Q. I enjoyed your video blog yesterday.  I was the CEO of a community hospital that is part of a regional health system.  I outperformed on budget and all key metrics but they System decided to consolidate my job with another hospital 45 miles away.  That CEO has seniority and they offered him the position.  This happened six months ago and I find myself hitting the wall with searches that the big recruiting firms are running.  There are some great positions that I am uniquely qualified for but the associates will not even screen me because I am not currently in a CEO position.  What are my options?


The good news is that search firms handle only about 30 to 30 percent of all of the recruiting assignments so you have plenty of real estate to work with.  Besides, if you are sitting back and waiting on the recruiting companies for your next position, you may have an awfully long wait.  

Here are four ideas for you to consider.

First, you cannot send the recruiter or prospective employer a generic resume.  You must specifically connect the dots between what they are looking for and where you have been fabulously successful in the past.  There cannot be any doubt that your skills, your experience, your record of accomplishment are spot on for the prospective employer.  

Second,  you must become extremely adept at forcefully communicating your value, how you can lead the prospective employer to greater success.  This is not the time for modesty in hopes they will figure it out.  They won’t. One line you might consider using is, “I am a ‘safe candidate’ because I have been very successful in doing X, Y and Z of what they need.  I can back this up with references who will specifically attest to my skills and my success. Do not take my word for it.”  By the way, one of my references is my former boss.” 

Third,  you have to go the extra mile in researching who is on the Board or the name of the executive who will be making the hiring decision. You must be prepared to finesse the process and get your story to the people who matter.  Even if that means bypassing the talent acquisition department or, god forbid, the search consultant, to have someone send a letter of recommendation.  If you go that route, the content of the letter should leave little doubt as to your ability and success in producing results. 

 Finally, you must build a strong presence and brand on LinkedIn.  You cannot afford to sit back and let recruiters or consultants who may not know  the facts define what happened to you. 

Listen, we are talking about your career so you need to pursue a course that is consistent with the facts of your situation.  Do not overreach with statements that are not consistent with those facts.   Consult with or engage a career transition coach to help you in telling your story more effectively.  There are some smart savvy advisors out there. Do not let the recruiters and others get the upper hand.  Craft a strategy that is forceful, one that supports who you really are as a leader and not the out-of-work executive who is not up to the task that some people will routinely hang around your neck.