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  • Posterus Consulting

Using Your Network To Improve Your Net Worth

Back in 2007, Porter Gale landed her breakthrough opportunity leading Virgin America’s marketing team through a past contact who referred her to the role. The realisation of the power of her contacts, past colleagues and clients led her to go on and publish her book, “Your Network is Your Net Worth”, 6 years later.

There have long been popular adages telling us it is WHO you know, not WHAT you know that has the biggest impact on your personal success. Recent studies have shown that between 28% and 40% of new hires come from employee referrals.

Putting aside the fact that this has its own dangers of hindering diversity efforts within organisations if referral programmes aren’t monitored well, it tells us referrals are a powerful way of securing a new contract. Employee referrals have the highest applicant-to-hire conversion ratio. Now what if I told you that 41% of referrals come from a trusted external network? I'm sure you'd take your network more seriously, and there are many ways to do this.

Let’s take LinkedIn, for example. With over 575 million members worldwide, it is a great place to grow your professional network. Now, you know that already, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this post. Each user typically has hundreds, if not thousands, of connections. The important thing with these connections, however, is how you use them.

Do you have 3,500 connections, most of whom you’ve never spoken to? Or do you have a carefully curated connection list, thus making your network deeper rather than broader?

Referrals from past colleagues and contacts are successful because those people can speak to your strengths and nuances far better than a CV / resume can, and if it’s a trusted opinion from within your target company, then it holds a huge amount of weight.

Despite evidence that shows there is no statistically significant difference in the performance of a CEO if they have an MBA, half of Fortune 500 CEOs do. Why? The connections and network they build. MBA graduates were asked whether they felt their school's alumni network had helped them in their career. More than 90% of graduates from more than 10 schools, including Stanford, Wharton, Harvard, Cornell, and Duke all agreed that it had. At Stanford, it was 100%.

Those who attend MBA schools can, therefore, get their ROI simply from their alumni programmes. Those who do not have the privilege, fortune, or circumstances that enable them to attend a top MBA school need to work harder on building their own professional network.

So my question is this:

Is your network providing genuine value and increasing your ultimate net worth?

Or is it simply a collection of people you’ve added on LinkedIn over the years simply to boost your connection numbers? How willing are those connections to help you? How willing are you to help your connections?

If you find that your connections are not helping you, and you can’t help them, why are they in your network?

We’d even go as far as to say there is little value in being connected with people who you DO know, yet have shown they aren’t willing to help you. Have you reached out to a past colleague, only for them to completely blank you? Then it’s probably time to cull them too.

Be brutal, but be thoughtful. Make sure your

network is working for you.

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