I recently coached a senior executive looking for a C-level job at a start-up. Clearly, he couldn’t just apply for one but had to be tapped. First of all, C-level jobs are not posted anywhere. Secondly, start-ups don’t have the bandwidth to broadly search so are far more likely to rely on word-of-mouth for all positions. That said, while this executive could not count on finding these jobs, he certainly could help the recruiters find him. He just needs to be visible where recruiters (and in the case of start-ups, VCs) would look.
Speak at conferences. You need to build your visibility and establish your expertise. Conferences are also great venues to meet the insiders and influencers in your area. Do you know where the significant events are happening? Do you have a specialty to present?
Get published, or at least, sourced. Media enhances both visibility and credibility. Do you know the respected publications for your field? Do you have something to say?
Get referred. Recruiters like to find their candidates. We talk to people active in the field, and if you’re a star, people will know about you. Do you maintain relationships with a broad network? Are you known for something?
It’s not called executive search for nothing. If you want to get on a recruiter’s radar for a high-level search, you need to be searchable. Google yourself and see what comes up. Check your online brand. If you’re not sure how to get more visible or what expertise to showcase or how to develop the key relationships, work with someone who can help you get to that level. This is a long-term investment. Start now if you aspire to senior leadership spots.