You are busy.

You already have a fast-paced job that drains a lot of your time – not to mention personal responsibilities and interests that are deal breakers when it comes to your work/life balance. How are you supposed to conduct a job search in the midst of it all?

What if your boss finds out? What if you slip up, make the wrong contact at the wrong time or miss out on a professional or personal priority as you try to juggle it all?

Step back and take a deep breath. It’s all good. You can have it all. Here are a few tips for successful, real-world executive job searching, circa 2016:


The most effective way to set yourself up for access to the best executive career opportunities is to take the initiative and know how to make rain. Make face-to-face and online networking a cornerstone of your search.

  • Tap into hidden prospects. Get third-party endorsements from people you trust and who respect you. This is invaluable.
  • Learn how to network without asking for a job. Master communication techniques and strategies to help you enter networking conversations in more of a fact-finding and consultative way. Know how to network with ease and confidence.

Reverse Engineer Your Approach

Go after what you want versus waiting for the right opportunity to come to you. More than 90 percent of positions at an annual salary of $250,000 or higher are never advertised. They are filled via the hidden job market.

  • Leverage yourself to command a higher salary. Minimize your competition and shorten the time frame of your search. Take the initiative and make the right things happen.

Optimize Your Brand

Distinguish yourself from the competition via a winning personal and professional brand. This involves articulating a simple, clear statement of who you are – and doing it consistently. Your brand must represent something unique, relevant and valuable to a prospective employer.

These factors will help you determine which aspects of personal branding you need to emphasize:

  • Your message: Be ready to explain your unique value in two or three concise sentences. This should convey what differentiates you from the rest of the candidate pack.
  • Your scope: Make sure that when people Google your name, they uncover only high-quality information about you and your achievements.
  • Your market: Define your key target markets and the best way to sell yourself to them.
  • Your appearance: Have a visual identity that appeals to your markets and is consistent with your brand.
  • Your style: Your personality and leadership style must immediately engage others.

Stay focused as you build your brand. The more specifically you define yourself, the better. Develop your own game plan for success: a singular career path, visibility strategy and credentials. Never be afraid to zig when others zag.

  • Tell a compelling story. Captivate prospective employers as you bring your mission, projects, vision and accomplishments to life. Stories have been powerful for centuries because they are a memorable way to convey complex ideas.
  • Work on your communication skills. Master your ability to make a solid presentation. And practice your “elevator speech” which is a 30 to 60-second personal infomercial you use when networking or pitching yourself.
  • Establish strong alliances. The people, projects, causes and organizations with which you affiliate help define who you are. Get involved with alumni, community, professional and/or philanthropic causes that align with your personal brand and help you to better network.
  • Take charge of your brand. Complacency is the apocalypse for any brand. The world is dynamic. Stay abreast of new opportunities and be aware of possible threats. If your qualifications seem out of step with the current marketplace, it is probably time to revisit or update your brand.

Find a Recruitment Partner

A specialized executive search consultant can be your partner, your mentor and your sounding board as you build your brand and successfully apply hidden market strategies to your executive job search. To learn more, read our related posts or contact BrainWorks today.

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