How to Win Your Next Executive Job in 2017
How to Win Your Next Executive Job in 2017
April 18, 2017
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Laura Smith-Proulx
Laura Smith-Proulx
Executive Director, Executive Resume Writer, An Expert Resume
Seeking a change in your C-suite role, or rising to an executive position for the first time in 2017?

Your job search has changed – substantially.


If you haven’t kept abreast of the latest trends in executive job search, prepare to be surprised. For example, most CEOs, CFOs, and COOs eschewed the use of LinkedIn for many years. However, social media use has finally taken hold among executives, with the average CEO now possessing more than 900 connections on the site. In addition, most headhunters will now spend considerable time assessing your digital identity before presenting you to client companies.

While longstanding job search strategies, such relationship-building and networking, are still of value, many employers have now turned to Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to screen resumes by keyword density and skills matching. You’ll also find a constantly expanding group of online resources at your fingertips for nearly every topic from company research to executive interview tips.

Read on for important trends and actions of impact to your 2017 executive job search:

1 – Employ Social Media – It’s Now a Requirement.

Ignored LinkedIn as a possible source of job search activity and networking? In 2017, you’ll want to switch tactics to leverage social media as much as possible, whether your job search is imminent or you anticipate making a change in the future.

Employers and headhunters have increasingly relied on LinkedIn as a hub for candidates, hiring authorities, and online collaboration. Some estimates show approximately 470 million registered users on the site, with more than 100 million unique visitors monthly and widespread use in at least 200 countries.

What does this mean for you? LinkedIn isn’t likely to decrease in popularity anytime soon, despite the advent of new social media and networking sites. It’s been said by employers that if you aren’t on LinkedIn, you don’t exist.

You’ll benefit from polishing your Profile, developing a powerful LinkedIn Headline, spending time choosing a professional photo for the site, writing a solid Summary, and injecting a solid mix of keywords to draw recruiter traffic.

2 – Realize That Recruiters Cast a Wider, Often Global, Net.

In the past, recruiters often “covered” an area bounded by geography and industry. In 2017, the recruiter you speak with is more likely to be active on social media and sourcing candidates from all over the world.

As their practices have expanded to include candidates from far-flung areas, you could be in the running for a new executive role, particularly if you’ve focused your job search on recruiters according to their areas of specialty. This is especially true if you’ve carefully crafted your personal brand message on LinkedIn or other social media sites, where recruiters are continually sourcing executive candidates.

Your best bet is to use LinkedIn and Google searches to identify recruiters who work with C-suite candidates. When getting in touch with a recruiter, remember that their compensation comes directly from client companies – and they’ll spend extra time sizing up your leadership skills to match these client requirements.

You can use LinkedIn to send a quick note to a recruiter, including a message such as “I understand that you specialize in IT leadership candidates, and as an executive skilled in networking and IT operations, I’d like to find out if my credentials match your client requirements.” You may also benefit from making an introductory call, relying on the personal touch to introduce yourself.

3 – Don’t Neglect Prep Work! Research Is More Important Than Ever.

Reviewed the latest information on salary negotiation techniques, interviewing skills, company research, or industry trends? If not, you’ll need to catch up to your colleagues, especially those leveraging job search powerhouse Job-Hunt.org or recruiter business forecasts from sites such as the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC).

Don’t get caught lagging behind in your preparation for the job search, particularly when you can capitalize on a myriad of online resources to help you land that coveted leadership position.

Many employers will quickly reject a candidate who appears to have little knowledge of their operation, market position, or flagship product – especially when most of this data can easily be found via a quick Google search.

Websites such as Payscale.com or Glassdoor provide the opportunity for you to investigate salaries at various career levels. On LinkedIn, Premium Career account holders can also filter job openings by salary level, which may be shown on some postings. For interviewing advice, you can check out commonly accessed career sites (such as Monster.com or LiveCareer.com), as well as business resources including Forbes.com.

4 – Be Ready: Downsizing & Mergers Are Now Routine.

If you haven’t already faced massive changes in your company structure, 2017 could bring them home – fast. Depending on the source, some analysts predict 2017 will be similar to 2016 in merger and acquisition activity, while others expect changes among mostly smaller and privately held firms. In addition, 2017 could deliver more layoffs to employees and leaders in some industries.

While these changes bring uncertainty to nearly every employee, it’s often executives who experience the most disruption in their routines – with average job searches taking anywhere from several months to a year, particularly when seeking an ideal C-level position.

As a result of this activity, you’ll fare best when prepared ahead of the game, with a sound social media strategy, list of target companies, and compelling executive resume… long before changes hit your industry or employer.

5 – Stay Current on Executive Resume Trends.

If you haven’t caught on to the branded, comprehensive marketing used in today’s executive resumes, there are several ways to educate yourself on best practices in 2017. A quick Google search for “Executive Resume Writing 2017” will yield samples of current resume documents, along with articles on best practices for writing about your leadership career.

Check out the Toast of the Resume Industry (TORI) contest winners to see cutting-edge entries from resume writers worldwide. Here, resume experts are judged on the use of color, graphics, brand messaging, formatting, and innovation by a panel of recruiters and hiring authorities in an annual competition conducted by Career Directors International.

As you can see, executive job search has forever been altered by new and emerging trends.

Your preparation, research, and understanding of these changes will be critical to your transition, compensation, and success as a candidate – both in 2017 and beyond.