Making connections within the executive search community can dramatically increase your professional options and skyrocket your career trajectory. But understanding the intricacies of executive networking can be a stumbling block for many executives.

If connecting with recruiters is your New Year’s Resolution, here are our top tips on how to put your best foot forward to make valuable, long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships.


1. Build Your Network Before You Need It

Too many executives wait until they are in a professionally precarious situation before reaching out to search consultants in an attempt to steer their career back on course. But it can be much harder to build relationships with recruiters and showcase worth when you’ve recently have resigned, been laid off or are in the process of transition. Make yourself known and respected by recruiters before you need to rely on them. When a recruiter calls, take the time to speak with them, offer to connect them with others in your network and demonstrate your value.

2. Make Your Networking Targeted, Selective and Focused

When receiving emails from potential candidates to introduce themselves, recruiters can instantly spot which emails are generically written mass-emails that have been copy and pasted to a multitude of other recruiters, and which emails have been thoughtfully and specifically written for just for them. Make sure you do your research before reaching out to ensure that you are contacting a recruiter who specializes in your industry, function or region.

3. Prepare Your Career Documents Before You Begin Networking

When building relationships with executive recruiters, you will either provide a copy of your resume as part of your initial outreach, or it will be requested for immediately by the executive recruiter if your outreach was successful. If your resume is not up-to-date, highly-optimizing or written in a compelling way that demonstrates your skills, experience and value proposition, you could miss out on new opportunities and connections. Don’t make the recruiter wait while you redraft or send an inadequate resume. Prepare your documents in advance to create the right first impression. BlueSteps has a range of resources that provide helpful advice and tips on how to optimize your career documents, but if you need a helping hand, BlueSteps also provides access to world-leading career advisors who can perfect your documents for you and provide strategy advice to stay ahead of your competition.

4. Be Honest

If you are asked for a summary of your skills, strengths or weaknesses, don’t inflate, hide or spin your credentials and abilities. Help the recruiter to help you by providing an accurate, authentic, and transparent account of your career history, skills, aspirations and values.

5. Understand That You Are Not Their Client

Retained executive search means that the recruiter works specifically for the hiring organization, and not the candidate. As such, while recruiters can keep you in mind for when a role matching your skillset crosses their desk, they are not paid to actively find you a new position. Misunderstanding the relationship between the recruiter, the candidate and the client (the hiring organization) will create a negative first impression and harm your networking success.

6. Increase Your Visibility to the Search Community

By establishing yourself as an industry thought leader and expert, you will increase the likelihood of appearing on the radar of executive recruiters. There are a variety of activities that executives can engage in to increase their visibility to the search community including writing thought leadership articles and blog posts, guest speaking at public events, participating on live panel discussions relating to your area of specialism, and strategically curating your online presence and personal brand to highlight your skills and experience.

If you would like to hear more about how you can build and maintain a network of executive recruiters, join this month’s BlueSteps webinar “Navigating the Executive Search Process.” During the discussion, the panel of search consultants will provide vital information and insider advice regarding how to attract recruiters, what to write in your initial outreach and much more. The webinar will also include a live audience Q&A, allowing you to submit your questions to the panel.


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