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The Executive Job Search

If you're an executive looking for work - or just angling to change positions - the good news is that, yes, you can search for new job opportunities online. The bad news is most of the best sources are fee-based - although some of them are worth the expense, as long as you know what you're paying for. Here, you'll find recruitment resources directed towards mid-to-senior level executives - particularly resources that people at these levels have reported to be useful. So read on to find out where to look for ways to improve your executive-level career.

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Executive Job Search & Career Management Advice

Stepping from a mid-level role into an executive position - or from an executive position into a chief leadership role - takes a different level of thinking from that of the ordinary job-seeker. One of the main differences is that you'll often need to campaign for the position with a specific statement of intent, and a list of talking points about how you'll improve the company's functionality by filling the position in question. And of course, you'll also want to come prepared with a dossier of your core competencies, along with clear explanations of what each one will bring to the position.

Even if you come to the interview with all these things, though, your interviewer is likely to be very interested in how you'll hold up in a high-pressure role - which means he or she may get extremely confrontational. Another possibility is that the interviewer may seem like a brick wall; but even if this happens, stay friendly and engaged. Whatever you do, stay calm and collected throughout the interview, even if you're sure the whole thing is falling apart - after all, this is exactly the kind of ambiguous, highly charged situation you'll face regularly in an executive role.

An executive-level interviewer may try to throw you off your game in several ways...

As you prepare to step up your game for an executive interview, you may find it worthwhile to check out some web resources and consulting firms dedicated to executive-level career development. PerformHigher.com offers performance training, technology services, and recruitment assistance for executives - plus they host a Q&A conference call offering tools, techniques, and instruction to help you perform better professionally. WendyEnelow.com offers an extensive list of articles for executive job-seekers. And the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) provides a library of informative articles on executive-level placement.

For lots more advice on executive-level job-searching and career management, check out The Riley Guide's pages on Executive Job Lead Sources, Executive Compensation, How to Find a Good Career Management Firm and Scams in Job Search Services - the last of which includes a list of specific warnings about executive career management firms.

Executive Job Search and Support Services

These services tend to offer more features than the Executive Job Lead Sources in the section below this one - which means they provide services above and beyond those offered by typical job-listing websites and resume databases. Like those websites, though, all of the sites listed here offer networking opportunities and career resources; but some of them also provide additional support services, including resume review and revision. Many of them do require a fee - but at this level of job-seeking, the help a service like this provides in your search may often be worth the price..

Many of these services require a fee - but at this level, they may be worth it...

ExecUNet.com is a career management and job search membership organization for $100,000+ executives, offering listings of very good jobs along with a resume-review program and face-to-face networking meetings organized around the country. ExecutivesNetwork.com is an in-person peer-to-peer networking group, with regular meetings in Phoenix, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Boston, New York, West Orange (NJ), and four locations in California. ExecutivesOnly.com offers you the opportunity to review job leads, and to get assistance from a career management consultant in preparing your resume, presenting yourself and planning your next career move.

Netshare.com offers listings of exclusive confidential job leads, a resume database, networking forums, and career-management tools for senior executives earning $100,000+. RiteSite.com offers members a Custom Career Service designed to help with resume preparation and posting, the ability to confidentially forward a resume to others, and to connect with a select group of retained executive search firms. Each of these services offers its own unique approach, and bases its outreach on its own database of contacts - so poke around a little on a few of their websites, and contact them with questions, before committing to a particular one.

Executive Job Lead Sources

These sites tend to be similar to typical job boards and networking websites like Monster, except that they're targeted specifically at executive-level positions. Like the services in the section above, many of them do require a fee - but if you spend a little time scoping out what a site has to offer, you may find that that payment will connect you with information unknown to your competitors.

These sites offer job searches targeted specifically at executive-level positions...

BlueSteps.com, for example, offers two services for executives seeking new career options: Executive Profile and SearchConnect. Executive Profile allows you to submit your resume for consideration by the members of AESC. SearchConnect is a searchable directory of all AESC members that you can use to make direct contact with firms that handle searches in your industry and functional field. These services can be purchased separately or as a package. Experteer.com, meanwhile, matches you to specific senior management jobs starting at $100K and provides confidential access to a pre-approved headhunter network. And CEOUpdate.com publishes a listing of 150+ new executive-level vacancies every two weeks.

Other services offer their own variations on executive job-search information. Exec-Appointments.com allows you to search their $50,000+ job database, to create a "job agent" to notify you of new listings in the database, and to set up a one-button application process. ExecutiveRegistry.com offers a confidential online service where executives seeking new opportunities can post resumes, review "pre-qualified" postings from executive search firms, and connect with the search firms. And 6FigureJobs.com gives candidates who have the skills and experience for senior-level positions to access the site's job announcements and post a resume in their database.

If you're looking specifically for executive positions outside the U.S., ExecutivesOnTheWeb.com is an executive job and career site offering free access to pre-screened senior management jobs across the U.K., Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Though the site offers different levels of membership, ranging from free to "premium platinum," you can still create a free account, which will allow you to post a CV and establish job alerts to be sent to you. Along similar lines, Exec2Exec.com provides an executive level recruitment portal for senior level candidates, recruiters and employers, in Europe, the U.S., Canada and in other countries.

Interim Executives

Unlike consultants, interim executives are called in to fill an existing position within a company - typically one that's gone vacant due to the loss of an employee for one reason or another. As an interim exec, you may find yourself simply stepping into someone else's shoes, you may help with the search for a permanent replacement, and/or you may be called in to help craft and implement internal changes. Plenty of sites exist specifically to help you locate these types of positions. While you're at it, you may also want to review The Riley Guide's list of Recruiters and Staffing Firms, as some of these firms also offer short-term assignments for mid- to senior-level managers.

You may want to support your long-term job search with some stints as an interim executive...

BoydenInterim.com is one agency that provides interim executive solutions to companies across all industries and around the world. CeriusInterim.com serves a very similar need, in a variety of corporate sectors - as do INTERIMAmerica.com and TatumLLC.com. Other agencies focus on specific sectors - for example, ThirdSectorCompany.com provides interim executives specifically to nonprofit organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada.

In the U.K., Interim-Hub.com offers interim executive services, including workshops - mostly for fees. InterimPartners.com supplies short-term managers with proven records to numerous executive position in the U.K. - particularly for the financial services industry, for the retail and consumer industries, and for the public sector. Russam-GMS.co.uk is a long-established interim management provider in the U.K., with over 30 years experience and a roster of top-level clients. And ExecutivesOnline.com provides executive search, interim managers and project managers for any major corporate role in any major discipline, across Europe and Asia.

Board Recruitment

Depending on your level of executive experience, you may be able to get yourself recruited directly onto a corporation's board of directors - and a few executive-search services specialize in board placement. Though these services tend (understandably) to be very selective about the candidates they'll consider, they can provide a helpful boost to your search for an executive position if you qualify. Like most of the other services mentioned in this article, board recruitment services will usually charge you a fee - although some features of their sites can be accessed for free. You may also be interested in The Riley Guide's page on Corporate Governance.

A few executive-search services specialize in finding open positions on corporate boards...

BoardOptions.com is a consulting firm provides services to executive boards, including guiding the search for new members. Individuals who are interested in joining a potential board-level candidate pool are welcome to create their own free Board of Director resume following the guidelines provided, and submit it for consideration. BoardnetUSA.com, on the other had, provides board members specifically for nonprofit organizations registered as 501(c)(3) charities. And Non-Execs.com provides authoritative information, research, job opportunities and distilled knowledge about the non-executive and trustee marketplace in the U.K. The site requires a membership fee, which will also get you access to the partner site Exec-Appointments.com.

Resume Mailing Services

As explained in The Riley Guide's article on Resume Distribution Services, these services can be hit-and-miss. While a select few have proven to be affective at getting people's resumes into the right hands, the majority tend to blast resumes out to any addresses they can find - including those of companies that haven't requested to be on the distribution list - and charge you a fee for this. That means it's crucial to be on your guard when selecting and hiring a service like this, make sure you read the fine print, and have a back-up plan for getting your money back if things go south.

It's crucial to be on your guard when selecting a resume distribution service...

One executive-level resume distribution service that's garnered solid reviews is MyResumeAgent.com (formerly ExecutiveAgent.com), whose site allows you to compile your own list of executive search firms and other qualified recruiters from their database, and forward your resume - along with an optional cover letter - to each firm you select. This helps you avoid the common problem listed above: Finding out you've paid to have your resume blasted to hundreds of disinterested companies. This is a one-time mailing service, but you can opt for additional services too, such as having your resume sent out a second time after 21 days, or having your list of targeted recruiters emailed to you for phone or other follow-up. And unlike some resume distribution services, this one promises not to hold onto your resume after you're done.

Helpful links

Six Interview Styles of Top Executives: How to Prepare for the Final Interview -- Common challenges you may encounter in executive interviews, and how to meet each one.

New Higher's Higher Call -- A consulting firm that hosts a regular Q&A conference call for executive job-seekers.

BlueSteps.com -- A well-respected executive search and placement firm.