Executive Networking Online & In Person

It's not a secret that your network is one of your most important tools in your job search - be it at home or abroad. Those looking to build their career or find a job locally have the ability to attend local meetings and engage with people in person to build their network to support their goals.

However most people looking to build an international career or find work abroad don't have that luxury. Hence building your network online is a critical part of any international career acceleration or job search plan. This is why I am writing to share information with you about a top international online professional network you may not be aware of - Viadeo.

“It's all about people. It's about networking and being nice to people and not burning any bridges. Your book is going to impress, but in the end it is people that are going to hire you.” - Mike Davidson, CEO of Newsvine

Most people interested in building an international career or business don't have the time or resources to network locally in all the markets they are targeting.

Hence online networking is the primary—and for some the only—way to expand one's connections outside their local area to support their global career or business goals.

Having a presence on certain networks can also help someone increase their visibility and enhance their online reputation in the right markets. This can be critical to attract opportunities in the areas of the world in which a person wants to work or do business.

Like it or not, we live in an electronic age where privacy is on the endangered species list, if not actually in the extinct category. That said, we can choose at least some aspects of our public presence. A key point in this regard is the online presence that is consciously claimed by executives and senior management individuals—or not claimed, as the case may be.

Networking is the exchange of information and the cultivation of productive and authentic relationships. Some people would rather go to the dentist than go to a networking meeting or event. Many avoid it altogether throughout their careers and find themselves in a bind when they are in a job search and aren’t connected to anyone who can help.

You are busy being pulled in all directions from pillar to post. The only quiet time you get is on trans Atlantic flights. And, I ask you to write a blog to help build and promote your thought leadership online? You tell me you have no time; that you will get around to it. You never do.

How can you find the time to write when you don't have time to update your resume, add connections to your Linkedin profile or have dinner with your family?  How could you ever keep up with daily or even weekly posts?

You use excuses that your company would has privacy requirements; that the PR department would want to approve all postings. Of course there are the issues of non-disclosure and protection of intellectual property that your company likes you to follow.

Job search is moving online, jobs are posted online, employers use LinkedIn to conduct initial background checks, and recruiters scour the internet for their next prospect; how easy is it for recruiters to find you?

1.    Stop Consuming, Start Producing
Blogging technically isn’t as hard as people tend to think--simply log on to Blogger.com or Wordpress.com and set up a free account. Producing the content is where it may get trickier. You need to be committed to your blog to really reap the rewards, and it does take time to see results, but ultimately blogging can attract recruiters and job offers, as well as help you grow your network.

2.    Facebook Pages
In our era of email, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Skype, the face-to-face meeting is an opportunity not to squander. Amazing things happen from meeting face-to-face—no matter how digitally connected we are these days, in-person meetings are still the backbone of diplomacy and relationship building. Even though more organizations are using technology-enabled meetings such as video conferencing, certainly a must for the global or even cross-country office, most executives still prefer to meet face-to-face.

Ahead of the European Communication Summit on July 1st in Brussels, the organisers released an excellent newsletter issue on the importance of building a personal network and how to go about this during in-person networking opportunities. See below for their 15 point plan on how to prepare, execute and follow up during in-person networking events:

Before the event

1. Prepare the logistics
Make sure you carry enough cards for notes; consider using a system to organise them during the con­ference.
2. Plan your atten­dance in advance
Although I am one to embrace everything new, sometimes looking back to the basics can open one’s eyes. It can become pretty easy to miss fundamental elements of a process, those elements that really rarely change, when everything around you is changing all the time.

I spoke with a job seeker yesterday and talked through his career: Where he was and where he would like to go. Afterwards, I realized that even though he was going to use a lot of new tools and technology in his search, the basics were still the same.

In the old days, you often found your next career step by being recommended, being referred or being recognized. Your mentors usually had a lot to do with it. I don’t hear much about mentors these days but that’s another topic.