Being at the helm of any organisation takes decades of hard work and experience. Some CEO’s even begin their life at the top – founders of start-ups for example commonly title themselves CEO’s from day one.
But once you’ve landed the top job – be that for an established company or for one you have created on your own – how do you go about landing your next CEO job? Here we’ll talk you through your options.
Firstly – if you’ve spent decades in one particular sector, and successfully worked yourself up to the top – it’s likely that by now, you’ve made a great name for yourself. Steering a company to a position of strong financial standing or becoming the envy of a sector is by no means easy – and along the way you will have made some great contacts. So, assuming you’ve cherished these contacts and kept them up to date – your little black book is likely to stand you in good stead when seeking your next post. If this scenario sounds familiar, you should find that reaching out to your network is the most effective way of registering your interest in new CEO vacancies – or at least making it known that you are on the lookout. Chances are, someone in your black book will know someone who knows someone who is hiring – or may be able to set up a coffee with an interested party who would value taking you on at the helm of their own company.
If you have already left your recent CEO post – it’s likely that these contacts are already moving earth to accommodate you – being that your resignation will be common knowledge to the sector. Better still, if your availability is well-known, you’ll likely be canvased without having to lift a finger. A congratulatory comment on LinkedIn may soon be followed by a direct message asking “what have you got lined up next?”. This is of course one of the perks of having already made a name and a success of yourself.
So, black books and coffee meetings aside, how does a CEO find opportunities that haven’t already found them?
To proactively find public CEO vacancies, you will be well placed to frequently search dedicated executive job boards, such as CEO Jobs and sign up for their free ‘Jobs By Email’ service so the latest vacancies are sent straight to your personal email address.
Although less dedicated in nature, other job boards might be useful. LinkedIn for example provides free job listings and so you may find a good number of opportunities listed weekly.
Googling ‘CEO Jobs’ or ‘Chief Executive Officer Jobs’ will turn up a number of job boards and sources for publicly listed and available roles – you’ll find the top 10 or so results are dedicated to the executive market, so it would be worthwhile registering your account with each of these and likewise signing up for ‘Jobs By Email’ services where available.
That’s all well and good if you are searching for publicly listed CEO Jobs, but what about those steeped in confidentiality?
It’s true that if a company is making way for a new CEO, it won’t always be common knowledge. Being that questions could be raised by staff, competitors, industry press and investors, some organisations keep executive comings and goings strictly between the board, HR and senior management.
So how do these companies make the vacancy known?
This is where executive search agencies and head-hunters come in handy.
The most confidential roles will only be made known to outsourced recruitment specialists who are contracted to seek potential candidates strictly under the radar. CEO’s who are proactively looking for their next role will do well to register their availability with such agencies – again, a quick Google will quickly help you to identify who these companies are.
Take some time to make contact with executive recruiters and share with them your CV, plans, desired roles/sectors and overall goals and expectations. These agencies are tasked month-in, month-out to headhunt and appoint senior personnel on behalf of hiring companies. If anyone has a tip-off about an exciting CEO Job – it will likely be an executive recruiter.
So, combining word of mouth, executive job boards and enrolling your details with specialist agencies – you’ll be standing yourself in good stead to find and land your next role.
Never underestimate the power of social media either. A post or two on LinkedIn making it known that you are on the lookout for your next CEO opportunity will trigger a reaction and likely lead you to hiring agencies and companies who are interested in finding out more about your circumstances. Which is why it is equally important to make sure you are carrying an appropriate headline on your profile and ensuring your experience and CV are up to date.