Whether you are an executive seeking a new position or you are actively recruiting and hiring executives, networking is a key tool that can help to streamline the process. Although networking has changed over the years, moving the focus toward much more online activity, the core principles of networking still come into play. That is, it is vital that you establish and maintain a vibrant network. With that in mind, here are some key modern strategies for successful networking.
Making social media connections
You first need to make the most of your social networks. Because a high percentage of executives are online and the preferred tool is LinkedIn, you need an active presence there. Twitter, Facebook and other networks might also come into play, depending on your business, goals and focus. Make sure your online profiles convey clear, compelling messages and are always up to date while lining up with your branding across all of your other communications. You need to fill your network with the right types of connections, so think of your goals before deciding who to connect with — and who not to connect with. Remember that a strong network is one that is constantly nurtured, so that means adding new connections and revising your online profiles should be an ongoing process.
Leveraging social media connections
After you have created a solid network, it is time to leverage those connections. If you are an executive seeking a new role, think of how you can tap into your network while demonstrating your areas of expertise. Write concise and helpful comments and replies, and post relevant and timely articles written by you or others. When you author articles and post them on social media networks like LinkedIn, you are positioning yourself as a thought leader and a valuable resource. Remember that your professionalism and expertise are on display, so put your best foot forward in all your interactions. If you work on the recruiting end of things, consider how you can stay connected with job candidates. Also, consider how you can keep your business top of mind with people in your industry. In today’s tight job market, you can stay one step ahead of your competition by actively leveraging social media connections.
Maximizing online networking resources
Networks like LinkedIn provide some excellent resources for people who are both job seekers and those involved with recruiting candidates. For example, you can send messages directly to your connections. However, it is important to be conscientious when doing so, because you do not want to give the appearance that you are simply trying to give a sales pitch or ask for a favor. Rather, portray yourself as someone who is genuinely striving to be helpful and add value. The key is to have a relationship-building and service-oriented mindset while starting conversations, asking questions, sharing information and being mindful of boundaries. Social networks like LinkedIn and others also offer groups that are specific to various interests and industries. Join those that will advance your efforts to either recruit executive candidates or obtain leads for executive-level positions.
Keeping offline networks strong
In this era of online networking, it is still important to cultivate and maintain offline, in-person networks. Remember that a multifaceted approach to networking accomplishes more and does so with efficiency. Get involved with local, regional and national groups that cater to your goals, expertise, and industry. For example, if you are a job seeker, participate in professional organizations, networking activities, and events where you are likely to connect with potential colleagues and those who can refer you to prospective employers. If you are involved with recruiting executives, attend events where you can connect with qualified candidates. And no matter which side of the recruitment equation you are on, participate in professional conferences as an additional way to meet others in your field.
By incorporating these strategies into your approach to networking, you will be boosting your chances at success. Remember that networking involves using as many types of approaches as would suit your goals and business dynamics. So make sure you have a well-rounded and robust strategy in place.