As we approach the inevitable Christmas recruitment slow down, please don’t be totally taken in by this… there’s still activity out there! Ironically, it could actually be easier to get through to senior level head hunters and recruiters in December as they’re under less pressure from candidate calls and emails. So if you’re a senior level executive engaged in a current job search, you might want to read on.

Keep ‘burning down the highway’

While I agree it’s a great time of the year, and we all like to ‘take our foot off the gas’ a bit as far as the job hunt, networking, etc. is concerned, I’d like offer a bit of advice to ensure you’re ready for what should be another manic January in the recruitment market. Here are a few tips and ideas to keep you motivated throughout December, and equally importantly, to have a plan of action ready to go in the New Year:

Do what other senior level candidates won’t do

Rather than follow the crowd and start relaxing, why not keep pushing forward right up to a couple of days before Christmas Eve? Roles are still out there, recruiters are still working, so take advantage of other candidates taking their foot off the gas. It is without a doubt, human nature to start to relax during this month, but I’d urge you to think in the opposite direction and maintain your discipline, focus, tracking, networking activities.

This year, New career’!

The above is my slightly cynical take on the inevitable  glut of career-related content and noise we’ll be hit by in January, usually in the ’New Year, New Career’ mould. I’d like you to be in a position come January (extended holidays/vacations not withstanding) to be able to go to your file, and know that you have set up calls/meetings already for January. The alternative? You’ll spend the first two weeks of January hastily getting up to speed, as will your competition.

Tee things up

So this is an ideal time to contact recruiters or company members and suggest meeting up or agreeing to a Skype/telephone call for the New Year. I’d suggest something along the lines of:

Hi ‘Contact name’,

It’s been a couple of months since we last spoke (or note most recent contact), and I wanted to reach out to you to let you know I’m still in the market for (xxxxx role). Would it be possible to set up a brief review (meeting, Skype call, telephone call) with you in January? Perhaps we could get something in the diary?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Steve

Cell/Mobile

LinkedIn ID

Even if they don’t commit to a meeting or call, you’re on their radar once again; diarise for a further nudge in January. If you don’t hear back, record it, and move onto the next potential lead.

Tracking

I speak with so many people who work at very senior levels, and it’s often surprising the lack of tracking and recording that takes place in terms of recruiter interactions. At the very least I suggest using the tagging facility in LinkedIn, which you can create as many of as you wish and name them according to what makes sense for you. Even better would be a spread sheet or any one of the free CRM systems that are out there. Do you view your job search as a full time job? If so, then tracking is a major element, which also allows you to differentiate ‘busy work’ from real, actual, tangible opportunities.

Passive proactivity on LinkedIn

Have you started to use the publishing feature on LinkedIn yet? Many people that I work with have dipped their toe in the publishing waters, and have gained new contacts and potential leads from this activity. There’s no time like the present to map out a series of articles, perhaps linked in some way, which will drive (out of curiosity if nothing else) new traffic to your LinkedIn profile. Articles are not ego trips; try to add value and share learning with whatever you write, and always state a ‘call to action’ of some description, e.g. If you found this article useful please share it among your networks.

Tweet away!

Since becoming involved in social media I have been slow to embrace the value of Twitter as a senior level recruitment tool. Over the past few months I’ve come to realise that while there is a significant amount value in amongst the noise that exists there. So another pre-Christmas strategy I’d suggest is to open (or use a bit more if you already have one and it’s a bit ‘dormant’) a twitter account and start to search for head hunters and recruiters. I’d suggest you view this as a ‘mini project’ pre-Christmas; get the account up and running, link back to your LinkedIn page, and start to follow suitable recruiters, industry peers (follow us at @ExecConnexions for more executive career tips). Twitter is superb for ‘connect request free’ engagement, and you’d be surprised at how many fellow senior level peers and recruiters have an active Twitter account. Want to know more? See ‘How senior executives are tweeting their way to job search success‘.

Mining LinkedIn for contacts

Like the dwarves of Lord of the Rings fame, mining deep for the rare and cherished metal, Mithril, every new connection you make on LinkedIn gives you a potential opportunity to delve for additional contacts by viewing your new connections contact list. While some recruiters and other individuals make their network private, many do not, so look through for further useful contacts, then rinse and repeat this process.  Tolkien analogies aside, this is an often overlooked technique in building your network, so take a moment to pause after each fresh connection, and scroll down to check the visibility of the individual’s network.

Leaping into action

I hope that you can put into action some or all of these ideas. Doing so will not only elevate you above what the ‘average’ candidate will be doing, but will also help with any motivational blips that can often occur at this time of the year. Drop me a line with any specific questions or feel to reach out and connect on LinkedIn (or Twitter!).

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