Recruiters Reveal 5 Important Trends for Executive Job Seekers

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Latest ExecuNet survey reveals answers to the most common questions posed by executives looking to successfully navigate today’s challenging job market.

There’s no denying age discrimination is an unwelcome reality for the 50+ year-old executive, but recruiters want to know what they see is what they get. — October 17, 2012 — Top recruiters weigh in on best practices to help executive job seekers find their next career opportunity, as revealed in the results of ExecuNet’s recent survey. The data suggests that when submitting job applications, developing an online profile and networking with recruiters, there are some very clear do’s and don’ts.

1. 70% of recruiters may pass over a résumé if it doesn’t include a cover letter. While some seasoned executives may think their résumé can stand on its own, recruiters want to see cover letters. “The purpose of the cover letter is to quickly encapsulate why you are qualified for the role, and to get someone interested enough to read your résumé,” says ExecuNet Editor-in-Chief Robyn Greenspan. “This research tells us that there are so many résumés vying for recruiters’ attention they are relying on a compelling cover letter to find great candidates.”

2. The majority of recruiters recommend limiting work experience on a résumé to 15 to 20 years. More than half of the surveyed recruiters advise executives with more than 25 years of experience not to show all of it on their résumé. Personal situations may dictate otherwise, however, as Don Weintraub, ExecuNet's Managing Director of Performance Improvement & Career Services, counsels, “I usually recommend showing the last three jobs or about 20 years, but if the job that was 20+ years ago really showcases your skills and accomplishments, then you should include that one too."

3. 62% of recruiters say it’s crucial to have a current, professional headshot on online profiles. There’s no denying age discrimination is an unwelcome reality for the 50+ year-old executive, but recruiters want to know what they see is what they get. With a previous ExecuNet study revealing that 90% of recruiters check out executive candidates online, you want to be sure that the picture they found of you is going to be a close match of who they meet in person.

4. Job candidates should give a realistic range when asked about salary expectations. Surveyed recruiters strongly suggest resisting the temptation to ask for a dollar amount higher than really desired, with 46% recommending candidates give a range. Other recommendations include deferring your answer until after there is mutual interest and asking what the compensation range is for a high performer in the position. “Don’t be the first to bring it up,” says Weintraub. “A good answer is to report your most recent compensation and say that you’re looking for something competitive. Given the individual circumstances and the economy, the candidate may want to add that they’re willing to accept a fair rate based on current market conditions.”

5. Executives who want to build relationships with recruiters should come bearing information. Only 1-in-4 recruiters would network with executives who can’t provide some reciprocal value. Recruiters are most receptive to networking with executives in transition who can share information about industries, companies, referrals or connections to key decision-makers.

About ExecuNet
Since 1988, ExecuNet has helped business leaders shape positive change to achieve what’s next in their individual lives. From its beginnings as a small gathering of executives in Connecticut, ExecuNet has evolved into a private network of over 250,000 senior-level executive members with a belief in the transformative potential of trusted insight, real connections and personal introductions to help them find meaningful new work, advance in their careers, better manage the growth of their businesses, and become high-value leaders. A recognized authority in executive employment, retention and recruitment, as well as human capital trends, ExecuNet keeps its members informed about what’s important to them in business and their careers.

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