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I've been networking (or trying to) with senior executives (VP/C-level) over the last few months, in search for my next role. I've had some success in scoring brief conversations with a few generous folks, but am yet to land a role.

In a recent (2-3 weeks ago) such networking attempt with a VP at a F500 company, I expressed my desire/excitement to find a good fit role in the VPs org/the company. 2 weeks later I noticed an opening reporting into the VP that was an ideal role (but I can imagine very competitive too) so I reached back out to the VP (via LinkedIn) to re-express interest. He suggested that I apply and that he will speak to the recruiting team about me (his words). The role was posted externally only for 5 days, and yesterday I got a system rejection notification.

I'm unsure as to whether the rejection was a recruiter oversight or a 'genuine' rejection where I was trumped by someone with better experience or whether they already had someone in mind (in which case I don't understand the VPs suggestion for me to apply when they had the intention to reject). Regardless, I'd like to express continued interest in roles in his org (he is new to the company and is likely going to expand the team).

How should I best articulate my ongoing interest, in a professional but non-desperate way (on this occasion but hoping to use the approach for similar future occasions as well)?

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  • Have you worked as a VP, director, or CEO of a company (large or medium) before ? Commented Aug 17, 2023 at 22:25

3 Answers 3

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How should I best articulate my ongoing interest, in a professional but non-desperate way (on this occasion but hoping to use the approach for similar future occasions as well)?

I don't think you have anything to lose by simply messaging them.

At worst, he previously fobbed you off by suggesting you apply, in which case whether you appear desperate now makes no real difference.

At best you either get some feedback or at least explain why you weren't at the interviews and are still interested.

Just make the message short, polite and positive.

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  • Thanks. I did write a short direct message, without any expectations of a response, essentially expressing gratitude for their time & consideration and openness to receiving any feedback on my credentials, as well remaining interested in working under their leadership (which is a genuine desire since his vision for his org is exactly the type of challenge I'm seeking next. Hence my desire to seek a closure on this immediate outcome)
    – Freewill
    Commented Aug 18, 2023 at 6:06
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I'm unsure as to whether the rejection was a recruiter oversight or a 'genuine' rejection where I was trumped by someone with better experience or whether they already had someone in mind (in which case I don't understand the VPs suggestion for me to apply when they had the intention to reject). Regardless, I'd like to express continued interest in roles in his org (he is new to the company and is likely going to expand the team).

From my experience I never directed a desired out-of-process candidate into the black hole of "apply here". I did so with people I wanted to politely fob off. Though keep in mind that I work exclusively with <100 employee companies.

I've been networking (or trying to) with senior executives (VP/C-level) over the last few months, in search for my next role. I've had some success in scoring brief conversations with a few generous folks, but am yet to land a role.

I think you are confusing genuine networking with trying to "weasel" (not in bad or nefarious way) your way past the initial screening proces.

In genuine networking we score conversation, exchange views, ideas and build a relationship. It takes effort, and it takes time, before you can reliably "cash it in" for something you want. How much time and effort is not really quantifiable or universal in any way shape or form, but it's generally past the point where communication between parties goes from artificially prompted (by you wanting to be remembered about) to more organically happening.

Where if you rush towards the "hey, got a job for me?" benefit, well, I don't really know who you are, why are you worth my time, and I got inbox chock full of people doing exactly what you are doing. It's obviously transparent that you are not really here because you think our relationship is mutually beneficial, instead you are hunting for an edge that benefits your job search.

How should I best articulate my ongoing interest, in a professional but non-desperate way (on this occasion but hoping to use the approach for similar future occasions as well)?

You need to show what value does the other person gain from giving you their time.

As the old saying goes: time is money, and that also is true with deciding which cold call to answer. If you can very quickly show to someone your value, and by chance that value is helping a problem the person faces, you are in a good track to create a mutually beneficial relationship.

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  • Thanks. Great points and don't disagree that building a network takes time. My intention to every person whom I've reached out to network with on LinkedIn is very clear from the very outset: I'm looking for a job. Anyone responding to my networking request is thus already aware of the ask incl. this VP. Also, he did say he'd nudge the recruiting team. I don't get upset at people reaching out to me for jobs when they need one. Q here is very specific: what/how to reach back out as a followup to the rejection to seek feedback/thoughts and express continued interest in joining their team/org.
    – Freewill
    Commented Aug 17, 2023 at 12:16
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    @Freewill if that's the question, this is almost certainly a duplicate questions, we have many answers on how to handle a job rejection, and possibly network after. But honestly I think you are overstating how much effort the person put towards your candidature. Not trying to be mean, just from being on the other side you get dozens of those messages daily.
    – Aida Paul
    Commented Aug 17, 2023 at 12:32
  • Thanks. Perhaps you're right that I'm overestimating my candidature/their effort. But I guess the alternative is to forget about it & move on, which I find rather immature & non-productive. Especially if my intention is to stay tight with this leader in hopes for finding another better aligned role in the future. I don't want to just disappear without proper closing/concluding the pursuit. It's only professional to do so.
    – Freewill
    Commented Aug 17, 2023 at 13:05
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    @Freewill This is where I think you are confusing things. You started that relation as very muich job search, this was cleared in your recent comment, but now you are trying to turn it into more natural relationship. It's a thing you can try, but just not what you asked in the original question. Maybe open another question how to achieve exactly that, and add some explanation why do you think that relationship is as important. But I don't think it will be any different than "how to network from a cold call" type of question so searching may give you the answer quickly.
    – Aida Paul
    Commented Aug 17, 2023 at 13:55
  • You can intend all you like; you're almost never going to succeed in this approach. They certainly intend to forget it, and you haven't offered any reason they should feel differently. Like it or not, an application does not create a relationship unless you are a truly exceptional individual, and persistence alone will rarely change that. The universal practice is to just move in, and if you're the only one who thinks that's somehow immature...
    – keshlam
    Commented Aug 18, 2023 at 14:20
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Networking has been oversold and mis-described. It can't be manufactured out of a passing contact. If they don't consider you at least a friend, it ain't gonna happen.

If you insist on trying to network with executives, they need to be interested in you as an individual. The classic (bad) way to try to manufacture that connection was to take up a sport or hobby the executive pursued on a regular basis (stereotypically golf, or in the 1980's tennis) and spend entirely too much time and effort getting to know them there. It never worked as well as people thought it might, which is why it's a stereotype. Being known doesn't guarantee being liked; it may turn indifference into active dislike, especially if you're doung it for selfish reasons.

If you want to network, network with your peers and near-peers when it happens more naturally -- at a user group meeting or trade show, or just when you're working with them and/or talking to them on a regular basis. But don't expect it to magically solve your career challenges. At best it may give you an occasional edge.

Basically, if you're making an active effort to network with specific individuals, and you aren't a salesman, you're probably doing it wrong. Just make friends. And then let your friends know when you're looking.

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  • Thanks. Agreed, thst networking is oversold for it's impact. That said, I don't view networking in the same context as going golfing and trying to find a common vein. To me that's akin to lobbying. Or perhaps the meaning has changed in recent times. It's a transaction to me: you have a need, I may have a solution to offer. I reach out to discuss. If it works, we move further. If it doesn't, it's a mere discussion. This VP is new to this company, is expanding his team and I have skills that can benefit & I happen to be looking for a job too. It's mutual as long as my skills are useful.
    – Freewill
    Commented Aug 17, 2023 at 15:42
  • But if I didn't make the cut for an interview for whatever reason, I don't think it's meaningless to conclude by expressing continued interest for a future role that may be ideal: I'm not useless nor are my skills, so I know for fact I have valuable skills to offer. It's about how competitive I am, how persistent I am & how effective I can be. How/what do I say in conclusion without sounding desperate (which perhaps I am to some extent given I've been looking for a job since April)
    – Freewill
    Commented Aug 17, 2023 at 15:45
  • If you didn't get called in for an interview there isn't much you can do except watch for other job listings and apply again, I'm afraid; they're just not interested enough that you gained any traction. If you did get an interview, follow up immediately with a note thanking them for their time, telling them that you remain excited by the idea of working for their company, and saying that if they think you'd be a better fit for another position you would greatly appreciate them calling your attention to it and/or passing along your application info. Then move on and continue hunting elsewhere
    – keshlam
    Commented Aug 17, 2023 at 16:18
  • @Freewill, there is no transaction unless both sides want a transaction. You're trying to force one the other party has no reason to be interested in, and jump the queue. That isn't mutual, it's selfish. Sure, you have skills; so do all the other people and the VP has no reason to make time for you in particular. You're just going to make a nuisance of yourself, and that is going to hurt you, not help you. Please accept that whoever has told you that you must do this has given you awful advice.
    – keshlam
    Commented Aug 17, 2023 at 21:56
  • Note too that the senior executives have nearly zero involvement in hiring below that level, or interest in getting involved. They will never have heard of you, and may not even know the position was open. That isn't their responsibility or (usually) interest. There is essentially zero contact here to even try to exploit, except in a relatively tiny company.
    – keshlam
    Commented Aug 18, 2023 at 1:55

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