The process of connecting with others to exchange ideas, information, knowledge and develop professionals or social contacts is called networking.
Networking is something we often hear as we grow in our careers. In fact, based on the studies, 3.6 Billion people around the globe were using social media to network, and about 85% of job vacancies were filled through networking.
Most of the time, jobs are not publicly published, for they are internally announced in the company or created specifically for candidates that recruiters meet through networking. It is intriguing how top-levels successfully hire the person in their networks.
Read this write-up to learn how you can network with executives and build relationships with them.
What is the role of networking?
Whether you are attending a conference, waiting for the bus, clarifying your taxes on the company accounting department, or in line for your coffee, you can make a set of peer networks through networking. The role of executive networking is to make new friends, professional relationships, and even business partners.
Successful executive networking develops long-term relations with mutual benefits with the people you meet in different places. You don’t have to be registered and attend every physical event hosted by event organizers to meet new people. In today’s technological era, all you have to do is grab your smartphone and connect with other professionals virtually.
Networking and professional relationships are powerful tools to help you quickly progress your career. That being said, you must suit yourself with networking skills to access new opportunities.
The following are some of the importance of executive networking.
I. Helps you find your next job
One good reason to enhance your networking efforts, knowledge, and skills is the possibility of gaining a new job. Many companies do not advertise open positions or projects, so having contacts in the industry you are working for or another field that you are interested in seeking careers in is a crucial idea.
The contacts in your network can also help you get into big companies by giving you a referral or connecting you with the hiring manager, human resources, or decision-makers directly. But, when you are in the process of making a connection with different people, make sure that you are not talking to the person just asking for a new job.
Remember that networking means building trust and rapport. So take things slow and let the person you are talking to connect with you whenever they are in need of someone who can solve problems in their work.
II. Set you up for future growth
Many people see networking as a backup plan that should only be done when searching for a new job. Networking is indeed helpful during a job search, but it is also important even if you are not looking for new work. The reason is that building your network sustainably will help you to have the resources that you will need if there is a time you think of doing a career change.
Starting to do networking as early as possible can lead to a powerful group of connections to whom you can reach out when you need to. Besides, if you learn how to take good care of those relationships effectively, then there is a high chance that they will think of you and won’t hesitate to help you.
III. Gives you a network of resources
Many tend to forget that as you connect and build relationships with more people and professionals, you can improve the day-to-day practices you have at work. Suppose you are working on a challenging company project and need some insights or ideas on a particular aspect of it or need someone with different expertise to collaborate with. In that case, there are people in your network you can approach.
IV. Help you to grow as a professional
Aside from all the benefits mentioned above of networking, it can also help you grow as a professional simply by finding mentorship opportunities.
There are so many ideas, leadership styles, and knowledge that you can learn from different professionals, executives, and successful people in your field or leaders who built careers you admire from other industries. Most of them are willing to share their perspective insights and even give you advice with practices on how to develop professionally.
Having one or more mentors, professionals, or leaders on your contacts is essential for growing your career. So if you identify someone who could be your potential mentor, learn to be genuine with them. If you have a successful executive networking with them, chances are they will be looking forward to your success and can offer much-need guidance whenever you are in need.
V. Enables you to meet new people
Even though business networking is primarily career-oriented, it can also be about connecting with people who have something common with you.
You do not need to complicate things when finding common ground; you can start with the persons working in the same industry or field as you. But sometimes it gets broader, like belonging to a specific group of women or minorities in a particular industry, being young professionals, being officially connected with the same institution, etc.
Building relationships with these people may or may not help you ahead of your career, but indeed networking with them will help you to know more people, broaden your contacts, leadership, and both your personal and professional knowledge and perspectives.
But keep in mind that you never know what might come from your connections. Just enjoy the networking process and let yourself be open to lots of new opportunities, ideas, industries, etc.
How do I network an executive job?
Find your purpose
Assuming that you do not have any clear definition of business goals or purpose for networking, you shall reassess yourself because you have to be specific in your purpose when doing executive networking.
Networking will be most effective if you have a clear goal in mind. Therefore when talking and making business relationships, make sure that you commit yourself to make your contacts grow and develop.
As you provide value to the people you add to your contacts, you will find that networking creates more fulfilling and efficient business connections.
Networking is something you do not want to do out of thin air. You shall come prepared to take advantage of your networking efforts successfully.
Also, you shall check the information about you on your website or social media account if it is updated and easy to find. Additionally, before you talk to executives, you may do some research about them by knowing their general background or interests, so you can find common ground and see where you would start when you approach them.
Co-founder, executive director, decision-makers, and young professionals from a different industry can be seen in events arranged by professional associations. These associations, companies, or groups host conferences, seminars, workshops, informal meetings, and other networking engagements.
You may have the chance to meet the professionals by participating in the organizers’ niche-related events. Once you register for the virtual or in-person events, be ready to make connections and give out your business card or a link to your profile.
Networking is a give-and-take relationship. There will be a time that your networks will ask you for some help or need some expertise. Whenever you can’t provide what they are looking for because you have a pile of workload, you can endorse them to your peers, friends, and colleagues.
When this happens, do not think of it as a losing opportunity. Instead, think of it as building trust and rapport with your networks. Also, there are times that you can’t do everything yourself, and it is highly suggested not to bombard yourself with tasks that you can’t handle.
You must learn to help your other networks, so do not hesitate to recommend it if you know a person among your contacts who can make it better. In this way, you can build a quality, better, and more robust network.
Maintain ongoing connections
Of course, each person that you meet becomes another branch in your network. You wouldn’t know how they can help you at no particular time. As a result, learn to keep in touch with your ongoing network by staying in touch, meeting up on occasion, and checking in on each other.
Respect their time
Every single one of us wants to use our time to the fullest and in the most productive way possible. Having said that, if you’re able to get a minute of an executive’s time, make sure that you use it wisely.
When talking to them, get directly to the point and do not keep them in the conversation longer unless they show or tell you so. That is why before you attend an event, it is suggested that you practice an excellent quality elevator speech in advance.
Enjoy making networks
You cannot benefit from networking if you are not enjoying the process. You should not do networking just because you seek a job or are forced to. Let yourself get into the flow and network smoothly.
It is also essential to keep in mind that networking is not about meeting as many people as possible. You would want to be connected with the people who can make a difference in your life and those who can motivate you.
How do you network a high-level executive?
Most of the time, higher executives join or speak in networking events. These high-level executives are the Presidents, Vice Presidents, Chairman, CEO, Board of Directors, or top tier or top-level management from any organization or company.
Networking with senior-level professionals is a fantastic way to boost your professional and personal development. If you are the kind of person who is trying to reach for the big shot and wants to network with high-level executives, the following are some pointers that you may want to go after.
A. Start the conversation
The high-level decision-makers in companies are just human beings too. Do not be afraid of approaching them during the event because they are sure looking forward to meeting many people with different expertise.
B. Break the barrier
Executive leaders are once like you. Joining events and wondering if they can offer their company service to another organization, meet other people with expertise to solve the problems they have, etc.
So, if you want to meet them potentially, learn to break the barrier and approach them. However, keep in mind to treat them how you want to be treated in return.
C. Respect their time
Keep in mind that high-level executives want to use their time to their full potential. When they give you a portion of their time, it means they want to get to know you more, so give value, respect, and use their time correctly.
If ever you messaged them on their social media account or sent an email aiming to catch up to them, they may not be able to see your messages on time for some reason, like being busy at work. Having that said, be patient and wait until they notice you.
D. Get to the point
In line with respecting their time is getting to the point. They do not want people beating around the bush and getting out of the topic. To effectively network with them, you shall get directly to the point.
E. Offer your help
High-ranking executives aren’t experts in everything, and they occasionally require assistance. So, you can provide and give them a hand when you have something that you can offer. But! Make sure that it is indeed pure help, not a sales pitch or job search. Also, if you give them some service as help, do not expect anything in return.
F. Ask for advice
You are not attending networking events just to meet people or contacts working big in the business industry. You are in the event to learn some ways to enhance your leadership skills.
So, don’t be afraid to seek advice from people in networking. These people are happy to help others and share the same values. Do not hesitate to ask advice from those you can imagine as your mentor. They can potentially help you take your step to success.
G. No pitching in your first meeting
Always remember that do not pitch in your first meeting with the top-tier management. It will negatively impact them, or worse, they will not accept you in their team.
Build a quality relationship, enjoy connecting with them and let the opportunity knock on your door.
Always be yourself when attending networking events, be considerate, and enjoy spending time with like-minded people around you.