When you’re progressing your executive level career in retail and FMCG, job boards may seem like the obvious choice. But the fact is, they only hold up to 15 per cent of available roles – across all levels, functions and industries. Research actually shows that just 1 percent of job seekers will get a job through a job board. So as an executive, your focus needs to be directed elsewhere.
Remember that the preparation stage can lead to six months or more of searching at this level, so you need to stay organised and purposeful. Make time to do company research, engagement, connecting and networking every week.
Specific actions to take
Identify your own personal brand, asking what makes you stand out and how others would describe you as a professional. For example, you may have implemented a new training system within your retail store or helped to launch a new FMCG product. Evaluate your achievements and unique selling points, and use this insight to create your CV, cover letter, elevator pitch and LinkedIn profile.
Make sure you have at least two excellent professional references lined up before you begin hunting for your next senior position. Remember too that you can request recommendations via LinkedIn. Mention specific examples of things you would appreciate your contacts including; for example, specific projects that you collaborated on. These can be vital for executive search recruiters and enable them to find you.
At executive level, you will already be regularly and strategically networking across the retail and FMCG sectors. Build-up this network now, invest in it and use it. Find local groups of executives who work in the consumer and retail brands that you are interested in, attend senior training seminars and volunteer on a board or leadership team of a community organisation or charity. Be active on LinkedIn, contributing to discussions and joining groups within your industries; from large retail brands through to product development in consumer markets.
Identify executive search recruiters within retail and consumer goods markets and reach out to them. Be active in your engagement and make sure you are available when they contact you. Take the time to discuss your needs, skills, performance history and background – emphasising the values from your personal brand – and provide your career documentation so that they can position you strongly for potential roles.
Finally, be systematic and persistent with your search. Senior roles in these professions are often hotly contested for. Be clear on what your end-game is and your objectives. Know why you are looking for a new job and what you want from it. This will allow you to reject unsuitable opportunities and remain focused on the right job for you. You’ll know it when you see it and be ready to wow at interview.