Network Quality

 

If don't see any results from your networking efforts, you may need to evaluate the quality of your network. Think about your network’s strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities.

Without such an evaluation, there is little chance your network will adapt to your needs and your future goals. You may not notice you're bound to history or certain connections that are holding you back. Opportunities to branch out and forge new ties that will help you move forward may be missed.

Taking inventory of your network and where it is lacking is time well spent. It's time to upgrade, if you feel your network is out of date. Your awareness of these needs will help you connect with new and more relevant contacts and networks.

Everyone has both “strong” and “weak” ties. Strong ties occupy that inner circle and weak ties are less established. Adding people to networks is time consuming, especially strong ties. It requires an investment of time and energy to have multiple "best friends.” Trying to stay in touch with new acquaintances is just as challenging.

Adding new “weak tie” members gives your network vitality and the ability to consider new ideas and options. New relationships invigorate the network by providing a connection to new networks, viewpoints, and opportunities.

 

Rate Your Network

Give yourself 1 point for each question you answer yes:

  • Do you trust your network to give you the truth about the real you?
  • Does your network challenge you as much as it supports you?
  • Does your network feel vibrant and dynamic?
  • Does your network represent your future goals as much as your past?
  • Are the networks connected to your network strong?

5 pts – You can stop reading. Your network is in great shape!

3-4 pts – You need to enhance your network.

0-2 pts – Your network needs a makeover!

 

Strengthen Your Network

  • Strong ties will logically and trustingly lead to new weak ties that build a stronger network. Use your existing network to add members and reconnect with people. Start by engaging the people in your trusted inner circle to help you fill in the gaps in your network.
  • Where you want to go should be reflective in your network, not just where you’ve been. Adding people to your network who reflect issues, jobs, industries, and areas of interest is essential. If you are a new graduate or a career changer, join the professional associations that represent your desired career path. Attending conferences, reading journals, and keeping up with the vocab of your desired field can prepare you for where you want to go. 
  • Connecting is a priority, make connecting a part of your lifestyle. It breathes life into your network and gives you confidence. Find out how your network is doing in this environment; what steps they're taking; and how you can you help. The world will feel smaller as you make connections and a small world is much easier to manage. 
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