The executive job market is a highly competitive arena, which can often make it difficult for accounting professionals who are looking to take a step up, to stand out and secure new opportunities. So, how can you set yourself apart and continue to progress to the next level of your career? Using our expertise as executive recruitment specialists, we've put together this guide to help you get noticed by executive search recruiters.
Reputation is critical to success. For senior level accounting jobs, organisations want to invest in those with a track record of success. Whilst there are many methods of preparing yourself for a step up, ensuring there are people who can vouch for your achievements (and recommend you for new opportunities) will be extremely valuable. Similarly, having quantitative results to showcase in your resume will reinforce your abilities and strengthen your appeal as a candidate.
Although, it is not only the quantitative aspects of a career history that are important. Establishing a strong personal brand (both online and offline) is integral at any point in your career path. Executive candidates should focus on the strengths, differences, specialities, leadership style and professional direction that sets them apart from their competition. Not only will the personal brand stick out in people's minds, it makes it significantly easier for recruiters to match candidates with appropriate roles. When an opportunity comes up, it's those whose personal brands fit the requirements of the role that could get the call first.
Just as a company's presence attracts customers, an effective personal brand can also draw the attention of executive recruiters. More often than not, when hiring for executive jobs, recruiters are looking for candidates with a specific set of skills and experience. This means that candidates need to be the 'go to' person in their current roles - the one that colleagues can count on to provide support and guidance whenever necessary. Taking part in panels and conferences is another great way to demonstrate skill, knowledge and expertise.
Similarly, social media platforms can help with maintaining a visible presence in your area of specialisation. Take advantage of LinkedIn to get established as a thought leader in your industry by publishing insightful posts or blogs and engaging with connections in discussions (without being too controversial). Also, don’t forget to switch on the ‘open to opportunities’ button on LinkedIn to advise recruiters that you’re keeping an open mind to new executive roles, but only if you want the world to know you are seeking a new challenge.
With networking obviously being a key component of a job search (at any level), it’s no surprise that it becomes more critical as you climb the corporate ladder. After all, executive search consultants frequently favour candidates that come recommended by a mutual contact, as this gives them a greater level of credibility.
Make yourself visible. When it comes to your executive search, think about both online (i.e. LinkedIn) and offline connections, and cultivate connections that have the potential to add value and build your personal brand further. Likewise, put in the effort to stay in touch with the right people, even if it is just reaching out once in a while to check in via their LinkedIn profile or catching up at local networking events. Remember, a good connection is one that has been nurtured consistently over a period of time – it’s all about quality, not quantity.
Whilst it might seem like a natural step to take in a job search, one of the best ways to get noticed by executive recruiters is recognising those executive search firms you want to work with and maintaining your professional relationships with them, even if there are no roles that fit your skillset straight away. This might even mean working alongside them for your vacancies as well, helping to build a long-standing partnership. After all, if you’re known to them and are already in good standing, you’re more likely to be at the top of the list when something aligned to your background arises.
Although the market for executive roles is competitive, there are always ways that candidates can work to stand out from their competition. To see how we can help you find your next executive accounting role or for advice on your executive career, get in touch with the team at Richard Lloyd Accounting Recruitment - we have a high volume of roles that are relevant to executive level accounting professionals.