Executive Job Search Myths

7 Executive Job Search Myths – BUSTED!

What executive job search myths have you heard while searching for your next leadership opportunity? There is so much conflicting info out there that it can be tricky to tell fact from fiction. In my dozen+ years as an executive resume writer, I have heard them all!

So, I’m busting some common executive job search myths!


Myth 1: Avoid addressing possible objections

One common job search misconception is the assumption that you should avoid difficult conversations around barriers or potential ‘shortcomings’. Employers may subconsciously make certain assumptions in the hiring process without even noticing. And it’s best to be prepared for them.

Think about any possible objections employers might have. For example, if you have what may be perceived as a ‘job-hopping’ background, address it intentionally. Show you are a committed and loyal employee who hasn’t found the right fit yet or emphasize how you’ve been invited to more challenging and progressive roles in short succession. Or, perhaps you were laid off from several roles due to the economy.

Every candidate has baggage that led them to their current job search. It’s always better to be prepared than to be caught off guard. Know the areas that might stand out and develop a concise (and positive) answer explaining the situation. Often, interviewers will ask the question and then move on – they aren’t expecting perfection.


Myth 2: Write your resume for tracking software, not humans

Yes, over 98% of Fortune 500 use applicant tracking systems to monitor the intake and storage of resumes, BUT, at some point, an actual human will have eyes on your resume. Additionally, many executive opportunities are still found through networking, employee referrals, outside recruiters, or social media – not online.

Your best bet is to write for people but ensure your resume is easy to read and follow.

Fancier formats do not always translate well for systems OR people. Consider layout, design, and readability attractive to human eyes.

In addition, include good, relatable examples of success that speak to the reader’s needs (the hiring people).


Myth 3: No one reads cover letters

This myth is more of a debate – some employers admit to reading cover letters, and some skip them altogether. But how do you know which employer is expecting the file?

Consider drafting a thoughtful and customizable cover letter. When well-written, the letter can be an excellent opportunity to stand out from the crowd!  A non-traditional cover letter that lets your personality shine through and clearly demonstrates how you are the solution the company seeks can be a great tool in your toolbox.

Be sure it’s not a generic letter that summarizes your resume. Grab attention! Be clear and to the point, displaying the value you bring to the company and showing (not telling) facts and proof that you are the right leader for the job.


Myth 4: Your LinkedIn profile is a resume replacement

LinkedIn is a fantastic platform for executive job search and an excellent way to network for a new job. But it’s not a replacement for a stand-out executive resume.

Your LinkedIn profile should complement your resume rather than replace or duplicate it. Think of your LinkedIn bio as more of an overarching overview to pique the interest of potential employers. Write it in an authentic voice (first-person!) and emphasize your personal leadership brand. Use LinkedIn to showcase what you offer with selected examples of success to support your claims.

Then use your executive resume to give more specific measurements and focused experience.

An executive resume must be tailored to each unique audience and designed to feed the reader exactly what they need. Your LinkedIn profile is written for a larger audience but should still be focused and supportive of your overall brand, offerings, and value.

Done correctly, your LinkedIn profile and executive resume should work together to position you as the perfect fit.


Myth 5: Job searching is a numbers game

Another executive job search myth I need to bust is that it’s all about how many applications you send out. When searching for an executive role, it’s more about quality than quantity.

As a senior-level professional with plenty to offer in your area of expertise, you will be better off crafting customized applications to companies that would be a good fit for you rather than applying for every job you see.

You should also aim to speak to the right people (not necessarily MORE people) to support search efforts. People hire people — and at the executive level, you need to tap your network for support, introductions, and guidance into opportunities. Instead of hitting up a wide group of random people, focus efforts on individuals most closely tied to the type of role you want to land next.


Myth 6: Social media is for personal use only

Expect everything about you online to be found by potential employers. 90% of employers say they regularly screen candidates on social media, and 79% of them have rejected an applicant based on what they saw. (and yes, this includes your personal pages).

Consider adding privacy settings, but don’t disappear completely; it may look like you are out of touch or have something to hide. Show up on social media so potential employers can find you – just keep it professional.

LinkedIn is one of the best social sites to use for executive searches. However, you don’t just want to ‘set it and forget it’. Make efforts to engage regularly on the platform. Connect, engage on posts, and share your own thought leadership to better control your online image and brand.


Myth 7: It’s all about experience and qualifications

Whether or not you land the job goes well beyond your education, experience, and qualifications. Employers are looking to build teams of people who work well together. So, they also consider values, goals, communication styles, and personality when determining who will best fit the company culture. Therefore, you want to position yourself as the best candidate and someone who will smoothly transition as an asset to the existing team.

Today’s modern leader is well-rounded and possesses hard and soft skills. Emphasize your value as both an expert in your industry and someone adaptable, communicative, and thoughtful.


There you have it – 7 executive job search myths busted. Searching for an executive role is a highly personal experience; no one-size-fits-all solution exists. What works for someone else may not suit you – customize your approach and keep your spirits up. Your next opportunity is around the corner!

If you need a little backup to land that dream job, check out my job search support kit or reach out to discuss my award-winning executive resume writing services.

Adrienne Tom

Looking to get noticed for top jobs? I can help. Visit me online at CareerImpressions.ca to learn more about my award-winning resume and LinkedIn writing services that helped C-suite executives, VPs, and directors land top jobs at billion-dollar companies, start-ups, and everything in between. ⚜ 𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗿𝘆 𝗱𝗲𝘀𝗲𝗿𝘃𝗲𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗯𝗲 𝘁𝗼𝗹𝗱. Everyone has value to offer employers. But conveying this story in a modern, succinct executive resume isn’t easy. I can do this for you. ⚜ 𝗜 𝗼𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗿 𝗺𝗼𝗿𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝗻 𝗷𝘂𝘀𝘁 ‘𝗮 𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘂𝗺𝗲’. I'm often told that my process is as valuable as the final documents. People feel more empowered and confident after our work together. ⚜ 𝗠𝘆 𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘂𝗺𝗲𝘀 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗸. I hear amazing success stories from my clients. For 15+ years, I have written hundreds of executive resumes and LinkedIn profiles that generated increased recognition and escalated earning power for my clients.

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