Sometimes the most difficult part of the job search is finding the right people to help you out along the way. As an executive, having help - also known as an executive network – is very often vital to getting your next big opportunity.
But how do you go about building your executive network? And after it’s been built, how do you nurture it so that it stays intact even while you’re employed? There is an art to getting this done, so let’s explore building your keeping your executive network.
The Importance of an Executive Network
As an executive, you probably already have a good idea of just how powerful an executive network is to your career. Even if you’ve only worked for one company and worked your way up the ranks there, you had to build a network of important contacts to get on boards and committees and even help the company grow.
Now as an executive job seeker, you need a network that will help you find your next job. And even if your next job isn’t found via networking, it’s good to always keep professional contacts in your corner.
Probably the easiest way to build your executive network is to first start with the people you know. Whether you’re connecting with your former co-workers, clients, friends or family members, it’s great to build a strong network with people you trust to offer guidance in your career.
But of course, this is the easy part. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of other great contacts out there and it’s up to you to try to connect with as many of them as possible. So how can you get this done?
You can try social networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, which all provide opportunities to connect with other professionals in one location. Also, you can try starting your own blog on a topic related to your field. By doing this, you will draw an audience of professionals that want to share their expertise as they’re acquiring yours. Of course, networking in person is also crucial and shouldn’t be overlooked in the process.
Nurturing Your Network
So now that you’ve built this incredible executive network, how do you nurture it? Well this is actually pretty simple. Basically, be a good networker yourself. This includes being a good listener, being upbeat and friendly and being genuine.
Also, it’s important to stay in touch with your network, even when you think you don’t need them anymore. Take them out to lunch here and there and check up on them and their family. Any efforts you make to let them know you’re not simply using them will be more than appreciated. And finally, don’t forget to thank them after receiving their help. Letting them know they’re appreciated definitely goes a long way.
Of course, your job search doesn’t only involve your network. You need a strong resume, an elevator speech (for unexpected networking moments), visibility (through the social networking, blogging, speeches/presentations and social events) and the confidence that you can get this done.
The good news is that following this formula gets executives jobs every day. And sooner than later, it could get you your next career-defining job too.