It can be challenging to identify job prospects for those in leadership roles, such as directors, vice presidents, chief officers, etc. Many of those opportunities aren't posted or aren't as likely to be shared with talent services firms. Finding those opportunities requires more strategy, patience, networking, effective, transparent, and collaborative communication.
To help you get started, we've included 11 of our top job searching strategies for positions in executive-level roles.
1. Distributing to the Right People at Your Partnering Talent Solutions Firm
Have you made a list of contacts, such as account managers you've worked with for your talent solutions needs over the last few years? Have you reached out to them to explain your situation, what you are looking for, and if they have relevant opportunities? Leverage your relationships at these organizations; they can help market you to their clients and senior-level contacts aligned with your interests. If you're a director of cybersecurity, ask about other cyber clients they support. If they have relationships with high-level executives, they'll likely be able to proactively place your resume in the right hands.
You can also ask them to market your resume internally to their colleagues. Ask, "Is it possible to forward my resume to your peers throughout your office locations?" If you're interested in relocating, ask about their clients or partnerships in other geographies. At Apex, we have hundreds of account managers, national account managers, and industry directors over each major industry. If you're interested in a particular industry or large organization in your local area, ask your contact to connect with one of our relevant industry directors or national account managers. These resources will often be aware of high-level vacancies with their clients and can help you establish connections with leadership, human resources, and recruiting.
2. Sister Organizations of Your Current Partners
Apex is a division of ASGN Incorporated, and we have different sister companies, such as Creative Circle, CyberCoders, Oxford, and ECS. Many focus on technology or life sciences solutions, including staffing. If you are working with an Apex account manager or others, ask, "Do you have sister companies or organizations under your umbrella where it would make sense to share my resume? Who could you connect me with there?"
3. Groups, Associations, and Councils for Senior Leaders
Many cities have CIO Forums or CIO Councils and organizations like Society for Information Management (SIM). Those organizations, or other groups, will often host CIO roundtables or other events geared towards senior leaders. Besides providing numerous educational benefits, being a part of these groups and attending events periodically can be your #1 networking strategy to connect with your target audience and learn about senior-level roles. You can connect with other participants individually and share your status and interests. Reach out to the group's organizers and let them know your interests and get their recommendations on who to connect with, companies who might be hiring in those senior ranks, best resources, job boards, and other tips.
4. Prospecting Tenured Skill-Focused Recruiters
The first and second strategies above focus on partnering with the account managers of the firms you already work with. Your account managers can connect you with the right members of their recruiting teams. If that doesn't yield results, it would be worthwhile to identify relevant senior recruiters at other firms. Depending on the urgency and sensitivity of your current job search situation and how much time you have, we recommend reaching out to at least one other organization a week. You can find strong recruiters by doing an advanced search via LinkedIn or reaching out directly via reputable firms' websites in your area. How do you find reputable firms? You can find them by getting recommendations from your network, looking at the Best of Staffing Technology Winners List from ClearlyRated™, or a good old-fashioned Google search!
5. Executive Placement Firms
There are staffing and headhunting firms specifically for individuals targeting senior-level management roles. One that many of our leaders recommend is Korn Executive Search. There are also industry-specific executive placement firms. For example, a senior technology executive recently shared they'd love to get into the nonprofit industry, and we suggested Scion, a Nonprofit Executive Search Firm. To follow this article's theme, invest 15-30 or more minutes researching and building a prospect list of potential executive search firms and reach out to them. Here's a good list from a Forbes article about America's Best Executive Recruiting Firms.
6. Job boards via Your Online Communities
With what sites or communities do you partake? Are you a member of technical communities or groups through Reddit, Stack Overflow, GitHub, or others? Have you checked to see if any of those have job boards or threads? If you're looking for a software development manager position, keep a pulse on the Stack Overflow Job Board.
7. Outreach to Organizers of Tech Meetups
Every city typically has a robust technical Meetup community, and every Meetup has at least one organizer. Have you done some research and prospecting via Meetup to identify relevant groups that align with your background? If not, start making a list of those groups and the organizers attached to those groups. For example, if you're targeting a position for a director of data analytics services, identify your local SQL Server or PASS (Professional Association of SQL Server), PowerBI, Tableau, or BI Meetups. You can join the group, RSVP to any upcoming Meetup events, and send the organizers a message. With events going virtual, you can network across numerous events, regardless of geographic location.
8. Outreach to Organizers of Relevant Tech Conferences
Local Meetups put on many technology conferences, so there might be some crossover with the connections you identify via #7 above. However, you might identify some different individuals, so it's worth spending 15 plus minutes to look up relevant conferences in your city and state. Determine when the next conference is, look at attending if possible; the virtual environment should make it much more manageable. Before attending, learn about the conference organizers or committee. Conferences traditionally have sponsors and a career fair, so it'd be worthwhile to participate in the career fair. You can also try to identify the individual in charge of sponsorships or the career fair and send them a message.
9. Career Fairs and Organizers of Career Fairs
While jobs advertised at career fairs might not be at that senior leadership level, you can still access and talk to talent acquisition or recruiting folks at organizations who are hiring. You can also introduce yourself to the fair organizers, explain your situation, and see if they've heard of any higher-level openings you should explore.
10. Job Boards and Signing Up for Job Alerts
In a study we did with over 500 job seekers, only 4% reported that they successfully found a job through a job board or applying via a corporate website. While 4% is low, that's still a strategy you can utilize, but it's essential to follow a couple of critical best practices. First, use the right job boards. Find ones geared towards your area and level. For example, The Ladders is a job board focused on jobs paying $100,000 plus, and LinkUp is another board with a fair amount of senior leadership postings. There are also industry-specific job boards too. So, if you're targeting social good or nonprofit type organizations, you could look at the Tech Jobs for Good, Axis' (executive search firm focused on social impact and good), or NTEN Nonprofit Technology job boards.
11. Use LinkedIn to Network
You likely know other individuals at other organizations that perform your role and are at your level or in a group you're targeting. LinkedIn is a great resource to connect and network. And when you're ready to embark on a job search, you can reach out to your network directly and see if any of your contacts are aware of current or upcoming openings. LinkedIn makes it easy to connect with individuals in real-time, so if you heard someone at a conference or met someone via an executive group, connect with them right away! You never know what contacts may come in handy down the road.