What do the following jobs have in common? Pool and Beach Worker, Procurement Intern, Electrical Designer, and Logistics Co-ordinator. Truthfully, not that much. But what is most apparent is that none of these jobs support an application for a senior executive position in finance. Yet, our executive search team sees increasing numbers of applications for senior management positions from candidates who are woefully not qualified for the job posted. The applicants are hopefuls who have no experience in the functional and technical requirements of the job or don’t have the required professional credentials. These applications are assessed and go straight into the “No” pile.
How can you avoid being part of the “No” pile on a recruiter’s desk? When applying for a position through an executive search firm, ask yourself a couple of direct and tough questions:
“Do I have past career experience that supports the functional and technical responsibilities of the job?”
“Can I clearly draw a line of sight for the recruiter that aligns my experience and the job’s requirements in a cover letter?”
If you are being honest with yourself and the answer is “No” then don’t apply for the position. To hope that somehow you will get through the rigourous screening of a search firm or that the search firm is desperate and can somehow see that you are the perfect candidate, is naïve.
Executive search consultants are responsible and committed to the client to find the best and right candidate to fill a job. It is highly unlikely, no, let me re-phrase that; I know for a fact that an executive search consultant will not put someone whose experience is junior and their last job was a Pool and Beach Worker or a Logistics Coordinator in front of a client who is looking for a senior executive position. To be considered a valid and substantial candidate, you need to have skill and excellence ‘chops’. Recognizing that people have dreams of the perfect job and many feel that they could do a job even though they lack experience, the reality is, executive search professionals are in the business of finding the qualified, the experienced, and the outstanding candidates for a client.
My advice for people with dreams of the perfect job – develop a game plan as to how to get to that dream job. What types of progressive job experience do you need to get there? Build your credentials and qualifications base on the right experience and education. Then, apply for the senior executive positions when you are able to draw that line of sight in the cover letter for yourself and the recruiter and make the apple to apple comparison. This is me and this is the experience I have that supports this position’s requirements.
Executive Search Consultants are always happy to receive resumes and will gladly accept your unsolicited resume to add to the database in the event that future opportunities arise that match your specific skills, abilities, and background. That is the better approach when your skills and background don’t match what’s needed for a specific job and you don’t want to be in the “No” pile.