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How Not To Job Hunt: Tips from an Executive Recruiter

Written by Miranda Pennington

A longtime recruiting professional, Mark Wayman knows what he looks for in an executive job seeker–and what he avoids. He relies predominantly on personal connections and referrals, so be the kind of executive with whom other top executives want to work.

Using “John,” a past client, as a model of What Not To Do, Wayman advises aspiring executives to have a solid understanding of work-life balance–“Never confuse what you do with who you are.” Have a positive attitude and don’t let any personal dissatisfaction you feel at work or about your last job manifest in conversations with recruiters or prospective employers. It’s empowering to remember that you’re the one in the driver’s seat, or as Wayman puts it, “…In my 10 years of recruiting, I rarely see an “A” player unemployed. You are responsible for your choices. You are responsible for your situation.”

It’s also important to remember that even if you’re not looking for a new job now, you may need to rely on your personal and professional networks in the future–recruiters included!–so make an effort to maintain those relationships now, before you need them. On that note, your attitude and the way you work with those above and below you may speak volumes louder than your actual job performance. As Wayman says, “Companies pay executive recruiters to identify the best candidates. Arrogance, hubris, and ego are not high on our list of desired traits.” Bitterness about how your last position ended or an excessive fixation on compensation will likewise fail to endear you to hiring managers or recruiters.

The bottom line is that companies want to hire enthusiastic, gracious, and appreciative candidates–for your best chance at success, be the kind of executive you’d like to be managed by! When you are ready, check out over 569,785 latest job openings here.

About the author

Miranda Pennington

Miranda K. Pennington is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared on The Toast, The American Scholar, and the Ploughshares Writing Blog. She currently teaches creative nonfiction for Uptown Stories, a Morningside Heights nonprofit organization. She has an MFA from Columbia University, where she has also taught in the University Writing program and consulted in the Writing Center.