16 Executive Job Search Tips for 2016


In my nearly 20 years of executive search consulting, I have seen the frustrations of the job search process from both the job seeker’s and the hiring company’s perspectives – and seen what successful candidates do to get the job. Here are my top 16 tips for getting that job offer this year.

executive_job_search_advice_from_search_consultant1. Be great at your job. Companies hire specialists who are great at their function. It’s not enough to know what’s entailed in the job. Where do you excel?

2. Be valuable to the company. Where you are great has to be valued by a company. Too many people are writing their resumes with emphasis on me, rather than focusing on them, the company hiring for the role. Think ResuTHEM. What do they require?

3. Be clear on what you have accomplished. Often, candidates give a litany of their background without articulating their own responsibilities and achievements. What have you been able to accomplish? What metrics, awards and kudos have you received for your results?

4. Be concise in communications. There are many candidates that talk themselves out of the job by rambling, by talking at a high level without giving details, by sharing inappropriate or confidential information, by not answering the questions asked or by not reading the non-verbal cues of the interviewer. What is being asked and how do you deliver the right level of detail to answer?

5. Be prepared. A company is flattered when you do your research to learn about the company, their industry/market, their products, their strategy, their financials, their culture and their people. What insights can you share from your preparation?

6. Be passionate. Sometimes it’s not the best qualified but the person who is most interested in the company that gets the offer. What is your passion for the opportunity and how does this come through?

7. Be responsive. One client only advanced candidates who followed up after interviews. Thank you emails were a gauge to determine interest and how the person acted in business. What is your follow up from interactions?

8. Be considerate. Being nice pays off. How do you treat others?

9. Be aware of culture. Companies, and even teams within a company, can have unique cultures. Some require aggressive behavior while others may be more collaborative. What is the culture of the organization and is it a fit for you?

10. Be egoless. Some companies look for someone who can think strategically and get their hands dirty in details. Be willing to do what it takes for the job. How do you approach the work?

11. Be known. Most jobs are found by reaching out (aka networking) with those that know you best. How can you help those around you so you are top of mind?

12. Be found online. Recruiters often source new talent on-line through LinkedIn, BlueSteps and other resources. Your online presence needs to tell a short story of who you are – and remember a picture is worth a thousand words! What does your online profile say about you?

13. Be open for new ideas. Executives often succeed by taking risks with new opportunities. No pain, no gain. Listen to new opportunities. Where might this role take you?

14. Be strategic on career advancement. Sometimes new skills or new experiences are required before the next opportunity becomes an option for you. What are skills you might need to develop for your career goals?

15. Be proactive. Companies are looking for people and results that will propel the company forward. Some companies may be open to learning of new opportunities for expansion. Where can you add expertise to a company?

16. Be positive. A fantastic opportunity will come along with the right experience, skills, attitude and preparation. Here’s to a great 2016 and career success!

If you'd enjoyed this post, you may be interested in registering to watch our webinar airing later this year: Top Executive Job Search Mistakes (and How to Fix Them).

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About the author

Kathryn Ullrich's picture

Kathryn Ullrich is a Partner in Odgers Berndtson’s Silicon Valley office and a member of the Technology and HR Practices. She focuses on senior executive searches for major corporations and venture-capital-backed companies in software, systems and services, and has specific expertise in autonomous vehicle technology, cloud, cyber security, data analytics, Internet, IoT, and SaaS. Prior to joining Odgers Berndtson, Kathryn spent nearly twenty years building her executive search practice at several firms including Heidrick & Struggles, Russell Reynolds Associates and her own boutique search firm. Earlier in her career, Kathryn worked in software product marketing at Siebel Systems (now Oracle), strategy consulting at Accenture, and engineering at GTE (now Verizon) and Motorola. She is the founder of a Silicon Valley non-profit for women in technology and actively works with clients on increasing diversity in technology. Kathryn has a B.S. cum laude in electrical engineering from University of Michigan and an MBA with top honors from UCLA Anderson School of Management. 

Odgers Berndtson is a proud member of the AESC. To learn more about Odgers Berndtson, visit http://www.odgersberndtson.com/en-us.

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Solid advice from Kathryn Ullrich - well stated and concise.

All pertinent points! Thanks!

Great article, thanks for providing such a valuable content for us. Thanks for sharing this article.

Thanks for giving the knowledge of the job search and about this. Nice Post!

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