I took me a while to realize the real value of a socio-professional network. In the early years as a consultant, I relied on more senior consultants for new opportunities, and during the time in IBM, I was surrounded by layers of rigid organization structure with systematic resource management and sales professionals.
In spite of this, I started to build up a network, to some extent unconsciously. I always saw colleagues and customers not only as such, but as personal relationships. For that reason, it seemed natural to keep in touch and meet up when alumni arrangements was organized.
When social media arrived, it also seemed natural to expand these relationships online, and it also offered the opportunity to get back in touch with more peripheral contacts. During the years at Wemind, I this process was accellerated significantly, as I learned more about how social networking can benefit your social capital.
After finally realizing in the fall of 2011 that the time had come to move on to the next level, this network proved to be of tremendous value. Let me summarize how the network has been beneficial in this process:
Leads: I have had access to internal information about career opportunities
Access: I have been able to get directly in contact with decision makers
Direct referrals: I have had former colleagues and customers recommend me directly to employers
Indirect referrals: My recommendations on Linkedin have been a great asset in the process
Advice: I have been fortunate to have a lot of supportive people around me, who have encouraged and advised me in the process
There is of course always an element of chance in whatever happens in your life, however, all is unlikely to happen without a dedicated and authentic interest in the people that you work with.
The good news is that it is almost never too late to start networking. They’re all out there…