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Networking Online and In Person

Executives who want to move to a new geographical area sometimes complain that they don’t have any good contacts in the targeted area. They assume, therefore, that they don’t have a strong launch-pad for their job search and post-job-search career progress. 

Today’s generation is fortunate enough to have the power to leverage social media sites such as LinkedIn. Just imagine having to look up someone you were about to meet for an important business meeting in the absence of any database…which was the scenario a decade ago!

An impactful highly-optimized LinkedIn profile can be the gateway to new networking and executive job opportunities. But what will make you stand out among the other 450 million profiles?

It can be a challenge for many senior level executives to muster the time and energy needed for building and maintaining their professional network. But without a robust network, executives put their careers at great risk by neglecting this vital aspect of career contingency planning. Executives hoping to safeguard their careers and improve their career trajectory must have a network in place before they come to rely on it for finding their next role. Like the Chinese proverb dictates, you must dig the well before you are thirsty, and executive networking is no exception. 

For successful executives, leaders and entrepreneurs alike, there’s never a point in your career where networking is done. Just because you feel you’ve reached the top or don’t have time for it, networking—especially “offline”—is tremendously profitable in attracting new opportunities, ideas and talent.

While digital networking is important, with 80 percent of global CEOs engaging socially on LinkedIn, it will never replace going out and actually cultivating and building your network.

How can executives and researchers ensure that they’re using social media effectively, efficiently and lawfully?

Social media is a staple in the career marketing mix today. Recent research from the Pew Institute shows that social media usage has risen significantly from adults over the age of 50 over the last decade. But only one-third (35%) of adults over the age of 65 use social media for any purpose. Do executive search firms, whose businesses hinge on long-standing and trusting relationships, really lean on social media as much as higher volume recruiters? How much time should executives looking to establish new relationships with executive search firms spend on social media and which sites should they prioritize?

As an executive, your time is valuable and opportunities to pursue personal goals can be limited. However, in today’s social economy, developing, optimizing, and continuously maintaining your social network is critical to your professional reputation, your brand and building your community. Your social network also plays a key role in positioning you for your next career opportunity and demonstrating your ability to deliver key business results.

BlueSteps recently hosted an #ExecCareer Chat on the topic of executive expats, featuring Rainer Morita, BlueSteps Executive Career Services, and John Touey, Salveson Stetson Group Inc.

Some of the questions asked included:

When creating, building and maintaining a network consisting of both fellow executives and search consultants alike, LinkedIn can be vital tool as it allows you to strengthen existing connections and make new ones with ease. However, it is important to make sure that your approach to LinkedIn networking is focused and strategic to boost its effectiveness.

To make sure your LinkedIn networking efforts are fully optimized for success, here are three key fundamentals of LinkedIn networking for executives.
 

Networking is about pursuing opportunities to meet and build new relationships. With the advent of social media we have all become “armchair networkers.” There is less motivation to meet in person with anybody. That is unfortunate, as in-person networking is the best dress rehearsal for interviewing. Further, people you meet in-person are easier to cultivate afterwards into a substantial business relationship.

Given that career success is based on not just on who you know, but who you get to know, building a network is a lifelong endeavor. To facilitate your efforts, here are some in-person networking tips formatted for attending a talk, but they can easily be modified to accommodate a sit down dinner or a trade show.