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No Network? No Problem!

How to network purposefully and build career insurance.

July 24, 2008
by Debra Feldman

In today's competitive job market, it's not just what you know, but who knows what you know that generates a competitive advantage for winning candidates. Over 70 percent of executive jobs are never advertised; most new opportunities are filled through recommendations and referrals. If you are like most executives with six-figure compensation packages, you are usually too busy getting things done to spend time cultivating new connections and maintaining your existing professional network. So when the time comes to look for a new career challenge, chances are you understand the importance of contacts to find a new position, but you may not have a network of insider contacts to support your search. By strategically targeting development of connections to access leads, you can network purposefully and make faster progress towards a great offer.

Key Strategic Tips

As a savvy financial professionals, Here's how to jump-start your campaign and build your network starting now:

  1. Cold calling is a very effective method for initiating contact with hiring decision-makers at target companies. Choose an individual able to appreciate your background and who needs help. Show how you can deliver solutions without draining their resources. Command attention by researching into industry and company-specific challenges and persevere until you get the chance to present your interest and demonstrate your strengths. Communicate the right message to the right person at the right time. And at all times, maintain contacts.

  1. Increase your visibility to hiring authorities and attract employers by demonstrating your abilities. Orchestrate a place for yourself on the hiring decision-maker's radar screen by impressing them with your initiative, knowledge, achievements, talents and extraordinary ability to deliver the results. Show target employers how you can improve their bottom line. A good way of displaying your talent is by producing an industry event instead of just attending one. Volunteer to chair a section or organize a dinner. You can do this online by participating in forums and e-lists where your contributions are evidence of your expertise and knowledge. Get more mileage out of your publications and presentations by sharing citations and handouts with your connections. Don't be afraid to give an interview (or seek one.)

  1. Reach out to industry leaders and expand your network purposefully by initiating contact and introducing yourself to authors, speakers, bloggers, academics and other key leaders in your field. Look for opportunities to meet others in your field. Networking is a series of mutually gratifying relationships that grow over time. Continually nourish, update and maintain your connections whether you are looking for a new job or happy where you are. Introduce your contacts who don't already know each other — be the network's spark.

By refreshing existing connections regularly and adding new contacts, you build "career insurance." Personal referrals are the main source of new executive job leads. Your network can plug you into unadvertised positions. By keeping your contacts fresh and maintaining good relationships, it is more likely that new opportunities will find you. Increase your career insurance. Be a pro-active connector who networks and keeps contacts and is sought out by others for your inside information about new job leads.

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© Debra Feldman, 2008

Debra Feldman is the JobWhiz™, a nationally-recognized expert who designs and personally implements swift, strategic, and customized senior level executive job search campaigns, banishing barriers that prevent immediate success. Her gift for cold calling, executed with high energy and savvy panache, connects candidates directly to decision makers, not HR. Network Purposefully™ with the JobWhiz, and compress your job search into mere weeks, using groundbreaking techniques soon to be profiled in Forbes magazine and featured in an upcoming syndicated television series. In addition to writing columns and conducting workshops for several revered professional associations, Debra provides career guidance to alumni of top-tier business schools. Contact Debra at www.JobWhiz.com to expedite your executive ascent.