Most executives recognize the value of working with executive recruiters, but many do not fully understand how the process works. They may be unclear about how to engage executive recruiters, or they may have unrealistic expectations about the level of support they will receive.
Here are five reasons executive recruiters are not returning your calls:
1. You are not a fit for a current position
Contrary to popular belief, executive recruiters are not focused on finding jobs for candidates. They are paid by their clients to find the best candidates to fill strategic, often high-level, positions. As a result, they are searching for very specific skill sets and experience.
If you have submitted your resume to an executive recruiter and have not received a response, you are likely not a match for a position they are currently trying to fill. You may, however, be added to their database and considered for future opportunities.
2. You are not targeting a specific opportunity
If you are simply looking for new job opportunities in a general field, but are not clear about your target, it may be difficult for the executive recruiter to work with you. Because they are paid by the client, not the candidate, they are not motivated to analyze your resume to determine the types of opportunities that would best match your skills and experience.
It is, therefore, critical that you have a clear career direction. If you are unclear about the types of positions you would like to pursue, take some time to clarify this before approaching executive recruiters or applying for new executive career opportunities. Particularly in today’s job market, not having a clear target can put you at a competitive disadvantage.
3. The recruiter does not specialize in your industry
Most executive recruiters specialize in particular industries based on their own backgrounds and client relationships. If you are interested in finding a position in the high tech industry, for example, a recruiter that specializes in the legal industry is unlikely to respond to you.
Before contacting executive recruiters, spend some time researching their websites and understanding their specific focus areas. It can also be helpful to talk with friends and colleagues in your industry about executives recruiters with whom they have worked in the past. A personal referral can improve your chances of connecting with an executive recruiter.
4. You are not qualified for the position you are targeting
You may have skills and industry experience that align with the executive recruiter’s focus, but you are not qualified for the specific position you are targeting. Some executives hope that, even if it’s a long shot, they may be considered for a higher-level opportunity. Others fail to carefully read the job description to understand the requirements. Because executive recruiters are searching for candidates that best match the client’s requirements, you are unlikely to be considered if you are not visibly qualified for the opportunity.
If you are interested in taking your career to the next level, there are strategies you can employ to do so. Creating a development plan, finding a mentor or coach, increasing your visibility, and gaining relevant experience can all help you advance your executive career. Approaching an executive recruiter prematurely, however, is unlikely to be effective.
5. You lack a powerful executive resume
Often your resume is your first introduction to an executive recruiter, so it must powerfully reflect your skills and experience. A poorly written or disorganized resume is unlikely to attract the executive recruiter’s attention. Similarly, your executive resume should align with the position you are targeting. If it is not immediately clear to the executive recruiter why you are a fit for the position, he/she does not have the time or motivation to connect the dots for you.
If you are not confident that your resume best represents your brand, and clearly conveys your career direction, consider working with an executive resume writer to craft a powerful career portfolio. You will not be a fit for every position you seek, but don’t allow weaknesses in your resume to limit your executive career opportunities.
If you’ve been struggling to get the attention of executive recruiters, pay careful attention to these five challenges. You may also find it helpful to engage a career coach to clarify your career direction, research new executive career options, and strengthen your value proposition. This process will effectively prepare you to successfully work with executive recruiters and pursue new executive career opportunities in the future.
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