I have blogged already of the importance of having a network in place even when you are not actively seeking work. Another thought that has crossed my mind frequently is the actual makeup of a network. Every person has his or her role, no matter how many people make up the network. I actually see them as part of a body, representing the different, um, bodily functions (feel free to wordsmith that in comments). Truly, you must represent these functions yourself at the same time your network also pulls through for you. Here are my impressions:
Your Network: The people you know are smart, otherwise why would you trust them? They have advice, know where to lead you, help you prepare for interviews and negotiations, and help you figure out what you really want. Brains are not only delicious (blame late-night blogging for random zombie reference), they are the starting point for your job network- and literally, the nerve center
You: Do your research, and be aware of your surroundings. Think before you act- or email, as everything you do or say can have an effect on your job search process.
Eyes and Ears
Your Network: Where do you get leads but from your contacts? Your networks sees and hears things you can’t and brings them to you.
You: Always be looking for info and opportunities. It should be part of your daily ritual to deal with these.
Your Network: Never underestimate the power of friends in your network to hold you up, evaporate your doubt, and be your cheerleaders. This puts the key word “support” in “support network.”
You: If you can’t hold yourself up, all the encouragement in the world from your peers won’t help.
Your Network: You have surrounded yourself with peers who share your ethical beliefs, have empathy, and are able to help you see the balance between happiness and success. Right?
You: This is where I choose to say: make sure you are giving back- always, even when you are in a time of need. There is always something to give.
Your Network: People will do things for you. They will write recommendations on LinkedIn and elsewhere, and serve as references. They will help you do and get the things you need.
You: Develop your routines and stick to them (not just in job search, but in any daily routine). Use your hands to make sure the work of your heart (servicing your network) gets done.
Your Network and You: A certain amount of bile is healthy, as is a good sense of humor. It helps you bounce back and keep the other parts in working order. Don’t let anyone tell you the gall bladder is a “non-vital” organ.
How about your network? Have I missed any parts?
*As ever, the phrase “you know who you are” applies to members of my network who fit these descriptions