1. Executives know what they bring to the table. They know what problems they can solve, their unique selling points and which positions best suit their skill sets. Identifying your unique gifts will help you network both online and face-to-face. Richard Bolles’ book, What Color Is Your Parachute? is an excellent resource if you are looking for direction. Additionally, there are several online skill and personality assessments; two frequently used are the Keirsey Temperament Sorter and the SkillScan-Career Driver.
  2. Executives craft resumes that focus on results. They use keywords to help their accomplishments stand out, they eliminate unnecessary information, they are creative, they educate companies about how they have made money, saved money, made processes more efficient, stayed competitive, and expanded their businesses. They emphasize how their past results predict future performance.
  3. They pursue targeted companies. Executives tactically go after companies they aspire to work with rather than indiscriminately applying for positions on job search aggregators. Build a list of companies with qualities most important to you, perhaps; creative culture, innovative promotion practices, recommended by friends, or industry-leading. Utilize your network to find a contact that can distribute your resume with a good word about you. If you don’t have a contact, find out who the decision-makers are and email your resume. There may not be current openings but frequently the best jobs are not announced. If your resume proves you can help, your information will be kept on file and you have a future networking contact.
  4. Utilize SEO—search engine optimization. Proactively build your online presence like executives do. This is your chance to brand yourself professionally and control what is found when potential employers Google your name. Consider creating a personal (but strictly professional) web portfolio. Your ePortfolio could include a blog with resources for people in your field, your resume, a video resume, certifications, volunteer work, helpful links, work examples, and publications. Maximize your presence by making your site as keyword rich as your resume.
  5. Interview with confidence. You may think this is easy for executives because they have more experience than you. The truth is… they diligently prepare for interviews. Ask an established professional you know for support. Most are willing to lend a hand to someone working to improve their skills. It’s not as expensive as you think to seek the help of an interview coach. The assistance they give, identifying your key selling points, practicing tough questions and providing honest feedback will be worth the cost.
  6. Learn new skills. Skilled executives hire people to round out their skill sets. If they are lacking in a certain area, they hire someone who excels there. You many not have that luxury. If you are minus a skill needed to land that job, work to fill the gap by enrolling in a course (live or online) or taking a volunteer or temporary job to build your skills. You may also consider joining a professional organization to network with others who may be willing to provide mentorship.
  7. Network. Just the word sends some non-executives into a corner. Truth is, if you really want to go after that perfect job you have the skills, education and drive to excel at, you should put yourself out there. Executives leverage their connections—you should too. Talk to that friend who works at the company you want to pursue, meet your old manager who is well connected, for coffee one day. Maybe your college roommate’s dad worked in corporate finance and knows someone. Leverage your connections to learn more about job opportunities and companies that are hiring.
  8. Executives promote themselves via LinkedIn®. They realize the importance of a networking platform with 400 million users. Many executives work with branding specialists and PR firms to manage the image portrayed both individually and as a company. You can do the same, conducting your own LinkedIn® marketing campaign. LinkedIn® offers learning webinars with topics on creating an online presence, engaging with your network and job search. Their Job Search App and Groups are essential resources for job seekers.
  9. Negotiate salary like a pro. Executives know what they are worth. They have done due diligence, researching what comparable companies are offering for their education/knowledge/background/skills. Glassdoor.com and SalaryExpert.com give position and geographically specific information for job seekers.
  10. Learn something from rejection. Rejection stings but doesn’t keep executives down. Chances are, experienced professionals with a few years of living under their belts have been rejected WAY more than you. The key is learning from it. What’s the take away? What can you improve on next time? Do send a thank you and consider the individual who declined you a future networking contact.