How to Start an Executive Job Search – Your First 5 Steps


Whether you are employed but want to make a move or you have recently left your executive job, knowing how to start an executive job search on the right foot is essential to ensure success. Follow these five steps below and find links to further reading:

  1. Decide your future

Before you can head in any direction, you need to know where you want to end up - there are often several functions and industries that will interest you.  Complete a list of a maximum of 5 career options – less is more - and begin to consider how your experience and goals fits into each direction.

Examples: CFO for a non-profit company based in New York or US or Executive Search Consultant in Financial markets in Brazil.

 If you are feeling a bit lost, read through your CV/resume and then browse executive job descriptions to see where your skills, experience and passion are best suited. An executive career coach is also an invaluable source during times of career transition.

  1. Build Your Brand and Perfect Your Elevator Pitch

Similar to above, you have to decide for each option your key selling points and how your experience and skills fit each role. A unique and clearly identifiable brand is essential for networking, interviewing, online profiles and CV/resumes. Beyond an initial brand that can be summed up in a few sentences (your elevator picth), think of specific career experiences which are applicable to each role and be prepared to use them for executive interviews.

>> Learn to master your elevator pitch in 5 steps

  1. Get Online

Create or update your LinkedIn profile and join relevant groups – such as AESC / BlueSteps Executive Search Network or industry specific forums. When building online presence, look beyond the obvious. BlueSteps is not as widely known as LinkedIn but as a long-term career management tool for senior executives, it is just as important. Other business networks include Viadeo, Plaxo and Xing, among others.

>> 6 Articles on How to Manage Your Executive Career Using Social Media

  1. Gather Your Contacts and Continue Offline

It has been said many times on this blog; offline sources of networking are often more valuable than those online. Join industry focused groups and gather your close contacts through alumni, friends, ex-colleagues and even family. Ask if they might know someone in your target areas and follow every lead. Professional networking groups can provide great support and additional contacts.

>> BlueSteps members can use the Career Network Planner

  1. Track Progress and Prepare for the Long Term

As you continue in your executive job search, consistently review your progress and your research – after conversations and interviews, which job opportunities excite you the most? Track contacts, leads and progress through organized spreadsheets, celebrating your successes and learning from dead-ends. An executive job search can take up to six months and beyond; you must set aside appropriate funds and mentally prepare yourself for the long-haul.

>> Executive Job Search - 8 Key Strategies to Maintain Momentum and Your Sanity

These are the basic steps to kick start your executive career management strategy that should not be left to the last minute. All of the above works best if you start long before you are out of employment, but it is never too late. Keep focused, avoid comprimising on your long term career goals and stay positive, your next job is around the corner. Goodluck!


This article was written by Christian Pielow from the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC).

BlueSteps is the exclusive service of the AESC that puts senior executives on the radar screen of over 6,000 executive search professionals in over 70 countries. Be visible, and be considered for up to 50,000 opportunities handled by AESC search firms every year. Find out more at www.BlueSteps.com.


The Ultimate Executive Career Guide: Connecting with Executive Search

As a senior-level executive, you can use this guide to:
- Learn about executive search and how it differs from other forms of recruiting
- Discover the best ways to connect with executive search professionals
- Understand how the search process works
- Implement strategies that will help you become visible to the search community
- And more!

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About BlueSteps

BlueSteps empowers executives to reach their career goals with strategic career planning.


At BlueSteps, we thoughtfully create career management solutions that are designed to help leaders advance their careers, stay on track to build a long-term career playbook, and become a strong leader. Our tools and resources will help you:
  • Advance your career with tools to keep you on track. 
  • Access insider job market intelligence from the experts.
  • Identify and network with the right recruiters.
  • Discover executive jobs and board positions not found elsewhere.
  • Connect with world class career advisors for support when you need it.

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