Dear Senior Managers and Above: You're Linked - but are you Connected?

One of my most common interactions is with an existing or former client that has either been laid-off or decided they need to move on from their present role for a variety of reasons.  When this happens, this person will often do what most people do and try to find general openings on the Job Boards and/or Internet. 

This quickly becomes a frustrating experience for many obvious reasons that include Job Boards are flooded with candidates, openings on Job Boards are not necessarily ‘real’ and therefore don’t really move forward and there are simply fewer jobs available at a more Senior Level.

It is at this point that I begin to field questions about how to go about finding a role that would be a better fit or ‘step up’.  My advice is not very complex.  As people grow in their career it becomes increasingly important to network with people so as to receive notice and/or consideration for the best Senior Roles available. 

There are a variety of considerations in doing this. These include: 

  • There are no well-known IT/Technical Search Firms in the marketplace.  Therefore it can be somewhat random as to which Contingency Staffing Agency may have an opening for the role you’d be most interested in.
  • Many Senior Managers, including those happy in their job, also sense they could do a better job of networking.  In essence, other Senior Managers of similar backgrounds would most likely be happy to network with you.
  • Having a Target List of companies to work for is pointless.  Los Angeles is huge.  And with this come a large number of excellent opportunities with organizations you’ve never heard of.  Having an open mind is key, as you just never know.
  • Today is about Self-Branding.  The opportunities to do this exist daily.  Social Media, speaking-opportunities, vendor relationships all present opportunities to build yourself as an expert in your field.  Having this in place can be key towards identifying that next role.
  • A lot of people go into Consulting or some Sales-Driven role.  This is very normal.  So…be very considerate of your Network.  The people you work with might be your Customer some day.  Including the people who work FOR you.
  • Networking/Connecting needs to be a way of doing things.  Finding an Executive Role can take Months. 
  • Connecting does not require the relationship to be deep or overly meaningful.  I have found Los Angeles to be a city where people understand that others are on a ‘pursuit’.  People tend to respect others that take risks, even ones that are relational in nature.  Considering this, it is completely appropriate to ask for help from people that you don’t necessarily know everything about.  

When I started BOON Staffing, I reached out to everyone I could.  I learned something very interesting.  You’ll be surprised who will help you and you’ll be surprised who won’t; and along the way to take none of it personally.  Some can’t help, or are authentically too busy or just don’t know where to start.  But others have a spirit of service, are empathetic to the dilemma of an Executive Job Search and also have long-memories and know they may need a favor as well someday. 

There are things you can do today to help get ahead in a search that I have found is ultimately inevitable.  It is a search that if you ‘get behind’ will be a very hard one to catch up on.  Some of the immediate things you can do today include: 

  • Use your existing recruiter relationships to connect you to Senior Managers at other organizations.  Within my circle, I am talking to many people at a similar stage or level in their career.  Recruiters with solid client relationships can often easily make connections between clients so as to help you know other people with similar challenges or connections to future opportunities.
  • Begin to Brand Yourself as an Expert.  Social Media platforms are excellent ways to being to give you an opportunity to develop both small and more detailed content that will show your expertise and voice within a community.  Making posts or updates is a bit like exercise in that it simply needs to become a routine.  But once it is done regularly it should have obvious returns.
  • Interview 2-3 times per year.  I always recommend that people do this, even if they love their job.  Maybe the interview only serves to confirm that you love your job.  These interviews don’t need to be a formal process either.  It can be as simple as coffee or lunch with another organization and C-Level Executive to discuss the opportunities presently available. 
  • Reach out directly to people you want to be in contact with.  I have found that many Senior Managers recognized this challenge and not only want to do something about it, but will accept the invitation from others to begin dialogue.  It is well documented that recruiting is a Top Priority of most organizations.  Considering the challenge and expense of this, many/most top executives will at least welcome an introduction.
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