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Making connections within the executive search community can dramatically increase your professional options and skyrocket your career trajectory. But understanding the intricacies of executive networking can be a stumbling block for many executives.

If connecting with recruiters is your New Year’s Resolution, here are our top tips on how to put your best foot forward to make valuable, long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships.

 

1. Build Your Network Before You Need It

I'm not sure if I'm a typical executive recruiter in saying this but I receive thousands of unsolicited resumes. Thousands. What does that mean for you? How can you stand out?

Retained executive recruiters work for companies to help find great talent for senior roles. At any given time, I am unlikely to be working on the exact role that you are looking for.

Given those realities, what part should executive recruiters play in your search for your next career chapter? Here's how to think about it:

First of all, consider a relationship with a recruiter as one that should play out over the course of your career, not just when you are in transition. Secondly, know that direct networking is often the most productive route in looking for a job.

Social selling – is a sales approach focused on the use of social media to identify prospects, develop and build relationships and, eventually, close a sale.

But can social selling get you closer to your career goal?  We believe that the principals of social selling are applicable to any executive job search strategy, making you simultaneously the sales person and “the product/ brand”.

With social recruiting at the center of any hiring process, your online presence has become more important than ever. That is why you shouldn’t leave anything to chance and take advantage of the social selling practices to reach your next executive position. Here’s how:

 

1. Build a strong, professional brand

The retained executive recruiter is like a casting director for the client. The recruiter wants to know: “Can I see putting the candidate on stage with the client?” Recruiters will have a handle on the organization’s leadership priorities and sensibilities but will be less able to speak about all the details of a job or organization—which you can learn from the hiring manager (if you make it onto that stage!). There is an aspect of long-term value to discussing a new position with a recruiter.

If you’re a leader or rising new talent accelerating in your career, chances are you've been approached by a recruiter. In our era of transparency, and with the rise of LinkedIn and other online professional networks, business leaders are more visible and more accessible than ever. While these platforms can be great for building your network and identifying new business ventures, they can also create confusion when approached by someone you don’t know regarding a new opportunity.

For any senior-level executive, networking and building relationships with executive recruiters should be a key part of your strategic career plan. As a member of BlueSteps, you have exclusive access to a comprehensive database of AESC member recruiters – but what is the best way to make contact or gain visibility from the search community?

Navigating executive search consultant networking can be a tricky business, so to help you put your best foot forward, here’s our top advice for those hoping to connect…

A strong relationship between executives and executive search consultants is one that helps both succeed in their career. For search consultants, this means having a strong network of executives who can act as sources and provide them with important market insights. To learn more about sourcing, we sat down with Rachel Roche, President of Smart Search and the AESC's consulting trainer for Researchers and Associates.

It’s easy to get discouraged when conducting an executive job search. As a lower-level manager or professional, perhaps it seemed that job opportunities abounded. But now, at the executive level, the available positions are harder to come by and it can be difficult to be privy to information about vacancies.

It can be a challenge for many senior level executives to muster the time and energy needed for building and maintaining their professional network. But without a robust network, executives put their careers at great risk by neglecting this vital aspect of career contingency planning. Executives hoping to safeguard their careers and improve their career trajectory must have a network in place before they come to rely on it for finding their next role. Like the Chinese proverb dictates, you must dig the well before you are thirsty, and executive networking is no exception. 

As an executive, retained recruiter, I commonly get calls and LinkedIn messages from people on the job market asking if I have a job for which they could be considered. For the few I’m able to give time to speak with, I ask “What do you want to do next?” and “What industry sector and function is the best fit for you?” The responses are often purposefully vague in an effort to keep options open. Since candidates don’t know what I am working on, they understandably do not want to be eliminated unknowingly. Without a clear target neither of us will hit the bullseye. Keeping your options open can mean no options at all.