May 3 2010
Finding a new executive job at the senior level can be a challenge. Making yourself visible to executive search firms and executive recruiters is a positive way to advance your career to the next level.
Assuming that you have already achieved fame within your own organisation, you must gain visibility and become known in your industry and profession. This amounts to something of a personal public relations programme, which is not as difficult as it may sound. Like a corporate public relations programme, a personal public relations programme succeeds on accumulated mentions and appearances over time. Repeated impressions generate name recognition. So use at least a few of the following approaches, and don’t expect instant results. One article or two appearances at conferences will not put your name on everyone’s lips and in the trusted network of executive recruiters and search consultants. The more of these tactics you use and the longer you use them, the more they will reinforce one another by bringing you to the attention of various people in various ways.
To become known in your profession, join your company’s industry association and your professional organisation. Your company no doubt belongs to a trade group or association. If it does not, have it join one; then become one of your company’s active representatives. There is an association for virtually every industry and functional area. Attend meetings and conferences, and make the most of these networking opportunities. Better still, offer to serve on the conference programme as a speaker, panelist or moderator, holding forth on your area of expertise.
Simply being featured in the conference brochure generates positive exposure. Also, volunteer for the next opening on a standing committee. Conference committees always want a helping hand. It is a great way to meet people who are heavily involved in the organisation and in their industry. These are the people you want to know and be known to. In addition, it is widely known that executive search consultants (also known as headhunters or executive recruiters), regularly use association executive networks, events and public output to source industry leaders for top executive jobs.
BREAK INTO PRINT AND MEDIA
When you are promoted, make sure it is announced in your industry’s trade publications. Write articles for your organisation’s newsletter or your industry’s trade magazine. If you can land a column in a professional magazine for a period of time, so much the better. Business publications constantly need features, news and information, and they are happy to get them from someone with expertise and authority. Even better if you are able to express yourself in an articulate way and to present and explain complex issues in very simple terms. Executive search consultants use print and online media to source new executive talent on a daily basis, make sure your name and executive career profile catches their attention by including a small bio at the bottom of every article (if possible).
BE VISIBLE ONLINE AND BUILD UP YOUR PERSONAL BRANDING
Having a presence online is a must for senior executives today. Establishing online visibility leverages and extends professional credibility, and enhances your own reputation as well as that of your company. Develop also the professional image that you want, bringing you closer to achieving your goals. The objective here is to be seen in the best possible light by the people that matter - industry leaders and top level executive recruiters. If your alumni, industry and professional associations maintain databases of biographical or professional information, consider listing yours. Browse your almamater’s website and take advantage of any useful executive career management tools you find there.
Also, be sure that you are represented on your company’s website (assuming that your position warrants a spot) and, if there is one, in the company’s online directory. In all cases, submit your résumé, biography and executive career profile only to sites that have credibility and that respect confidentiality, such as BlueSteps. Sites that broadcast or sell your name or information will in all likelihood generate more annoyance than opportunity.
BE ACCESSIBLE TO EXECUTIVE SEARCH PROFESSIONALS
An executive search professional is typically calling on the basis of research that indicates the prospect may be qualified for greater responsibilities. Why would anyone avoid such phone calls? Dealing with an executive search professional is a business situation, just like dealing with an employer. A retained executive search consultant will respect your confidentiality and time. If you prefer, a search professional will call you at home during off-hours, and will not pressure you to divulge information or pursue an executive job opportunity against your wishes. He or she will not submit your résumé to anyone without your permission.
In fact, simply returning calls from executive search firms can put you on their radar screens. Even better, offer your expertise as a source for the industry to outline key executive talent they should also be in contact with. Soon they may come across a search or executive job opportunity that matches your profile and you may land that much coveted executive position.
One executive search network you could consider is the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC). The AESC is the global association for retained executive search consultants. It has developed and operates a worldwide online career management service called BlueSteps.com.
Gain International Exposure to Executive Search Firms
BlueSteps is the exclusive service of the AESC that puts senior executives on the radar screen of over 6,000 executive search professionals in over 70 countries. Be visible, and be considered for up to 50,000 opportunities handled by AESC search firms every year. Find out more.
This article was written by Christophe de Callatay from the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC). The full double-length article was originally published in the Communication Director and will be available to all BlueSteps members.
The Ultimate Executive Career Guide: Connecting with Executive Search
As a senior-level executive, you can use this guide to:
- Learn about executive search and how it differs from other forms of recruiting
- Discover the best ways to connect with executive search professionals
- Understand how the search process works
- Implement strategies that will help you become visible to the search community
- And more!