As a C-level professional, your job hunting process has likely transformed since the start of your career. Gone are the days of endless job applications, fluffy resumes, and little experience. You now have a quality job history packed with impressive executive responsibilities, as well as the benefit of name recognition. 

However, this recognition can present unique challenges when seeking your next position. 

Executives need to preserve their reputation while navigating the “hidden job market” of C-level positions. So, turning on your LinkedIn recruitment button and passing around your resume might not do the trick. If you’re ready to take your executive career to the next level, consider the tips in this guide. 

Know What You’re Looking For

Executive job searches should be targeted since you need to be serious about each potential position you inquire about. Take some time before you begin your search to outline what you are looking for in a job. Write down what companies interest you and what up-and-coming industries you want to enter. Think about what skills you might want to gain in your next role. Having a general target for your job search will make the whole process more efficient. Executives should prioritize quality over quantity when transitioning to a new position since most of the companies you apply to will know your name. 

Start With Your Network

Your professional network is a valuable tool when you’re seeking a new position. You can access your network both online and off, discussing your career goals with trusted individuals. Even at the executive level, networking is all about relationship building. If you know that a former colleague or professional contact is seeking an executive at their company, contact them about getting lunch. This can be an opportunity to discuss your career goals and what you might bring to the table at their company. A phone call can be effective as well, but an in-person meeting will offer more in-depth communication.

Clean Up Your LinkedIn Profile

In today’s job market, LinkedIn is a central source for recruiters and executives to communicate. Most executive jobs are not listed publicly, so recruiters and other executives might reach out to you with interest. Your LinkedIn profile needs to be sharp to attract the right type of professional attention. Ensure that your photo is up to date, your bio reflects your experience and values, and your experience is clearly outlined. It might be worth it to hire an editor to polish the copy on your profile. 

High-level professionals should also actively share articles from their industry and thought pieces that they have published. This commentary will position you as a thought leader in your industry, helping you stand out in the eyes of recruiters. 

Work With a Headhunter

Executive headhunters are some of the best resources for C-level professionals. It’s general practice at this level for headhunters to find you, rather than for you to find a headhunter. The company that is looking to fill an executive position hires the headhunter, and they hand-select potential candidates for the job. You can attract the attention of headhunters by keeping up your online presence. When they do reach out to you, be sure to stick to your strategy and cultivate a relationship with the recruiter. You can better sell your experience and help yourself stand out by approaching the recruitment process carefully and maintaining professionalism.

Remember: Executive job transitions tend to take longer than lower-level hiring. You might be searching and talking to headhunters for a year or more before landing the perfect job. While this may seem lengthy, your investment in the process will land you a long term role at a company that aligns with your values. You can then continue to grow knowing that you took the best step for your career.