Top 10 Etiquette Tips for Working with Recruiters

Top 10 Etiquette Tips for Working with Recruiters

One of the biggest questions I frequently receive is how best to work with recruiters. As part of a well-rounded career search strategy, working with recruiters can be extremely valuable. If you choose to work with a recruiter, or a recruiter seeks you out, follow these top etiquette tips to ensure that you have a smooth, positive, mutually rewarding relationship with your recruiter.

1. Be Responsive to Recruiter Inquiries

Speed is one of the most critical factors when working with a recruiting firm, especially contingency recruiters. If a recruiter is trying to reach you to discuss an opportunity, he or she will want to talk to you right away and will likely move on to someone else if you are hard to reach. You might consider getting a second phone line that you use only during your job search and an email that you use only for your job search. If you have a standard gmail address of , you also can sign up for a Google Voice number, a free redirecting phone number that rings to an existing number of your choosing, such as your mobile phone.

2. Be Respectful of the Recruiter’s Time

Remember too that recruiters are often working on numerous search assignments simultaneously. Many recruiting firms require a minimum number of successful placements each month for the recruiter to keep his or her job. Consequently, be mindful of the recruiter’s time when you make contact.

3. Build a Relationship with a Recruiter.

As a general rule, you should always take a recruiter’s call, even if you are not looking for a new position. A recruiter in your industry can provide valuable industry information and help you shape your own career path. Moreover, don’t treat conversations with recruiters as transactions. You’d hate being treated that way, and so do recruiters.

4. Be Findable on LinkedIn

Recruiters and sourcers know how to find candidates, even the ones who are working in jobs they love. However, you can make their jobs easier by publishing a robust LinkedIn profile, joining relevant industry or function-related groups, building a strong LinkedIn network, and ensuring your profile is set to public viewing. LinkedIn also has a number of premium job seeker features that can help you be more visible. In 2015, LinkedIn rolled out a new feature that lets recruiters know you’re open to inquiries. To turn this feature on, go to Jobs in the black bar at the top of the screen, then choose Preferences in the menu below.

5. Be a Valuable Networking Contact for the Recruiter

You can be a good source of information for the recruiter as well. Be a good contact for an industry/sector recruiter — keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities and candidates and share that information with the recruiter. If you are not a fit for an opportunity you are contacted about, but you can recommend someone else, share that information. A recruiter will remember that you provided a new contact for him or her when the opportunity was not exactly right for you and will think of you the next time.

6. Be Specific about Your Career Requirements

If you are looking for a position, be up front with the recruiter about the type of work, type of company, salary expectations, and so on that you need to have to explore opportunities further. The recruiter’s goal is to fill open positions, so the more information you can provide about your non-negotiables and on what you are willing to compromise, the less likely you will be to frustrate a recruiter who has worked very hard on your behalf in positioning you to the wrong company.

7. Know that You Are Not the Right Candidate for Every Recruiter

Don’t contact too many recruiters — especially at the same firm. Recruiters often have access to an internal candidate management system that allows them to see what contact you’ve had with other recruiters within the firm, and other positions you’ve applied for.

8. Be Up Front about Your Recruiter Relationships

Let your recruiter know when you are working with another recruiter. If two contingency recruiters submit you as a candidate to the same firm, you may not be considered by the client company at all, even if you are a perfect match. Companies don’t want to mediate an argument between recruiters about who “owns” the candidate (and, consequently, who would receive the commission if the successful placement is made).

9. Recall How Recruiters Earn Their Fees

If you are working with a recruiter, don’t apply for the same positions you are being submitted to as a candidate. You may end up inadvertently disqualifying yourself because the employer does not want to risk having a recruiter claim a commission if you are hired directly. If you see a position advertised and are contacted by a recruiter for the same opportunity, you can decide whether you want to apply directly or be submitted as a candidate by the recruiter. If you have a networking contact at the company, you may decide to apply directly or determine that a good recruiter can get you in front of a hiring manager more easily than you could get noticed yourself. (This is particularly true if the employer uses an applicant tracking system to screen resumes. Recruiters can often reach hiring managers directly.)

10. Be a Compelling Candidate

Last, but certainly not least, develop a compelling professional brand that appeals to hiring executives–and thus to recruiters. Demonstrate in your executive resume and your LinkedIn profile that you are rarely and uniquely suited for hard-to-fill roles to ensure that recruiters find you for the unusual skill set you bring to the employment marketplace. While you will not automatically fall off recruiters’ radar for being fabulously average, you are more likely to capture a busy recruiter’s attention if you can demonstrate the scarce skills and assets that a hiring executive is demanding.

Updated January 2017.


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Your Executive Resume Writing Checklist

Your Executive Resume Writing Checklist–Examples from a Real Executive Resume

If you are looking for a new executive job, you are probably checking and rechecking your resume. Use the following checklist to ensure that your executive resume contains all of the elements your audience is expecting to read. If you do not include everything on this list, you risk underrepresenting yourself, failing to meet your audience’s expectations, and eliminating yourself from the running even before the race to selection begins.

1. Take It from the Top: Your Name

Check to make sure your executive resume has all of these elements.

Check to make sure your executive resume has all of these elements.

Your resume must begin with your name. No exceptions. Do not title your resume “Resume,” and do not deviate from the First Name, Last Name, Advanced Degree/Certification (if applicable and relevant to your targeted position) format. Do not put this information in the document header, or it will be lost to applicant tracking systems.

2. Executives in the ‘Hood: Your Contact Information

Directly below your name should be your contact information. Use a street address, not a P.O. box. Include a mobile phone number or another number that you will know to answer professionally. Include only one set of contact information.

3. Inquiring Minds Want to Know: Title Your Resume with Your Position Title

If the intern opens the mail or sorts resumes, into which position should he be sorting your resume? Ease this process and brand yourself well by titling your resume with your current job title or your future job title.

4. What Does Your Billboard Say: Your Branding Statement

If you had a billboard on a well-traveled highway, what would it tell drivers passing by? Remember, these drivers are focusing on the road, talking to their passengers, and changing the radio station. Hiring executives devote roughly the same attention and time to your resume, so write a brief, well-branded paragraph about the expertise and talent you bring to the role.

5. Experience is the Teacher of All Things: Your Executive Experience

For a deep discussion of resume bullets and accomplishments, read about The Difference Between Resume Accomplishments and Duties.

6. “When I Think Back…”: Your Formal Education and Professional Training

Your education supports your entire career history, so describe it well. Read Education Goes Last on a Professional or Executive Resume for specifics on how to describe your educational history. If you are one of the many executives who never went to college, Resume Strategies for Executives Who Never Went to College will describe how to overcome this challenge in your resume.

7. Details, Details: Extras that Demonstrate You Are the Right Candidate

Some optional sections you might want to include in your executive resume can differentiate you from the crowd:

  • Board memberships
  • Volunteer positions
  • Publications
  • Conferences attended
  • Presentations
  • …and more.

Include these last if you have them.


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Are You Using Numbers on Your Executive Resume?

Are You Using Numbers on Your Executive Resume?

There are three levels of writing your executive resume. Choose wisely to fully describe your accomplishments in your executive resume.

Level 1: A mere description of your job, as recorded by human resources.

There are three ways to write executive resume accomplishment bullets.

There are three ways to write executive resume accomplishment bullets.

If you are an executive in charge of sales, this responsibility is likely recorded in your job description catalogued by human resources. This means that you are charged with growing sales, managing a team, and generally leading the sales endeavor. It says nothing about whether you actually accomplished this goal. Therefore, at the most basic level of resume writing, you can write:

* Responsible for increasing sales.

How does such a description sound to you? Does it answer your need for information about how well this person succeeded in the role? There is no context for how this person accomplished this goal, and certainly no metrics by which to measure his success.

Level 2: Some context, but no quantification

At a deeper level, you can deliver a clear description of the tactics and choices you made as an executive to dance your company. More than simply a description of your job given by HR, you can describe the choices you made to achieve your company’s goals:

* Guided sales team and drive alongs, providing coaching and mentoring to improve sales strategies and techniques.

As you can see, with more information and context, this accomplishment statement amplifies your story. Nevertheless, it does not yet provide The metrics that describe exactly what you were able to do. It gets you partway, but not all the way to writing an excellent accomplishment statement in your executive resume.

Level 3: Context, metrics, and demonstration of clear success

At the highest level of executive resume writing, you support those accomplishments with metrics that immediately demonstrate your success. These numbers can be straight numbers, or they can be percentages if you are concerned about divulging company private data:

* Increased sales team’s widget sales pipeline by 22% within two months of hire.

Sometimes, metrics are not quantifiable

What if your executive team does not measure your success with facts and figures? What if you build relationships, guide teams, and provide efficiency strategies that cannot be tied directly to specific metrics? If this is the case, then use the values by which you are judged to provide context and measurement of success. For one notable client I can recall, an internal auditing executive, his unique metrics was that his organization passed every annual audit during his tenure with the company. That’s not a metric of growth or sales, but his success was critical to the company’s success.

In conclusion, to demonstrate that you are the right person to take on those types of challenges again, you need to elevate your accomplishment bullets in your executive resume to show that you have the skills and the history to back up your experience.


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Cut the Clutter, and Start Storytelling in Your Executive Resume

Cut the Clutter, and Start Storytelling in Your Executive Resume

The biggest mistake you are making with your executive resume is one you do not even know you are doing. You’re describing your career history. It is true–you are describing your jobs one by one, and you are boring your audience, ensuring that they do not read beyond the first line or two of each position you have held. Read on to learn how to change your executive resume writing strategy by minimizing the space you use to describe your career.

You Are Probably Thinking that This Resume Strategy Sounds Crazy

Tell Stories in Your Executive Resume

Tell Stories in Your Executive Resume

You might be thinking that storytelling is a crazy strategy for your executive resume, but I assure you it is not. The truth is that no hiring executive wants to know what your human resources department thinks your job should be. If you are simply describing your position, you are dulling your top-notch expertise into a simple paragraph and a few bullets that do not do your career justice.

Cut the Clutter, and Start Storytelling

Instead of describing the minutiae of your daily job duties, start telling stories. Your future hiring executive wants to know not what you did, but how you did it. Another way to think of this is that your future hiring executive wants to be able to evaluate your experience in the context of your company and your industry, not in the context of the HR-speak in the company files. If you need a good rule of thumb, the body of your executive resume should be about 30% position description and 70% storytelling.

How to Tell a Great Story in Your Executive Resume in Three Easy Steps

Follow this rubric to tell great stories in your resume. Your resume will be more interesting to start, and your future hiring executive will be able to associate the problems in his or her companies with the types of solutions you are accustomed to driving.

Step 1: Pick a Career Story Topic

Your story topic can be

  • “What was the mess/situation/complexity that you were hired to solve?”
  • “What was the best thing you ever did in your job, the cool outcome that makes you smile every time you recall it?”
  • “What was the worst project you worked on? Why was it awful?”
  • And many more, all related to the types of problems you expect your future hiring executive to be facing (check the job posting if you are not sure what they want!).

Step 2: Tell What You Did to Fix It

In the second step, describe the action(s) you took to resolve the problem. Talk about your team’s contributions, your leadership, the money you invested or saved, and the process you followed to ensure a positive outcome. For example, you might describe how you negotiated a termination clause with a vendor and brought a development team in-house for a particularly thorny project. Or you might describe the way you coached your sales team to increase top-line revenue.

Step 3. Describe the Outcome

In the final step, tell what happened in your company or your industry as a result of your contribution described in step 2. In the examples above, you might describe how bringing your development team in-house sped production 10% and saved the company 16% monthly over the original vendor cost. Or you might indicate that your sales team exceeded quota by 15% for three consecutive quarters and are on track for +18% in the current quarter.

Putting It All Together: The Accomplishment versus the Duty

In conclusion, nobody cares that you were responsible for hiring a development team or for driving sales. At the executive level, these are part and parcel of your job, and talking about them the way your job description reads is frankly boring. If you want to wow your future hiring executive, then you need to put the bulleted statements together in a way that cannot be ignored or overlooked:

  • Within three months of hire, jump-started flagging [project title] by exercising termination clause on expensive development vendor and recruiting 5 in-house developers plus project manager; completed project 10% faster than plan and saved 16% on projected budget.
  • For three consecutive quarters, coached team to exceed quota by 15% with combination of advanced product training and weekend retreat focused on selling strategies and customer needs assessments. On track to beat quota in Q4 20XX by 18%.

These are the accomplishment statements that impress hiring leaders. Your hiring executive needs to know not just what you did but how you did it and why it was important. Remember, if the accomplishment is relevant to a future executive role and important to you, you can tell a great story about it.

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What to Do about Your Executive Job Search if You Have Been Fired (or Consciously Uncoupled) from Your Company

What to Do about Your Executive Job Search if You Have Been Fired (or Consciously Uncoupled) from Your Company

Fired from your job? Follow these 5 steps to start your executive job search.

Fired from your job? Follow these 5 steps to start your executive job search.

Let’s face it–there is very little that is good about being fired. Executives experiencing this type of crisis often believe that the best thing for them to do is to get right back in the saddle and go search for a new job. Instead of forcing yourself into a job search situation for which you are not fully prepared and to which you are not fully committed, take a step back and follow these five steps to preparing to start an executive job search.

1. Take time to heal from the job loss.

It has been said that job loss and the ensuing loss of income is one of life’s biggest stressors. If you recently lost your job, you should take the time you need to process what happened without the compounding pressure of engaging in job search. You need to clear your head, read a dime store novel, and spend time with your family–to the extent that the financial pressures bearing down on you are not dire.

2. Evaluate your position in your industry.

If you have been terminated from a position, either terminated for cause or let go as part of a reduction in force, take some time to rethink your career trajectory. Consider the following questions:

  • Is this industry expanding or contracting?
  • Does your function within your industry have future viability?
  • Do you like your work well enough to return to something just like it in another organization?

If you are not entirely sure that the industry from which you came is the one you want to continue in, then perhaps this is a time to make a radical change in career direction.

3. Re-engage your network.

Once you have taken time to heal and evaluate your situation, start to talk to people inside and outside of your industry. Be a great conversationalist by being a great listener, and learn what drives them, professionally speaking. Do not go casting about asking anyone who crosses your path for a job–that is not networking. Rather, advance your knowledge of others’ careers and industries. You might learn something valuable to add to your own executive job search strategy.

4. Write your resume.

By this time, you will have had time to recover from your job loss plus taken the time to discover what is really important to your executive career strategy. Use this information to craft a resume directed toward a particular role in a particular industry. If you are unable to pull this information out on your own, do not hesitate to ask for help; there are career experts who walk this path every day. In any case, make sure that you include your current volunteer work or education as a current role, so that future hiring executives know that you are keeping your industry skills sharp.

5. Start applying for positions–via your network

You have developed quite a lot of information about the direction you want your career to go, and you have validated this information with your network. Now continue to work within your network and those your first-degree connections (think: LinkedIn) suggest you should meet to become top of mind before positions are posted publicly. You will find this to be a much stronger strategy than scouring the job boards for open positions and posting into the void. If you must use job boards, set up alerts to email you with appropriately filtered lists, so that you can review them quickly and decide to apply through the job board or approach the company from a networking connection.

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How to Choose an Executive Resume Writing Service

How to Choose an Executive Resume Writing Service

The challenge of writing your executive resume often breaks down into two options: Either you write it yourself, or you choose a resume writing service that will advance your job search strategy for you. Read on to learn how to evaluate an executive resume writing service for your specific job search needs.

Look for Resume Writing Experience

Choose your executive resume writing service according to these strategies.

Choose your executive resume writing service according to these strategies.

The first filter you should use when evaluating an executive resume writing service is the level of experience that service or that individual has with writing executive resumes. There are perhaps hundreds of resume writers, but most do not work at the executive level. Expert executive resume writers are accustomed to working with and catering to individuals with little time, high expectations, long careers, and complex career histories.

Look for Resume Writing Credentials

The resume writing industry offers a number of credentials and certifications. The most basic resume writing credentials include Certified Advanced Resume Writer (Career Directors International), Academy Certified Resume Writer (Resume Writing Academy), Nationally Certified Resume Writer (National Resume Writers’ Association), and Certified Professional Resume Writer (Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches). Being recognized with one of these resume writing certifications means that the resume writer has a certain level of experience and training plus that the person’s work has been evaluated and certified by experts in the industry.

Look for Resume Writing Awards

The main resume writing competition, held annually, is the Toast of the Resume Industry Awards, commonly known as the TORIs. Each year, Career Directors International invites entrants to compete in 9 categories. In the spring, it names 5 nominees, and by summer it names first, second, and third place winners in each category. The entries are evaluated in a two-layer, blinded process by the most senior professionals in the industry, and thus the competition has a great deal of credibility. Therefore, you might choose to review the profiles and winning entries for the Best Executive Resume categories in the TORIs of recent years.

Look for Resume Writing Testimonials

Both the LinkedIn profiles and the web sites of experienced executive resume writers should contain unsolicited testimonials from happy clients. In fact, these testimonials might be the only references you are able to get from reputable resume writers. Experienced executive resume writers do not often provide the names and contact information of their clients, as these writers should protect their high-profile clients’ identities before, during, and after preparation of their executive resumes. If they protect those clients, you can, by the way, expect them to protect your confidentiality as well.

Where NOT to Look for an Executive Resume Writer

As you search the web for executive resume writers, you might find sites that point to “top 10 resume writing sites” or very large resume writing services that cater to clients at every level. These might not be the right services for an executive who expects white-glove service. Moreover, Craigslist ads advertising resume writing for $50 or $100 probably are not the right services for you, either, as these might not be more than typing services that reformat your existing content rather than develop your unique selling proposition.

A Final Word: Look for the Right Fit

Credentialed executive resume writers serve the unique needs of an expert population. If you are an executive seeking top talent for your career transition, do not settle for the lowest-priced provider. Look beyond price to the value of hiring an expert who will challenge you to think deeply about your career, including your history and your goals. If your executive resume writer does not provoke you to explore your deep career wants and must-haves, then perhaps that person is not right for you. Clues that an executive resume writer is the right one for you include the following:

1. You feel comfortable talking to the resume writer–this person is your hired professional contractor, but she should treat you amicably and respectfully.

2. The executive resume writer you choose should be comfortable asking about complicated stories.

3. The executive resume writer should lay out her plan to approach your resume using tested techniques blended with responses to the needs of your specific career.

4. You must feel confident that you can speak honestly with your executive resume writer, who will do everything possible to learn as much as she can about you in perhaps two or three meetings of several hours each. You also should feel confident that this person will speak honestly with you about the revisions you recommend to the drafts you will receive; most professional resume writers are more than willing to consider and/or incorporate the revisions you might request, so long as they are strategically sound.

5. You should expect your executive resume writer to adhere to her customary strategy while accommodating, within reason, your particular needs for meeting times, response times, and strategic determinations that advance your career trajectory.


There are multiple litmus tests you can use to determine whether the executive resume writer you have selected for your career transition is the right one for you. Do not be afraid to do your due diligence, and never agree to hire an unknown professional strictly on the basis of low cost. If you do, likely you will be losing time, revisiting your exploration of expert executive resume writers, and starting from scratch.

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Basic Resume Sections that Matter to Hiring Executives

Basic Resume Sections that Matter to Hiring Executives

Have you ever wondered what parts of your executive resume really matter to the hiring team? The key pieces might not be what you think. Read on to learn what to add to your executive resume to be so compelling that your hiring team cannot ignore it.

Your Name

Always put your name at the top of your resume. Double-check to ensure that your name is spelled properly. If you use your middle name or initial, ensure that this is included and spelled correctly as well.

Your Current Contact Information

Below your name, include your address, city, state, and zip code–or, in some cases, your city and state only. Then include ONE phone number (mobile is usually best) and your current email address. If you have moved recently, please retype your address and print out a fresh copy, if you are handing the resume directly to a contact–never cross out the old and write in the new.

Give Your Career History a Title

Never use the word “Resume” as a heading to your resume, as any application tracking system (ATS) or online job application tool will interpret this to mean that your name is “resume.”

Check this list of sections for your executive resume before sending it to a future hiring manager.

Check this list of sections for your executive resume before sending it to a future hiring manager.

Instead, below your contact information, include the title of the position you currently have, the one you are seeking, or a general description of the type of role you are approaching, if you have not formally held this title before. I have often joked that including this one line ensures that the intern who opens the mail knows to whom he should give the envelope with your resume in it.

Summary–Your Professional Branding Statement

Following the title to your career history, include a brief statement about your professional branding. Describe the characteristics of your professional persona that make you incomparable and valuable. Writing a compelling, targeted branding statement guarantees that your reader will see how you solve her current problem, which is what compels her to be hiring for this position. Do not under any circumstances include an objective statement. This selfish, old-school “I want” will only serve to irritate your reader, who in this moment truly does not care what you want.

Executive Experience

Deliver your career history in a series of bulleted statements that are:
* Factual.
* Measurable.
* Describes not only what you did but how you did it.

Eliminate the phrase “responsible for” from your vocabulary. Instead of delivering a series of human-resources-generated statements about what you were responsible for, include powerful, goal-driven statements of accomplishments that uniquely describe your contributions to your company.

Executive Development

Include your degree (or credits earned toward the degree), your major, and your university plus city and state. Do not include the dates of your attendance or graduation. Leave off anything prior to your bachelor-level degree.

Other Sections to Include

Not every executive candidate will have foreign languages, publications, volunteer leadership, research projects, industry association memberships, and so on. If you do, title the additional section appropriately and include the relevant information. No need, however, to include anything related to personal interests.

Do you have a question about what sections to include in your executive resume? Call Five Strengths.

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A Simple Research Plan for Executive Job Search Success, Part 5 of 5

A Simple Research Plan for Executive Job Search Success, Part 5 of 5

Step 5: Apply for the subset of positions that match your goals, your needs, and company demands

There are three key ways you can start to apply for executive positions that are right for you. You can apply directly on a company’s career web site or via a job board. You can work through recruiters. Last, and most effectively, you can network into the right role. Each of these strategies can be effective, if you use them the right way.

Your plan: Explore career web sites and job boards, recruiter needs, and your network’s capability to develop an executive job application strategy.

1. Apply online for executive jobs: 5% of your job search effort.

First, you must know that using job boards and career sites is the least effective job search strategy, particular for senior executives, although it certainly is one of the easiest. You should spend only about 5% of your job search effort using this strategy.

Follow this simple plan to execute a successful executive job search.

Follow this simple plan to execute a successful executive job search.

To make this strategy work for you while not eating into the time you should be spending on more effective techniques, take advantage of alerts. Google alerts are easy to set up, as are alerts from and some of the other major job boards; LinkedIn also has a great alert system.

First, develop a Boolean query that returns the results you are seeking. You can use the query in all of your alerts, so you do not miss a critical opportunity. Note that not all systems use strict Boolean techniques, so you might need to test the minus sign or NOT (to eliminate incidental results that do not relate to your desired results). In fact, you might need to test your queries multiple times to make sure they are returning the results you want. In the end, the alerts will run in the background and email on the schedule you determine. You will be able to review the results of your job search queries quickly and easily without your having to run individual queries every day. Considering, again, that job boards and online applications are the least effective use of your energies, alerts simplify the process for you.

One note: Some companies with large online application systems will require applicants at every level to apply through their online application systems, regardless of their networking strategies. Make sure that you follow the policies of each company that you are targeting.

2. Engage with recruiters: 20% of your job search effort.

Strictly speaking, you, as an executive in job search, do not work with recruiters. Recruiters work with companies, which hire them to fill key positions. The “talent,” in this case, you as the applicant, is almost tangential to the process, which is dictated by the flow of dollars.

Roughly speaking, from a cash flow perspective, the recruiting process looks like this:

1. The company uses a recruiter (either contract or contingent, and more on that below) to determine an ideal pool of candidates.
2. The company evaluates these career portfolios and chooses several to interview. The company might also choose to interview candidates whom they source internally or who apply outside of the recruiting process.
3. The career portfolios do not become valuable as individuals until the individual candidates are brought in to the company for interviews with the executive hiring team.
4. The company decides to hire a candidate presented by the recruiter or sourced by some other means.
5. The selected candidate chooses–or does not choose–to accept the position. If the candidate selected and hired was initially presented by a recruiter, the recruiter (more likely, the recruiting agency) receives a finder’s commission of as much as 30% of the candidate’s first year’s salary.

What you as the executive in job search mode need to know is that when you are presented by a recruiter to a company, you automatically come with a fairly expensive price tag–commissions can range from 10% to 30% of your first year’s salary–perhaps $30,000 or more. Thus, hiring through a recruiter is an exceptionally expensive proposition, and some companies categorically refuse to hire with recruiters.

Therefore, you need to do two things. First, you need to apply first to your target list. If you present yourself first, regardless of whether a recruiter presents you later, you do not come with a price tag. So you need to know your target list, and you need to apply first, before the recruiter does.

Second, to know the status of a recruiter who wishes to present you to a company. Recruiters are either “contingent” or “contract.” Contingent recruiters are not in formal relationships with companies, meaning that they are sourcing candidates in competition with other similar contingency recruiters to source and place candidates. Contract recruiters will get paid regardless of whether they source and place for a particular position, although their reputations certainly demand results of the highest quality. Know the type of relationship a recruiter has with a company, and you will know more about the flow of dollars and your position as a candidate in that flow. In no case should you let a recruiter present you to a company without your expressed permission, as you might not want a recruiter to present you to a company that is on your target list.

The one instance in which you absolutely should let a recruiter present you is when he or she has insider knowledge of a confidential search that you would never learn about through other means. This type of situation is ideal for you and the recruiter, and you both have a real stake in the outcome.

3. Network into the right role before it becomes available: 75% of your job search effort.

Your networking efforts should focus on developing relationships early in your executive job search, so that you are uniquely top of mind when positions become available. This is a time-consuming process, and certainly not one that will necessarily bear fruit as you begin the process. Nevertheless, it is extremely effective as an executive job search strategy over the long term, if you do it consistently and correctly.

To network effectively, you need to be prepared to listen, learn, and communicate so that your audience believes that the conversation is a two-way street. You need to truly want to build relationships while you are still in your current role, while you are in job search mode, and when you secure your next role. Keep contacts warm throughout your career, and you will be able to capitalize on them when you need to.

Are you planning an executive job search? Five Strengths will support you with resume writing and more.

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Stop Writing Your Executive Resume Right Now: Create Your Strategic Career Plan

Stop Writing Your Executive Resume Right Now:

Create Your Strategic Career Plan

If you want to shorten your job search, do not start with your executive resume. You will save time in the long run by being strategic early on. In fact, if you do not follow this advice, you are likely to stretch your job search from a few months to years. Avoid falling prey to the most unfortunate myth about your executive job search with this one strategic tip.

Your Executive Job Search Does Not Start with an Executive Resume

Yes, the title of this post says it all. Stop writing your executive resume right now. If you are writing your own executive resume, you need to put down your pencil, turn off your computer, and stop capturing your voice into your smartphone. This probably goes against everything you have ever been taught about executive job search, but it is true. If the first thing you are doing in your executive job search is writing your resume, you are bound to lengthen your job search, if not fail altogether.

The five top pitfalls of starting a job search by writing your own resume first are clear:

1. You have not yet identified the industry within which you want to work.

2. You have not yet selected a job level, whether it is individual contributor, manager, director, vice president, COO, or CEO.

3. You do not know how to temper your entrepreneurial roots to fit into a thriving organization.

4. You do not know which jobs you should apply for, but you think you will find them on job boards.

5. You believe you can pull out, capture, and write about exactly what a future hiring executive needs to know about you, on your own.

Turn Your Executive Job Search into Success with these 5 Steps

I know you want to get started, now that you have decided it is time to get a new executive job. But, clearly, starting with your resume is a bad plan. Here is a quick plan you can follow. Note that these steps all precede your writing your own resume.

Stop writing that executive resume and focus on strategy first. You will go faster and farther.

Stop writing that executive resume and focus on strategy first. You will go faster and farther.

1. Pick an industry. You will not fit into every industry, but you will fit squarely into one or two.

2. Select the right job level for you, knowing that in some cases, the authority of a given title will vary by industry, company, and company size.

3. If you have most recently been an entrepreneur, start to think about your role as an executive leader rather than a start-up type. Keep the hunger, lose the lone cowboy approach.

4. Select a category of jobs; then use LinkedIn, your existing network, and strategic networking techniques to meet the right decision makers–or those who can effectively introduce you.

5. Hire an executive resume writer. If you are an executive leader, add a key member to your strategic team. Doing so indicates you are willing to include another type of expert whose knowledge does not mirror yours.

These steps might go against what you believe is conventional wisdom. However, if you have completed these steps, you will see immediately how your executive job search will go faster–all because you chose to stop writing and start strategizing.

Do you need to refocus, retarget, or rebuild your executive job search? Call Five Strengths.

Image courtesy of Stock.xchng / fcl1971

Checklist to Proofread Your Resume

Checklist to Proofread Your Resume

If we all look deep inside ourselves, I think we will all agree . . . that we do not spell well / make grammatical errors / occasionally post something stupid in social media / wish we could retract that email. It happens. I know. However, in our busy lives, often we just want to get that message out there. If you are a job seeker, you need your message out there more than ever–just do not hit “send” before you check and recheck your resume and cover letter or email, or you will suffer the red-faced embarrassment of regret and self-recrimination.

Here is a checklist you can use to make sure that every element of your resume and cover letter / email is pixel-perfect:

Check your resume header for inaccuracies:

Don't hit "send" on that resume until you're 100% sure it's perfect.

Don’t hit “send” on that resume until you’re 100% sure it’s perfect.

1. Your first name
2. Your last name
3. Your phone number
4. Your address, city, state, and ZIP code
5. Your headline (does it match your specific job target?)
6. Your branding (does it reflect the needs of your audience?)

Check your resume overall for:

7. Indents and alignments
8. Font sizes and typefaces
9. Widows and orphans
10. Document format (.doc? .docx? .rtf? .pdf?)
11. Misspellings
12. Extra spaces where they do not belong (that is ONE space after a period!)

Check your cover letter email for:

13. Correct spelling of addressee name
14. Correct email of addressee
15. Right company name
16. Proper job title
17. Correct date
18. Proper document(s) attached

Once you have checked every element of your resume and cover letter, check them again with my super-secret weapon that helps you find your hidden errors, even when you have read your resume 18 times (once for each of the above tips) or more:

* Read the document backwards.
* Start with the last sentence.
* Read it aloud.
* Check for errors.
* Move on to the prior sentence.
* Repeat.

Best Editorial Tip of the Day:

If there is any doubt about the veracity or level of appropriateness of your email DO NOT SEND IT. You will regret it, particularly if what you intend to be funny becomes insulting or inappropriate to your audience.

What is your favorite tip for editing your work? How do you monitor your urge to hit “send” before the document is 100% ready to go? Five Strengths welcome your comments.

Image courtesy of Stock.xchng / blary54