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Can your next leadership job find you?

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Business is about relationships, trust, and network circles. So when it comes to job hunting, how can you use your relationships and ‘digital circles of influence’ to find your next position?

Let's begin with a short Q&A:

  • During your career, how many times have you come to a role by applying for it
  • How many times has a role come to you… through a personal introduction, reference or invitation?
  • Have you had roles where your CV/resume was a formality?
  • Have you had roles where relationships were what opened the door of opportunity?

I think I can guess how you answered these questions. I know my answers to these questions, and from years in management and senior leadership roles, I owe many introductions to opportunity to relationships.

  • Business is about relationships, about trust, about network circles.
  • Business is about who you know, who knows you, and, what you are known for.

The difference is that ten years ago, business was about personal relations gained through direct professional circles of face to face interaction. Today, it’s about personal relationships extended, and often originated, in ‘digital circles of influence’.

The outcomes of digital networking and the consequent relationships can catalyse. Digital networking (through social channels like LinkedIn, Twitter, professional groups, chats, video platforms and the like) creates and catalyses collisions with people; collisions that are often unexpected, usually unanticipated, and sometimes fateful.

What’s also key to understand is that these collisions can be accelerated by specific digital activities and behaviours. I talk about this as serendipity and creating collisions of unplanned mutual benefit.

Can job opportunities come to you?

Back to the opening questions. Rather than believing you can find you next job and competing with all the other qualified leaders for a small set of listed positions, what if you used a different strategy? What if opportunities came to you? What if you were presented with choices and you had the luxury of choosing from a stream of options that happened to align with your values, with your interests, with your strengths, with what you are known for?

Well, it can… and it’s happening today. Leaders with an intentional digital brand build credibility, build authority, build trust and build a reputation and network that circles around what they are passionate about and driven by. We like to think of this as your purpose. 

What are you here to serve and what if people who were looking for someone who is already imbued with that purpose?

Navigating the hidden job market

Our research has shown recruiters’ views that too many candidates are dependent upon advertised jobs. According to many recruiters we spoke to, part of the problem is that candidates expect positions to present themselves, often in the form of advertised posts.

Statistics support this view. Only 37% of candidates think their next role will come from the unadvertised jobs market. In reality, over 70% of senior executive positions can be found in this ‘hidden’ jobs market.That’s 63% of candidates competing for 30% of all senior level jobs.

Imagine the opportunities for you, as the #1 market leader in a market of one. Every organisation is different, with a unique culture, set of values, guiding principles and experience requirements. Likewise, each of us has a unique set of values, guiding life principles and set of hard earned skills and knowledge built through a unique experience career history.

Many of you are not necessarily in the right position for you; in other words, you may be finding yourself in a place not aligned with your values, fully utilising your strengths, or, you may be looking to make a pivot in your career. Any of these is a good reason to start ramping up your social & digital activities.

Tips to engage in social & digital

  • Publish, and publish regularly (even when in a new role, not just during a job search)
  • Make published articles helpful and informative to the reader, and aimed primarily at prospective employers or recruiters; showcase your skills
  • Remember to engage in Twitter; there are many recruiters and employers who use Twitter. Use searches to find those you are seeking to engage with
  • Create protected diary time every week to engage in social & digital; don’t use ‘time’ as an excuse, as this is all about ‘choosing’ to prioritise these activities
  • Re-Tweet, Share, Like, Comment (on LinkedIn) on other people’s articles that you find relevant and interesting 
  • Approach all of this with a true ‘win-win’ mind set and it will serve you well, so try to avoid the coming across as pushy or needy

If you truly want to focus on the hidden (unadvertised) job market, these steps are a great way to get started. 


Love this? For more information and advice from Executive Connexions, visit

Steve Nicholls

By Steve Nicholls

Steve is MD of Career Coaching Firm Executive Connexions Ltd., Communications House, 26 York Street, London W1U 6PZ, 020 3384 4188. Website:

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