The differences between the executive and recent graduate’s job search



Are you conducting an effective job search?

Execs with loads of experience find jobs very differently than recent graduates with little experience. Career Tracker explains how to conduct an executive job search. 

The number one difference between executives and less experienced workers when it comes to finding jobs: what they do once they find a job they want.

When we talk with recent graduates about how they are finding jobs, we hear the usual suspects: job boards. And then? Nothing. Apply and wait it out. 

The executive job search goes a little differently. Once an experienced professional finds a job they want, whether from a job site, job board, or elsewhere, they then meet and network with their friends, leverage personal and professional networks, and tap into professional groups/associations. Going to job boards is absolutely a necessary step. But once you find the jobs you want, you must figure out how to network into the companies where you want to work. You’ve gotta find a way into the back door.

Behind the velvet rope

It’s kind of like getting into an exclusive club (yes, we went to some clubs when we were once young and living the big city life). You have a few options: wait in line and hope that at some point you get in (recent graduates), pay off the doorman (trust fund babies who do not use Career Tracker), or get to know the bouncers and then they let you in the side door. We strongly suggest the last option because other people are going to be getting to know the bouncers, and the trust fund babies are going to keep cutting the line. So even if you would ordinarily make slow progress to the front of the line, because others are pursuing guerrilla tactics, it means the old fashioned way no longer works.

The way to really accelerate your search is by doing what veteran, senior-level executives do: tap their professional networks for the jobs that are posted (and ones that are not even yet posted) and introductions to decision makers.    

Business Logic

Many hiring managers want to hire additional resources. These same managers don’t want to commit budget to a position they think will be difficult to fill. If a well-qualified candidate shows up on their front doorstep – vetted by a current employee or known quantity (friend, colleague, etc) – they will ask for the budget and create a position.

To put this into perspective, there are exponentially fewer executive positions within a company than all other positions. The ratio could be 100 or 1000 non-executive positions to a single executive position.

Executives know this, which is why they do not only rely on job boards alone. You may not be an executive (mathematically the vast majority cannot be!) but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a page from their playbook. Check job boards for openings, and use your networks to learn more and gain introductions into these companies. 

Key Takeaway: Don’t rely only on job boards for your next job. Once you’ve found the jobs you want and begin applying, supplement these applications with recon and networking into the companies where you want the jobs. Use LinkedIn, Facebook, and whatever means necessary to see where you have connections. Be resourceful, work to the 2nd and 3rd-degree connections. Seriously, if you want the job, these are the things you need to do! Find your next job just like an executive would.  


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