5 Critical Job Search Strategies for Executives in Career Transition

July 11, 2014

Executives in career transition face many challenges in this daunting job market, but there are a number of options that they can actively pursue thanks to their strong track records, technical skills, and education.  The five search strategies below will be a good place to start for any executives, professionals, or managers who unexpectedly find themselves in career transition or facing the possibility of longer-term unemployment.

Search Strategy #1: Any Port in a Storm

While we’re inclined to look for the “perfect” job or one that comes relatively close to the position that we recently vacated, remember that keeping food on your table is priority number one while you’re in transition.  And bear in mind that the healthiest thing you could do while in career transition is to keep active via temping/consulting or finding new and creative ways of giving back to the community.  Think of this as an opportunity to experience organizations and opportunities that you may not have otherwise had a chance to explore and a time to redefine yourself in light of these new career challenges.

To begin, “Executive on Demand” services, similar to temp agencies, look to provide their clients with mid- to executive-level professionals on an interim basis.  These roles range from functional heads and technical specialists to “C-suite” executives (CEO, CFO, and COO) across a wide range of disciplines and sectors.  Unlike temp agencies, however, you’ll typically contract directly with the client company for a specific time deliverable or time period (generally 3 – 12 months).  To locate executive and professional recruitment firms that provide interim management talent to their clients, Google “Executive Temporary Agencies in [LOCATION].”

Likewise, if you’re looking for contract gigs and projects for consultants, freelancers, or gurus (subject matter experts), register with so that you can become an “outsource” provider to other organizations or individuals who may temporarily need an extra set of hands for someone with your skill set.

With eLance, businesses and entrepreneurs post their jobs for free.  They then get to review proposals from providers like you and ultimately choose the freelancer they want based on credentials and the price you set for yourself.  Both parties collaborate online, and you’ll get paid upon project completion.  eLance is a trusted source by Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and other prominent organizations.

Search Strategy #2:  Reference Bridging

Former supervisors are great resources for job leads, plus you’ll want to enlist their help as your reference once you hone in on a job offer. So be sure and reach out to your last three or four bosses (preferably covering about the last ten years of your employment history) to catch up, let them know what you’ve been up to since speaking with them last, and ask their permission to provide their name to prospective employers as a reference.  And don’t forget to send them your resume and ask them to keep you in mind if they hear of any relevant positions that might be a fit.  It’s amazing how many candidates skip this simple step, but it’s the best “two-fer” available:  Who better than your previous bosses to recommend you for job openings that they hear about?  And don’t even think about launching a job search without getting your references lined up!  Simply stated, this is one of the “low-hanging fruit” that you’ll want to take advantage of at the outset of your job search.

Search Strategy #3:  Social Networking Announcements

While you’re at it, ask your former bosses if they’d be willing to recommend you on Linked In.  Not only would that help strengthen your online credentials, but it will also notify everyone in their online networks that you’re available for work!  Two or three online references from former supervisors could easily get out to 500 or so people, and that’s very wise “exponential marketing!”

Also, remember to add your Linked In address to the very top of your resume under your name, phone number, and email address.  It’s important that you create a “vanity URL” on Linked In so that your address is nice and tight and doesn’t look like an alphabet soup of sorts that takes up all the space at the top of your resume. For more information, simply Google “Creating a vanity URL on Linked In” for step-by-step instructions.

Search Strategy #4:  Boutique Employment Websites

Segmentation and niche marketing are what the Internet is all about, and your job search marketing strategy is no exception.  There’s nothing wrong with Monster, Career Builder, The Ladders, or any of the other mega job boards out there, but don’t neglect boutique websites that often cater to a more exclusive clientele like:

Executive Career Network:

Six-Figure Jobs: for nonprofit opportunities:

USAJobs for a massive listing of federal jobs:

Glassdoor for postings and company dish:

Dice for technical (IT and eCommerce) careers:

Depending on what you’re looking for, especially if you’re looking for a “Second Act” in your career, try sites like the following.

Bilingual jobs:

Overseas jobs:

Telecommuting jobs:

And don’t forget the two largest job aggregators, and  Simply set your job search parameters and allow these aggregators to email you every time a job posting matches your criteria!

Search Strategy #5: “Pro Bono” Volunteerism and Giving Back to Your Community

If giving back to your community is something you’ve been wanting to do, log onto to learn more about pro bono opportunities where you could help nonprofit organizations grow and develop into your community’s future leaders.  There’s no pay for your work, but you’ll be doing a wonderful deed to help those who need you most, and you can never go wrong with that approach to life. Besides, you’ll work with executives and professionals just like yourself, and that’s a great way to build your network the easy way.

Job search strategies are as unique and specialized as you are, but these resources may help you cut to the chase that much faster by enjoying and benefiting from your transitional period while speeding up your arrival at your next full-time position.

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About The Author

Paul Falcone is a human resources executive in Los Angeles and has held senior-level positions with Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures, and Time Warner. He is the author of a number of AMACOM and SHRM bestselling books, four of which made SHRM's prestigious "Great 8" list: 96 Great Interview Questions to Ask Before You Hire, 101 Sample Write-Ups for Documenting Employee Performance Problems, 101 Tough Conversations to Have with Employees, and 2,600 Phrases for Effective Performance Reviews. His latest AMACOM book, 75 Ways for Managers to Hire, Develop, and Keep Great Employees, was released in 2016. Follow Paul on Twitter at @PaulFalconeHR and his website and blog at

One Comment »

  1. avatar

    such a wonderful post. I would like to know more about such topics and hope to get some more helpful information from your blog I really liked the way you highlighted some really important and significant points. Thanks so much, I appreciate your work. thanks for sharing this post

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