If you’re like most C-level executives, you credit networking for your success in landing jobs. You know that openings at your level are rarely, if ever, posted somewhere for you to find.
Networking can be done spontaneously – striking up a conversation with someone standing next to you in the checkout line, or deliberately – connecting with your hopefully vibrant and diverse existing professional network.
When you come up empty looking for leads within your own network, it’s time to expand your reach, identify new opportunities, and connect with new pools of resources.
A first step is researching companies and industries you may not have explored before, and tracking down decision makers or “warm leads” at companies of interest to you.
Finding the right companies and the right direct contacts or leads to target will require concerted effort and hard work. Your payoff – circumventing the gatekeepers entirely and getting your foot in the door for new opportunities. An added benefit – extending your network.
To get you started, here are 3 lists of “best companies” followed by some suggestions on how to network your way in:
Fortune Magazine – Best Companies To Work For (2009)
Their top 10:
2. Edward Jones
3. Boston Consulting
8. Methodist Hospital
9. Goldman Sachs
10. Nugget Market
Included for each company are detailed profiles and valuable stats on benefits, percentage of job growth over last year, salaries for common jobs, breakdown of diversity, etc.
Forbes Magazine – Best Companies (2008) has multiple lists, including America’s 200 Best Small Companies
Their top 10:
2. DXP Enterprises
4. Quality Systems
5. PetMed Express
6. PetroQuest Energy
8. LHC Group
9. Quicksilver Resources
Includes company profiles, market data, wires headlines, and plenty of financial stats.
Fortune’s 100 Fastest-growing companies for 2008
Their top 10:
1. Arena Resources
2. T-3 Energy Services
3. Allis-Chalmers Energy
4. Bucyrus International
5. DXP Enterprises
6. National Oilwell Varco
7. Sigma Designs
8. Atwood Oceanics
9. Intuitive Surgical
Includes CEOs names, a brief profile, competitors, and various revenue stats.
Now you have some possible companies and decision makers to target. Here are a few suggestions for your networking action plan:
♦ Network into decision making circles through LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other online social networks.
♦ Search LinkedIn “People”, “Companies”, and “Groups”. If you already have names of decision makers, look for their profiles. If you don’t have a person’s name, search by company for top-level people. Then begin gently connecting with them.
♦ If you know someone connected to the company or decision maker, ask for an introduction.
♦ Get yourself in front of the right people and be more memorable than your competition.
♦ Offer value by “giving to get”. Find ways to help them while at the same time keeping yourself top of mind with them.
For more tips on networking your way in, read Top 10 Tactics to Build a Vibrant Executive Network.