Your Network is Bigger Than You Realize

Early on in your job search, you are ready to network with your peers/colleagues/friends. But then, your fears and doubts start to kick in.

You start thinking things like this:

“My network is too small”

“I don’t know enough people”

“I don’t have access to a network in my field of interest”

“The people I know are not decision makers”

There are hundreds of excuses our doubts throw at us. But if there is one thing I’ve learned over the last few years, it’s this.

“These are all limiting beliefs!”

Your network is bigger than you realize. There are potentially hundreds, even thousands of people you can reach out to ask for help in your job search.

You just need to start building the list starting from all the various sources your network exists in today.

So what are the various sources that you can draw on to fill out your network? This exercise will take about 30-60 minutes but at the end of this, you will have created a networking list of 100s of individuals you hadn’t previously considered.

Questions to Think About

1- LinkedIn / Social Media accounts: Have you been active on the various social media platforms( LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok, etc). Every one of these platforms is a source of a network. Some more professional than others, but don’t discount your network at the start. The first step is to build the laundry list of contacts

2- Friends and family: They trust you, inherently will be willing to help you. You’ve cultivated these relationships over years

3- Every previous employer: Think of all of your previous jobs and/or roles. In each function, you have had multiple colleagues/co-workers/partners. Each individual is potentially a part of your network. Some examples are:

  • Previous boss, peers on the team
  • Clients – external stakeholders you served, sold too, delivered too, communicated with
  • Partners – Internal/external team members or service providers who helped you to complete your work
  • Internal stakeholders you collaborated/communicated with (e.g., product, sales, marketing, engineering, support, etc)
  • General co-workers and friends, who you knew through the lunchroom, work social events, etc

4- School alums and classmates: Where did you go to college/University? Highschool? Every person you interacted with, can be leveraged as part of your network. The reach of your school peers is immense. They’ve traveled the world, worked across every industry, held various levels of positions. Think of all the sources of network you can pull from:

  • Graduating class – Everyone who graduated with you either in your program or adjacent
  • Younger and older alums – Individuals you were acquaintances/friends with
  • Social/Sports clubs – What clubs did you participate in while you were a student?

5- Post academic clubs/groups/teams: You have a social and personal life outside of work. You have joined teams, book clubs, movie reviews, foodie groups. Your kids play sports/activities, the parents of their peers of candidates. Where else are you regularly meeting with people? They are all part of the network

6- Dating scene: Are you leveraging various social media apps to meet people for your personal life? Every person you met, is part of your network

Whew- that was a lot. Again, if you actually sit down and go through these questions, using this 30-60 minute exercise, you can easily build a network list of 100s of people.