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The targeted executive job search – it’s all about relationship building
By Wayne Pagani, MCRS, MCIS, MCCS

The impact of the current economic downturn in the Canadian job market has led to corporate downsizing and closures. As a result, many executives are starting to consider strategies to ensure their employment. Unfortunately, as some are starting to plan their approach for the inevitable, others are already on the outside looking in. If you are in either situation, how do you intend to approach your executive career transition? With trepidation? Or, with confidence and a clear plan of action?

Despite the constant media bombardment regarding the sliding global economy, the reality is not all gloom and doom. History has taught us that recessions bring a mixed bag of possibilities for job seekers. And, more than ever before, technology and the internet have amplified small world concepts to offer infinite opportunities for job creation.

This is an exciting time. As you turn the page and begin a new chapter in your career, there is much in store for you. Your key is to leverage these vehicles and take an early, strategic approach to building the critical relationships that will position you in the marketplace and expedite your job search.

Does this mean turning to automation as the solution? Not at all. Unfortunately, for many professionals, technology has created the “gold platter syndrome” as they explore the internet hoping that someone will serve us up the perfect job on that platter. One of the biggest mistakes that these job seekers make is a failure to invest time in being active, making contacts, and pursuing new relationships. Technology simply offers us more tools than ever before. The wise person learns how to incorporate these tools to elevate their vocational planning to meet and connect with those who make the ultimate decisions in the hiring process. More importantly, the ability to nurture significant business relationships while developing new ones will ultimately turn out to be invaluable over time. By getting away from your computer and positioning yourself face-to-face with critical contacts you will access the most lucrative opportunities.

If you are looking for an executive position, your progress towards achieving your objectives will depend on your level of networking activity. You need to make contact with people who are employed, business savvy, and leaders in their industries to discover the most advantageous opportunities. Rather than spending time with unemployed people or former associates, find industry associations, business conferences, and councils that offer the chance to meet people who are well connected with current trends in commerce. The Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) for example is a not-for-profit, non-partisan organization composed of CEOs from Canada's leading enterprises and a great source for good senior-level contacts.

Every relationship starts out with both parties knowing very little about each other at the beginning. Think about this. Did you know everything there was to know about your current spouse or partner when you first met? Did you get to know them first, before making a commitment to the relationship? If you answered “yes” to these questions, you’ll know why it is not advisable to jump into business relationships with little or no prior knowledge about the other party. An effective executive job search is built on establishing meaningful relationships. These relationships are even more powerful when you know what you want to achieve out of them. By asking accurate questions, you’ll connect with people more effectively and you’ll connect with more effective people.

Start your targeted job search today:

1. Define your target clearly. Determine the industry, sector, size, scope, and type of organization you want to approach.

2. Know the role that you are planning to take and where it fits into the overall corporate structure.

3. Identify the critical aspects you value. Determine what type of corporate culture is conducive to your future job satisfaction and professional development.

4. Prepare a shortlist of possible businesses to target and conduct the necessary due diligence. Perform internet and market research, reach out to personal contacts in your network, complete informational interviews with current executives and employees, and join industry associations.

5. Drill your list down to a “Top 10”. Get to know these organizations intimately – their mission, vision, values, products, market, clients, challenges, needs, aspirations, and objectives.

6. Devise a strategy to build a relationship with people in the organization and most of all with the corporation itself.

7. Present what you have to offer that is not only of value today but also in the future. Make yourself the solution to their problems. Help them to discover their need for someone of your calibre.

8. Close the deal, by finalizing your acceptance with an organization that is truly the right fit for both parties. Of course, remember to thank, nurture, and maintain all those relationships that helped you get to your new position.

The average job search in Canada can take about eighteen months depending upon the nature, scope, and level of the position, the targeted industry, and several other factors. Statistics also indicate that more than 80% of people will typically secure employment through personal associates and business contacts. Fewer than 20% of executive job seekers will find their next job through staffing and placement agencies while even less find employment via the internet and classified ads. A targeted job search will not only shorten the timeframe between executive opportunities, but more importantly, it will put you in the position you want with the company that you want for the long haul.

A targeted job search allows you to make an informed decision and puts you back in the drivers’ seat when it comes to directing your career. If you are currently experiencing trepidation about your career and future prospects, make this a new start. Take charge of your career with a targeted job search that will land high profile, executive interviews. Then build on those relationships to close the deal in a position that will lead to your best career potential. Starting today, target your job search, meet the critical contacts, and turn what could have been a career crisis into an outstanding career opportunity.


Wayne Pagani is known for connecting people with people, resources, and opportunities. He is an award-winning, master certified resume, interview, and career strategist. As senior consultant for Graham Management Group, Wayne assists executives, managers, and six-figure professionals through the full scope of career transition. You can contact Wayne and find further information and articles directly at


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