How to Be ‘Found’ by Executive-Search Consultants
Visibility in the corporate world can be tough to attain, but you need it if you want executive-search consultants to find you. A significant number of your achievements might be considered “company confidential” – you can’t simply write an article describing your formula for adding 10 percent to your company’s gross profit margin. But if you get your name out there professionally, executive-search consultants will find you. Here are some of the most effective ways to get both internal and external publicity:
Get Known Inside Your Company
How do you build your internal image? Achievement is probably the best way to become known, but you can’t hide your light under a bushel basket; you must promote your achievements.
- Write articles. Most companies have internal communication vehicles, sometimes print publications, but increasingly intranets, blogs, e-mailed newsletters, and company Web pages highlighting accomplishments and individual achievements. Editors are always looking for good material.
- Take on big projects. When your employer seeks someone to lead the worldwide customer-satisfaction program, take it on! Volunteering means hard work but also leads to visibility and an ever-more-rapid escalation of your stock among peers. Eventually people outside the organization will learn of your achievements, whether through networks or a more direct spotlight on what you’re doing.
- Speak. Speaking disseminates your expertise outside the organization as well as inside. Build that traveling road show for your department, and take it around the world or to the sales force. Represent your group in important strategy-setting meetings or customer visits.
- Hold conferences, webinars, and meetings. A great way to gain visibility and show leadership is to offer to host or hold meetings to resolve important issues or design major strategic breakthroughs. Most of the time, your colleagues or managers will appreciate your going above and beyond, and the reputation you’ll gain as leader, organizer, and solver will promote your brand.
And, Get Known to the World
Getting noticed means making yourself noticeable. Sounds like common sense, but many competent professionals sit around and wait for their break. Bad practice! If you get lucky or are particularly good, you might get noticed that way. Just as magazine and newspaper editors are always hungry for material, so too are meeting planners, seminar leaders, associations, and other venues eager for material and leadership. If you have something to offer, you’ll get the chance. Your contribution doesn’t have to be breakthrough rocket science. Sharing even small but differentiated successes–or even successfully applying an industry best practice–will often get you there. And in some venues, all you need to do is make the effort. Here are some of the ways to get external visibility:
- Be active in industry or trade associations. Participate actively, or better yet, take leadership positions, in these organizations. Networking opportunities abound, and executive-search consultants read Web sites and printed material with your name on it. If you host meetings, find extraordinary speakers, speak yourself, edit or help with the newsletter, and go outside to find other excellence. Attend trade shows and organization events. Represent your company and staff your booth. Write papers, build knowledge and research.
- Speak. Offer to speak at seminars. You usually won’t get paid, though the organization that invites you will likely pay for your travel. External publicity begets internal publicity. Word gets around that you presented at the industry conference. More importantly, from a recruiting standpoint, executive-search consultants, particularly specialists, know who is talking because they follow the industry. Seeing your name, they will attempt to learn more about you, and may even try to see you speak or meet you.
- Write articles and be an expert source for the media. Writing articles produces much the same results as speaking. You get a chance to gel your thoughts and accomplishments into reader-friendly form, and your name and accomplishments get out there for the world–and executive-search consultants–to see. Get quoted by offering your thoughts, ideas, and opinions to journalists and reporters. Offer yourself as an expert to the media. Let local, regional–and even national–media editors know you’re willing to be interviewed and quoted on topics on which you’re an authority.
- Be active in your community. Volunteer work, civic service, and community activity provide evidence of leadership and effort beyond the normal course of duty, not to mention good opportunities for networking. Getting involved in local government, civic organizations, arts communities, charities, and the like can be well worth your time as you build your brand with executive-search consultants.
- Offer your services to the higher-education community. Make yourself available as a guest lecturer for clubs, organizations, and classes at local colleges and universities. Colleges embrace real-world business experience in the classroom, even from those lacking advanced degrees. Institutions of higher learning usually publicize guest presentations.
- Serve on advisory boards and boards of directors. Jump at invitations to join and participate on a corporate or nonprofit board, either in a decision-making or advisory capacity.
A branded online presence is vitally important. Here are a few ways to cultivate a presence:
- Establish a profile on a few key social-media sites, especially LinkedIn.
- Post and comment on key sites ¬– LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Show yourself to be a thought-leader.
- Consider constructing a professional Web site with a portfolio in which you can publish all your articles, speeches, and more. Buy a Web domain with your name as its centerpiece: SallySanderson.com, for example. You can also hire a Web designer to build your site.
- Start (and regularly maintain) a blog and comment on the blogs of others.
Essentially, you are in charge of MARKETING yourself, and getting noticed means doing some good marketing. Bottom line–you must build yourself as a brand through positioning yourself well and creating visibility. In doing so, you’ll not only get on the radar screen, but you’ll get there with a strong, clear image that is compelling to the executive-search consultant–and client employers.
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