Over the last several months I have started growing my “brand” to increase my exposure to the world. In my search for a new job, there are a few processes that one needs to have in place.
First, you have to network. It sounds hard and it could be depending on how you go about it. Never forget the people you worked with or went to school with. That guy in the mailroom might be working at a better position at another firm. Your college professor might be working as a consultant now and remembers what a good student you were. Always keep a rolodex of contacts and try to stay in touch with them periodically. Never burn your bridges unless you really have to and even then do not do it. And always enlist your friends and family. They are a good source to network for you.
Second, get on social networking sites like LinkedIn or Facebook. I have recently gotten on Facebook and I am still trying to find my way around as a tool. LinkedIn is a must for any professional. I have grown my network ten-fold without leaving my house. As a tool you can target individuals and groups that meet your interests. Your profile should always be up-to-date and you should have recommendations and connections to people.
Third, if you are an executive you should be writing. Whether in print or online you should do so. This gets your name out and grows your reputation and brand. It also keeps you thinking and your mind active. Starting a blog is free and easy to get started. In this day and age there is no reason not to be publishing something.
Fourth, join professional groups. I belong to TENG and as a group I think they are fabulous. Groups bring together people with similar backgrounds and interests. Do a search on Yahoo groups to find those relevant to you. Also Meetup.com is also another site that has groups that might be of interest. It is not necessary to join only professional groups but join those that are fun like golf or photography. Who knows, your golf club group might have people that can help you.
Fifth, subscription sites like The Ladders or Bluesteps should be approached cautiously. I have had some success with sites like this but overall I do not recommend them. Also free sites like Dice and Monster are a total waste for anyone with a lot of experience.
Sixth, have a handful of recruiters ready. Most senior level jobs, when available, are usually sent through a recruiting agency. So it is best to have a few that know you on your call list. Always remember, recruiters do not work for you but for their clients.
Last, it is important to give back. If you do land a position, remember that are many more out there without work. If you can help someone then you should. You will sleep better at night.