(This is part II of a two part post. Click on the highlighted link to read Part I.)
Because recruiters or human resources personnel do not typically value non-linear paths or industry changes like those that run the organization may, it is important to connect with others in companies you are interested in. These include other senior executives like yourself, hiring managers, or Board members. Even a well-respected mid-level or entry-level contact with access can be of assistance.
Make sure you utilize all the methods available to you. You never know where the perfect opportunity may come from. According to Peter Weddle of Weddle’s, LLC, when responding to postings on job boards, make sure you follow directions. If you don’t explicitly follow the directions, it sends the message that you didn’t care enough to pay attention, so your submission will likely get tossed out. If the posting says email the resume as an attachment, do that. Don’t copy and paste your resume contents into the body of your email. Then remember, the hiring process is especially relationship driven for higher levels. Reach out and connect to someone in your network, even if they’re only in your LinkedIn group or are alums you located via your school’s database. Any connection can assist in helping your resume get seen and you and your skill set get considered.
There are a lot of great organizations out there that could be a great fit for you but, according to Peter, “They may not be great at recruiting.” This is especially true if you are looking to join an organization that has under $100 million in revenue, and even moreso if under $50 million. Smaller companies often need personnel before they even realize they need it. They’ll begin discussing it internally but it could be months before they actually begin to search. This is where direct pursuit of a connection to a company you’re interested in can reap benefits. And for smaller companies, the cold call to an executive team member for an informational meeting can often work wonders. When you engage with a company and they decide they like you, they are more inclined to find a position for you or create one to fit you.
One last thought: Many owners and executives have self images strongly tied to their work. The fact that s/he is continually identified with a position or a company as in, “Ms. X, CEO or XYZ” or “Mr. B, Founder and CEO of ABC” can lead to that identification becoming the individual’s dominant identification. Therefore, if you’ve been in transition for awhile or if you recently sold the company that you built over a number of years, your self image may be a more than a bit battered. One way to counteract that is to participate in other high profile activities that potentially provide a similarly positive impact on self image. Such activities include nonprofit Board participation, business association Board or leadership positions, and speaking and mentoring activities.