(3) Do you have a personal relationship with a senior-level leader with enormous industry influence and a track record to back it up?

YES, I DO!

This is one of the most important roles on your support squad. I call it the LAUNCH PAD. Because word of mouth is still a powerful tool. And most markets are so competitive these days, a strong résumé and nicely crafted LinkedIn Summary still may not be enough to propel you to the next level.

Launch Pads propel you higher than you could go on your own with their colossal database of contacts and boundless savvy. If you’ve earned enough affection from someone that they’ll leverage their network to accelerate your ascent, it serves as validation that the steps you’ve taken up to this point count for something.

A piece of unsolicited advice: While your Launch Pad can put you in front of the right people and nudge higher-ups to give you a chance, it’s up to you to perform and make the recommendation a valuable return on her investment. Also, Launch Pads are often your most vocal and loyal cheerleaders, and they love progress reports, so keep in touch by sharing big wins, small successes and even the minor setbacks.