Think about the last time you made a financial investment, such as a stock or a new home.
How did you learn about the opportunity?
Did you consult a broker or realtor for their advice and insight into the market?
Were there particular blogs or social profiles that you followed in order to learn about investing strategies and other areas of interest?
Your search for that next great investment opportunity likely involved a variety of experts or advisors, sources of information and insight about the market, and people who were able to discover and identify potential opportunities that you may have not had the time or know-how to find.
As an executive, applying this approach to your career can give you the power to become a “no-brainer” candidate for the companies and roles that matter to you most.
We’ve put together this step-by-step guide for building, and leveraging, your own “career growth” network as an executive professional.
Experts and advisors come in many shapes and sizes.
There are the self-appointed “gurus,” the recruiters that specialize in particular industries, the headhunting agencies that specialize in executive roles, various types of executive coaches, industry analysts, industry publications, resume writers, LinkedIn consultants, and other professionals who have their own expertise that you can benefit from in your career.
To avoid spreading yourself too thin, be selective when choosing the advisors and experts that you turn to for help. A good idea is to always consider the credentials and context of that advisor.
Career advice from an agency that’s been working with executive candidates for decades will understandably be more useful for growing your career at a new company than a business coach whose “in the trenches” experience may focus on the day-to-day challenges of your work once you’re there.
How do you keep up to date with the information, insight, and advice that’s most prevalent to your role and industry?
Whether you prefer to review newsletters at the end of each week, read articles on Twitter, join discussions in Facebook groups, or browse through LinkedIn Pulse every morning, what matters is that you find good sources of the information, insight, and advice that will help you succeed in a job search—and then have a way of accessing them on a regular basis.
This will keep your mind fresh and show employers that you’re well-versed on the latest happenings and ideas circulating around your industry.
When hiring for an executive role, employers often emphasize expertise and experience. The more you read and learn, the more knowledge you’ll have to refer to when interviewing with a prospective employer.
Who are the individuals and organizations that can help you identify these opportunities, both when you aren’t looking and when you are?
It’s been said before that the worst time to search for a new job is when you need it. This is especially true on an executive level.
To avoid a case in which you’ve unexpectedly lost your job and are forced to scour your network for the “best of what’s available right now” career choice (or change careers and work for yourself entirely), foster the relationships that you have with the “connectors” in your career growth network, such as recruiters, heads of industry associations, and other influencers who are the first to hear about relevant career opportunities you may be interested in, and have influence in those relationships that they can use on your behalf.
Creating an SEO-optimized LinkedIn profile that’s complete with reviews from former colleagues and employers will help these individuals discover you as well.
While you’re working and focused on performing in the role that you are currently in, growing your career could be the furthest thing from your mind. However, not keeping in contact with the people in your career growth network can limit the options that you have at the time that you are ready for a move.
Social media and business networking technologies have made the world smaller, and keeping in touch with your network a whole lot easier to do…if you have a plan.
On Twitter, you can segment any user (regardless of whether you are following or if they’re following you) by creating a Twitter list for that group. You can create Twitter lists for public or private use, and see all of the tweets, from that group of people only, in real time.
You may have a list of industry associations that you’d like to build relationships with and plan to engage one individual on that list each day.
If blogging is a part of your personal branding strategy, then you may want to create a Twitter list of industry publications, influencer, and editors who could help you strengthen your reputation by posting or sharing your content with their networks. When you have a moment of two, you could quote a tweet from these individuals and engage them with a brief comment about what they wrote.
Your strategy could include engagement outside of social media, too, such as contacting an executive search firm in your career growth network every 6 months or so to touch base or creating a newsletter of your own to establish thought leadership amongst your peers and potential employers who have subscribed.
Just like a good stock broker can advise you in your hunt for the next Google, provide information about the current market, and connect you to investment opportunities that look to be a good fit with your short and long term goals, a good executive search firm can also fulfill all three roles by providing you with the same type of service for your career (without you needing to pay a dime for it).
About the Author
With more than 50 years of experience in executive recruiting, FPC National has grown to become a well-respected executive search firm that operates in more than 40 industries.
We keep our pioneer founder’s entrepreneurial spirit alive with our unique franchise model which has resulted in 60+ independently owned and operated recruitment offices nationwide.
If interested in speaking with one of our executive recruiters about what you’re looking for in the next step of your career, visit our website to find a recruiter in your area or browse the positions that we are currently recruiting for. (On Twitter? Come say hello! @FPCNational)
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