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Let’s take a look at the statistics. Over one billion people have Google+ accounts. LinkedIn has over 300 million people with accounts. Think of the massive reach of professionals in those two social media networks alone. How can you leverage these networks for your executive job search?

Optimize your online profiles



Do your profiles appear as matches for all the roles you’d want to be considered for? The first step in a hiring process today is to check out a potential executive candidate on Google. What your online presence says about you speaks volumes to a potential employer.
 
Have you proactively grown your network so you have contacts in as many external businesses as possible? Think of social networking like a bank account. You can’t take money out until you put money in. Keep this in mind as you are expanding your network of contacts.


Networks you should be actively engaged



LinkedIn: This is the best public platform for being found by executive recruiters or business partners. Build a profile that compliments your resume and other career documents. Optimize keywords to match and be found by recruiters who are searching for executive candidates.
 
Google+: This social media venue requires the biggest time investment, but it is very important for search engine rankings and has a highly engaged core user base. Replicate your LinkedIn profile on Google+.
 
Twitter:  This forum is used for quickly building relationships. It’s best for quick-response conversations and can provide a source to links and information. Companies are checking Twitter feeds to identify leadership qualities. Add professional keywords to your Twitter bio.
 
Facebook: If you use your Facebook account only for professional purposes (not personal notes to family and friends), then add your work history, education, professional skills, and location to your Facebook profile.


A bit more about Twitter



You have to pay attention to how companies are using Twitter to check out executives for job openings when someone like Sarah Robb O’Hagan, the president of Equinox, says she doesn’t care about your credentials, she would rather see your Twitter feed.
 
O’Hagan’s opinion about the person who has 30,000 Twitter followers: “Clearly this person has identified something about leadership—he or she could be the one to lead our business forward.”


Your network



While most executives value their network and continually build their contacts, some lose enthusiasm once they have found a job and don’t stay current with their network. When they are ready to get back in the executive job search market, it takes awhile to reconnect and rebuild relationships. Why is this so important today? Let’s take a look at the latest statistics of quality hires.

Employee Referral Sources - Graph

Source: Software Advice


How employee referrals leverage social networks



It’s much easier today for employees to refer executive candidates into their organizations with the use of social networks. Recruiters and hiring managers both agree that these referrals produce some of the highest quality hires. There are two significant ways organizations get referrals from their employee base:

1. Employees grant access to their social networks. By doing so, an executive recruiter or hiring manager can scan an employee’s social network – let’s say LinkedIn – to see who that employee is linked to and identify matches. They may ask the employee to introduce or connect them to one or more of their contacts that are a good match for a job opening.

2. Employee incentive programs.  Employees are being financially motivated to refer people they know who are a match for a job opening. So the employee reaches out directly to their network to find someone that fits the qualifications for a particular position. LinkedIn and Google+ are the top social networks used, followed by Twitter (tweeting out a job description link).


Bottom line



What can you do to maximize your chances of getting on the radar of recruiters and hiring managers? Put yourself in their shoes. A recruiter or hiring manager is looking for a 95%+ fit – so as the executive job seeker, you have to demonstrate that fit. Executives must be active in social media and keep their network current to move their careers forward.

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