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Executive Networking Online & In Person

Many executives think the professional promotion they put online will jeopardize their employment with their current company. They don’t want their employer to think they are actively looking for a job. Thus, they deliberately withhold information on LinkedIn (and other social sites), refuse to get recommendations and expand their social networks with new contacts.

Any career transition requires making your professional competencies visible online, as that’s where search firms and employers look. Though there is no avoiding visibility, you can approach it without risk by blogging in any language. Making a career transition can take the most advantage of a blog with least risk of your employer’s retribution.
 

Know Your Audience

In any communication medium, the #1 rule is: Know your audience! If you know little or nothing about the people who will be receiving your message, you are, in all likelihood, wasting your time by trying to deliver it. What is known as the shotgun approach does not work. At best, it means your unfocused or misdirected message might reach a few of the people you wanted to reach; at worst, it makes you look like a poor communicator.

While no easy answers or miracle solutions exist for tough economic times, a recession economy creates a "networking" job market and certainly empowers individuals to take hold of their own career management. Employment opportunities arise out of our network of relationships, not from plentiful job postings and hiring-hungry corporations.

Social media can be a time-waster, but it can also be a helpful networking tool that can help you make yourself more visible to hiring executives and executive search consultants. Social media should be used as a way to promote your thought leadership expertise that will help you stand out amongst the large pool of executive candidates. 
 

Sending that first message to someone is a critical part of the job seeking process. The subject line needs to give the reader an interest in learning more and a desire to read the message. Candidates should consider: What is their mission? What is the most efficient way to achieve that mission? For many years, executives have tried to create the perfect formula for a message subject line, but there is no single solution. Three things to consider in creating an effective e-mail subject line are: creativity, relevance, and enticement.
 

You didn’t reach the senior management/executive ranks by being lazy. More than likely, you worked quite hard to get where you are today. That said, it might seem strange that I refer to in-person networking and lazy job searching as opposites; but there is a reason.

No, this is not one more entry in the seemingly unending stream of articles that browbeat you for not networking or not doing it as often or as well as you should. However, I do want to share a few thoughts you might not have previously considered about in-person networking and its role in your next job search.

In the decades of boom economic times, many executives never had to look for a job while climbing and advancing in their career - most executives were promoted up the corporate ladder in their company, recruited by search consultants, or solicited by direct contacts in other companies for employment. Opportunities were plentiful and talent was less so.

The game has changed and it most likely will not return to the above scenario in the near future. This new search environment has found many executives unawares of how to approach, manage and make the best use of their 'first call' networking circle. This is the group closest to you that you call first for help, and they will give you just about anything professionally.

Building and maintaining relationships with executive search consultants should be a vital component of your career strategy, regardless of whether you are in an active job search or just proactively managing your career next steps.

For executives who are new to the executive search industry, it can be difficult to know where to start, but there are several essential do’s and don’ts that can help you on your way.
 

As a team of executive search consultants, we are constantly using LinkedIn to source candidates. Together with our researchers, we look for specific keywords, commonalities, and direct connections.

Whether you are attending a networking event, building a new network, introducing yourself to executive recruiters, or reconnecting with former contacts, timely and effective follow-up is necessary. Networking/keeping in touch may not be your favorite activity; however, it is essential to cultivating relationships for the long haul. And those relationships could be your strongest supporters when looking for a new position.

Don’t drop the ball by forgetting to follow up after connecting with people. Think of networking like a bank account. You have to put something in before you can take something out. The effort you put into your follow up will reap big rewards.