Do you feel the difference between a verb "networking" and a noun "network"? According to Heather McGregor, a director of executive searching firm and an FT columnist, it's important to build networks, NOT networking. Here I've collected the most important findings about networks.
- Networks are important and there is no argument about that. Not only as a purpose of finding new job, but as a source of new information and your own personal development.
- Research shows, that most of jobs and new opportunities are found not through immediate networks (friends or families), but through more remote connections…
- Therefore, it's important to sustain your network. It means, dedicating time to connect back to those people who were your mentors, colleagues, long lost friends. Even a short note sending seasonal greetings and updating them on where you are, what you have done can make a difference. It's important to invest one's time in keeping connections alive.
- Network, of course, is not only about quantity, but also about quality. However, to make interesting connections you have to be interesting yourself. Heather's advice is doing something outside of work, having hobbies, passions – you would not always "sell" your job as an interesting one to a person from different background, but you can find common grounds as fellow skydivers or animal lovers.
- Networks are about reciprocity. It's not only about taking, but also about giving. Once you give, you'll be remembered, once you provide a useful connection or information to someone, they will keep you in mind when a suitable opportunity arises.
- One of the important things: trust is the foundation of building a sustainable network. When someone trusts you, business goes faster, decisions are taken quicker and, again, you have an immediate advantage of having access to valuable information and opportunities.
- Visualisation – is the best way to understand your network. It's a whole topic on its own and I think it deserves a separate blog post on this, so watch out for the next oneJ