In a recent survey of global BlueSteps members, director-level and above, 90.2% of respondents indicated their intent to seek a new position in 2016. That’s the highest response since BlueSteps commenced member surveys in 2010.

A few questions come to mind: How will those executives conduct their job search? Will they place their emphasis on tapping their network or will they tirelessly scan the internet and company websites in their quest for a new opportunity?

In a job search, your network is your net worth.

With over 396 million members, LinkedIn is one of the largest online professional networking services in the world. According to recent statistics, it lists approximately three million jobs and is used by 87 percent of recruiters to source and research candidates.

If you are not on LinkedIn, you not only missing out on a great opportunity to further your own personal brand, but you are also missing out on the opportunity to network with fellow professionals and increase your visibility among the executive search community.

I suspended a sign from the ceiling in the main hallway of an agency I ran that announced, “The better directions you give us, the faster we get where you want us to go.” It was mutually inclusive – both clients and agency staff learned to be better at expressing themselves with absolute clarity.

The digital age has tossed that concept out the window.

Brand Language

BlueSteps recently hosted an #ExecCareer Chat on the topic of networking with executive search consultants, featuring John Touey, from Salveson Stetson Group, and Luis Truchado, from Odgers Berndtson.

Some of the questions asked included:

It is the age of individual PR! Never before has there been an opportunity for professionals to reach out to others across cities, professions and age brackets using, literally, the power of the Internet. While social networks are quite the rage globally, they are not immune to the cultural differences which permeate the physical world we live in. The massive population of APAC (60 percent of the world) combined with the demographic dividend of a young and digitally savvy generation, means that the likes of Mark Zuckerberg place these countries high on their priority list.

Here are a few tips to bear in mind while you’re leveraging the massive power of social media to network and to showcase your strengths and accomplishments.

Research consistently identifies networking—both on-line and offline—as an important job search strategy with 60-80% of hires attributed to networking.

Through the process of information, advice and referral conversations executives can also uncover business needs that lead to job opportunities (known as the “hidden job market”). These positions may be filled through employee referrals, executive search consultants, or direct contact with hiring managers through networking.)

The following tips will help you identify who is in your network and how to use these connections to find your next career move.

Let’s face it: CFOs are not the best networkers. Some of us are better than others, but for the most part we sit in our offices and manage numbers, strategy, administration, IT infrastructure and whatever else falls under our purview – responsibilities which seem to be growing every year. But the reality is that we all need to be great networkers.

Whether you are actively searching for a new position or simply want to keep your finger on the pulse of the job market, forging relationships with executive search consultants is an essential part of a successful career strategy.

Networking is a two-way street.

networking_executive_search_consultantsRemember, you need to create reciprocal relationships with recruiters. Approach a search consultant with the same attitude of building a mutually beneficial connection as you would when introducing yourself to any other executive for the first time.

Achieving and maintaining a successful executive career in today’s world requires acknowledging the largely global nature of business. It encompasses not only your home country but many countries and regions worldwide.

It’s hard to imagine that any executive could succeed long term without recognizing this fact. Global business = global outreach and interaction. Even small companies can achieve success on the global stage if they employ the most effective strategies and tools.

So if you’re one of the holdouts who think they either (a) don’t need a robust LinkedIn profile or (b) can’t risk having a strong profile for some reason—I recommend you think again!

Too often we overlook the opportunities for making new connections offered up at conferences, trade shows, meetings, institute seminars. Our attention gravitates to current contacts, the people we know. Our minds wander back to the office too frequently. How much of our time is spent online, texting or on the phone with our office? Or, do we cloister ourselves off with our colleagues and customers to the exclusion of all others?