As an executive job seeker you should incorporate both strategies into your job search game plan. These strategies can be complementary and can land you a new position more quickly.
One offline strategy is to grow your local network by joining the local chapter of a professional association. This is a great way to meet people who are in your field who are in a position to refer you to job vacancies that may not be advertised. You can volunteer to be a member of a committee or even present at a monthly meeting. This will raise your visibility and better position you to be referred to a job opening.
In addition, you can join the local chamber of commerce and attend executive breakfast meetings to expand your local network. Hiring managers prefer to hire candidates who come referred, so the more you become known in your local job market, the more opportunities are likely to come your way.
You can also enlarge your network beyond your local community by connecting with people online. By participating on social networking platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, you can meet people who you would not otherwise have the opportunity to connect with. All of these sites have groups associated with them that are clustered around different areas of interest. Joining groups and participating in them can raise your visibility, which will in turn increase your number of connections as people get to know who you are and start to invite you into their networks.
One tool for finding great people to follow on Twitter is www.exectweets.com. ExecTweets has different categories in which you can search for executives in specific fields. The executives whose tweets are posted on this site are considered to be top executives in their respective fields. Another great tool is Mr. Tweet, which will recommend people for you to follow based on your current Twitter following.
Another online job search strategy is to identify thought leaders in your field as well as hiring managers in companies you want to work for and try to connect with them on LinkedIn, Twitter, and/or Facebook. If they agree to be part of your network, you can then interact with them personally and cultivate a professional relationship. This relationship will give you an opportunity to find out what their interests are and how you can help them. It’s always best to offer something first in a professional relationship rather than to start out asking for a job.
Also, you can connect with people you meet on social networking sites in person if you choose to. There are groups on all of these sites that are based on geographic location. On Twitter, for example, you can do tweetups—meet face to face with people who are in your area.On LinkedIn and Facebook you can join groups that are centered around certain metropolitan areas (i.e. Washington, DC or New York City). Once you are a member of these groups you can find out if there are any local meetings.
The combination of online and offline job search strategies is powerful.
By leveraging both strategies you can not only find a new position more quickly, but you can also nurture authentic relationships with people who will form the backbone of your network for years to come.
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