Executives can expect to change jobs multiple times during their careers. Some transitions may be voluntary, but timing and circumstances won’t always be a choice.

What is the most efficient and most effective method for identifying new career opportunities that match not only the employer’s expectations but also fit the candidate’s requirements making for a faster, smoother transition?

The answer is personal relationships. Referrals and recommendations, especially a sincere introduction promoting an individual’s strengths, knowledge and skills confer a competitive advantage in today’s market by reassuring an employer that a potential hire is a low risk.

There is no shortage of job-hunting stories illustrating how frustrating it is for candidates. (Ghosting anyone? Black holes? )

For senior executives, the best way to avoid negative transition experiences is having strong, loyal networking relationships before pulling the trigger to explore new opportunities, especially connections with hiring authority for the desired new role or individuals who know and are trusted by those decision makers. In fact, “before” really means “always” since contacts do not instantly materialize. It takes significant time to identify who needs to know you who will be able to help you achieve a career goal and even more time to get their attention and earn their trust. We are not talking about flipping a phone number or email address; to be part of the inner circle entails developing a relationship based on shared experiences, giving back and forth, having mutual contacts, etc. It’s unrealistic to expect new connections to be as helpful as well- established ones; a trusting friend is more likely to share leads and resources than a new acquaintance. Relationships are an investment. Don’t let valuable (costly) connections drift away. You will always “need” support. It’s a lot easier to maintain and grow existing relationships than to develop new ones.

Is your job search on the right track?

Not likely if you are relying on resume submissions, online applications and social media-based leads. Maybe if your connections are sharing advice, suggesting potential leads, making personal introductions. Remember that networking success doesn’t result from socializing or a general ask for assistance. If you Network Purposefully™ then you are being strategic, selective and building a long-term foundation to access near-term opportunities as well as continuously deliver insights, referrals, tips, etc. to smooth future career transitions.

Signs your search process is working.

  • Your contacts are or are connected to the hiring decision-makers and their personal contacts
  • Your search is focused on unadvertised opportunities in the hidden job market (less competition than advertised openings, could be customized for an individual talent, more likely to be a better fit)
  • Your inquiry is warmly received and generates enthusiasm
  • Your contact collaborates to promote you and completes introductions
  • Conversations are with principals, not HR or external recruiters
  • Your follow-up communication reveals progress towards your goals
  • Your existing and newly acquired contacts are referring you to additional leads
  • Your contacts recommendations are making a positive impression on strangers
  • Exploratory conversations develop into discussions about responsibilities, authority, corporate structure, future plans, and other details vs general interview questions
  • Interpersonal chemistry is good
  • Neither candidate or employer identify any impossible barriers






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