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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.

Data shared in a 2015 survey of US recruiters showed recruiters ranked referrals and social networks as the top two ‘sources of quality hires’. Both involve networking…making connections that lead to referrals at target companies, and growing your online network of career influencers (peers, ex-colleagues, recruiters, alumni) who can help advance your career.

Personally, I have over 11,000 connections on LinkedIn but it’s not a numbers game as I am very specific in filtering the connection requests I accept and those I reject. This vast online network allows me to refer countless clients to job leads as well as to other executives who currently work at a company another connection identified as a target employer.

Online networking is easy for everyone – even introverts can engage in online networking from the comfort of their own computer. Networking in person though is disliked by many and can be scary for others, even senior executives. It takes us out of our comfort zone but discomfort can lead to opportunity. Change your mindset; transform your career.

Consider this quote from Sir Richard Branson: “Succeeding in business is all about making connections.”

richard_branson_networking_quote

Great candidates are hard to find, and hiring the wrong candidate is a costly error for any organization. Building relationships, via in-person and online networking, is vital in positioning yourself as a viable and trusted candidate; you become more than just an unknown name at the top of a resume.

Don’t shy away from networking. I firmly believe we all like to help each other any way we can. When someone asks you for career advice or a possible referral, do you instantly say ‘no’ or are you happy to oblige? I suspect the latter; so why deny yourself the benefit of rallying your network in YOUR quest to land a new job? I’m certain they too would want to help.

A strong network keeps you informed and allows you to tap the ‘hidden job market’ before your competition does. A strong network allows you to remain current of trends in your sector, challenges in the industry, and allows you to write what I call a ‘pain’ cover letter – where you pitch a business case to a potential employer with a solution to solve their pain (problem) that you’ve been following via your network.

There’s gold to be mined in your network – valuable connections that could lead to your next executive appointment and help you reach your career goals faster. Deliberately develop your professional network, cultivate and nurture relationships with relevant individuals, and you’ll reap the investment of your efforts.

I’ll close with a quote from Robert Kiyosaki: financial commentator, business man, and author of the Rich Dad Poor Dad book series: “The richest people in the world look for and build networks, everyone else looks for work.”

What are YOU looking for?

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