With the emergence of new technology enabling networking to take place online, many executives are rushing to join the every growing population of online networkers. Has this caused traditional face-to-face networking to lose its place in contemporary business relations? Or does it still have a unique value that social networking on LinkedIn and other social networks lacks?
With so much information arguing the case of both networking styles, it’s difficult to know where to begin. So, we have gathered a list of pros and cons to help you nurture and grow your personal network using both methods.
Social Networking
Quick Connections: A few months of social networking can allow you to make the same number of connections that traditional networking would take years to create.
Discover Links: It also allows you to discover which connections belonging to your friends and colleagues might be useful to you, increasing the chances of getting the introduction you need.
The Karma Effect: By using social networking to assist your contacts in achieving their goals through promoting their good work on LinkedIn and helping them make connections, you are more likely to receive reciprocal help in return.
First Introductions: Networking on LinkedIn or other online networks can be a great way of interacting with someone, getting their attention and then arranging to meet up with them in person. This allows you to make easier first contact, and then follow-up with a more personal communication, utilizing the best of both worlds.
Doing Your Research: Many people who attend traditional networking evenings are also on social networks like Twitter, which means you can use these sites to do some research in advance and figure out who exactly you want to target at the live event.
Face-to-Face Networking
Meaningful Relationships: The meaningfulness of a connection made online is frequently under question. The type of relationship whereby some would be willing to go out of their way to help you requires a certain amount of depth which is difficult to emulate online. This is why many choose to make initial contact online, and then move to face-to-face networking.
Generational Divide: Online platforms attract a relatively younger audience. This can be inconvenient for those whose desired target of networking is not a digital native.
The Result?
Regardless of which style of networking you choose, networking is without question vital to your career development, including the ability to know how to network with executive search professionals. From 2008 to 2012, over 40% of job seekers landed a job through networking, reports Right Management. So, even if networking is not something that comes naturally to you, it really is worth putting the time and effort developing your skills to position yourself for new opportunities.
This article was written by Lisa Marsh, Marketing Associate at the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC).

About the Association of Executive Search Consultants
The Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) is the worldwide professional association for the retained executive search and leadership consulting industry. The AESC promotes the highest professional standards in retained executive search and leadership consulting through its industry recognized Code of Ethics and Professional Practice Guidelines. The AESC also serves to broaden public understanding of the retained executive search and leadership consulting process and acts as an advocate for the interests of its member firms.
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