executive search

The Must-Have Documents for Your Executive Search

It pays to use every available executive search tool in the advancement of your career. The resources are great in our modern times, encompassing both digital and paper avenues to follow for the distribution of top notch marketing materials that describe everything special about you.

Let’s look at some of the most important documents to have ready in your executive search plan, along with strategies for maximising their impact.

4 documents to have in your executive search arsenal

Your Executive CV

The centrepiece of your executive search campaign is your Executive CV. It is your personal advertising, and in most instances, it is your first contact with an employer. Make sure that it gives a positive, credible, professional impression about you.

Remember that styles and requirements surrounding CV’s continue to change and evolve, so your CV should be updated as well. Two pages of your top achievements, strongest selling points, and greatest strengths are enough. You want this document to be quickly scanned and absorbed by the reader.

Rule of Thumb

The best way to test your CV if it’s good enough for your executive search is to pick it up and note where your thumb is located.  Read the part of the page that is above your thumb and remember the “20 seconds rule.” This part of your CV should be able to convey your high points and grab the attention of your target reader.  In this short period, your prospective employer has to determine your strengths and what you have to offer. If they feel that you are a good prospect, they will study your resume in more depth. Otherwise, you will be filed away.

You need to make sure that the employer gets to know what you are capable of doing. If your CV does not tell them, then you are promptly screened out.  The purpose of your CV is to get you screened in.  It must provide all the pertinent information that the employer wants up front where it is easy to find, and elegantly presented. Take the time to craft your CV so that it is an accurate reflection of you. Get as much help as you can.  Check books and internet resources for guides and suggestions. Ask others for input.

Branding through visuals

Visual design is an important consideration in this regard. When done right, it is an opportunity to express your personal brand as well as make the information easily readable. Remember that you have the final say on your CV’s appearance – you must like it. When you look and read it, you should like what you see.  You should feel confident with what you know.

Use relevant keywords

Be sure to include keywords strategically throughout the text of your CV. Your written CV must be able to merge with your online personal branding.  This becomes crucial as recruiters and employers are regularly looking for candidates online. More and more companies are using an Applicant Tracking System as well, which allows software to scan the resumes submitted for a particular job in search of keywords that match their requirements. Those keywords should describe particular skills, rather than personal qualities such as “hard worker”. Make sure your CV has an appropriate balance of expertise and qualities, remembering that your application might have to get past a computer before human eyes take a look.

Personal Branding In Social Media

When it comes to doing an executive search, online presence is an essential complement to your executive CV.  Here you can build your reputation on your current expertise as well as build up your soft skills and other experiences.


LinkedIn is an excellent place to post your executive profile.  It is the biggest social network aimed at professionals and regularly searched by recruiters for candidates for openings in a company. Your profile should provide more detailed information about yourself:  your work expertise, experiences, and other professional involvements including any volunteer work.  Include here what you have to offer prospective employers who might search for your qualifications on LinkedIn.  Make sure that your profile builds on the information you have on your CV but should not repeat it verbatim.

Facebook and Twitter

You could also post your profiles on Twitter and Facebook.  Like LinkedIn, you can use these social media platforms to go into more details about your current projects and subjects of interest within the industry. Remember that employers now look beyond just the qualifications so they want to know more about you and how you can fit into their organisation.  Keep your social media presence up-to-date and use them well to reveal more about your personality, your approach to work, and your overall career goals.

Your References

You need to have your list of references when you do your executive search.  Usually, a prospective employer would ask for 3 – 5 references: persons who can vouch for your qualifications.  Your references should include

  • Someone who is in a position similar to what you are applying for. This person should be able to attest that you have the capability to perform in the position you are applying.
  • Someone who can attest to your academic proficiency.
  • Someone who can speak about your qualities as an employee and worker.
  • Someone who can talk about you as a person.

Do not include in your references relatives, and people who do not know you.

Your list of references is an important document to support your CV. Recruiters who are evaluating your application may know them.  Or they might know of other job openings that they can refer you. It is important that you get prior permission from those whom you would like to be your reference.  Make sure you provide them with a copy of your CV and inform them about your application.

Your Personal Business Card

And finally, don’t forget a nicely designed personal business card. This is entirely separate from the card you have for your current position. That card isn’t ideal for connecting to new opportunities, nor would you want to take an offer call on your current work phone! Your networking card includes your name, cell phone number and email address, desired industry and target title, and social media contacts. You could also include a short branding statement or unique selling proposition to stick in the minds of your network contacts.

Keeping these promotional elements in clean, updated shape will serve you well in your executive search because you will always be ready to share more about the qualities that make you an ideal candidate. You never know when a recruiter will be calling, or an industry contact will request your work history in support of a job opening.