For the average job seeker, there is a wealth of information out there highlighting the best strategies for finding positions on niche job boards, preparing a professional resume, updating your LinkedIn profile, managing your online presence, and leveraging your social media profiles to help in your search for employment. Since that information is readily accessible on a number of websites, and because the executive job search is a whole different animal, this article will focus on four specific strategies all executives in the construction industry must have in their toolbox when looking for new challenges.
Once you’ve found a suitable executive recruiter (or 2–3 potential candidates to work with), interview them to find out if they can actually help expedite your job search and put you in a position to secure the high-level opportunities that pique your interest. Ask them about the companies they’ve worked with recently and the types of positions they’ve helped to fill over the past six months or a year. If they’ve only been filling project manager or superintendent roles, you’ll know they may not be the right partner to help you reach your goals. If you engage more than one recruiter, be careful. Working with multiple recruiters may lead to your resume being submitted more than once for the same position.
This one should be easy if you plan on staying in the same geographical area. As a senior executive, you should already know the major players in the industry and, if you’re active in local professional associations or other groups, you may have preexisting relationships with key personnel at some of these companies. Use this insider information to your advantage and exploit the contacts you have at some of these firms to find out about impending staff shakeups or major projects that may require your unique expertise. If you are interested in relocating (or if the economic climate dictates that you look for opportunities elsewhere) then you will need to do some sleuthing to find the best construction companies to target, identify the decision makers to connect with, and determine the best strategy to get your foot in the door.
This piece of advice applies to every field and is a critical element of any executive job search. However, it is especially important in the construction industry. As mentioned above, professional association and community group meetings present great chances to converse with acquaintances from other construction firms. Use these occasions to “talk shop,” gain insight into potential openings, or find out about specific upcoming projects. If you feel that there is promise, you can begin to work in elements of your elevator pitch by talking about some of your major successes or referencing some of your relationships with high-profile clients.
Nowadays, the online component of an executive job search goes far beyond simply updating your LinkedIn profile. You must present yourself as a key member of your industry by contributing to white papers, authoring blog posts, chiming in on trade forums, Tweeting your thoughts on the latest news affecting your field, the list goes on and on. A lot of career professionals refer to this as “personal branding,” but what it really boils down to is getting your name out there so that when a recruiter searches for candidates to fill a particular position or an employer Googles you after viewing your application, they’ll see your knowledge on full display.