One of the most frequently asked questions of search firms and recruitment agencies is ‘how do I get on your radar’ or ‘how do I get noticed?’
My semi-facetious response is usually ‘make sure you have some real achievements and a track record that is worthy of being noticed’.
Following are my top ten tips for anyone who wants to know, “how do I get noticed or on the radar.”
Ensure you have a credible and referenceable track record that demonstrates your ability to accept and implement accountability, with and through others. Document your achievements, analyse and understand failures, and write up ‘lessons learned’. Be clear about where you have really ‘added value’, delivered more than was expected, helped solve an intractable problem, or shaped and implemented an innovative policy, process, product or deliverable.
Always manage upwards in a thoughtful, consistent and considered manner. Part of your role is to help make others successful, particularly those to whom you report. You need to ensure they know what you are doing, that there are ‘no surprises’. Let them know of your successes and alert them early to problems. Know their agenda and what they need to do to be successful. And it is always helpful to be across how your boss earns his or her bonus.
An important part of your network is your stakeholders, whether they are key clients, community groups, your peers, or the chair of your board committee. Are you providing what they need from you, in a timely and appropriate manner? Do you keep them in the loop sufficiently? They can be some of your best supporters if you are well engaged with them.
Ensure you know your own story, that you have captured your achievements and internalised them. You need to be articulate about your work and accomplishments, in every situation, whether it is in the office, sitting next to someone at a breakfast networking meeting, or when stuck in the elevator with your CEO or Board Chair.
Do not shy away from dealing with conflict situations and ambiguity—both can be great sources of energy. Constructively challenging and being challenged should be part of every robust team experience. Understand the differences between ‘content’ and ‘relational’ conflict and how your own emotional intelligence attributes will shape your default response. Dealing effectively with conflict and ambiguity is what leaders and managers need to do particularly well.
Become a good internal and external networker. Being professionally involved demonstrates your willingness to have new experiences and a focus on curiosity and continued learning. It might also mean you have become accustomed to ‘giving back’.
Celebrate milestones and make sure your team gets the credit they deserve. Your team members are also some of your most positive advocates—and of course they can also be the most negative, so make sure you never take them for granted.
Accept some workshop, writing / blogging, roundtable or conference-speaking opportunities, making sure of course that you have something of substance to contribute. Those who are constantly on the speaker circuit can lose credibility, but taking some opportunities is likely to mean that you have some achievements and experiences worth sharing. It also requires that you exercise discipline in putting together your thoughts, clarifying those achievements, and working through the best way to convey them to others.
Have an informative, concise, achievement-focused CV (which can then form the basis of your LinkedIn Profile). I read a lot of CVs and too often they are too long, meandering, self-indulgent and miss the ‘essence’ of achievements and capabilities. Four pages should be plenty, with a good size font, not a miniscule one. Just remember that in many instances the person reading it won’t have your fabulous eyesight. They might not have heard of one or two of your places of employment, so don’t assume they know the company and so provide a one-sentence explanation about what each does. Make sure those four pages include a concise and informative summary of everything relevant on the first page.
In many cases a good presence on LinkedIn is important. It is a key tool for identifying candidates, and companies, government agencies, search firms and recruiters use it extensively. Ditch the photo of you at a wedding or on the ski slopes. Replace it with a good professional one. Ensure your profile is succinct, informative, achievement focused, accurate and not more than a couple of screens.
Adapted from:The Agile Executive: Embracing Career Risks and Rewards by Marianne Broadbent