An integral part of any executive’s career strategy should involve networking and forming relationships with executive search consultants. Whether embarking on a job search or proactively managing their career progression, all executives should make time to work with search consultants.

Although retained executives search consultants work for the hiring organization, not the candidate, it is possible to build mutually convenient relationships with them to improve your career.

call_from_executive_search_consultantLike with most professional relationships, creating advantageous networks can take time and so it is best to start cultivating them before you really need them.

Knowing how to make initial contact and maintain these relationships can be difficult which is why BlueSteps has provided below a beginners guide to networking with executive search consultants below.

Step One: Understanding How to Make Relationships Mutually Beneficial

Always take the call. When an executive search consultant contacts you, even if you are not currently looking for new opportunities, it is advisable to take the call. By spending a brief time on the phone with them, in 5-10 minutes you could create a vital new contact within the search community that you might later rely on in the future. If you are not actively searching for new positions, you could suggest other professionals in your existing network that might be right for the role, leaving both parties grateful for your help.

Acknowledge the search consultant’s priority. The search consultant is paid to find a candidate for their client (the company), so unless you match their current brief, they won’t be able to help you in your own job search at that time. But, providing helpful information and keeping on good terms with them will keep you in the search consultant’s mind should more suitable positions arise.

Step Two: Making Contact with Executive Search Consultants

Be selective. One of the biggest mistakes made by executive candidates is to send a mass email to a large number of search consultants. Search consultants can identify a mass email when they see one and will not respond. Instead, look for a search consultant in your particular field, industry, or region, and send them a personal email explaining why you would like to work with them. Keep your email concise and to the point, attaching an up-to-date copy of your resume/CV in a commonly used format such as Microsoft Word or PDF.

Step Three: In-Person Networking with Executive Search Consultants

Make the most of mutual connections. If you can arrange a personal referral to a search consultant by a professional associate or colleague, it would definitely be advantageous to do so. The executive search consultant will be more likely to respond to your request and potentially arrange time to discuss your situation further.

Look for industry and networking events. Researching industry events and seminars that your targeted search consultants might be attending is often a great way to make personal connections.

Step Four: Positioning Yourself as the Ideal Candidate

Be aware for your online brand. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is effectively written and up-to-date, with a profile picture. When your name is entered in a search engine, such as Google, your LinkedIn profile is usually the first search result to appear, so it is important to ensure that you are giving a good first impression to executive search consultants and potential employers. Speaking, writing blogs, books, and guest articles, and presenting webinars and TweetChats can also enhance your personal brand, by showcasing your industry expertise. This will help to increase your visibility to the search community. To gain further visibility, some executives might try serving on an advisory board or taking an adjunct faculty position. Executive search consultants are looking for experts in their fields, so it is important to look for opportunities to present yourself as one where you can. 

Keep your industry knowledge up to date. To become the ideal candidate it is important to keep up to speed with issues and trends in your industry and to network with those around you. Attending professional conferences can be a great way to fulfill both of these aims.

Have a resume/CV prepared. Aside from your online brand, if you are being considered for a role, you will generally be asked to produce a resume/CV, regardless of how senior or well-known you are. Make sure this document is well written and highlights your relevant experience to the specific job opportunity. It can be effective to tailor your resume/CV to put emphasis on those needed for a specific role, but remember to remain consistent as recruiters often keep older resumes on record too.

If you would like to gain more information about how to network with executive search consultants, you can check out our resources on the topic at our Career Insider.


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