“The Single Most Effective Thing A Job Hunter Can Do?”

Dr Graham Wilson, a friend and confidante to senior leaders of large corporates and former HR Director at Sodexo, now also helps senior executives to find satisfying and life enhancing jobs. I have asked him to contribute a blog post to give you an idea as to what he does for his clients.

Graham knows a great deal about networking at a senior level. At this level, most jobs are not advertised, they are created around the candidate whose experience and skills are most desired by the decision maker in the company. So how do you get to look atttractive to those decision makers who could offer you a job?

Read on….


For over a decade, I have been helping senior executives to find a new job. A couple of years ago, I wrote a short book to help them in the process – it’s called the “Senior Executive’s Emergency Job Hunt” and I’ll explain where you can get a copy at the end of this article. People come to me for all sorts of reasons, but often it is because they have been unable to find a new role for two or three months and are beginning to get a little desperate. Everyone is different, and I can’t make any promises, but my average ‘hit rate’ is for the individual to have received a job offer within 6 weeks. There’s one very simple thing that we do that makes this happen. It isn’t rocket science, but it makes a huge difference.

Before I take on a client, I try to meet them. If we can’t meet physically, then we have a Skype call. I spend an hour or so learning about them and what they have done so far to find a job. I never charge for this – it’s their way of deciding whether they are comfortable with me, and vice versa.

I ask them quite a few questions. The first of these is fairly obvious: “What have you been doing already to find a job?”

Answers are bound to vary, but the majority will say that they took a little while to get their CV organised, then they did a “bit of networking”, and since then they have been applying for anything they see advertised that’s “even vaguely suitable”.

My next two critical questions are:

  1. How many people do you think you know sufficiently well, to tell them that you are looking for a new job?
  2. Of those people, how many people HAVE you told?

You might, or might not, be surprised by the answers. Many senior executives will say that there’s probably 25 to 30 people, but that they’ve not done so “yet”

Why is this so important?

Estimates vary, but most professionals in my field reckon that more than 80% of jobs are never advertised. What’s more the majority of those unadvertised roles are created for someone already known to the future employer.

So, the ‘secret’ to finding a new senior executive job is to make sure that you tell absolutely everyone that knows you that you are looking.

For a senior executive to stand the best possible chance, they will have upwards of 75 people who they have told within days of leaving their previous job. You DO NOT need a CV; you DO NOT beg them to give you a job! Both of those NO-NOs come across as cheesy at best.

Many people don’t act – out of a misguided ‘fear’

Lots of senior executives will stumble when I ask those last two questions – they wrap this up in different language, but fundamentally they are saying that they are embarrassed to tell former colleagues and clients that they are ‘out of work’ and are afraid that these people will have nothing to do with them when they know.

Now, firstly, let’s remind ourselves that for more than 50 years, most people have had at least one period of unemployment and usually two. We are also in one of the most turbulent economic times since the second world war. So, most people have experienced exactly the same situation.

Secondly, remember that it is precisely these people who are going to be your best advocates. They have known you most recently, they know what you’ve done and what you’re capable of doing. With luck, some of them even trust you. These people are not necessarily going to have a job for you themselves, but they know people who might, and you need them to ask – that’s why we call them your advocates.

Of course, there’s bound to be the arrogant fool who thinks that they will never be in the same situation as you. But would they help anyway? And what help are you going to give them when the shoe is on the other foot?

You need to overcome your reserve, and fear, and let them know your situation. This will be the single most effective thing you can do to help you find a new role.

If you’re interested in reading a copy of the “Senior Executive’s Emergency Job Hunt” then visit my job search website – http://www.executive-post.info where you can download the e-book edition gratis.

If you’d like to spend an hour or so reviewing your progress, then the website explains how to get in touch.

Good luck
Graham Wilson – 07785 222380


About anrah

Anrah is a business development consultancy specialising in helping senior women in engineering and science, their teams and doctoral students increase 'presence', improve communication and generate impact to win stakeholder buy-in at the highest level.
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