Executive-Level Job Seekers: Are You Really Ready?

By Robert Half August 26, 2014 at 7:00am

The top realms of the corporate pyramid might be a little lonelier than you’d think, when it comes to making a career move, that is.

Today’s executives often have a long track record of success and direct reports, from other executives to an entire department. But many of those contacts, as high-ranking or well-networked as they may be or seem, probably aren’t going to help a senior-level finance executive make a career jump to his or her next position. To get the word out, they will likely need to network with people outside of their existing company.

Today, Robert Half Management Resources issued a press release offering tips, including on spreading the word with your connections, that can help even the most seasoned, senior-level professional climb the corporate ladder a little higher. It’s intended as a guideline to access the often unseen, or even unpublicized, job market.

How do you know if these tips apply to you? Well, do any of these situations sound familiar?

  • You haven’t made a career move in awhile.
  • You’re one of a kind at your company.
  • You don’t know as many people as you did when you were a senior accountant.
  • You don’t go out to after-work functions and networking events as often as you’d like.
  • You’re as high as you can go in your current role but aspire to become a controller or CFO and have the experience to take on the job.
  • You’re ready to make a career change but don’t know where to start.

Now is the time to approach networking like a second job. This doesn’t mean you should go out and join 20 professional networking associations, but consider joining one such association and being active in it.

Get up to speed on technology, attend a webinar if needed to boost your nontechnical skills, and use social media to build your personal brand and business relationships.

Draw up a game plan. Write down the names of 10 to 15 people you’ve known a long time and could email and call to make aware of your situation. Ask if they have one person they could connect you with who might be interested in you and your background. Taking a personal, more targeted approach and working with a staffing firm specializing in senior-level positions has its advantages.

The saying goes the best time to look for a new job is when you already have one, but what about when the job, hiring manager or recruiter comes looking for you? You may be happy in your current position, but when an opportunity arises, it can’t hurt to be ready.

You never know where your next opportunity is going to come from, and knocking on one door could be the key to opening additional doors.

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 NOTE: This blog post was updated Sept. 17. 

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