Looking for a new job is a proactive decision – not many senior corporate comms professionals realise this. You may contact one or two search consultants, and perhaps apply to a LinkedIn advert you have spotted, however this isn’t enough, not in this market. It takes energy and focus when it comes to your job search, especially when you are at a more senior level. There are fewer roles, the higher you climb.
What you may not realise is that an extraordinary number of roles are not filled by adverts or given to search agencies; they are actually filled by people’s own networks. If you think about it, the first thing a Director of Comms will do, when a role comes up, is ask the team, ‘Who do we know?’ If there is someone in their network, who is rated highly, I can tell you now, that’s the person who will get the call first. I wouldn’t be surprised if 80% of roles are filled this way. Consequently, many roles never see the light of day, so what are you doing about putting your name forward and preparing for your job search?
Here’s our advice:
Think about who you know in your network who is well networked themselves and would put in a good word for you. Perhaps you have worked with them in the past? Perhaps they are a friend, a journalist, a banker? It’s time that you met up with them for a drink and let them know that you are discreetly on the lookout and would appreciate their help and recommendations where appropriate. It may be just three people who fit the bill, but that’s three networks plus your own, so you are widening the net.
What else can you be doing? Do sign up with a recruitment consultant but choose carefully. You need to bear in mind that for senior hires, recruiters are being paid to source specific backgrounds and personality attributes, which means you may not be selected for the shortlist as you don’t fit the brief. So just relying on agencies to source that prized senior role for you isn’t enough.
Sharpen up your CV so that it is outcome-focussed. You need to show the value you will bring to your next employer, so each bullet point should include an outcome. Forget the responsibilities, and focus on what you have achieved. Read more about how to create a great CV including a ‘free template.
PR agencies appear to be falling out of favour as the allure for in-house corporate communications teams grows stronger than ever. We think agency life still has its place, however, and for those who are keen on moving up the agency career ladder, we share our expertise on how to plan your next agency move.
When you do get an interview, you can never do enough preparation. However, we find that most people do too much research about their potential future employer and not enough on how to sell their expertise and value to a business. Here we discuss how to prepare for a foolproof interview. We also talk about how to answer those classic questions around your greatest strengths and weaknesses.
From start to finish, it’s important to acknowledge how critical it is to stay motivated throughout your job search so that you can keep the ball in your court.
By incorporating proactive methods, and effectively taking the job search into your own hands, you stay one step ahead of your competition, you save valuable time, and you avoid a lot of frustration too. It can take a year or two to secure a senior level role, so the more you do, the more opportunities you will create for yourself.
So don’t sit back and wait for the perfect position to cross your path, as this is highly unlikely to happen. Take the more empowering route – go out and find it yourself.
The Works Search is a search consultancy specialising in PR and corporate communications. We have unrivalled matching abilities and known for finding the top 5% performers in the industry - the ones who deliver and make your reputation great. For more advice or market insights, do get in touch with us on 0207 903 9291 or email firstname.lastname@example.org