Executive Job Search: What do you really know?

job-search-know-howOctober is my birthday month and as I look forward to celebrating another milestone, I can’t help but reflect on my development and growth over the past few years. Not all my growth came through painless experiences, but that’s part of life’s journey.

One of the areas I have really experienced growth is through self-assessment and better self-understanding…because when you know yourself well, that’s always a great place to start, right?

On that note, I was recently contacted by an executive candidate who has been looking for the past five months and finally recognized that she needs more than a distinctive executive resume to yield a fruitful job search.

In her words, “I really need to get better at marketing myself”. Yes,yes, someone who gets it!

When talking to job seekers especially female executives, I often hear concern, hesitation and even fear about marketing themselves. One thing you need to embrace very quickly in today’s job market is the art of self-marketing.

It may feel uncomfortable and seem like “bragging” at times, but the job market is entirely too competitive for you to avoid “selling” yourself….your good record alone won’t land you a great job.

Here are four self-marketing tips that you should always keep in mind:

TIP #1: Know The Product You Are Selling = You

You have to know who you are (a technology guru, marketing whiz, operations expert) and what type of positions you want (a CIO, VP, Marketing or Director of Operations) before you can launch an executive job search campaign.

Don’t depend on employers and executive recruiters to review your resume and determine what you should be doing –  be very clear on your target and it will help you identify the right marketing strategies for your career situation.

TIP #2: Know Your Customer = Target Companies

By now, I have drilled it into your head that you should cannot write an effective resume without knowing your target positions  – similarly, you cannot conduct a successful search campaign without a clear understanding of your target companies’ needs.

— Use free resources like virtualpet.com, industrylink.com, and vault.com to identify your target companies

TIP #3: Know Your Strategies = Multifaceted Marketing Campaign

If all your job search eggs are in the online world, you will quickly find yourself in a scramble. Your career background, the need for confidentiality constraints, timeframe, breadth of network, comfort with technology, career level and many other critical factors dictate the right self-marketing techniques for you. Diversify, diversify and diversify your efforts for maximum success.

TIP #4: Know Your Value Proposition = Personal Brand

I remember telling a group of job seekers at a recent workshop that outstanding qualifications are not a strong differentiator in today’s competitive market. For every online posting, there are literally thousands of “qualified” candidates swarming to land an interview with the company.

To stand out in a sea of applicants, you need a crystal clear understanding your value proposition, your benefit to employers and your distinction from others with a similar background.

Your personal brand and brand statement must be incorporated in your written (and verbal) communications through out your job search.

In addition, don’t solely rely your executive resume merits to open doors for you, try adding a career biography, a networking resume and leadership testimonial documents to your career portfolio.

TIP #5: Know Your Network = Social Media

Social media is here to stay and more importantly, it keeps growing in popularity and reach as recruiters and employers turn to platforms like LinkedIn, ZoomInfo, Plaxo, Facebook and Twitter to find qualified candidates. Don’t get left in the dark – make sure that you have a vibrant, active professional network, both online and offline.