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How to Update Your Job Search Strategy to Land Faster

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When executives began their most recent job search, they thought it would take just over six months to land their new position, according to new ExecuNet research. But when a new job didn't materialize after that period of time, our survey respondents estimated it would take almost another half-year before their search efforts were effective.

On average, it had been 6-and-a-half years since these executives had last been in a job search, and a lot has changed since mid-2005: the unemployment rate was at 5 percent, and in ExecuNet's 2006 Executive Job Market Intelligence Report, our analysis focused on the high demand for executive talent. Here's what we wrote back then:

"Both search firms and corporate recruiters strongly acknowledge the dearth of qualified executive talent available, and over two-thirds of executives report that the demand for their high-level skills will have a positive impact on their career in the coming year ... Further demonstrating the volume of executive opportunity available, roughly three-quarters of search firms report that their candidates had more than one offer to consider in 2005, and 46 percent of client companies are adding incentives to entice new executive talent."

What has changed in the 6-and-a-half years since their last job search? Here are the problems job seekers recently told ExecuNet they were encountering, and our solutions to mitigate them:

  1. Not enough opportunities found at their level - This complaint is not surprising since the large majority of $200K positions are not openly posted, for fear that the recruiter will be inundated with unqualified résumés. Use job boards to research companies, but use your network to find and create roles.
  2. Taking longer to land - You can easily shorten your transition time if you are in a perpetual state of career management. C-level executives always have an eye out for the next business partnership opportunity and so should the professional who is effectively managing his or her career.
  3. Available positions are put on hold - "On hold" does not necessarily mean "eliminated" so stay connected to the recruiter/hiring manager and ensure they continue to see you as the solution to their problems. That doesn't mean regularly checking in to see if the position has been re-opened; instead keep them apprised with market trends and relevant information.
  4. Recruiters are not returning calls - Friends and acquaintances generally return calls; people you call out of the blue for jobs, might not. Establish relationships with recruiters well before you need something.
  5. No multiple offers to consider - Just over half of the ExecuNet-surveyed executive recruiters reported that candidates had more than one offer to consider, up from 35 percent in 2010. Adjust your job search activities to reflect contemporary conditions and you might have more options, too.

What are you doing differently in this job search than the last time? Let us know.