Getting the Interview | The Holy Grail of Job Searching


Most leaders I’ve talked with are great once they get in front of the client / decision maker. The problem is, how to GET that interview. It’s like the holy grail of the job search.

At the leadership or senior leadership level, candidates far outnumber open positions (think of a pyramid…yep, that’s you, at or near the top). You’re competing against peers, up-and-comers, and possibly even experienced leaders who are stepping back.

For every leadership search I conducted, we had  >100 applicants, WAY more than we could consider / screen / interview. Time and resources just didn’t allow it.

So how do you score the interview? Here are some suggestions to stand out:

Your Resume.

  • Tailor your resume  to highlight relevant skills, experience, and incorporate keywords from the job description.
  • Be results-oriented in describing your accomplishments. Use numbers, dollars, percentages, time savings, etc.
  • Give examples of successful projects, highlight your leadership experiences and their impact. Make sure what you’ve highlighted aligns with the job you’re applying to. You can even bold the relevant sentences to make it easier for the recruiter to connect the dots.

Your Online Presence

  • Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date (put bullet items from your resume in each of your most-recent jobs to provide context).
  • Use a current headshot. It doesn’t need to be professionally-taken, but it should be clear and well-lit. 
  • Take advantage of LinkedIn’s ‘Skills’ section (add yours), solicit endorsements from those who know your work, and be sure to mention your extracurricular / volunteer activities (40% of hiring managers consider this section as important as your resume).

Your Network

  • Your network is your most valuable tool in a job search. Past leaders and mentors, vendors, a trusted recruiter or two, former employees, and professional friends can all be advocates and resources as you search.
  • If networking still feels cringey, I recommend reading or listening to “The 20-Minute Networking Meeting: Learn to Network. Get a Job”. It’s a terrific guide.
  • Follow companies you’re interested in on LinkedIn (people who follow the company they’ve applied to are statistically more likely to be hired by that company). Check the ‘People’ tab to see if you know anyone who works there. 
  • Be visible: attend conferences, industry events, participate in online forums and communities in your area of expertise.

Your Body of Knowledge

  • Keep current with technologies, news, and trends in your space.
  • Consider writing or speaking about tech challenges you’ve faced. Sharing your knowledge is an authentic way to connect with (and help) others.
  • Enhance your credibility with relevant certifications, side projects, or volunteer work using your technology leadership skills.

Your Interest

  • After you submit your application, send a followup email expressing your continued interest. Best to send it to the recruiter, but if you know someone in the company who can influence the decision to interview you, follow up with them as well.
  • After the interview, send a thank you email to reiterate your strong interest and enthusiasm for the opportunity.

    Take a patient, positive, persistent and proactive approach. Gather feedback, test out different approaches, and iterate based on what you learn. Stay engaged with the tech community to improve your visibility.

Because you never know where that next connection (and interview) might come from!


Need some help optimizing your digital presence? I help technology leaders clarify their professional brand. Click here to schedule a FREE, no-strings intro conversation to see if we’re a fit.



Copyright Katherine Turpin 2024. All Rights Reserved.