Job Search Strategies for Executives
During their careers executives have had to stretch their knowledge, skills, and talents, and frequently work outside their comfort zone. One of the biggest advantages an executive has is the ability to take risks no one else would dare to do and, in most cases, succeed. How do they do this time after time? And can these strategies be applied to job search?

Be Assertive

Executives know that in business being assertive, aggressive, or whatever word you choose to describe it, is part of a winning philosophy. Step up your job search campaign a few notches with this mindset. If you were competing for a large contract for your company, what measures would you take to win the contract? Take those or similar actions in your job search campaign.


When first starting to look for a new job you may have a large, diverse list of items to attack. Narrow down the list to hit the most important things first. Assuming your resume is in order and you have your online profiles updated, you may be ready to start with a target list of companies you want to contact—those who could benefit from your skill sets. Once you have your choice company list, determine what would be the most effective tactics. Your approach may be different for each company, dependent on a multitude of factors. Sort through the details to organize your plan. A good online tool to help you with this process is It functions as your personal relationship manager, organizing and managing job search, tracking personal and professional relationships, target companies and positions you apply for.

Get Referrals

A lot has been written about how effective referrals are in business. It has been proven that people like to work with people they know, and/or are highly regarded by respected colleagues. Who do you know who…..? Example: one of my VP of Operations clients lost his position following a merger. One of his job search strategies was to reach out to former colleagues. He was reluctant to tap into the people he knew for leads or referrals, thinking he would be “bothering” them. However, he moved forward and was able to find people he had worked with on LinkedIn and reconnect with them. The results? He found out about a few positions that were open and a good fit. Because of his connections he was able to get his resume directly to the executive committee at a company, bypassing a pile of 300+ resumes sitting on the desk of the HR manager. The referral at this organization was a factor in his getting the initial interview. My client got the job on his own merits.

Be Creative

Think out-of-the-box. It’s been said before, but it’s worth repeating. If traditional methods don’t get you in the door or an appointment with a decision maker, you might need to try something unconventional. There’s that risk factor again. But heck, why not try something no one expects. Example: Another one of my clients really, really wanted to get into a specific pharmaceutical company. He was the VP of Marketing at a competitor company. He had been watching the competition and noticed several pain points that the competition was experiencing. He had been through similar challenges in his career with several of the companies he had worked for and, as a result, he wrote a “Special Report” with solutions to solve those types of challenges.

Instead of using the traditional channels, he implemented a different approach. He took a copy of the Special Report he developed, placed it inside a very large man’s business dress shoe, wrapped it up in cellophane and put a tag on this package that said “I’ve been trying to get my foot in the door….” He had this shoe package delivered to the company addressed to the CMO. Being creative is a talent that people in marketing should possess. This tactic exemplifies this and did get the attention of the CMO at his target company. Follow up on my client – the targeted pharmaceutical company ultimately hired him – mission accomplished.

So, put yourself in the position of being CEO of your career. Use what you know from your executive experience and apply that aggressive thinking, mindset, creative, and risk-taking tactics. It is worth a consideration and may produce a successful outcome.