When you are looking for a new job, you know that the odds for any one position are against you.  Depending on the role and compensation, those odds can be 20, 30, 40 or more to one.   I am not much of a gambler but if the typical recruitment opportunity were a horse race, I think I would keep my money in my pocket.  

To make matters more daunting, the process at the start of the search is decidedly adversarial.  With 30 or more candidates per job recruiters are looking for reasons to winnow down the pool — to get rid of you.  If your resume does not address the specific requirements of the job posting, if your resume format is confusing, or if you have a mistake or two, the chances of you surviving the resume review — the first interview   are somewhere between slim and none.

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There are many ways an executive can improve their job search odds, but today we are going to look at three keys to success.

  1. Be sure your LinkedIn profile contains a professional picture — no casual poses with your dog, or one with you in a tux at your daughter’s wedding —  ensure that your career information mirrors the chronology of your resume, that your profile includes a list of your degrees and certifications, and, finally that you listed your contact information.  More and more organizations are using social media sites, LinkedIn being one of the most prominent, to look for candidates. If you do not include your email and/or telephone number, you probably will not know that you were eliminated.
  2. Specifically address the needs of the prospective employer in your resume.  The first time a recruiter reviews your resume in connection with a search, you will be lucky if they spend 30 seconds reviewing your career.  That is why having a customized Professional Summary at the top of the document is so important.  Make it easy for the recruiter.
  3. Be a helpful candidate.  Once you make it past the dreaded telephone screen and obligatory SKYPE or FaceTime interviews, you can safely assume the prospective employer IS interested.  At this point they have dropped their adversarial approach.  Now they are looking for a reason to hire you.  Give them one. Sell your value in a compelling way, one that is memorable and differentiates you from your competitors.  

In addition to his executive search practice, John coaches executives on career management and job transition.  He is a recognized thought leader on the art of the job interview.  He is a member of the ACHE Congress faculty where he will be teaching a course on interviewing skills on March 6 in Chicago.