Never leave a position without having another position to go to. Wait for reference checks, background investigations, drug test results, etc. before you resign.
Only use references that will be supportive of you. Call and tell them to expect a call. If you had a falling out with your boss, you don’t have to include them as one of your references.
Don’t try to position yourself as all things to all people. Only a small percentage of opportunities are broadly defined. Most are tightly focused on specific competitive or industry related requirements.
Everyone wants a privately held “equity” opportunity. They are very rare and it’s likely that you will already know the CEO. Beware the promise of equity and phantom stock, which only has value with a change of ownership.
Focus on growth markets and determine how you might fit in, and then pursue companies in that niche. There should be more opportunities there, and they will likely be more flexible regarding your prior experience.
Keep your network alive after you have landed a new position. A semi-annual email update should suffice.
Networking isn’t about asking for a job or a referral. It’s about building relationships, seeking advice and opinions and offering your own contacts in return when appropriate.
Start networking at your children’s school, with people at church, at your club, with neighbors, friends, present coworkers, former coworkers, former supervisors and senior executives who have moved on, former subordinates, suppliers to your company who know the competition and customers who know your competitors and other related suppliers.
Try to talk to 25 people everyday. It’s a numbers game and you have to constantly expand your network.
Use the book, Rights of Passage at $100,000 Plus by Lucht as a reference, particularly for writing cover letters.
Leverage your functional skills, your process skills and your industry knowledge skills by using the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Manual to identify related industries that you can focus on.
Use Reference USA, a free industrial database, available only in the public library, to search for companies that you would be interested in and who might be interested in you. Email your resume and cover letter to an executive, not Human Resources, and then call them.
Use the Directory of Executive Recruiters by Kennedyinfo.com to identify recruiters by industry, function and geography. Email your resume with a cover letter and then call them.
At senior levels, get a referral into the top retained search firms and get into their database, i.e., Korn Ferry, etc.
Checkout corporate websites for job postings to apply for.