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Executive Networking Online & In Person

After six years with a Vietnam government commercial enterprise, returning to the US reflected a lack of professional collegial individuals to interact with. In essence, I had no professional network. As a basis to re-establish a network, many advised that I needed to attend conferences and summits, where I could meet and connect with certain individuals in-person for mutual benefit. While this approach to networking has proven time and time again to be successful, it required time and a great deal of patience, which I simply did not attribute to myself.

Picture this: “Archie is the most incredible storyteller in the world. He was an executive for 30 years. And he has an uncanny ability to turn any topic into something interesting. Seriously, ANY topic. Clay. Golf. CPA scores. When he speaks, it becomes memorable. The man is a business networking dream come true.”

executive_networkingWelcome “back” to the world of networking in-person. Lost art, isn’t it? With the plethora of devices available in the connected world of today, the illusion of being in touch requires a massive overhaul to motivate us to meet people in person. Pray, how does one go about it?

In a recent survey of global BlueSteps members, director-level and above, 90.2% of respondents indicated their intent to seek a new position in 2016. That’s the highest response since BlueSteps commenced member surveys in 2010.

A few questions come to mind: How will those executives conduct their job search? Will they place their emphasis on tapping their network or will they tirelessly scan the internet and company websites in their quest for a new opportunity?

In a job search, your network is your net worth.

This year, like none other, digital commerce is becoming the lived reality for all. When visiting assisted living facilities, it is not uncommon to find residents with their tablet computer at hand. When meeting someone for the first time, a colleague, potential employer, friend, etc., your name will likely be googled. As such regardless of personal preference, establishing your personal brand is essential to remain relevant in the emerging digital age.

With over 396 million members, LinkedIn is one of the largest online professional networking services in the world. According to recent statistics, it lists approximately three million jobs and is used by 87 percent of recruiters to source and research candidates.

If you are not on LinkedIn, you not only missing out on a great opportunity to further your own personal brand, but you are also missing out on the opportunity to network with fellow professionals and increase your visibility among the executive search community.

I suspended a sign from the ceiling in the main hallway of an agency I ran that announced, “The better directions you give us, the faster we get where you want us to go.” It was mutually inclusive – both clients and agency staff learned to be better at expressing themselves with absolute clarity.

The digital age has tossed that concept out the window.
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Brand Language

BlueSteps recently hosted an #ExecCareer Chat on the topic of networking with executive search consultants, featuring John Touey, from Salveson Stetson Group, and Luis Truchado, from Odgers Berndtson.

Some of the questions asked included:

It is the age of individual PR! Never before has there been an opportunity for professionals to reach out to others across cities, professions and age brackets using, literally, the power of the Internet. While social networks are quite the rage globally, they are not immune to the cultural differences which permeate the physical world we live in. The massive population of APAC (60 percent of the world) combined with the demographic dividend of a young and digitally savvy generation, means that the likes of Mark Zuckerberg place these countries high on their priority list.

Here are a few tips to bear in mind while you’re leveraging the massive power of social media to network and to showcase your strengths and accomplishments.

Research consistently identifies networking—both on-line and offline—as an important job search strategy with 60-80% of hires attributed to networking.

Through the process of information, advice and referral conversations executives can also uncover business needs that lead to job opportunities (known as the “hidden job market”). These positions may be filled through employee referrals, executive search consultants, or direct contact with hiring managers through networking.)

The following tips will help you identify who is in your network and how to use these connections to find your next career move.

Let’s face it: CFOs are not the best networkers. Some of us are better than others, but for the most part we sit in our offices and manage numbers, strategy, administration, IT infrastructure and whatever else falls under our purview – responsibilities which seem to be growing every year. But the reality is that we all need to be great networkers.