Bottom line: When looking for a “senior-level” job (lower management/senior tech staff), what techniques does one need to use that were not necessary for prior “normal” roles?
I’m presently a software development manager and senior engineer/architect at a startup/small business. I’ve worked there for over a dozen years, and being concerned it was time to move on, I started earnestly looking for other job openings. This was a little over a year ago.
Having been used to my prior job searches as an “intermediate” or “senior” software developer, I’ve found landing a more senior team-lead/management position a lot tougher. More wasted phone calls with recruiters; many fewer advertised job postings looking for team leads/managers. Networking has been little help, as my peers rarely know of job openings they themselves would pursue (though like me, they constantly seem to have open developer positions). A handful of times I got through the full interview process, only to be told the role was restructured away, or that as impressed as were with me, they were already “top-heavy” with senior people and could not fit me in.
Lately I’ve taken a pause, and am considered retooling my approach. A lot of books and career coaches are recommending that higher-level professionals instead focus on building a “personal brand.” These involve entirely different activities – getting involved in organizations, starting a blog, contributing to open-source projects. Fun stuff, and much more professionally useful than answering job ads and hassling recruiters. The trouble is, these add up to heavy commitments on top of my regular 50-60 hour weeks, and might not result in job leads for years.
So how do other people in this position actually get leads? Can anyone else who has successfully engineered a move at a more senior position recommend the proper direction to take? At this point, I’m very concerned about properly using what little free time I have, and making sure my plan will result in something within months, not years.