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How Thought Leadership and Personal Branding Can Help You Land Your Next Executive Job

I’d like to begin with a short Q&A:

Throughout your career how many times have you come to a role by applying for it?

How many times has a role come to you… through a personal introduction, reference or invitation?

Have you had roles where your CV/resume was a formality?

Have you had roles where relationships were what opened the door of opportunity?

I think I can guess how you answered these questions. I know my answers to these questions, and from years in management and senior leadership roles, I owe many introductions to opportunity to relationships.

Business is about relationships, about trust, about network circles.

Business is about who you know, who knows you, and, what you are known for.

What’s different for me, and for people we coach, is that ten years ago it was about personal relations gained through direct professional circles of face to face interaction. Today, it’s about personal relationships extended, and often originated, in ‘digital circles of influence’.

‘Serendipitous Collisions’

The benefits I want to highlight here, are the outcomes digital networking and the consequent relationships can build and grow. Digital networking (through social channels like LinkedIn, Twitter, Professional Groups, Chats, Video platforms and the like) creates and catalyses ‘collisions’ with people; collisions with people that are often unexpected, unanticipated, and sometimes fateful, usually for the better.

What’s also key to understand is that these collisions can be accelerated intentionally by specific digital activities and behaviours. In talks we give and within our ‘Be Found’ coaching process, we discuss this as a tactic of bringing about unplanned mutual benefit.

Can your next leadership job find you?

Back to the opening questions. Rather than believing you can find you next job and competing with all the other qualified leaders for a small set of listed positions, what if you used a different strategy? What if opportunities came to you? What if you were presented with choices and you had the luxury of choosing from a stream of options that happened to align with your values, with your interests, with your strengths, with what you are known for?

Well, it can happen… and it’s happening today. Leaders with an intentional digital brand, build credibility, build authority, build trust, and build a reputation and network that circles around what they are passionate about and driven by. We like to think of this as your purpose.

Who are you here to serve and what if people who were looking for someone who is already imbued with that aligned sense of purpose?

Executive Connexions

The hidden job market

Did you know that 70% of open executive roles are unlisted? You can also think of the hidden jobs market as the unadvertised jobs market.

With 70% of open senior level executive positions being unlisted, and with executive recruiters and talent managers defining specific candidate criteria and actively searching and seeking for people already aligned to those specific criteria, what if you were actively engaged in digital, building a platform, a brand, a presence, or a reputation standing on those criteria?

Let alone the logic of the numbers themselves;

Our independent research has shown recruiters’ views that too many candidates are dependent upon advertised jobs. According to many recruiters we spoke to, part of the problem is that candidates expect positions to present themselves, often in the form of advertised posts.

We’re not suggesting that you stop using jobs boards, and recruiters, of course not. But building a thought leadership platform is a critical component in today's jobs market.

Statistics based on our research sample support this take on the hidden jobs market. Only 37% of candidates think their next role will come from the unadvertised jobs market. In reality, over 70% of senior executive positions can be found in this ‘hidden’ jobs market.

Putting it another way, that’s 63% of candidates competing for 30% of all senior level jobs! Even if you’re dubious about statistics, the fact that there are a majority of roles that are out there are not advertised, then how do you access them?

Imagine the opportunities for you, as the #1 market leader in a market of 1.

Every organization is different, with a unique culture, set of values, guiding principles and experience requirements. Likewise, each of us has a unique set of values, guiding life principles and set of hard-earned skills and knowledge built through a unique experience career history. Building those out to be visible and to let people know what you want to be known for is the key.

We’re passionate about helping other leaders engage and lead with impact in a digital economy, and to find their next role in the shortest time possible, and this entire strategy is one that we speak about extensively.

I know that many of you are not necessarily in the right position for you now (or some of you may not be in a role at all right now); in other words, you may be finding yourself in a place not aligned with your values, fully utilizing your strengths, or, you may be looking to make a pivot in your career. Any of these scenarios is a good reason to start ramping up your social & digital activities.

Here are some tips to help you start to engage in social & digital

  • Publish and publish regularly (even when in a new role, not just during a job search)
  • Make published articles helpful and informative to the reader and aimed primarily at prospective employers or recruiters; showcase your skills!
  • Remember to engage in Twitter; there are many recruiters and employers who use Twitter. Use searches to find those you are seeking to engage with.
  • Create protected diary time every week to engage in social & digital; don’t use ‘time’ as an excuse, as this is all about ‘choosing’ to prioritise these activities.
  • Re-Tweet, Share, Like, Comment (on LinkedIn) on other people’s articles that you find relevant and interesting.
  • Approach all of this with a true ‘win-win’ mind set, and it will serve you well, so try to avoid coming across as pushy or needy.
  • Be patient, and make connections from those who view and comment on your material that you’ve posted on social.

If you truly want to focus on the hidden (unadvertised) job market, the above is a great way to get started.

lee-searle-6Steve Nicholls, MD, Executive Connexions Ltd 

Executive Connexions is a career coaching & executive outplacement services company helping senior level executives to land their next role, faster

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