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Networking sites benefit from growth in ‘Personal brand-building’

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The importance of candidates’ online personal brands has led to a surge in the use of networking sites for career development according to research from professional recruitment consultancy, Harvey Nash. The survey, conducted amongst 500 senior executives across Europe, sees professional networking sites set to rival executive job boards as a means of progressing careers and finding new job opportunities.


An overwhelming 90% of respondents registered on professional networking sites like LinkedIn, compared to just 50% posting their CV on a job board. This comes as more and more senior executives recognise the need to build their profile and network online – the vast majority (93%) claim investing time and effort into developing a strong personal brand is important to them and their career.   

Whilst most (74%) respondents believe actively building a personal brand offline is the most popular method for progressing their career, social and professional networking sites take second place with over two thirds (68%) of senior executives actively using their network to develop their personal brand. And senior executives only expect the popularity of online networking to grow – when asked which tools would be most important in job searching in two year’s time compared to now, networking sites showed the biggest increase at the expense of more traditional methods:


  Very Important
  Now In 2 years
Using Executive Job Boards 41% 51%
Using social networking sites 24% 38%
Reading offline publications 27% 27%
Contacting headhunters/recruiters 59% 63%
Developing personal network of contacts 72% 81%


When searching for a job via a social networking site, most senior executives would look to LinkedIn first (57%) and Plaxo second (16%) with Facebook only coming in at fifth place (six per cent).

Commenting on the findings, Carol Rosati, director at Harvey Nash, said: “We are starting to see a shift in the way senior executives develop their careers. They want a personalised approach, customised to their own ‘profiles’, and as a result more and more are turning to professional and even social networking sites. Whilst online networking does not replace human interaction, it does provide candidates with an additional set of resources to create and maintain a personal brand and complement the profile they build through ‘real world’ networking.  

Cristina Hoole, European marketing director at LinkedIn, added: “As competition in the global job market intensifies, it has become essential for executives, at all levels, to build and strengthen their personal profiles online. Harvey Nash’s research reaffirms our own understanding that professional networking sites already play an increasingly important role in helping candidates stay well connected and career-informed.”  


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