From LinkedIn to Leadership: Building Your Professional Brand - Interview with Julia Toothacre

From LinkedIn to Leadership: Building Your Professional Brand - Interview with Julia Toothacre

Ready to unlock the secrets of the hidden job market? Join us in our latest podcast episode where we dive deep into practical networking strategies, personal branding, and career transitions with expert career coach Julia Toothacre. Perfect for CTOs, VPs, and IT leaders looking to advance their careers! 🚀

Video Interview

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Unlocking the Hidden Job Market: Expert Tips for Tech Executives

In our latest podcast episode, we had the pleasure of speaking with Julia Toothacre, a seasoned career coach and LinkedIn Top Voice. Julia shared invaluable insights into the often-misunderstood hidden job market, effective networking strategies for introverts, and the importance of personal branding for career advancement. Here’s a breakdown of our conversation, filled with practical advice for IT executives, CTOs, and VPs of Engineering.

Understanding the Hidden Job Market

The hidden job market refers to job opportunities that aren’t publicly advertised. According to Julia, the concept has evolved significantly over the years. “Ten years ago, many positions were not posted online. You had to know someone or attend specific events to find these jobs,” she explained. Nowadays, while most positions are eventually posted online, knowing about them beforehand through networking gives candidates a significant advantage.

“What I think it is now is you having a network of people you're connected to that know when something's about to get posted. It doesn’t mean the position isn't going to be posted; it absolutely will. But you know the hiring manager and they already put feelers out.”

Networking for Introverts

Networking can be daunting, especially for introverted individuals who thrive in more controlled environments. Julia shared some strategies to make networking more manageable:

  1. Find Connectors in Your Network: Identify people who are well-connected and can introduce you to others. These connectors can significantly broaden your professional circle.
  2. Use LinkedIn Effectively: LinkedIn is a powerful tool for building a network. By regularly posting content and engaging with others, you can attract connections and opportunities.

“As an introvert, having that intentional connection is so much easier because those conferences they always have the mixers they always have, you know those networking times and that's fine if you have your extroverted connector friend with you.”

The Importance of Personal Branding

In today’s digital age, personal branding, especially on LinkedIn, is crucial. Julia emphasized that executives should position themselves as thought leaders by sharing their expertise and opinions.

“If you're at the executive level, you are a thought leader. You have opinions, you have thoughts, you've been in the industry for a long time. You want to start using that voice.”

To make the most out of LinkedIn:

  • Post Regularly: Consistency is key. Share insights, comment on relevant industry news, and engage with your network.
  • Tailor Your Content: Make sure your posts and interactions reflect your expertise and the audience you want to attract.

Overcoming Networking Anxiety

For those who struggle with the fear of networking, Julia recommends starting small. Engage in conversations during conferences by discussing session content. Presenting at conferences is another excellent way to gain visibility without the pressure of one-on-one networking.

“Presenting at conferences can help you build your network passively as people approach you afterward.”

Leveraging Conferences and Professional Associations

Julia highlighted the importance of attending conferences and being active in professional associations. These events provide targeted opportunities to connect with like-minded professionals.

“These are opportunities that are really targeted. You're going to be in the room with people who are like you, who are in a similar space as you and you just never know what conversation is going to lead to.”

The Role of AI in Career Development

Finally, we touched on the impact of AI and emerging technologies on career development. While AI tools like ChatGPT are becoming more integrated into our professional lives, Julia believes human connections still hold significant value.

“Even though we are more introverted, we still want that connection with people. And I don't see the AI changing that yet.”


Julia’s insights remind us that while technology continues to evolve, the fundamentals of career advancement remain rooted in building strong networks and maintaining a robust personal brand. For IT executives, CTOs, and VPs of Engineering, leveraging these strategies can open doors to new opportunities and career growth.

For more detailed advice and tips, listen to the full podcast episode. Connect with Julia Toothacre on LinkedIn and explore her resources at Ride the Tide Collective.

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Michal Juhas

Michal Juhas