Finding Chief of Staff Opportunities
You have finally realized the Chief of Staff role is for you. It embraces your skill sets, cross-functional experience, and ambition for career development. Now, how do you find the right opportunity?
Prime is an excellent resource for candidates seeking Chief of Staff positions since we work with employers on exclusively placing this role. While we are an obvious and helpful place to turn in your COS search, we suggest not being your only one. Great Chief of Staff candidates already know that actively pursuing what you want is key to getting it—and that includes your next position. The more multi-pronged your approach, the more successful you will be.
We know, Chief of Staff opportunities are not easy to find. The Chief of Staff role is an unconventional one; therefore, your search should be unconventional, too. Since the role is relatively new to the private sector, identifying COS opportunities may feel like finding a needle in a haystack. Below are resources that will help aid in your search. Some you already know, but others maybe you haven’t yet considered. We suggest utilizing all of these—in addition to us—when searching for your Chief of Staff role.
1) Look within
If you are currently working for an organization, your first place for finding a Chief of Staff opportunity may be right in front of you—regardless of whether your current organization already employs the position. If you can identify a need for your current employer to have a Chief of Staff supporting a top-level executive or you think you’d make a strong replacement candidate, you are likely able to begin a conversation much more easily than someone from the outside. Remember the benefits you already bring: 1) Your time-to-productivity will be diminished since you already understand the culture and operations of the company; 2) You likely already have established relationships that will help you integrate into the role much faster; 3) You show loyalty and a commitment to development at the same company by showing interest in the position, which points to a greater likelihood of retention; and 4) You save your company time, money, and legwork from doing an external search.
2) Go online for research and messaging
Yes, we know, you likely won’t find your Chief of Staff opportunity on an online job board. That isn’t to say there aren’t incredible opportunities currently posted on job sites; however, the chances of securing one of those opportunities can be difficult. Relatively speaking, there aren’t a gaggle of Chief of Staff openings to choose from in the first place. Therefore, the number of candidates applying to any one search can be…dense. In addition, your list of criteria for what you are seeking in a position will narrow once you account for geographic, qualification, fit, and interest constraints. Lastly, some online openings are published simply as standard procedure whereby a shortlist of candidates has already been determined. You may, unfortunately, be doomed from the start.
While the dreaded online job search may turn up peanuts, it can still be beneficial for two reasons. First, you are able to better understand the sheer spectrum of this role from the open positions you discover. I see everything from “Executive Assistant/Chief of Staff” to “Chief Strategy Officer/Chief of Staff” in job openings, so it is important to understand where on this varied spectrum your skills and experience fall. Second, reviewing position descriptions for the role can help you determine the right messaging and language you want to use during networking conversations and/or in job interviews.
Here are a few websites we suggest:
LinkedIn: In the search bar, type in “Chief of Staff jobs” and you’ll see a lot comes up. They vary greatly in terms of experience level and skills required, but you can get a sense of what’s out there. You can also set up email alerts about new postings.
Indeed.com: This site aggregates job postings from several online resources.
Glassdoor: We found unique COS openings only advertised on this site, so it’s worth looking into.
Remember to expand your search for titles like, “Director/VP/Manager of Strategy and/or Operations” and “Special Assistant” so you don’t miss Chief of Staff roles disguised under a different name. Subscribe to email alerts for updates and new postings.
3) Tap your network
Utilize your network and its plentiful resources. Speak to people you know and put out feelers on what you are seeking (obviously using appropriate discretion if you are currently employed). Be specific with your ask. Identify particular industries, companies, and leaders that seem like a fit with your own interests, passions, and experience for this position. The more information you give others to “grasp,” the more likely they can identify ways to help. Your network has their own connections, so your best resource may be a degree or two away from you.
4) Connect with other Chiefs of Staff
Current Chiefs of Staff are undoubtedly a phenomenal resource for your own Chief of Staff search. They have the most applicable and direct advice on understanding this unique role and can tell you about their own path to finding their current role. Chiefs of Staff may also be charged with finding their replacements. And since this role tends to have a shorter tenure, they may be seeking a replacement of their own. If not, they may be clued in to organizations that are. Tap your network and search LinkedIn to find current Chiefs of Staff in your area or industry.
5) Embrace the cold pitch
If all else fails, reach out to executives cold. While it sounds unlikely to work, it can actually be a very successful way to land a Chief of Staff position. There’s general intrigue and curiosity from executives around the Chief of Staff role since it is gaining prominence in the private sector. Couple with the fact that you are pitching yourself as a saver and protector of time, an executive’s ears are likely to perk. Next, you have a track record to lean on to get the conversation started from your current experience. When reaching out to executives, be sure to make the ask upfront and be concise, but specific.
No one said finding a Chief of Staff role would be easy, but for the right one, it is certainly worth it. Utilize these resources in your search and reach out to us for help. We look forward to working with you