Candidates departing an executive position often ask us how to handle updating their Linkedin bio. Recruiters advise them against adding an end date to their most recent job until they have secured a new job. This advice is rooted in the adage, “It is always easier to get a job if you have a job.”
It is common for executives to accept a package out of a company in a restructuring. Similarly, if a company is sold, the senior management team of the acquired company is often replaced. There are also instances in which an executive is fired or confidentially let go. It is normal for executives to have between 3 to 6 months between positions. The average executive search at the major search firms lasts over 120 days, closer to 150 days. The elapsed time from the moment a candidate is initially contacted by a recruiter to the moment they officially accept an offer will be, on average, greater than 90 days.
Considering this, savvy recruiters and companies view the executive as a “free agent”. That free agent status can benefit your standing as a finalist in the executive search process for multiple reasons. First, you can start the job more quickly than someone who must resign and give notice. Second, you do not have unvested equity or bonus monies to be made whole on.
When you possess the resume, experience, and stature of a C-level candidate, you do not need to “slow play” updating your Linkedin bio. At Lead5, we recommend you close out your tenure on any public facing bio within 30 days of departure from a company.
If the departure is contentious, have a succinct explanation and provide references. If the CEO will not be a reference, have a board member or key executive at the company who can validate the circumstances. Departures happen to every executive, some for good reasons, some bad, and everything in between. As recruiters, we have seen it all and we are more concerned with what you learned from the experience and how you will grow and excel in your next role.
Embrace your time as a free agent. Three to twelve months between deals is standard for executives in free agent mode. If you have been out of a full-time job longer than 12 months, try to secure a meaningful and substantive consulting role that keeps you in the market and on the pulse of your industry sector.
Also, be open to relocation for greater career opportunities. Post Covid, companies have become more flexible on hybrid or remote work. Even so, for executive positions, a willingness to be based at HQ with the senior leadership team can help distinguish you from other candidates.
If you have personal experiences and lessons learned from your time as an executive “free agent” we would love to hear from you. Join Lead5 today and take advantage of the free 7-day trial plus a complementary career consultation with one of our founders. www.lead5.com