Executive job hunting should be approached as a marketing problem. It’s not a resume problem or a networking problem. Nor is it simply a matter of finding a recruiter or search firm that isn’t all talk, no action.
Defense is more important than offense, because the hiring process is more about elimination than selection.
Screeners look first at job titles, industry experience, age, education, and credentials. That’s why a resume can hurt you more than it can help you.
Never allow anyone who can’t hire you to decide your fate.
Always target the person you would report to, or the person they report to.
The most effective way to influence the person who can hire you is by letting them know what you can do for them as the result of your education/experience.
The best tool to use to get interviews is a marketing letter. Its main advantage is that it lets you tell the hiring authority what he wants to know the most about you: what you can do for him.
If you market your capabilities first, most hiring executives will be less likely to comb through your resume to find a reason to screen you out.
Companies don’t hire. People do. And they prefer people who seem to be like the idealized image they have of themselves — reasonable, straightforward, trustworthy etc.
Far better to make an overt offer to be of service than a thinly veiled attempt to sell your services.
In everything you do and say as a job hunter, do so in a manner so that you come across as someone with a high level of integrity. Therefore, understate, give details, and put things into context.
Never brag on yourself. Use a third party to do that. (“If you talk to people who know me, I believe they’d tell you ______”)
Attribute your success to hard work and luck.
Better to come across as a workhorse than a superstar. Superstars get fired. Workhorses get promoted.
Do not rely as heavily on your accomplishments as on the value of your capabilities. Your accomplishments were in a different environment.
As in any marketing, people are more interested in the benefits and advantages than they are in the features of your education, experience, or special credentials.
Never assume interviewers will automatically see the advantages and benefits of your qualifications. It’s up to you to make sure they know them.
Do not try to be all things, or even very many things, to all people. Better to come across as a specialist than a generalist.
Communicate in plain English, free of jargon.
The most important promise you can make in an interview is: “I’ll do the job exactly the way you want it done.”
Job-hunting advice given by people who don’t have to worry about the consequences of it should be taken with a box of salt.
They don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.
Keep the focus on the future, not the past.
Tom Kellum is a job hunting consultant, helping people's dreams come true since 1987. He specializes in providing a personal job-landing service based on proven marketing strategies and methods. For more information, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.