Posts Tagged ‘Executive Job Search Pittsburgh’

Blindsided by LinkedIN

May 20, 2010

There I was… happily engaged in a great position that fit exactly what I wanted and needed in my career at the time.  I was working with a great team of people that were passionate and excited about what they were doing and I felt I was part of something that made a difference.  Plus I was part of the Pittsburgh market which was a dream come true for this Pittsburgh boy.  Granted, I didn’t expect to play out the rest of my career as General Manager at LHH of Pittsburgh but I was content and looking forward to the opportunities of the new year and I certainly wasn’t looking for a new job.

However, somewhere in New York City, a job started a journey to come looking for me.  A private equity firm that was in the process of buying a firm needed a new CEO to take over the company and help to drive the company into its future.  Their CEO-candidate search vehicle of choice?  A top-shelf executive recruiter?  Nope.  The recruiting offices of the finest business schools in the country?  Nope.  Friends/Family members/Old Cronies they knew? Nope, nope… and nope.

They chose LinkedIN.

The partners thought they might move into into other search tools if needed but why not start with LinkedIN. So they began networking on LinkedIN. They used a variety of keyword searches based on competitor names, titles, geographic locations, and specific terms of the industry and pretty quickly generated a list of about a dozen or so names. Some of this list they thought might be actual candidates; others on the list they thought might be one or two networking contacts away from actual candidates. The next step was to send out emails… or rather INMails… introducing themselves and their intent. I received one of those emails and responded (no offense to LHH but I couldn’t help but be curious).

The partners commented that they most appreciated three things about my profile (1) its detail because it helped them get a better sense for my background versus others they reviewed, (2) my recommendations because they knew they were probably the same folks that they would get in a traditional ‘reference list’ so why not read what they had to say, and (3) they found it interesting that there were more than a few intersections between their original list of 12 target contacts and my recommendation contacts. From there it became a fairly traditional interview process, mostly by phone with several different contacts and one face-to-face meeting. In fairly short order, there was an offer, a negotiation, an acceptance, a transition and a start date.  It all started with LinkedIN.

The point of this story?  Well, there are several… (1) LinkedIN works, (2) LinkedIN is used to source positions at all levels, (3) LinkedIN is a great tool to have work passively to advance your career, and (4) to encourage you that your efforts with LinkedIN will not be in vain, and they will pay a dividend.  You may not be expecting it when they do but they will pay a dividend.  As I’ve stated in previous blogs and in the various “LinkedIN Presentations” I gave around town, LinkedIN is a “Career Tool”, not a “Job Search Tool”.  Networking helps your career no matter what stage of your career you are in.  In fact, LinkedIN is already (again) an integral part of my sales efforts at the new company. You just plain need to have a complete LinkedIN profile.  If you need some pointers on what constitutes a ‘complete LinkedIN profile’ check out the links below.  If there was ever a ‘Just do it’ for you in terms of career management, utilizing LinkedIN as far as you can take it, would certainly be one.

By the way, make no mistake, while you can take the boy out of Pittsburgh, you can’t take Pittsburgh out of the boy… Go Steelers!

Some Helpful LinkedIN Links:

LinkedIN Best Practices for Business

Improving Your LinkedIN Profile

LinkedIN Blog

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Don’t Just Ping Away!

January 29, 2010

There was a scene in the movie The Hunt for Red October where a naval officer is talking to Jack Ryan regarding the Soviet fleet’s search for the renegade submarine. The exchange went something like this:

Davenport:   They’re pinging away with their active sonar like they’re looking for something, but nobody’s listening.

Jack Ryan:    What do you mean?

Davenport:   Well, they’re moving at almost forty knots. At that speed, they could run right over my daughter’s stereo and not hear it.

——–

I think many in job search today could be in a similar situation. You are ‘pinging away’ but moving so fast that you are forgetting to focus on the details and make the most of every opportunity.  A successful job search is a process that depends on doing every step to the best of your ability. Some areas where you might want to slow down and check your execution might be:

Do you have a Written Plan?  Good things usually don’t happen by accident. You need to have a plan of action in your job search where you identify target industries, target companies, networking goals, salary research, etc.

Training:  Are you studying and learning about improving your job search skills and strategies? Are you moving your job search skills and knowledge from “Poor to Good to Great!”. If you are not, just know the competition is.

Are you Really Networking? A LinkedIN connection is not networking. You have to have a personal connection by phone or face-to-face to be networking. PLUS – if you don’t have a networking strategy and specific goals for each networking meeting then you are trailing your competition on that front as well.

Adequate Follow-Up:   If you feel you had a definite chemistry in the interview, what are you doing to follow-up after the thank you note? Even interviews that end in a rejection letter – are you following up to get feedback or additional networking contacts?

Are you Researching?  You are competing against candidates that can quote annual reports and press releases and offer valid strategic feedback on customer markets, marketing literature and positioning strategies.

Are you Making it Personal?  How are you making them remember YOU? I recently received an email from a job seeker telling me that an interviewer was so pleased with a handwritten note that he showed it around the office and called it “Old World Professionalism”. I’m liking that guy’s chance to make the next round.

Are you a Polished Interviewer?  Practice, Practice, Practice. If you can’t google ‘interview questions’ or pick up a book on interviewing and not be surprised by a question that you haven’t prepared for and rehearsed to perfection, you are lagging the top notch competition.

Your LOOK:  First Impressions matter. Your hair, your clothes, your glasses all tell your story before you open your mouth so make sure that story isn’t “Clueless” or “Out of Date”. Also, networking can happen ANYWHERE… in the store, at the ball park, at the ChuckECheese with your kids… when you are in job search – you should always dress professionally.

The difference between sucess and failure in anything is found in the details. Job search is no different. In this environment, you do need to step up the “quantity” aspects of your job search but you have to keep an eye on the “quality” aspects as well. You need to find that balance.  Your competition is.

Career Transition for Senior Executives: Different and Not

November 2, 2009

Regardless of a person’s level in an organization, their skill set or their years of experience, there are certain core best practices associated with finding ‘their next opportunity’ that are universal. The basic formula for career transition is virtually the same for a CEO or a middle manager. Everyone at any level needs a list of differentiating SOAR stories (aka PAR/STAR statements). Every job seeker needs a written personal marketing plan, a core resume with industry-specific versions, and a LinkedIN profile.

Everyone will be competing against job seekers that are well polished in terms of their ‘electronic image’ and their interviewing skills and they need to keep pace. The C-Suite executive and the middle manager both need accountability partners and ‘elevator speeches’. Detail items such as appearance, contact cards, thank you cards, and company research are as important for those seeking COO positions as those seeking their first job out of college. An executive job seeker can’t escape these ‘core truths’ and they have to execute them at their highest level or risk “missing the mark” as they shoot for their next career opportunity.

There are differences though.

C-Level and senior executives in career transition do have different needs that have to be addressed. Some of the differences include:

Succession Planning: C-level executives often have a much more visible and planful exit strategy that includes succession planning and successor development;

Executive Coaching: Coaching is no longer just the pervue of senior executives but they do have a higher standard and they need a career coach that keeps up with them;

Executive Assessments: As a senior executive approaches the next phase of their career, it is often helpful to re-examine their personal skills and interest inventories and review them with an expert;

Global Resource Capabilities: Opportunities for c-level and senior executives are a global proposition and they need access and introduction to resources throughout the United States and around the world;

Peer Group Accountability: It is valuable to meet weekly with other senior executives in job search to share successes, failures and contacts that relate directly to their own efforts;

Specialized Resume and Profile Reviews: Senior Level candidates must handle their resumes and LinkedIN profiles differently. There is frankly, a higher standard for senior level executives that must be met in order to be competitive;

Executive Resource Networking: Senior executives need connections at a high level such as executive management, board-level, private equity, and venture capital contacts;

Next Step Options Planning: C-Level executives have different priorities and motives for their career search. To find fulfillment in their next role they often have to explore many options such as continuing on the Executive Track? Exploring Entrepreneurial Ventures? Developing a Multi-Faceted Portfolio Career that includes several profit and non-profit roles? or Pursing an ‘Active’ Retirement?

Research and Resource Support: The reality is that sometimes C-Level executives are used to a support team and research at a much higher level so they need access to the same caliber of resource during their career search.

Assimilation Coaching: Senior executives can also benefit the most from assimilation coaching as they take on their new role

Annual Career Consultations: C-level and senior executives can have a high degree of change as their career evolves so access to some kind of lifetime career consultation can be a valuable benefit

While the process may be essentially the same, the depth of each of step of the process can be significantly different for c-suite and senior executive job seekers and the most competitive organizations are recognizing this as they search for outplacement solutions for their senior executive benefits package.