. Resumes are NOT autobiographical essays of everything you've done throughout your entire career. Rather, they're career marketing communications designed to sell your distinctive qualifications, experiences, achievements, educational credentials and more. Resumes are the appetizers; candidates are the main course (once they get an interview)!

What trends in executive hiring should we be watching for in the future?

Perhaps the greatest trend will be in the specificity of expertise. Companies want to hire executives with very specific expertise in their industry, product or technology - executives who can solve problems and overcome challenges, executives who can optimize opportunities and deliver results by leveraging what they've already accomplished and who they know. And companies want virtually immediate results. They don't want the plan that will turnaround the business in two years; they want the turnaround now.

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