One of the biggest mistakes that C-level executives make as they search for new jobs remains failing to build relationships. At the chief level, much networking takes place in person, but social media and online connections should also play a large role in someone’s strategy. While C-level talent does not typically look for new jobs through network like LinkedIn, they can build important relationships by creating accounts on these sites and remaining actively involved with the professional community. Many recruiters use these sites to passively recruit, meaning that they will look for names that continuously turn up and then keep tabs on that person for future positions.
The LinkedIn C-level Executive Network
In 2008, LinkedIn created a specialized C-level Executive Network to meet the special needs of these business leaders. To join the network, individuals must apply and submit their resumes, which are reviewed to ensure that they meet qualifications. This network is a sort of inner circle that allows people at this level to forge and strengthen professional relationships. Frequently, this network is a place for industry leaders to recruit for new positions as they become available. Individuals can rarely find advertised C-level positions, so knowing the other executives in a particularly industry can help in terms of both recruitment for one’s own company and securing a job at a different organizations. However, recruiters do not have access to this network and will be unable to search for a person unless that individual uses the generalized LinkedIn network.
The LinkedIn exclusive network may be a good place to start, but different industries may emphasize other social media networks. C-level executives should remain aware of the tools their colleagues are using to connect to each other and perhaps even engage in conversations with friends and coworkers about their professional use of social media. Some industry-specific networks have become especially popular in recent years.
The Importance of Social Media Engagement
C-level professionals are industry leaders and thus have a great deal of advice and insight to offer the world. Social media provides the perfect outlet for creative and engaging content on a wide variety of topics. People can make posts on LinkedIn, but they should also consider other popular networks like Twitter, Facebook, and blogging platforms. Engagement means more than just making posts, but also interacting with other people’s content. When C-level executives reply to content, they can quickly build their brand while also strengthening connections. Interacting with other executives and business leaders can expand a professional network, but engaging with other individuals, including recruiters, can significantly widen a network so that when the job search begins, these individuals have a number of options.
Engagement also expands beyond individuals. C-level executives should view social media as a way to stay current with their industry and research what other companies in their sector are doing. Business leaders should remain aware of the goals of related companies where they might work in the future. When a C-level executive has his or her finger on the pulse of a particular industry, that executive brings a great deal of value to a new company.
Becoming Searchable on Social Media
The other reason to make connections through social media is to become searchable. This way, other people can also reach out when they want to create a relationship. Searchability depends on filling out profiles completely and keeping them updated. Sometimes, C-level executives fill out the bare minimum in a profile, which can raise suspicions about the legitimacy of the profile in addition to discouraging communication.
When C-level professionals join a social network, they need to have a clear idea of their brand and keep the brand consistent across platforms. If the LinkedIn profile emphasizes a professional’s innovative programs and ability to spur the development of industry-defining technology, but the Facebook profile talks about driving profits through double-digit growth, the brand inconsistency can hurt that person’s image when it comes time for an interview. A brand is defining, so people must decide whether they want to be known as the innovator or the profit-driver when they go in for the interview.
Understanding the brand and image that they want to portray empowers C-level executives to make the most of keywords as they create profiles across various social media profiles. Keywords should be repeated throughout the content in all of the profiles so that those traits become tied to the person’s name. If a recruiter wants an innovator and types in both “innovation” and “chief executive officer” into a Google search, the executive spoken about before has a better chance of coming up toward the top if both LinkedIn and Facebook emphasize innovation. The chances improve even more if that individual frequently tweets about the topic of innovation.
Keeping Professional and Personal Lives Separate
Just as with all professionals, C-level executives should keep their personal accounts distinct from their work-related profiles. This task becomes a bit more complicated for C-level executives since their brand is tied more to their names than the names of their companies. Many people create aliases or forego personal use altogether to avoid and potential confusion. C-level executives are largely public figures even if their names are not in the headlines. These people represent their companies and a social media hiccup could potentially shut doors.