Executive Senior Partner Jamie McCann shares some advice on making a smart and effective career move.  A recruiting veteran, Jamie offers salient insight and practical steps for today’s job seeker. This is the first installation in a three part series from Jamie. 

As the economy continues to be sluggish many executives find themselves looking for a new job…some by their own fruition and while others may be forced to do so due some unfortunate recent downsizing. Certainly the advertising industry has not been immune from the cutbacks hitting corporate America.   And while it’s never easy to find a job in tough economic times, it can be easier to undertake with the help of a headhunter/recruiter.

Here are some tips that may be helpful:

Work With an Expert

If you don’t take anything else away from this, remember: work with a recruiter who is an expert in your industry or your field. Every successful executive recruiter is just that, successful, because they focus all their energy in one niche.  It doesn’t make sense to work with one who “brags” about working in advertising and accounting and construction and IT.

Why would you want to work with a recruiter who isn’t a specialist?  You don’t call your plumber when your cable TV goes out, do you?  And, if you find a recruiter that is dedicated and works exclusively in your area of expertise, you’ll be much, much better off.  I solely recruit for and with the strategic development minds, not the creative departments. Think of it this way: when you’re re-doing your kitchen, you want the cabinetmaker to build cabinets not install the sink.  Sure, both are kitchen-related projects but…you get the picture.

Now let’s take it one step further: if you can find a headhunter who has had personal experience in the area you’re looking for yourself, you’re golden.  Reason being, they have been in your shoes.  They have either been the one hiring or the one looking for a job, so they should ‘get it’.

Focus on Your Niche

So, how do you find a recruiter who is so narrowly focused?  Simple, just ask.  Ask a trusted colleague.  Ask your boss.  You could even ask a recruiter.  If that recruiter is not in your specific field, they should be able to refer you to one that is.  Another way is to use one of the professional online social networking sites like LinkedIn.  There are thousands of recruiters on that site alone.  Also, you can Google keywords like: Recruiter, Advertising, Account Management.

Identifying the ideal recruiter for you and your career goals is step one.  In my next post, I’ll discuss how to engage and work with your recruiter in order to maximize your chances for finding your perfect job or career move.