A senior executive asked for advice on handling job search at a high level –

As a senior level marketing executive, I have found myself on the job market after 8 years with my former company. I have 30+ years experience in marketing with many notable achievements to my name. My last three roles have all been headhunts, and I haven’t had to job search on my own for over 20 years. It’s been so long since I’ve had to apply for a job, let alone write a resume and cover letter! Do you have any advice for senior level executives who are struggling with where to start in their job search?

We asked Olena Kuzemczak from our Winnipeg office for her advice on the topic. As a recruitment specialist in Sales and Marketing, Olena is well versed in the challenges of job searching as a senior level executive.

Here is what she had to say:

Job searching can be difficult for a top executive, especially when you are in a position where you are used to being headhunted for your next role and never needed to search on your own. Searching for that right “fit” is not the easiest process to go through and everyone has their own story to tell on how they differentiate themselves from the next executive.

In my experience, I have worked with many key executives and because they were in high powered positions and accustomed to making the big decisions, some have felt a loss of self-esteem, loss of control and do not know where to begin when it comes to the administrative tasks of job hunting. This is completely normal and you’ll need to shake this off immediately to ensure it doesn’t seep through in your interviews.

The first step is to put ego aside and ask your Recruiter for help. We recognize that searching for the “perfect” opportunity is challenging at this level and we are here to make it as quick and painless as possible. We are not here to judge you, we are here to help and guide you in the right direction.

Because there are less opportunities at this level in the market, it is important to expand your search and review positions with organizations that have the opportunity for you to grow into the position you were originally looking for. But you’ll need to address any concerns of being “overqualified” upfront by explaining how this role fits into your larger career goals.

High level searches often take longer than expected, so another option is to organize your own consulting business to keep you occupied and continue to work independently. Be creative and target companies that you would work with and for. When partnering with organizations for consulting, this is a perfect time to gather information about the market, industry trends, the types of skills they are looking for and compensation structure. Be seen as a hub of information and contacts for your industry. Consider applying/volunteering to be on boards and committees to broaden your network and stay in-tune with the market.

Partnering with your Recruiter will require exchanging information with one another to target the right industries, organizations and opportunities to market you to. Together you can outline which skills are transferrable, what makes you different from your competitors and how exactly you would contribute to the growth and success of those organizations. Due your research to understand an organization’s culture, successes and weaknesses and SELL SELL SELL yourself! You will not only be competing with people that are in the job market but at this level there are current employees that have invested time in the organization and are waiting in line for that opening as well.

Job search at this level need to be much more strategic. But with over 30 years in the industry, you likely have far more resources and contacts at your disposal than you realize.


Olena’s passion for working with people has led her through a successful career in human resources and now into recruitment. After graduating from the University of Winnipeg, Olena took on a number of roles in human resources, including recruiting for various positions and coaching new hires. In a previous HR role she made presentations to hundreds of entry level candidates on topics such as ‘How to Write a Resume’ and ‘How to Prepare for an Interview’. Olena now specializes in the recruitment of top sales and marketing professionals, and is a firm believer in the adage “people hire people, not resumes”. She believes finding quality candidates requires more than just looking for a set of qualifications that match a job description. To ensure a complete match, Olena invests time in understanding both clients and candidates to find out who they are and what they are looking for, as companies and as people.

You can reach Olena at 204.515.0800 or email okuzemczak@theheadhunters.ca