There is no doubt that executive recruiters or search consultants are the best source for top level executive jobs, and that building relationships with these professionals is an essential career management strategy. However, in every job search executive candidates should also be expanding their network and building relationships with other professionals in their industry, region or function.

Yet many executives and job seekers are still not getting the full potential from LinkedIn and do not appreciate how approachable people can be online. To demonstrate how targeted networking on linkedin can be easy and extremely rewarding, I have included an example from my own job search last year. Read on and consider how this example could apply to your own career.

Last year, as I was coming to the end of an employment contract, I was considering relocating to Portugal. I began to research organisations online and found a company I would love to work for. However, I had no inside connections and cold applying for jobs will always be a backup to networking.

I decided to use LinkedIn to find a solution:

  1. I searched for employees of my target company in Portugal, found a professional working in an identical role and sent a message stating that we share a number of groups on LinkedIn and it would be great to connect.
  2. After she accepted, I outlined I was looking to relocate to Portugal in the future and if she could offer any advice about the market or her organization. I also pointed her to my career management blog and suggested it could provide some useful info. She liked the blog and stated her company was currently growing and was great to work for, although the market in Portugal itself was not that great.
  3. I thanked her for the info and asked if there were any opportunities in her organization at the moment. In response, she personally referred me to the HR manager.
  4. The HR manager then introduced me to the New York office and I had an introductory meeting with the Global Marketing Director.

I was shocked at the speed at which I reached decision makers at a personal referral level and how openly I was received - all from a quick search and some friendly online networking.

In the end I decided to stay with my current organization, but my approach to online networking changed for good. I apply this approach to all my endeavours online, not just a job search, and from that brief conversation I gained a valuable insight into her organisation and the Portuguese market for online consultancy firms.

Of course not all situations will be like this, but if you build your network, all your need is one or two executives open to networking to get great leads for your job search. Good luck and remember to always offer assistance to others; you will get help back down the line!

This article was written by Christian Pielow from the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC).

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 at



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