If you have read my previous post about applying for an executive position, you already know that simply updating your resume with your most recent employment, achievements, and undertakings will not land you a dream job. In fact, if you’re not participating in personal branding and targeting, you’re bound to be the slowest horse in the race. The third strategic staple you should use when applying for an executive position comes in the form of networking

Networking is the act of connecting with others while having the intention of being open to explore what they might have to offer, and what you might have to offer them. It presents a two-way street relationship which can eventually lead to great benefits for both parties. As the active seeker of an executive level position, networking is one of the strongest tools you can use for finding the perfect job.

The Big Three

Networking in the upper echelons of the job market maintains the basic principles of successful relationships with primary contacts, coworkers, and alma mater connections, but executive level networking also includes maintaining an online identity, attending industry events, and connecting with executive recruiters.

Online Networking

With an increasingly large number of social media platforms to choose from, the one most tailored to professional networking is LinkedIn. With over 500 million users as of April 2017, LinkedIn’s community is the perfect place to network with your connections. The key to a good profile is to make it rich in your industry’s keywords, keep a constant stream of conversation with relative media posts, join and participate in relevant groups, and make it look good. This positive digital profile will exhibit your expertise, build your reputation as a leader, and make people want to connect with you.

Industry Events

If your online networking skills are strong, take them to the public arena and test out your in-person networking chops. By living your personal brand at conferences, presenting at events, taking part in panels, and supporting your favourite causes, you will benefit from exposure. In turn, you will distinguish yourself from the others as a leader in the industry.

Connecting with Executive Recruiters

The most important part about connecting to executive recruiters or search consultants is to foster those relationships before you are actually on the hunt. Establishing those relationships before you need their services will give recruiters a convincing initial impression. The best way to establish these relationships is by becoming a strong, subject matter expert in one or two highly relevant LinkedIn groups while you are in a respectable, industry-leading position. Taking this low key approach avoids any appearance of pushing recruiters or hiring managers as they will often be the ones who make the first contact. If you happen to meet a recruiter while on a job search, ask whether he or she is trying to fill any positions in your field. If they answer yes, use your targeting skillsnto let them know exactly what you can do for their client.

Networking is skill that should be practiced early on in your career, and isn’t something that should be picked up the moment you need a job. It should be applied to all facets of life, forming you into a sociable and professional industry expert, and who knows, that dream job might present itself to you.