In a survey conducted by Robert Half Management Resources, 45 per cent of chief financial officers (CFOs) polled said they now prefer to network professionally through online social media rather than relying on face-to-face connections. Still, savvy professionals who stay abreast of industry trends like these know their networking strategies now require a multipronged approach that encompasses both real-world and digital connections. The goal, of course, is to make connections with fellow thought leaders and decision-makers, and it's best to do this before you start testing the waters for a new career move.
Having an impressive industry-focused contact list can be a great asset. However, if you're truly committed to growing your professional network and finding new career opportunities, adding a reputable staffing agency (or employment agency, recruiter or search firm – they're often called by various names) to your list of contacts is one of the smartest steps you can take.
Here's how connecting with a staffing agency can benefit you:
More than finding you a job
Staffing specialists are dedicated to helping candidates land fulfilling jobs, and to do this, these skilled representatives are often experts in specific fields, like finance or risk management. For example, many of Robert Half Management Resources' professionals have experience in the finance or accounting fields themselves, which means they know what it takes to manage a demanding workload and do the job well. They can provide industry resources and share trends and demands in the executive job market before you begin a job search and during one.
By establishing a personal connection with a staffing specialist and adding him or her to your network, you have one more person – a connected one at that – interested in helping you stay abreast of industry trends.
Extending your reach
A reputable staffing agency works with successful companies, and its staffing professionals cultivate relationships within those companies that can be of benefit to you. For example, upon learning more about your background and professional experience, they may see opportunities for you to work with companies or industries you hadn't previously considered.
Even if you're not actively on the job hunt, you can still reap the benefits of having somebody with insider knowledge in your network, as the staffing representative to whom you're connected may reach out to you about positions or searches that haven't even been advertised yet.
Digital and real-time opportunities
Social media is firmly established in our lives, and, as noted earlier, CFOs are gravitating toward networking online rather than in person. Adding a staffing agency to your network opens the doorways to new online communities, natural spaces to meet C-level leaders and interact with them.
Connecting with a trusted recruiter via LinkedIn further extends your network through theirs. Staffing firms often have a presence on social media. By connecting with your recruiter and/or your agency, you can stay abreast of industry news, new resources and new job openings in real time.
While social media is an excellent and effective way to leverage high-tech networks, don't neglect attending real-time events, as face-to-face interaction is as important as it ever was. Many a staffing agency hosts offline networking events that your agency specialist can let you know about. The chance to speak with local business leaders and discuss professional and common concerns in a social setting can lay the groundwork for future opportunities.
By creating a robust digital and personal network, you'll establish a priceless set of relationships. Adding a trusted staffing agency to this group offers you the ability to stay current with trends and news in accounting and finance and develop one-on-one relationships with industry experts.