A senior executive’s network is an essential part of his or her career management plan, and is a very powerful, yet still underestimated, tool for job search
Whether in an active executive job search or developing an ongoing career management plan, senior executives should develop a solid network and build good relationships so they can best communicate their aims and goals to these useful contacts when in transition.

Many executives need a little help when deciding who to approach in networking for executive opportunities and how best to explain their situation, so read on for BlueSteps’ top tips:
Year round, business newspapers and trade organisations publish annual reports of top performers and rising stars, but who gets chosen for such awards? Some nominations come from top performing CEO’s who reach the newspaper headlines, however, many more high-performance executives are featured due to connections with top headhunters and executive recruiters.

Journalists use executive recruiters, the gatekeepers of the top executive positions, to gather recommendations for perhaps less publicly known but equally talented industry-driving executives.

A senior executive in the AESC / BlueSteps LinkedIn group asked us whether or not BlueSteps is worth the value of the one-time membership fee. Working for the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) who owns and operates BlueSteps makes me biased, but nonetheless I believe joining BlueSteps is essential for all senior executives.

Here's my response to explain why:

There are over 8,000 executive recruiters (consultants and researchers) who are members of the AESC, with access to the BlueSteps database. Recently we spoke to Sophie Euzen, Senior Research Associate at Neumann International in Paris, France, to gain her insight into the research process.

BlueSteps: How do you begin the research process when working on a new search? Where do you look for candidates?

In a recent article in the FT, ‘Be on the radar to secure a top job‘ Dina Medland discusses the well known fact that the majority of top executive jobs (Director, VP, CEO etc..) are not advertised. Instead, these jobs are placed by executive search firms, with candidates often being found through research techniques, personal referrals and networking.

Medland, using a number of sources to back this assumption, finishes with the open question, ‘Is it right that many posts are not advertised? Does it create an exclusive club of insiders?’

Every month we send a free newsletter with our choice of executive career management articles from the previous 30 days. See below for our top picks in December and sign up now to receive the newsletter next month.

1. 8 Things to Avoid in Your Executive Job Search

Taking an alternative approach to career management, we asked a number of executive recruiters what are the biggest errors made by candidates during an executive job search. Read on to discover the DO's and DON'Ts when contacting executive recruiters or headhunters.  

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1. Education – While most business and popular publications are likely to be translated into English, journals and books covering specific areas of knowledge are unlikely to withstand the costs of professional translation. Being able to gain knowledge from a larger pool of experts will benefit you hugely – and reading in a new language is often considered the easiest step. In addition, with the current focus of blogging and social media, you will have the opportunity to learn from a wider circle of peers, seeking and discussing information across continents.

Anything that affects your confidence level negatively in negotiations is going to cost you and that’s just a fact. And while it certainly may be difficult to keep your confidence (and chin) up in an economy that’s this down, there are still always some things working in your favor. I’m going to explain one of them, a technique I call the lockdown maneuver.

Recently I came across a frustrated executive job seeker, who had experienced some hiring brick walls due to lack of industry experience. The job seeker in question wished to switch industry and pointed out the number of transferable skills he had obtained throughout his career – asking why executive recruiters and hiring managers are pre-occupied with experience?