At the C-Suite and Board level, most of the positions that open up are filled without being advertised. If you’re not in the know, or on the radar of those who are, your chances of finding a position in the hidden executive job market are slim. No matter how wonderful your resume, experience, or skills, the jobs will be filled before you even realize they’re hiring.
So how can you become a candidate for one of these quietly-filled dream jobs? Connections and patient preparation.
Employers fill these top spots by asking their connections who they know that might be a great fit for a particular position. They also reach out to Executive Recruiters and other hiring influencers to ask if they know of anyone who might fit. They also search along their LinkedIn connections as well, feeling that the associates of trusted connections are worth a serious look.
Build your network, using your executive MBA contacts and alumni directory to your best advantage. Manage your personal branding as though your next employer would use it to include or exclude you from their search for a candidate for your dream job, and pay special attention to Executive Recruiters with strong connections to leadership in the companies you would like to join.
Cultivating a professional network and polishing your personal brand may not feel like job searching, and it’s easy to get impatient. The hidden executive job market isn’t predictable most of the time, and so it can be a long-term waiting game for the right position to open up and to get yourself in the position of being considered.
Patience isn’t enough. Your resume has to be current and ready to use. Your social media profiles, especially your LinkedIn, have to match that resume. And you need to have your interview skills and elevator pitch perfected and ready to use on a day’s notice. If your social media presence is unprofessional or neglected, if your resume is out-of-date, and if you’re simply not ready to take a meeting or show up for an interview this Friday, you may be passed over by the influential people who have to move fast and find the perfect fix to an issue the market hasn’t heard about yet.