Tag: Executive Networking
A very interesting and short article on The Executive Biography from BlueSteps. They have a fresh idea: use your bio when networking. I like that idea a lot!
A couple additional tips:
- Who else expects to see your biography? Boards and Senior Groups in PE/VC Firms.
- Please never, ever, ever use an amateur photo in your bio or LI profile. A professional photo with good lighting is the quality level you must stick to. Please, trust me on this one. You deserve to look fantastic and your attention to professional polish will keep your confidence intact!
Read more here: BlueSteps
Quick Tips: 3 minute Tip For Networking at the Executive Level
It’s live: http://www.maryelizabethbradford.com/quick-tips-networking.php
Great article here from the ladders – tips on how to use LinkedIn. Very appropriate for executives – I especially love the tip about recruiters– this is spot on information in my professional opinion!
Read more here:
Why should you care about creating mini-celebrity status when it comes to your executive career? Because self-marketing in your area of expertise can have multiple career benefits for you including:
- Potential exposure to future executive “dream” positions – they contact YOU!
- Establishment as an expert in your industry
- Widening your network
- More ability to garner positive references and testimonials
- More control over who you work with and how you work
Certain aspects of this list will stand out as meaningful to different people. The real point is, managing your career gives you options you may not have had otherwise.
So where do you start? Here are three quick and easy tips:
Tip #1: Get a Platform
It’s easy to create a platform to express your opinion and ideas in your area of interest or industry by starting your own blog. WordPress.com is free and setup is easy, even if you are like me and not technical.
Another option is to utilize LinkedIn Publisher (connect with me!). LinkedIn is a business-oriented networking site, so it’s perfect for sharing industry news, insights and expertise. You can also use Groups to answer questions other business people are asking on various topics. A quick way to establish your credibility!
For more on utilizing LinkedIn, check out my blog article, LinkedIn for Executives: Tips VPs to CXOs MUST KNOW to Leverage the Power of LinkedIn.
Tip #2: Rub Shoulders with High Performers in Your Industry
Get involved in a corporate volunteer group or industry association. These are two wonderful portals filled with people that care deeply about industries and issues – just like you! Not only will this broaden your networking circle but it will keep you growing in your career.
And remember, if you attend an industry luncheon to listen to a great speaker, introduce yourself to him or her after their presentation. Give them your business card as well – and gulp, ask for theirs! It’s the little things you do as you “put yourself out there” to be open to new opportunities, friendships and possibilities that will pay off in the long run.
Tip #3: Grow Your Knowledge Base
What was the last certification you received? How about ongoing training?
I recommend making sure that each year you commit to 2-3 actions that will result in learning a new tool for your trade. How about starting with that one training, certification or learning experience that has been in the back of your mind to master! You know the one I’m talking about. And check with your employer’s ongoing education benefits to find out if your training might be a covered expense.
Bonus Tip: More Social Networking
Remember that LinkedIn’s not the only game in town when it comes to establishing thought leadership and broadening your network. For quick and tangible insights on the top 3 social networks for job seekers, check out 25 Career Experts Reveal Their Top Social Networks for Job Seekers.
Establishing mini-celebrity status doesn’t mean you have a gigantic ego. It’s simply a wise business move that opens doors of possibility for you. You will be amazed how putting these simple tips into action will quickly change up your career status!
of CFO expounds on why it is so important for executives to hone their networking skills when it comes to their executive job search in “Don’t Miss Your Next CFO Job Opportunity.”
PART 1: THE MINDSET
Each week I talk with senior-level executives about their career needs and invariably the subject of LinkedIn always comes up. The conversation usually goes like this:
Me: So, how is your LI profile? Do you get many job opportunities coming to you through LI?
Them: Honestly, my profile is just sitting there. I have a fairly good network, but I don’t really see much action from it, and don’t really know how to change that.
Them: As COO of a billion-dollar company, I often wonder what I should be doing on LinkedIn—if anything—being so highly visible.
To begin making decisions about LinkedIn you must first have a clear vision of your audience. Who is your audience? Let’s look at it this way: If there were no obstacles to your next ideal career position, and that position was located in a pond, what kind of fish would be in that pond? Those fish are your audience.
Are your fish private equity firms? Top retained executive search firms? Fortune 500 technology companies? Fast-growth, mid-market companies in the (fill in your blank) industry? Presidents of security technology firms? Maybe a combination of the above?
Do you want or need to stay in your geographical location? Then limit this list to your geographical preference (minus the recruiters and PE firms – they have holdings/clients all over and are not geographically tied to their own physical location).
You need to fish where the fish are, so get your driving motivators down—including your industries of choice—and make sure those industries are growing, stable, or at least not in decline!
Social networking (for business) is a very effective advertising medium that makes it easy for you to reverse engineer your job search by connecting to your audience. Initially your only interest should be in connecting with them. Nothing else. This is the first and most important step!
Why reverse engineer your search? Because if you make $250k and up per year, only 10% of open jobs at your level are posted on the Internet.* Most executives think, “Well, that is why I depend on recruiters.” But the other 90% of jobs at your level are not held by recruiters. MOST are filled BEFORE a company has to hire a recruiter to find you. Let’s let that sink in for a moment…
LinkedIn is a platform that helps you cut the middleman out in many cases and can put you in direct contact with a key decision maker. In other words, you can be the leader you ARE—even in your job search! And I know that is where you are most comfortable. LinkedIn allows you to retain your leadership role, and control your own personal job transition, many times without having to be at the mercy of a chain of predetermined screening events with built-in competition.
The Bottom Line
If you are a top executive, the name of the game is threefold:
- Connect with key players.
- Keyword optimize your profile so that when people find you and want to pitch job opportunities your way, your profile is already aligned with your greatest preferences.
- Use LinkedIn to develop thought leadership.
I share more details in Part 2. Do you have questions about this article you’d like me to answer? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Networking is a hot topic. It’s common to hear that the majority of jobs are won through some form of networking, so if you plan on getting another job in your lifetime, then learning about networking is a wise choice!
If you are wondering where in the world to start learning how to network, if you are apprehensive to network because it’s new to you, or if you have had a negative networking experience in the past, here are three simple but powerful must-haves to quickly get started.
Must Have #1: Focus on Them
When you are talking with someone, you are meeting for the FIRST time. You must keep your focus on them. In other words, this is not the time to introduce what you need, but rather, ask a few questions about them.
If you are one of those professionals who really get stage fright before a networking opportunity such as a mixer, then a great tip for you is to write down 5 questions you feel comfortable asking. This will boost your confidence and help you avoid that feeling of being tongue tied.
Must Have #2: Reciprocate
Networking is more about what you can do for someone else then what they can do for you. In other words, if you put the focus on helping others, not only does it take the pressure off of you, but it creates a positive exchange between you and your networking contact. Examples include sending a key decision maker of a company you want to work for a positive article about their company, passing on a valuable bit of mentoring to a junior executive, or referring one of your top vendors to another company. The more you get in the habit of helping others in these small ways, the more you will see your network extending their help to you exponentially.
Must Have #3: Don’t Play the End Result
Maybe you are wondering with all this gifting you are doing just when you are going to get to network?! That’s understandable. The answer is, you definitely will have multiple opportunities to network in order to take action towards your goals.
When you approach your network for information, it’s important to be polite, gracious and clear about what you want. But don’t play the end result. That means when you follow up with a key decision maker after sending in your resume, connect with an executive to ask for a short mentoring meeting, or query your friends about who they might know in your industry of interest, it’s critical that your only expectation at that moment is the opportunity to pose the question.
Your success rides more on how many people you network with and how you ask someone for something than the actual response you get. Some contacts will be able to help you and some won’t. Knowing this, you can relax and keep your expectations in check. The person on the receiving end will certainly pick up on this intuitively and respond in kind.
It’s my personal opinion that the best way to approach anyone when networking during your executive job search – no matter what your relationship with them – is to ask them for their opinion or expertise. This is because most of us find it enjoyable to be asked what our opinion is and most of us enjoy helping people. It’s these two things you must focus on when leveraging your network during your job search.
It’s not very effective to ask people for a job, if their company is hiring, or if they know of any other companies who are hiring. First, not many people are aware of various companies that are hiring and most people will find this kind of question loaded with “pressure,” which causes them to back off rather than open up the conversation to brainstorming ways they might help you. Second, it places them as the leader in the conversation and you as the passive receiver, which also creates pressure. There are other reasons that asking for a job does not work, but these are two of the main factors.
Mentally, you need to approach networking in the following ways:
- You must accept and understand how asking for information is going to benefit you. Have a basic understanding of networking and how it can work to propel your conversations. Give those you are speaking to a gracious opening to share confidential information with you about company growth or available jobs, without having to point blank ask them for it. Understand how you can easily ask your network to introduce you to others who might help you.
- You must accept and understand that you are NOT being sneaky and really just asking for a job under the guise of “networking.” If you don’t come to grips with this, you will find yourself saying and doing things that put this seed in the other person’s mind. You ARE networking, NOT job searching, and you must separate the two. You can then approach your networking contact with a lot of authentic positive enthusiasm in the true spirit of asking for their expertise. Most always they will respond by giving you more than what you asked for in help and support.
I should point out that the one area you want to avoid asking for help and advice about is your resume. The various answers you will elicit based on the vantage point of each person is going to be so varied that it will confuse you and shake your confidence. If you want feedback on your resume, please ask a qualified, certified resume writer for an objective, professional review.
The following is a great script for networking with friends and associates. Note how the approach supports your position as leader and as someone who is both confident and knows how to take initiative. This particular script is ideal if you are exploring alternative industries, but it can be easily modified to work as well when staying within your industry – simply say you are conducting a little due diligence on market and economic indicators of the ____ industry in preparation for an upcoming job search.
I have stepped back and looked at my career for the past 6 months and have determined there are a few industries that would be a good fit for me. They are ______ and ______. Model organizations that probably fit are ______, ______ and ______. Do you know anyone I could talk with for a few minutes to get some mentoring as I continue to gather info on these industries?
Here are a few additional tips to help you network successfully:
Keywords and Phrases that Make a BIG Impact
- I would be very grateful for any mentoring you may be open to giving me.
- Is there any way I can return the favor of your time and expertise?
- I would love to garner your expertise on …
Keywords and Phrases to Avoid
- I am looking for a job.
- Do you know anyone who may be looking to hire?
- I am looking at hiring trends and want to talk to you about …
The Wrong Approach
- Abrasive, possibly frustrated.
- Not networking, feeling entitled, or feeling like you are asking too much of or inconveniencing the person you are talking to.
- Venting on the person you are speaking with because you have not been eliciting the attention you believe you should have.
Tips for networking and informational interview calls:
The Right Approach
- Friendly, informal, don’t talk too much.
- Peer-to-peer or executive-to-executive networking.
- Can you help me? Could I “interview you” as the expert in your industry?
If you would like more help with job search networking please see my e-books here.
I truly understand that in today’s world of instant information it’s very easy to become overwhelmed and maybe a little callous. Kind of like giving a hard time to telemarketers that call our homes around dinner time. It is easy to forget it is a human being just trying to make a living on the other end of the line. Perhaps someone’s son or daughter trying to pay their way through college.
A long time ago I decided I was going to do everything I could to be NICE—REALLY nice, to everyone I spoke with—no matter what the circumstances and whether I knew them or not.
Because in my career, I have been on the other end of the stick many times.
And something that just happened to me this morning REMINDED me of my commitment and how important it is for us all to be gracious when we network.
But first let’s go waaayyy back to my days as an executive recruiter. As a job seeker, you will bend over backward to have a good conversation with a recruiter right? Well as a recruiter who continuously had to cold call and have conversations with employed executives—sometimes my call would elicit hostility. Executives would tell me “DON’T CALL ME AGAIN!” or would grill me “HOW DID YOU GET MY NUMBER?!” or, “I AM NOT INTERESTED IN ANY OF YOUR JOBS!!”
It always amazed me. And often a year or two later many of those executives would call me for help because they found themselves in a job search. You can imagine how “eager” I was to help place them with one of my beloved client companies.
Which leads me to this morning’s incident. Interestingly, a recruiter had requested to connect with me on LinkedIn—which I accepted. I always send follow up email to my new connections to thank them for reaching out to connect and I invite them to sign up for my free newsletter. This particular recruiter emailed me back and said “TAKE ME OFF YOUR LIST IMMEDIATELY!” I decided to personally email her back and explain she was a connection, and I had simply invited her to sign up for my e-zine with a link.
Here is what my new LinkedIn connection wrote back: “LET ME REPHRASE: DON’T SEND ME ANY MORE EMAILS!!”
I promptly removed this recruiter from my LinkedIn connections.
This is a PERFECT example of what we should never, ever do. As we network, we simply can’t afford to be rude or mean. So . . . here are some networking tips I have found very useful that I would like to share with you:
- In your career, strive to be nice to EVERYBODY no matter their station or basis of relationship. You just never know when the tables may turn and who wants to spread bad energy around?
- If you must say NO to somebody, do so as graciously and professionally as possible.
- If someone or something around you is negative, cut off communication, if possible. Leaders and professionals who are serious about their careers protect their inner circle and filter the information they “let in.”
- When networking, think: “How can I help?” If you will always lead with thinking about the other person, you will be showing them honor and respect and they will repay you naturally in kind. Long term, this is the true core of networking. It doesn’t matter if your connection is in person, on LinkedIn, Facebook, or phone . . . strive for consistency in all you do.
- If someone you are talking to is rude or negative—do not get defensive. This includes all the things that can potentially happen to you in a job search such as someone promising they will call you, or invite you back for an interview, but never do.
- Find a mentor who holds a high visibility position—one whose personality you admire—and then emulate them. If you are lucky enough to know several executive mentors, you will start to see a pattern. Leaders/Mentors generally have a certain likeability . . . a charisma, if you will, for various reasons—some are attractive because they are fair and do the right thing, others because they want to foster the potential in you, and still others because they are warm and kind.
- Whomever you are speaking to, try to find a positive thing about that person that you can complement him or her on. Whenever I have the opportunity to speak to someone new, I LOVE figuring out what that one thing is that I can compliment them on. Sometimes it is their photo, other times it is something about their voice, their personality, or their career. This becomes a good habit and you will find yourself focusing on the positive more versus the negative in your daily dealings with others.
- If you make a practice of focusing on and helping others, at some point you may feel used or that you have not gotten back what you have put in. This goes with the territory. Don’t let it deter you from your course to develop a good reputation, overall virtue, and will ultimately make you a better person.
I feel fortunate that I have been humbled by the above types of experiences over the years because it gives me an excuse to take a bad thing and turn it around to reflect something positive. I hope you can take one thing from the list above and share the love.