Executive Job Search: The Old Way (Networking) Still Works Best

by Meg Guiseppi on April 4, 2011


Are you gungho to embrace the new way – online job search? You may be sabotaging your best efforts because you’re going about it all wrong.

In my experience, many executives think that job search in the digital age means they need to spend most of their time posting their resume to as many job boards as possible, and continually check email and voicemail to see if they received any interview requests.

They seem to forget that the last time they looked for a job (often at least 5 or more years ago), or the last time they transitioned to a new job when they weren’t actively searching, it came to them through networking, not as a result of blindly sending out their resume.

Someone in their network (or second, or third degree network) who had an “in” at a great company introduced or referred them as a good-fit candidate. Or they were regularly pursued by their recruiter network because they were in-demand candidates throughout their careers.

With such fierce competition in today’s executive job market, job seekers need to be much more proactive than the last time they looked for a job. Waiting around for or expecting people to come to you with opportunities is much less likely to work.

Yes, good old networking is still the most successful way to land an executive job. Thousands of surveys and studies on best job search strategies reveal that by far, networking gets the job.

If you’ve been smart, you’ve kept up with your network even while you weren’t actively job hunting, so they’re primed and ready to help you. They are your career insurance. If you’ve neglected them because you were securely employed and didn’t think you needed them, you’ve got a lot of catching up to do.

The ways to network have expanded in the digital age. Social media makes it possible to get closer quicker to key decision makers at companies you’re targeting.

The key to networking in the new world of job search is to balance online and real-life efforts. Go to networking events, attend job search support group meetings, get active with relevant professional associations, etc. But also learn how to use all that LinkedIn and other social networks have to offer. Don’t take on so much social media responsibility that you do none of it well, or you neglect real-life networking.

Understand that you may initially connect with someone through social media, or people sourcing candidates may be introduced to you through your online identity and Google search results, but it will be the real-life interaction that closes the deal – a phone call or a real-life face-to-face meeting. Social media is one way to get you to that point.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean you should completely neglect job boards. Some jobs are found there, especially the niche job boards. Here’s what you do – post your resume and forget about it. Don’t expect much, and you won’t be disappointed when those interview offers don’t come flooding in. But you never know, something could come through.

Don’t spend 85% of your time on methods that yield perhaps a 5-10% success rate (job boards, that is). Stick with what worked in the past, and has been proven to work probably for as long as job search has been in existence – networking.

Related posts:

How to Build a Powerful Executive Network

How To Tap Into Hidden C-level Executive Jobs

LinkedIn Guide for Executive Branding and Job Search

Twitter Executive Branding Strategy: The Beauty of a Retweet

photo by ricki888c

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